Bitvavo Overview

Introduction

Bitvavo is a European cryptocurrency exchange based out of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Bitvavo platform was launched in 2018 and is the leading exchange in the Benelux with over 1 million users. Bitvavo has the ambition to become one of the largest exchanges in Europe. The Bitvavo platform is available in English, Dutch, German, French, Italian, and Spanish.

Bitvavo is registered with the Dutch Central Bank as a cryptocurrency service provider and complies with relevant regulations for finance and crypto businesses. Bitvavo is also a member of the Dutch Association of Bitcoin Companies. Like with all regulated exchanges, you must be over 18 years old to open an account on Bitvavo.

Is Bitvavo Safe?

To the best of our knowledge, Bitvavo is a safe exchange and its platform has never been compromised.

According to Bitvavo’s security page, the exchange uses multi-signature cold storage, bank-grade vaults, regular penetration testing, and code audits, as well as a variety of monitoring tools to make sure the platform stays safe. The data centers used by Bitvavo are compliant with strict ISO certifications, including ISO 9001, ISO 27001, and ISO 27017.

Bitvavo’s data centers are also spread geographically to make sure the platform remains reliable and available even if a disaster were to occur at one location.

Bitvavo has also planned in case something goes wrong:

  1. Bitvavo keeps user funds separated from the business so that even if Bitvavo itself goes bankrupt, users’ funds will still be safe and returned to their rightful owner.
  2. Bitvavo’s custody providers are insured up to $250 million in case of theft, so users’ funds at not at risk if one of Bitvavo’s providers fails.

Bitvavo also supports two-factor authentication and has a special anti-phishing feature that adds a secret code of your choice to any email sent from Bitvavo, to prevent unauthorized access and phishing attempts. In practice, activating 2FA requires you to verify your phone number first, but Bitvavo doesn’t do a good job of telling you that. With a little help from support, we managed to activate it and have had no problems with it since.

Setting up the anti-phishing code was easier and is well appreciated given the sheer volume of phishing emails targeting crypto users. Now, every email from Bitvavo contains a secret string, which means you can instantly tell if an email is legit or not.

Getting Started with Bitvavo

Which cryptocurrencies can you buy on Bitvavo?

Bitvavo is a spot exchange that currently offers 156 different cryptocurrencies you can buy directly with Euro. You can use Bitvavo to buy popular cryptos like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, Solana, Fantom, or even Dogecoin and Shiba Inu. However, Bitvavo also has lesser-known tokens, which give you a chance to find the next big crypto. Bitvavo has a relatively wide offering of cryptocurrencies, but it still can’t rival Binance if finding new investment and trading opportunities is what you care about the most.

Bitvavo supports Euro to crypto trading only, meaning all the trading pairs are denominated in Euro. Bitvavo does not support crypto to crypto trading or dollar to crypto trading.

The Sign-up & Verification Process

Bitvavo’s sign-up process is simple and only takes a few minutes. Since Bitvavo is regulated and complies with anti-money laundering laws, you will need to verify your identity and bank account. You can verify your identity by uploading a valid identity document (like a passport) and a selfie video, and you must use a bank account with the same name as your Bitvavo account, otherwise, your funds won’t be accepted.

Completing the Bitvavo sign-up process takes 5 minutes if everything goes smoothly, and a little longer if your documents need to be manually checked. Bitvavo will send you emails informing you of the status of your verification process. Our verification process was painless and smooth.

Funding Methods

Bitvavo supports 7 different popular payment and funding methods that you can use to buy cryptocurrencies. You can fund your Bitvavo account with SEPA no matter where you are in Europe, and Bitvavo supports Sofort, Bancontact, Giropay, EPS, iDeal, and MyBank in selected countries. We transferred funds on multiple occasions using SEPA, iDeal, and Bancontact and received our funds promptly.

Bitvavo doesn’t have an “Instant Buy” feature like other exchanges that allow you to buy crypto with a credit card, but it really doesn’t need it either. “Instant buy” options are usually just much more expensive and you are almost always better off opening an account, funding it, and buying crypto through the exchange – regardless of your choice of exchange.

Withdrawals – is it easy to leave Bitvavo?

