Bithumb Exchange Review: Fees, Arbitrage, and All About This Korean Exchange
Bithumb Exchange Review
Recently, the cryptocurrency ecosystem has been is abuzz about one exchange, Bithumb. In this Bithumb exchange review, we’ll explain topics like what is Bithumb, how to use Bithumb, and how to withdraw money from Bithumb. But first, let’s start with a brief Bithumb wiki.
Bithumb is a cryptocurrency exchange based in Seoul, South Korea. Founded in 2013, it is among the world’s leading exchanges when it comes to Bitcoin trading volume. Around 75% of all Bitcoin trading volume and around 50% of all Ethereum trading volume in South Korea comes via Bithumb.
The Bithumb pros and cons list below gives a quick summary of the exchange’s strong and weak points.
Bithumb Pros and Cons
- Easy to use
- Wide currency variety
- 24/7 multilingual support
- Low fees
- No cryptocurrency trading pairs
- No advanced features
- Accepts only South Korean won (KRW) as fiat currency
- History of questionable security
How to Use Bithumb Exchange
- Set up a new account on Bithumb by going to www.Bithumb.com and clicking on “Sign up.”
- There are two options available: “General Membership” and “Join a Company.” Start a new account under General Membership and enter a name, e-mail address, phone number, etc., which will be instantly verified.
- Once all your details are confirmed, log in into your new account.
- The “My Page” displays various levels and their limitations. Under “Level 1,” you can deposit funds but cannot buy or purchase any Bitcoin or Ethereum.
Upgrading from Level 1 to 2 requires authentication by Bithumb. For authentication, you have to click on “Authentication Center” and e-mail the displayed password to contact@Bithumb.com. Within one or two days, you will be confirmed for “Level 2.”
Bithumb trades coins at a dramatically higher rate than any of the other exchanges around the world. For example, at the time of this writing, the price of Bitcoin on Coindesk was $10,853.58, and on Bithumb it was $11,265.20. The difference between those prices was $411.62, which is quite a decent opportunity for arbitraging. At one point, the price of Bitcoin in Korea was 43% higher than the price of Bitcoin in the United States.
It seems like a simple task for a user to buy Bitcoin on Coindesk and for a lower price and sell it on Bithumb for a higher price and make a tidy profit (arbitrage). But there is a problem; Bithumb caters to the South Korean market, and it is a nightmare getting money out of Korea
So people are resorting to another trick. They purchase other coins that can be sent out of South Korea. But the prices of other coins are being inflated too, which eliminates effective arbitrage.
While arbitrage seems like a great way to make passive income, there are a lot of barriers along the way. But all things considered, a price difference of $411.00 per Bitcoin is not something to sneeze at. And this is the reason that Bithumb arbitrage has become so popular among investors. (Source: “Bitcoin’s 43% arbitrage trade is a lot tougher than it looks,” Bloomberg, January 9, 2018.)
Bithumb Verification Process, Time, and Requirements
The Bithumb verification process is a multi-tiered one, with different Bithumb verification times and Bithumb verification requirements.
This requires only e-mail and short message service (SMS) verification. At this level, users can deposit an unlimited amount of virtual currency into their account, but they cannot buy or sell any currency.
For this level, you require everything from level one, plus a cell phone number, submission of the user’s passport, and i-PIN ID confirmation. From this level onward, users can start trading (buying and selling coins).
This level requires all the documentation of levels one and two, plus a personal or corporate written pledge.
This level requires all of the documentation of levels one through three, plus proof of residence. (Source: “Bithumb,” World Crypto Index, last accessed March 2, 2018.)
How to Deposit/Withdraw Money from Bithumb Using a Credit Card
You can deposit and withdraw money from Bithumb using a credit card. But if you search for “Bithumb deposit USD,” you will come up empty, as the exchange only supports KRW in fiat.
When you are on the Bithumb site, select “Credit Card/Debit Card” for the method of payment and follow the prompts. People who have KRW on the Bithumb exchange can buy with credit card on Bithumb, and even buy with a debit card on Bithumb.
