Bitbank is a Japanese exchange launched in 2017 (though some sources insist on 2014, 2015, or 2016). This confusion between the dates arose because originally the project was founded as Bitcheck, Inc. in May 2014, then changed its name to Bitbank, Inc, and the exchange itself went live in March 2017. The project states that it is the No.1 in cryptocurrency trade volume among all cryptocurrency exchanges based in Japan. Mainly it focuses on the local customers.
Bitbank is approved by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) and Kanto Local Finance Bureau and this fact adds reliability and trust to the system. Japan is one of the first countries to provide cryptocurrency and exchange regulations on a national level.
The website features a functional and well-designed interface. The home page provides users with basic information to understand the main advantages of this exchange and get the initial idea of its functionality and services. Here you can find the FAQ, coin rates, the link to the registration, price charts, and other helpful information.
The home page of this website is available in English and Japanese, but all the links from this page lead to the pages in Japanese only (except information for non-residents). There are no English versions of the Registration Form, Support, or Terms of Service. It is impossible to benefit from the full functionality of the platform without deep knowledge of the Japanese language.
Both iOS and Android apps are available for those who prefer to trade via smartphone. But there are some functions that can be exclusively used on PC.
Only those accounts that belong to Japanese-based individuals are welcome, and participation of the personal accounts of non-Japanese residents is forbidden. At the same time, international enterprises registered outside of Japan can have Bitbank’s accounts under certain conditions.
The applicants are to provide official documentation on their corporate entities and be ready for the prepaid service fee of 100 USD in Bitcoin. Even if they have been approved, they will face some restrictions on withdrawals: they can withdraw their assets only in cryptocurrencies but not in Japanese Yen. The applicants from the countries without effectively implemented AML/CFT controls are not welcome.
Assets and peculiarities of trading
The only fiat currency that the platform supports is the Japanese Yen (JPY) as it caters to the locals. This means that they can buy coins or cash them out directly in their bank accounts. Coin-to-coin trading is also supported. Bitbank does not support leveraged trading.
There are 7 cryptocurrencies listed on this exchange: Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), Monacoin (MONA), Bitcoin Cash (BCC), and Stellar Lumens (XLM). All these coins are paired with JPY and all altcoins are paired with Bitcoin.
Trading information and charts are updated in real-time. The charts are provided by TradingView that features more than 50 types of technical analysis indicators and various advanced analysis tools. A comparative analysis of currency pairs is also available.
There are some limitations to the deposit and withdrawal amounts. Bitbank sets the minimum cryptocurrency amounts that can be deposited though there are no minimum deposit amounts required for investments in Japanese Yen. The minimal withdrawal amounts also apply to JPY. There are also withdrawal limits per day. The amounts vary depending on the currency.
Though some sources state that Bitbank does not charge any trading or deposit fees, there is a list of trading fees that can be seen on the official website. In fact, makers and takers are treated differently. At the time of writing, makers (those who place limit orders) do not have to pay fees and are even rewarded with 0.02% while takers (those who take orders) have to pay 0.12%. At the same time, some trading pairs are not charged with fees and are free for both makers and takers. According to the official information, they provide the periods of the zero transaction fee campaign when the trading fee (transaction fee) of the corresponding pair is not paid. There is no deposit fee and the sum of the withdrawal fee depends on a certain currency.
Security and Transparency
At the time of writing, there is no information on successful hacking attacks on the exchange. The assets can be stored on both cold and hot wallets. Bitbank provides its customers with such standard security measures as SSL encrypted servers and two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA means that a user cannot sign in without his or her mobile device because it generates a one-time password that is relevant only for 30 seconds. This measure helps to protect personal accounts from hacking but it is up to users if they want to enable 2FA.
The company manages its own money and its customers’ money separately. They entrust their customers’ money to a trust bank, that is why even if the Company goes bankrupt, it will not have an effect on the customers’ money that will be managed safely. At the time of writing, Bitbank partners with JSF Trust and Banking Co., Ltd.
The main attraction of Bitbank is its license from FSA which was received in September 2017. It adds much credibility to this project as the major part of cryptocurrency exchanges work in the grey area. Another advantage is that there is no difference between users’ accounts and all of them are treated equally when it goes about access to services and information. Any user can get the company’s datasets to view the history of the predictive algorithm performance.
Bitbank Co., Ltd. is a Tokyo-based company, and all members of its team are Japanese. Noriyuki Hirosue is the President and CEO of the company. Prior to taking this position, he founded Comuca, a car-sharing company, where he was the CEO. He was also a Managing Director of GMO Internet Group.
Kiyoshi Hayashi is the Director, Executive Officer, and CCO. Satoshi Tsuki, Nobuhiro Kanayama, and Motoyuki Komabayashi are Outside Directors. Akira Takagi and Yoshiaki Sugita are Audit and Supervisory Board Members. The list of other team members is available on the official website in Japanese.