Withdrawing euro on Bitvavo is easy – once your bank account is connected to your Bitvavo account, Bitvavo will transfer your funds back to that account on request within a day or two. We were able to withdraw our funds back seamlessly.

Withdrawing cryptocurrencies is more difficult since Bitvavo has to verify your external wallet before it allows you to send your crypto there. This creates a few extra steps and you’ll have to send Bitvavo a recording of your screen with the wallet you want to send your crypto to. This is especially annoying if you are using multiple external wallets since you’ll have to verify them individually.

Bitvavo also doesn’t allow users to withdraw certain cryptocurrencies, like Polkadot. Bitvavo claims withdrawals will be enabled “at a later date”, but doesn’t provide specifics. This isn’t a deal-breaker and we do believe that Bitvavo will eventually enable users to withdraw these cryptocurrencies, but it is something to keep in mind.

Bitvavo withdraw restrictions
Bitvavo withdraws restrictions. Source: Bitvavo.com

Overall, we managed to transfer both fiat and crypto out of Bitvavo with relative ease, so if you’d like to move on to another crypto exchange or quit crypto entirely, you’ll be able to get your remaining funds and assets out of Bitvavo.

Fees

Bitvavo’s trading fees are some of the lowest in Europe, with a maximum of 0.25% added to your trade. For example, buying 10,000 euros worth of Bitcoin at Bitvavo would cost a maximum of 25 euros, which is considered very cheap.

As your monthly trading volume increases, the fees you pay get lower, with the lowest fees being 0.03% of the trade. However, since you need to trade more than 100,000 euros in 30 days to access the second tier, you need to trade quite a lot before you get a discount on fees.

Bitvavo maker-taker fee structure. Source: Bitvavo.com

Bitvavo has “maker” and “taker” fees, and which one you pay depends on if you trade at the current market price and take liquidity from the books, or if you place a limit order and add liquidity. If you intend to trade a lot, you should be familiar with limit orders to save on trading fees. Bitvavo also has tiered fees and rebates for high-volume traders, which you can check in the table above.

The Bitvavo Platforms

Platforms & Ease of Use

Bitvavo offers 3 different platforms to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Once you log in to your Bitvavo account on desktop, you can access the simple web interface to buy cryptocurrencies. This is also the main interface to change your settings, activate staking, and generally manage your account.

Bitvavo main trading interface
Bitvavo main trading interface. Source: Bitvavo.com

This interface is very easy to use. Simply enter a euro or crypto amount, and Bitvavo will fill the other field accordingly. Then, click “Buy”, and the platform will confirm the transaction. We like that Bitvavo shows you the fees and the spread as well, so there aren’t any surprises.

Bitvavo also offers a more advanced interface for intermediate traders with charts, indicators, and the live order book. Using this interface is more complicated, but it contains a lot of useful information for active traders. Bitvavo’s advanced platform is the only interface that allows you to place a limit or stop-limit order, so you’ll have to use your desktop if that’s something you want to do.

Bitvavo advanced trading interface
Bitvavo advanced trading interface. Source: Bitvavo.com

Mobile App

Bitvavo also has a mobile app for iOS and Android. The app functionalities are quite limited; If all you want to do is buy some crypto here and there and see the total value of your portfolio, the app is great. We used Bitvavo’s app to buy and sell cryptocurrency multiple times and never had an issue with it.

However, the Bitvavo app is missing a lot of features we’d like to see like different order types, an overview of your account, profit and loss calculations, and so on. The Bitvavo app is nice to have in your pocket to buy a dip, but that is pretty much all you can do with it. If you want to trade, we recommend you use the advanced trading interface on desktop, rather than this mobile app.

Bitvavo mobile app
Bitvavo mobile app. Source: Bitvavo.com

Trading Features

Bitvavo’s trading features are oriented towards beginners and casual users, rather than very experienced traders looking for advanced features. Bitvavo supports three order types – market, limit, and stop-limit – and only on the advanced trading interface.

Bitvavo does not support short-selling, margin trading, leverage, or anything other than simply buying and selling. Compared to Binance, which offers almost every trading feature available under the sun, it’s clear why experienced traders will find Bitvavo lacking.