Bithumb’s fees are very competitive. In fact, they are among the lowest fees in the industry. However, if you’re located outside of South Korea, you’re unlikely to benefit from the low fees, as you’ll have to factor in conversion rates and international transfer fees.
Bithumb Exchange Deposit Fee
Whether you are depositing KRW, Bitcoin, Ethereum, or another cryptocurrency there is no deposit fee for Bithumb. It’s 100% free.
Bithumb Exchange Withdrawal Fee
The Bithumb withdrawal fees vary with different currencies. Withdrawing KRW carries a 1,000 KRW fee. For cryptocurrencies, the withdrawal fees are 0.0005% of the withdrawn amount for bitcoin and 0.01% for other coins.
Bithumb Exchange Trading Fee
There is a flat Bithumb trading fee. The exchange charges a basic commission of 0.15% for both maker and taker fees per trading transaction.
Bithumb Withdrawal/ Deposit Time and Limit
Once the verification is done, the Bithumb deposit time depends on the time taken to transfer the funds from the bank you’re sending them from.
However, the Bithumb withdrawal time is a little longer. The strange thing is that for some inexplicable reason, the withdrawal times for most coins is five to 60 minutes, but for Bitcoin, the withdrawal times are much longer and can sometimes be as much as three to four days.
As for limits, there is no Bithumb deposit limit, but there is a minimum Bithumb withdrawal limit of 5,000 KRW and a maximum Bithumb withdrawal limit of 50,000,000 KRW.
List of Countries Supported by Bithumb Exchange
As with most cryptocurrency exchanges, Bithum- supported countries are all countries that have the Internet. In fact, Bithumb even offers international customer support in different languages. However, keep in mind that the only fiat currency option is KRW; there’s no option to trade with U.S. dollars, British pounds, or euros.
List of Currencies Supported by Bithumb Exchange
Bithumb, being a cryptocurrency exchange based in South Korea, only offers trading pairs with KRW. Here is the full list of the current Bithumb-supported currencies:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Dash (DASH)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Bitcoin Gold (BTG)
- EOS (EOS)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Monero (XMR)
- Qtum (QTUM) and
- Ripple (XRP)
- Zcash (ZEC)
Is Bithumb Safe?
While Bithumb has a very stringent verification process, two-factor SMS verification to protect user accounts, and encrypted transaction data, two notable events happened in 2017 that are making people wonder, “Is Bithumb safe?”
In July 2017, Bithumb was hacked and almost 1.2 billion KRW were stolen from the accounts of users.
In November 2017, the Bithumb servers crashed when multiple users tried to sell their Bitcoin Cash simultaneously. The crash resulted in many users losing a lot of money as the price of Bitcoin Cash dropped rapidly.
In spite of these two incidents, Bithumb holds its own as a leading exchange, as can be seen in the Bithumb vs. Binance vs. Kraken comparison chart:
|Company Location||South Korea||San Francisco, U.S.||Japan|
|Customer Support||Phone||24/7 Live Chat and E-mail||E-mail and Social Media|
|Has It Been Hacked?||Yes||No||No|
|Tradeable Coins||Bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin||Augur, Bitcoin, DAO, Dash, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Factom, Iconomi, Litecoin, Monero, Ripple, Stellar, and Zcash||AirSwap, Ark, Bancor, Binance Coin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Gold, Centra, Dash, district0x, EOS, Enigma, Enjin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Ethos, Litecoin, Monero, Ripple, and Zcash|
|Trading Volume||Very High||High in Europe Only||High|
|Deposit Fees?||No||Yes, in some cases||No|
|Withdrawal Fees?||1000 KRW||Yes||No|
(Source: “Compare Bithumb.com vs. Kraken.com vs. Binance.com,” Best Bitcoin Exchange, last accessed March 2, 2018.)
Although Bithumb is not a bad exchange, it’s clear that this was designed for the South Korean audience. So if you are from that region, it is a great exchange. However if you’re from the western world, I’d suggest looking for something closer to you. As for arbitration, leave it to the professionals.