Mexican bitcoin exchange Bitso was the first exchange to enable pesos/bitcoin trading in the country. Today, they support bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Bitcoin is a limited order book and doesn't buy or sell bitcoin directly. Bitso since day one has targeted both retail and institutional investors since it came on the scene 2014.
How to Get Started with Bitso
Click on the button below and fill the online form with your email address, name, and choose a secure password.
You can either deposit funds in fiat currency or directly in cryptocurrencies. To do so, click the icon on the top right corner, select "Deposit" and follow the instructions.
Navigate to the different trading platforms available to start buying and selling crypto coins of your preference.
It was launched by a trio of blockchain pioneers -- Pablo Gonzalez, who is CEO and co-founder, Ben Peters, another co-founder and CTO and Daniel Vogel, who is co-founder and President. They've raised millions of dollars in fundraising, including a $2.5 million round in 2016 at which time Vogel revealed the exchange was interested in other countries in the Latin American market.
- Variable trading fees from a maximum of 1% to a minimum of 0.1% (pro for users with high trade volume)
- The company hinted toward limited orders becoming available in the coming months, as of March 2018
- SPEI transfers are instant and no fees from the exchange (banks might charge fees, however)
- Fund account from retail locations including Walmart and 7-11 throughout Mexico
- Send money from bank account
- Multi-signature wallets for top security
- Cold storage to keep bitcoin offline
- Open to international users (though to fund the digital wallet in fiat money, users must convert their currency to the Mexican peso)
- Bitso mobile is available on Android and iOS
- Referral program (both users must have passed Level 2 verification to qualify)
- Good relationship with Ripple
- Partnership with BitGo for multi-sig wallets
- API is available
- Site is available in English and Spanish languages
- Educational resources including videos available on the site for novice investors
- Variable fees from a maximum of 1% to a minimum of 0.1% (con for users with low trade volume)
- In May 2017, Bitso implemented a flat withdrawal fee of 0.0005 BTC and in June 2017 raised it to 0.001 BTC (not for the exchange but for the mining commission; the sting is because Bitso once subsidized those costs for users.)
- Users want more tools for graphics, charting, technical analysis, etc. There's no option to change time periods or to add visual indicators, tools that a trader would use.
- Only basic trading functions. No stop limits, stop loss, etc.
- Caters to local Mexican market. Cryptocurrency prices are only displayed in Mexican peso. The exchange is limited to receiving and sending funds to banks in Mexican peso.
- No margin trading
- Users want more coins
Bitso enforces Know Your Customer (KYC) standards. This is a protocol that's used to protect the exchange against the fraudulent activity such as money laundering. The KYC process involves three levels of verification, which determine the limits on a trading account.
- Level 1 involves verifying a mobile phone number via an SMS text message and receiving an email containing a user ID number.
- Level 2 requires a passport and proof of residence, documents that must be uploaded to its verification system. The exchange recommends traders at this level have performed trades for a minimum of MXN 5,000 and have funded an account via SPEI transfer (Mexicos banking system)
- Level 3 involves accessing a ticket from the exchanges Help Center and selecting Account Verification/Level 3. The remaining steps will be emailed to the user.
Meanwhile, its director of public and regulator policy, Felipe Vallejo, said in March 2018 that the exchange felt great about a fintech bill that extends to cryptocurrencies and would provide some regulatory framework in which companies could operate.
Bitso charges a variable fee for cryptocurrency exchanges that is based on the number of transactions that a user completes over a 30-day period. The range is a 0.1% minimum to a 1% maximum. The more trades that a user completes, the lower the fee they are charged. The exchange charges zero fees for SPEI transfers in MXN. Bitso charges zero fee for BTC deposits, and once confirmed, funds can become accessible in less than an hour.
Pros & Cons
Bitso vs Other Exchanges
To open an account on Bisto, first, choose from a drop-down menu to select personal or business use. The exchange requires that users have a valid email address and a mobile phone number to verify the account. Bitso has outlined three steps for purchasing bitcoin: 1. Sign in to your Bitso account 2. Fund the account with Mexican pesos 3. Place the order for either the transaction to occur immediately or to purchase at a certain BTC price, the latter of which takes longer to complete.
Bitso's Ben Peters took to the company's blog on Medium in November 2017 to apologize to users for inadequate performance on the site. The apology appeared to be in response to technical problems on the site on a day in October 2017. The company maintains that funds were never at risk and there was no hacking attempt. He pointed to bouts of downtime and impaired service. He attributed it to periods of extremely heavy load, and some fundamental issues with our architecture problems that naturally become exacerbated at times of high market volatility. It was during this period that the BTC price was exhibiting dramatic price swings of 1,000 points in a day. Upon apologizing, Peters vowed to overhaul the underlying architecture in a series of upgrades. The exchange admitted: We still have a lot to improve in communication with our customers. Meanwhile, it is open to hearing from users, as evidenced by this post on the exchanges Facebook page The help ticket and help centre support centre promises a 24-48-hour reply. Some users, however, have complained about social media of lengthy response times for tickets for issues surrounding account verification. Bitso appears to be responsive to those concerns.
Bitso Mobile App
After many months in development, Bitso rolled out its mobile app for iOS and Android to the public in February 2018. The apps, which the company says offer the same functionality as the website, can be downloaded for free on both platforms. Users mostly cheered the app on social media, but one user expressed reservations about downloading the app amid security concerns. Key features of the app include (as per the company's blog post)
- Create your account
- Buy and sell Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple and other cryptos quickly
- Check your balances instantly and in one place
- Anchor your account with pesos and any other crypto available at bitso.com
- Withdraw funds to any bank account in Mexico or debit card via SPEI
- Send cryptos quickly using QR codes and your mobile's camera
Bitso Transfer is a feature that lets users send and receive cryptocurrencies instantaneously without the typical wait times associated with blockchain transactions or the bitcoin mining fees. Cryptocurrencies can be sent via a Mexico-based email address or mobile phone. It works both on the mobile app and on the website. With the app, users can create a Bitso account, trade cryptocurrencies, check their account balance, withdraw funds to a Mexico-based bank account or SPEI transfer via debit card and send QR-code fueled cryptocurrency transfers. Bitso said in a statement that it had further new developments that it planned to unveil in the coming months, with the Bitso app being the platform for these new products. They also warned users in a blog post -
Bitso is the exchange to use for transacting with the Mexican peso. Its more than a trading platform but it has ambitious plans for the exchange nonetheless. Its focus on the remittance market is an interesting layer to this company that only stands to increase its profile down the road. With no major hacks to speak of and a swift response to engineering issues, security has proven to be air-tight. The trading-volume-based fee structure is unique and seems to penalize the infrequent trader. But at the same time, it offers a great deal of support in the way of educational materials for the novice investor, which makes it a compelling choice. And with more trading options seemingly in the pipeline, more specifically limited orders, Bitso is becoming an increasingly viable option for sophisticated bitcoin traders as well.