The limited trading features make Bitvavo a great option for beginners who don’t want to spend much time learning the platform before they can buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Beginners shouldn’t use leverage or margin anyway, so Bitvavo missing these features might be a blessing in disguise. Experienced traders, however, won’t be satisfied with Bitvavo’s simple approach to trading.

Volume & Liquidity

Bitvavo is a large exchange with a large supply and demand for every crypto. The volumes and liquidity are good and we haven’t encountered any slippage. CoinMarketCap gives Bitvavo an average liquidity rating of 515 out of 1000, which is above average. Popular pairs such as BTC/EUR can reach a 600 rating, making Bitvavo one of the most liquid Bitcoin to Euro pairs. In total, Bitvavo does an average of 10 Billion euros in trading volume every month, placing it in the upper echelon of trading platforms.

The Bitvavo Wallet

Bitvavo offers an integrated hosted wallet that supports every cryptocurrency available on the platform. If you know nothing about wallets, this means that Bitvavo takes care of storing your crypto safely without you having to do anything. Most cryptocurrencies can also be deposited or withdrawn from the Bitvavo wallet. As mentioned, you do need to verify any external wallet you want to send crypto to. Once you do, it is very easy to buy your crypto on Bitvavo and transfer it to your own software or hardware wallet if you want full control and custody of your crypto.

The Bitvavo wallet only supports ERC-20 tokens, meaning you should never send tokens on other blockchains to your Bitvavo wallet. Bitvavo doesn’t support ERC-721 tokens or NFTs. The Bitvavo wallet is meant to be a simple hosted wallet for cryptos you can buy on the platform, and not much more than that.

Additional Features

Staking on Bitvavo

Staking allows you to receive interest in your crypto and is a great way to make your crypto work for you. Bitvavo supports staking for 17 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano. Enabling staking on Bitvavo is as simple as clicking the “Enable Staking” button in your settings, and staking rewards are paid out weekly every Monday.

Bitvavo doesn’t require you to “lock” your crypto in order to stake it, which means that you can stake on Bitvavo and sell your crypto whenever you want. Being able to sell out at any time is a big advantage given the volatility of the crypto markets, and means that the risk of staking on Bitvavo is minimal.

The various interest rates you receive depend on the cryptocurrency staked. For example, the interest from staking rewards is 7.5% annually for Icon, 5% for Cardano, and only 0.77% for Bitcoin.

Bitavavo staking rewards
Bitavavo staking rewards. Source: Bitvavo.com

Unfortunately, Bitvavo’s staking rewards aren’t as high as other exchanges offer, and they have been significantly slashed in 2021, making them less attractive than before. Getting 0.77% annually for staking Bitcoin feels like the same old regular financial system, not like the paradigm-shifting progress many expect from crypto. This, we guess, is the cost of simplicity and beginner-friendly products.

Lending / Borrowing

Bitvavo does not currently support lending or borrowing, a feature that is becoming more and more common on other exchanges.

Customer Support

Bitvavo’s support is available in three forms. First, there is an extensive knowledge base that users can use to search and answer their own questions. In case the FAQs can’t help, Bitvavo also has a chatbot that can help troubleshoot issues within minutes, and support is also available via email, at support@bitvavo.com.

Bitvavo’s customer support is available 7 days a week during European working hours and beyond, though not 24/7. The quality of support is rather good, and from a few interactions we’ve had with them, Bitvavo’s support agents are generally nice and helpful.

NFTs

Bitvavo currently does not have an NFT platform and does not support NFTs in any way.

Conclusions

Conclusion For Beginners

All things considered, Bitvavo is one of the best exchanges for crypto beginners from Europe. Buying cryptocurrencies directly with euros and simple trading platforms make the whole experience very easy and smooth, without adding unnecessary complications if you just want to buy some cryptocurrencies.

If you are European and are looking for your first crypto exchange, look no further than Bitvavo.

Conclusion For Experienced Traders

Bitvavo is a decent platform for intermediate traders, with multiple order types and an advanced interface. That being said, experienced users looking to employ complex trading strategies won’t find the full suite of trading tools on Bitvavo as they would on Binance or on another exchange. The lack of support for short selling, margin, and leverage, makes Bitvavo less suited for hardcore crypto traders.