Bitso is a centralized cryptocurrency exchange, founded in 2014 and headquartered in Mexico. The information on its “Terms” page reveals that two entities run the business. All cryptocurrency-related operations are handled by the Badger Technology Company Limited, registered in Gibraltar under the number: 117775 (official address: suite 23, Portland House, Glacis Road, GX11 1AA, Gibraltar). The company is a regulated DLT provider licensed by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission under the Investment and Financial Fiduciary Services Act with license number FSC1348B. All account fundings and withdrawals, made in Mexican Pesos, are handled by Bitso, S.A.P.I. de C.V., a company incorporated in Mexico and operating under transitory article eight of the Law Regulating the Financial Technology Institutions.
Bitso was founded by three individuals - Ben Peters, Daniel Vogel, and Pablo Gonzalez. At the time of this writing, the position of CEO is held by Daniel Vogel, former president of the business. Prior to founding Bitso, he had been a Product Manager for Quantcast and also a partner in Xochi Ventures (a VC firm, investing in companies in Latin America and the US). He also has a solid academic background, having completed a B.S. in Computer Systems Engineering at Stanford University and holding an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. Aside from developing the exchange business, Bitso’s management team is focused on having a positive social impact. One of their initiatives came in the form of a cryptocurrency fundraising campaign for the victims of the devastating earthquakes in Mexico.
It is worth noting also that, unlike other exchanges, Bitso has a substantial presence on LinkedIn. According to the information on its official page, the exchange employs between 50 and 200 professionals, with 76 of them having profiles on the professional network.
At first, the exchange was established with the primary goal of helping bring Mexico on the map of the cryptocurrency world. Bitso claims to be the first regulated platform in Latin America. Since August 1st, 2019, the custody, withdrawals, deposits, and trading of cryptocurrencies made in the platform are regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) under its Distributed Ledger Technology Regulatory Framework. According to Bitso, the issued license gives it a leading position “as one of the most innovative financial services providers in LatAm and the world.” It is worth noting also that, over time, the exchange started to expand its presence to a point where it became accessible by almost all countries worldwide.
Bitso’s users can choose from three levels of account verification, depending on their trading needs. It is also worth noting that, depending on the type of the account, Bitso can request different personal details such as names, address, email, phone number, date of birth, nationality, ID or passport, tax identification number and/or any other identification number issued by a government. However, unlike other exchanges, in some cases, Bitso also requires additional information such as employment or business activity details, financial information (including salary, income and employer details, source of income), location, device information, biometric information, electronic signature, communications, 2FA reset codes, names of family beneficiaries, and so on. As the reason for that, Bitso points out the compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) legislation such as the Proceeds of Crime Act 2015, which helps them protect “against and report any suspicious activity.” It is worth noting though that Bitso complies with GDPR and users’ data is protected by the respective legal framework in the EU. In case clients have concerns about the way their data is used, they are advised to contact the Gibraltar Information Commissioner at the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (2nd Floor, Eurotowers 4, 1 Europort Road, Gibraltar, email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
On the topic of securing users’ funds, Bitso states that it employs “the best processes and the most effective technology” and that all of the used wallets are multi-signature. However, aside from those claims, there is no real noteworthy information about the employed security measures. What we do know for sure is that the platform employs two-factor authentication and keeps its users’ funds in a combination of hot and cold wallets.
Regarding customer support, it is worth noting that Bitso offers a comprehensive help center (containing FAQs, video, and written tutorials), a support ticket system, and a live chat. In its “Terms” page, Bitso points out that its clients “can communicate for any reason, whether a complaint or not”, not only via the channels listed above but via social media as well. This seems to be a valid claim, considering the fact that, at the time of this writing, the exchange’s reputation is firmly positive. There are no user complaints regarding security or operational issues with the system on Reddit and Bitcointalk. Just the opposite – there are lots of clients who express their satisfaction with the exchange’s service and professional customer support.
At the time of this writing, there are no reported cases of hacker attacks, security breaches or governmental investigations, part of Bitso’s history. However, some third-party sources claim that in November 2017, Bitso’s blog posted an article, written by Ben Peters, one of the co-founders and CTO of the exchange, in which he apologized to the users for the inadequate performance of the site on a day in October 2017. According to the text, no user funds were ever at risk, and there were no hack attempts. However, at the time of this writing, we can’t find such an article either in Ben Peters’ Medium nor in Bitso’s blog. Either the piece was deleted, or the claims.