What is bitFlyer?
bitFlyer is the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange worldwide by market volume and the world’s largest crypto exchange for the Japanese yen. Being the largest Bitcoin and blockchain company in Japan, bitFlyer started to expand its operations into the US and European crypto markets to compete with its USD and EUR market competitors, Kraken and Bitstamp.
Who is behind bitFlyer?
bitFlyer was founded in January 2014 by two former Goldman Sachs bankers: Yuzo Kano, who was a trader for derivatives and bonds, and Takafumi Komiyama, who developed settlement systems for the elitist investment bank.
Since then the company received venture capital in several rounds from companies such as Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group and the venture capital arm of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.
In 2019 investors of bitFlyer’s parent company, bitFlyer Holdings, Inc., replaced founder Yuzo Kano as CEO with Yoshio Hirako, a financial industry veteran, with the aim to "strengthen management structure upon further building corporate governance". Yuzo Kano still serves as CEO of bitFlyer's US subsidiary.
How to use bitFlyer
As soon as you visit the bitFlyer website you will see a banner at the top asking you if you’re a resident of the US, Europe or Japan, depending where you access the website from.
This is because there are different legal entities behind each website variant and each entity is subject to their regional legal regulations.
How to sign up and fund your bitFlyer US account
Getting started with bitFlyer is relatively easy. After signing up with an email address and checking the email inbox to confirm the signup, it is necessary to set a password and agree to the terms and conditions.
Once verified, the next step is to transfer funds to your account, which is possible through the following payment methods in the US: instant ACH deposits, wire deposits and cryptocurrency deposits.
How to buy bitcoin on bitFlyer
bitFlyer Buy/Sell Markets
In the Buy/Sell markets bitFlyer charges an inside spread, which means, it is making money on the difference between its own buying and selling prices.
The main advantage of the Buy/Sell platform is that users cannot encounter price slippage and only pay the displayed price. The maximum amount to be purchased via this feature is 20 BTC per transaction.
As you may have noticed from the screenshots, the Bitcoin Buy/Sell market and the Altcoin Buy/Sell markets are kept strictly separated for some reason and can only be accessed via their respective navigation item.
bitFlyer Lightning Exchange
bitFlyer Lightning is the company’s professional exchange for spot trading, , where customers can place orders on an open order book and execute trades between themselves and other customers.
The difference between bitFlyer Lightning and bitFlyer’s Buy/Sell markets is that in the latter, your trading partner is bitFlyer, who acts as a broker. Generally, brokers have their own stock of crypto assets and you can buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from bitFlyer or sell them to bitFlyer.
bitFlyer iOS/Android App
In 2019 bitFlyer has launched its app (“bitFlyer Wallet”) available on iOS and Android across the US and Europe, which allows you to quickly buy, sell, send or receive any of the following cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic.
After acquiring your digital assets, you can either keep them safely stored in your wallet and track your portfolio's performance or divest them again by selling them back to bitFlyer or sending them to friends. Additionally, there is a news section that allows you to easily catch up on the latest crypto news while using the app.
bitFlyer Fees & Limits
You can keep trading fees really low if you opt for spot orders on the bitFlyer Lightning exchange. Once you deposit USD to your account, you can buy any small or large amount of Bitcoin, with fees as low as 0.12%.
Theoretically, even fees as low as 0.02% are possible, but only if you have a trading volume at least $10 million in the past 30 days.
Is bitFlyer trustworthy?
In the U.S., bitFlyer has 47 state MSB licenses, including the BitLicense - with bitFlyer being the first non-US entity to obtain it. In Europe bitFlyer is supervised by the CSSF, the Luxembourg financial regulator, after having been granted a Payment Institution license by the Ministry of Finance. In Japan bitFlyer is fully supervised by the Japanese FSA.
These licenses oblige bitFlyer to have strict and strong standards when it comes to consumer protections (i.e. asset segregation between corporate funds and users funds) as well as to have internal and external audits from auditing companies for it’s IT security, financials and operations.
Is bitFlyer safe?
Apart from the US and European regulations that bitFlyer complies with, there are several security protocols that bitFlyer employs. When accessing bitFlyer, you are connected through an SHA-2 (Secure Hash Algorithm 2, the latest set of cryptographic hash functions) encrypted server.
Encouraging passwords that are difficult to hack, bitFlyer mandates a password strength threshold for new users, two-step authentication and an account lock function if a password is entered incorrectly too many times.
At a time when one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges - Mt Gox - fell victim to a hack and had to cease its operations, bitFlyer rose from the ashes like a phoenix and created a solid trading platform with state-of-the-art security standards.
Even if bitFlyer may not please everyone from a design point of view, it is very easy for users to find their way around the trading platform. The opportunities to buy cryptocurrencies quickly and directly, as well as to trade with other users on the exchange, appeal to newcomers and professionals alike.
A selection of essential coins and payment methods complete the offer. As regards customer service and support, since bitFlyer is moving into new markets, they are trying to ensure that all users have the opportunity to access support in a timely and convenient way, wherever they are. Last but not least, bitFlyer offers an attractive referral program where you can get rewarded with up to $50, if you refer a friend to their platform.
All in all, let’s say that you can't really go wrong with bitFlyer.