BitBegin is a centralized cryptocurrency exchange, founded in 2018. The platform is operated by BitBegin LTD and, according to the information on its LinkedIn page, is situated in Nigeria with exact address: OPD Building Complex, 1 Christ Avenue, Oyigbo Rivers State, Oyigbo 49093, NG. This information aside, it is hard to find any meaningful details about the platform. In fact, at the time of this writing, BitBegin is one of the most secretive and untransparent cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide.
BitBegin’s website doesn’t have an “About Us” page and, at the time of this writing, the “FAQ” section cannot be accessed. Even the “Terms and Conditions” page fails to shed light on the exchange business. All this leaves BitBegin covered in secrecy and makes it hard for the exchange to earn the trust of its potential clients and build credibility.
By tracking down the LinkedIn profiles associated with the exchange, we come across two individuals, claiming to be the co-founders of BitBegin. Ugoji Harry describes himself as an “entrepreneur/blockchain advocate” who is also the founder of several other companies, including Storaji LTD (an e-commerce platform), BitSense Ads Network (an advertising platform), Bitzamp (cryptocurrency news and e-learning platform), and others. The information on his profile points out that he has co-authored five cryptocurrency trading e-books. The other co-founder is Paul Anyanwu. Prior to BitBegin, he had also co-founded Bitzamp and Bitcaz (a cryptocurrency event platform).
From the limited amount of resources that we can analyze to try to shape the exchange’s profile, the “Terms and Conditions” page is the one worth noting. The section is very detailed and covers many aspects of the platform’s trading business. What it also does though, is to help distinguish some really concerning points. For example, when registering for the exchange’s services, the user receives “a member account” and an auto-generated password. This is something really concerning in the world of cryptocurrency exchange hacks and continuous data breach problems. Next, in order to use the platform, one should provide an official ID, mobile number, address, and photo. Investors should bear in mind that the exchange explicitly highlights that it can’t guarantee the secure storage of its clients’ data. With that said, users should be aware that providing such sensitive information to a business that doesn’t even bother to reveal its background or founders profiles, as well as avoids guaranteeing the secure storage of its clients’ personal details holds an excessively high risk. The terms page continues to say that in cases where the user’s account is compromised, he should inform the platform. BitBegin will then temporarily suspend the account “within a reasonable time” but also clarifies that it “doesn’t bear any liability for the consequences that have arisen before such action is taken.”
The major red flag that one should bear in mind when considering using BitBegin’s platform is a section in the “Terms and Conditions” page that states: “Should you breach this Agreement or any applicable law or administrative regulation; you shall pay to us at least US$1M (One million) in compensation and bear all the expenses in connection with such breach (including attorney's fees, among others).” A disclaimer like this is very rare in the cryptocurrency exchange niche and serves as a worrying sign about the credibility of the service provider. Considering the fact that BitBegin lists several cases and events in which, under no circumstances, the user can’t hold it liable (including loss of income and transaction profits, disruption of business, loss of information or data, etc.), it is safe to say that BitBegin had made everything possible to escape responsibility. This means that unfortunate events and losses aren’t limited to the amount of the users’ funds, but can bear additional costs and fines as well.
When it comes to the platform’s features, it is worth noting that BitBegin’s team claims to keep 100% of users’ funds in cold wallet storage. This is something very uncommon in the world of cryptocurrencies as most exchanges keep 5 to 10% of the funds in hot wallets to use them for capital buffers (mostly for covering transaction costs and fees, when it is needed). The limited information on the exchange’s website continues to say that all private keys for the wallets are encrypted with AES-256 and are stored offline. However, at the time of this writing, it is hard to verify the accuracy of these claims.
Regarding customer support, BitBegin’s team claims to have 24/7 support and that they “will be happy to help” with any question. However, according to the information within the “Terms and Conditions” page, once users’ complaints and questions are addressed to the support team via email, the representatives will in their “best efforts try to resolve” them. The word “try” here leaves a big question mark on how efficient and helpful the support team really is.
On the topic of BitBegin’s online reputation, at the time of this writing, it is clear that the exchange is not so popular among the online community. There are no user reviews on Trustpilot or user opinions on Reddit and Bitcointalk. Although this may be partly because the platform is targeting the African market, the lack of publicity doesn’t help in the case of building a recognizable and credible brand in the cryptocurrency exchange business.
At the time of this writing, there are no reported cases of hacker attacks or governmental investigations targeted at the BitBegin exchange.