In this Bter review, I want to show you the pros and cons of Bter as an altcoin exchange, and also share with you my personal experience with this exchange, to buy and sell, deposit and withdraw altcoins.
Update: Due to a hack, Bter is no longer safe anymore. Do not use it to trade.
Bter is an altcoin exchange that allows you to trade currency pairs in BTC and LTC. It is one of the very few altcoin exchanges that also has a fiat currency component, in CNY. If you’re in China or have access to a Chinese bank account, Bter will allow you to buy your favorite altcoins with Chinese Yuan. Exchanges like Cryptsy don’t allow you to buy altcoins with USD, in comparison. Also, it was positively surprising that Bter was able to retain the CNY component of its exchange even after the Chinese Government gave guidelines to banks not to deal with crypto-currencies and large exchanges like BTC China shut off fiat deposits.
I have personally moved more and more of my trading and investing activity away from Cryptsy and into Bter and I wan to share with you my thoughts and experiences with this exchange.
Before going deeper into Bter review specifically, I want to recount the things that I expect from an exchange –
What Should an Altcoin Exchange Provide?
- Ability to buy/sell altcoins I am interested in, i.e, having adequate number of altcoins to trade.
- Adding new promising altcoins as soon as possible after they are launched, taking the lead.
- Ability to quickly deposit/withdraw into the exchange, especially during fast moving markets.
- Trades should be filled soon and not lag, especially in a fast moving market. You’d be surprised how many exchanges fail this simple criterion during market peak times.
- Reasonable trading fees.
- Resolving support issues when they arise.
These are my six main criteria while evaluating an exchange. There could be several other minor features that others might require in their altcoin exchange, but I think this is a fair list.
How Well Does Bter Perform?
Time to evaluate this Bter review with respect to how well Bter performs in the above mentioned points –
- The list of altcoins that Bter provides is good. You have all the main altcoins and plenty of lesser known ones too. I think it is a good mix. However, on this single point alone, Cryptsy definitely beats Bter, in that Cryptsy has more number of altcoins that you can trade. Also remember that since Bter is a Chinese exchange, you have pairs available in CNY. Also, altcoins like ChinaCoin are available on Bter that are not usually available for trade on other exchanges. Bter has better inventory than older exchanges like BTC-e or Vircurex although these older exchanges tend to be more robust 3.5/5
- I think Bter is very good with adding promising altcoins. I have written about this earlier, but Bter was the first ‘mainstream’ exchange that started a market in Protoshares. This was followed by Cryptsy more than 2 weeks later. More recently, Cryptsy became the first major exchange to add NXT (like it or hate it, it isn’t another copy-paste coin), while Cryptsy has no such plans and Vircurex is following Bter’s lead in adding NXT soon. I really like the fact that Bter is quick to add new idea coins to the list. In comparison, the last coins that Cryptsy added? RonPaulCoin, Mooncoin and BattleCoin. 4.5/5
- Deposits and withdrawals are definitely quick at Bter. I’ve personally never had any problems or lag in scores of deposits and withdrawals at this site. However, if you browse through the Bitcointalk forums, you’ll see a few people complaining about this. There were also some issues during the peak December time when Bitcoin and altcoin trading was at its highest. To be fair to Bter though, its nearest competitor, Cryptsy was far far worse during this time, and still remains slower than Bter to this day. More recently, the whole experience with using Bter has been very pleasant and deposits and withdrawals have been consistently fast and reliable. 4/5
- Trade lag is very minimal at Bter. Even during the peak of trading season that happened a couple of months ago in December, Bter was able to handle the load reasonably well, although there were some lag issues in some markets. Contrast this with Cryptsy where I had seen delays of up to 6 hours (yes, that isn’t a typo) to fill an order where the buy price was higher than the sell price. It was atrocious at Cryptsy. You can read on Bitcointalk forum about how a lot of people lost a lot during this time on Cryptsy. 4/5
- Trading and withdrawal fees on Bter is one of the lowest in the industry. True, it might be pressured on this front with some new entrants who want to attract traders with lower fees, but among the major exchanges, Bter is definitely great. How does it compare to Cryptsy? The altcoin buying fees is the same on Cryptsy and Bter (0.2%) and the altcoin selling fees at Bter is 50% less than on Cryptsy! (0.2% for Bter vs. 0.3% for Cryptsy). 4.5/5
- Bter can get better with responding to emails/support tickets. Most exchanges in this space suffer from this, but Bter isn’t particularly good either. On the plus side, you can contact them at Bitcointalk forums under the usernames Bter or freeworm. 3/5
So that’s my Bter review in the different categories that I consider important for any altcoin exchange. I like the way Bter is progressing forward, as it seems to get better and better. They also seem to have a pulse of the industry and add promising coins soon, which is a huge plus for this exchange. It is established and well-run. Overall, I am quite happy with my experience so far with Bter.
Do you trade at Bter? Have you used them at all? Happy or unhappy? Let us know in the comments.
Photo Credit: fdecomite