In Europe, ever since 2007, everyone is used to brand new, supra-national currencies. So it is no surprise the Euro BitPanda: One of the Reasons Why Europeand Love Cryptos.
The first question when it comes to cryptocurrencies is- how to buy some. The BitPanda service positions itself as an easily discoverable method for European users. The site works under the regulations of the EuroArea, which means payment options and limitations are tailored to fit European laws- and may not be so convenient for US-based buyers.
The BitPanda Vision
BitPanda has been around for a while- formerly known as Coinimal. It was developed carefully in accordance with Austrian law and opened for customers in 2014.
The exchange service was opened by Bitcoin enthusiasts Eric Demuth and Paul Klanschek, but since then the team has expanded. The initial idea was to make Bitcoin more accessible to European buyers.
And currently, BitPanda offers redeemable gift cards which are sold in Austrian post offices and supermarkets.
The BitPanda Selection
BitPanda offers a small selection of cryptocurrencies, as it initially began only with Bitcoin. Even Ethereum is a late addition. Currently, only four buying options are available: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash and Litecoin.
The buying and selling option are highly intuitive. The minimum purchase is 25 Euros.
BitPanda offers a proprietary wallet, much like other exchange services. It is unwise to keep major holdings in this wallet.
A recent addition of the past few months is the Euro Wallet. It allows you to keep some funds on board in Euros and make a purchase faster, with lower fees. When you want to access your funds, you have to offload them via a SEPA bank transfer, which takes 3-5 days to reach your bank account and takes a 10 Euro cut. Unfortunately, both "the first mile" and "the last mile" for cryptocurrencies is rough.
The other wallets serve to hold your new purchase until you move it off site. Fees to move cryptocurrencies vary, but I could move Ethereum with zero fees.
To sell cryptocurrency, you fund the wallets and then you have the option to sell the balance in part or in full.
For some reason, the system would not allow me to make a purchase before fully verifying my account. And that included a live chat with a representative of BitPanda and required owning an international passport. But with this procedure, my daily limit for buying was lifted to 10,000 Euros- a reasonable amount, if I needed to move funds out of cryptocurrencies, for a small to mid-range investor. And selling had an even higher limit, up to 50,000 Euros per day.
One of the reasons for account verifications is the Microsoft scam. Apparently, users received emails on behalf of Microsoft regarding job interviews. And the emails asked them to register on BitPanda and hand over the accounts.
In 2017, the ability to purchase and move significant amounts of cryptocurrencies is becoming an even more valuable asset. Never hand over your account, especially if verified- you do not want to help shady organizations or terrorists to easily buy their way into the world of cryptocurrencies.
BitPanda Fees and Rates
What happens behind the scenes is that BitPanda is making an order for you. In an overheated market, on some days you may receive a notice that the quoted price is only valid for 10 minutes. And you have a minute to click "Yes" and finalize your order. So the prices at BitPanda are a bit higher than on other trading platforms, but that pays for your convenience.
Some of the payment methods may have additional fees for loading up or unloading cryptocurrencies. Other methods may be very slow. It is best to load the Euro wallet first, and then make a purchase, if you cannot wait for a SEPA payment. Otherwise, it is possible to pay with a 3-D protected debit card, perhaps the most convenient method. The availability of 3-D protected cards depends on your local bank.
BitPanda requires up to seven node verifications before accepting a transaction. Only then you can continue with selling your cryptocurrencies. Sometimes, the wait is quite long, especially with busier cryptocurrency networks.
The Verdict on BitPanda
BitPanda takes some work to set up, but once a verified account is in place, you can easily buy and move the chosen "ramp currency" and then exchange it for other coins and tokens not available on BitPanda.
You cannot easily move between cryptocurrencies, but you can build a small portfolio with the coins offered- all of the "Big Four" have a somehow different risk profile, so BitPanda is a gateway for small-scale investors as well.