- Solid trading tools
- Generally easy to use
- Low fees
- High trading limits
- Poor customer service
- Very little security information
- Mixed reputation online
- Lack of deposit options
One of the founding principles behind Bitcoin was to create a location-independent currency. That was all well and good when it was still pretty easy to mine Bitcoin, of course. Nowadays, the vast majority of people need to buy it, using a fiat currency. Acquiring Bitcoin, therefore, has become location-dependent once again. There are a huge number of cryptocurrency exchanges out there that support USD and EUR. If your bank account uses one of those currencies, great! If it doesn’t, you need to pay annoying and costly conversion fees. In this Bitso review, I’ll be looking at one of the many exchanges that has attempted to counter this problem. Bitso is a Mexican cryptocurrency exchange catering specifically to the residents of its country. It allows users to trade Mexican pesos for a range of popular cryptos.
Can Bitso cater to the 132 million Mexicans living around the world, and anyone else with Mexican pesos in their account? Is it good enough to make using its service, and dodging conversion fees, a no-brainer? In the end, is it worthy enough to be placed on our best Bitcoin exchange sites list?
It’s time to find out.
Bitso Key Features
Aside from simply being Mexican, the Bitso exchange markets itself as accessible, quick, and secure.
Let’s take a look at some of its key features before we delve in the details.
Bitso is a true exchange—in which you’re trading with other users—rather than a website where you simply buy cryptos from the company. Accordingly, liquidity is of the utmost importance. It’s pretty hard to make trades if there’s nobody to trade with, after all.
This should never be a problem on Bitso. Though current user number data isn’t available (it had over 20,000 as of late 2016), Bitso processes some 147 BTC in transactions every day—equivalent to around $522,000 US. That might not be up there with the likes of Binance, but it should still allow users to move in and out of their trades swiftly.
Low Entry Point
There’s no getting around the fact that Mexico has some considerable financial inequality. It’s excellent, therefore, that this shouldn’t be a barrier for entry on Bitso.
Users can start off with as little as $100 MXN ($5.27 US) in their account. The minimum purchase amount is nice and low too. It currently sits at 0.001 BTC, equivalent to $3.55 US at the time of writing.
Bitso certainly isn’t lying when it describes itself as “accessible.”
It might still be early in my Bitso exchange review, but here we find another way in which Bitso proves itself to be incredibly accessible.
While you can fund your account digitally—as you might expect—there’s another, more interesting way to do it, too. You can go into any OXXO (the nation’s biggest chain of convenience stores) outlet, and use OXXO Pay to deposit into your account by using cash.
Mobile apps are one area in which far bigger exchanges than this struggle. Bitso puts these services to shame with its app, which is truly excellent.
It essentially replicates all the functionality you get from the Bitso.com desktop version. You can check your account balance, buy and sell cryptos, and access live price action, all while you’re on the move.
The Bitso app is available for iOS and Android devices and has received very good reviews on both Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
Bitso isn’t trying to be some massive international exchange, which appeals to residents of all nations. It’s a Mexican website, and it aims at Mexican users.
Accordingly, it should come as no surprise to learn that there aren’t many supported fiat currencies here. In fact, there’s just one: the Mexican peso. Given that the peso is strongly underrepresented elsewhere amongst crypto exchanges, I think it’s fantastic that there’s essentially an entire, fully-fledged Mexican peso coin exchange dedicated solely to that currency.
When it comes to cryptocurrencies, Bitso has much more to offer. While it still doesn’t have the widest range of options you can find, it covers all the major bases. The website supports nine cryptos in total, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple.
Bitso Signup and Login
I’ve mentioned already that Bitso puts a huge emphasis on being accessible. Thankfully, this extends to their signup process too. It’s one of the easiest and quickest that I’ve come across.
You just have to provide three pieces of information to open an account: your country of residence, your email address, and a password.
Tick a reCAPTCHA box, click “Done,” and you’ll be sent a confirmation code to your email. Copy and paste that onto the next page, and that’s it! You can now start exploring the user area.
Once you’ve logged out, logging back in again is also extremely easy. You just enter your email address and password, with no need to tick another reCAPTCHA box, and you’ll instantly be taken back to your account.
Largely because it’s one of the exchange’s main priorities, I’ve already mentioned the word “accessible” a few times in this Bitso review. Accessibility comes in a variety of forms, of course, and one of those simply must be the interface. Unfortunately, the interface you’ll find here is something of a mixed bag, in that respect.
First, I will say that I really like the appearance of this website. It’s extremely minimalist. The simple color scheme—green, black, and grey—both looks sleek and makes everything very visible on the screen. The graphics dotted around are understated too. Overall, the whole website looks extremely professional.
In terms of its actual usability, the Bitso interface isn’t terrible, by any means, but it’s not great.
One of the first things I noticed when visiting the homepage as a guest for this review of Bitso was that there isn’t much to actually click on. You see “Security,” along with a brief boast about how secure the site is, but you can’t subsequently click anywhere to find out what the security measures actually are.
There’s no link whatsoever to a simple “How it Works” section, either. To find anything like this, you’ll need to delve into the Help Center and discover it for yourself. Considering this is an exchange that seems to pride itself on being easy and open to everyone, it’s worth noting in this Bitso review that the visitor areas aren’t user-friendly at all.
It’s a similar story once you’ve logged in, too. Again, the user area looks cool, but has precious little information. Your personal homepage contains your wallet, with a small box at the bottom listing your most recent trades. And that’s it! Other exchanges out there manage to cram a lot of information onto a single screen in their user areas. With Bitso Mexico, it feels like a missed opportunity.
In fairness, you can access all the most important sections of the exchange via the top bar. The best exchanges, however, make intelligent use of every inch of space on their website. That’s simply not the case here.
Now, Bitso’s interface isn’t terrible. It simply looks better than it actually is and could easily be made more beginner-friendly.
Given that Bitso only supports one fiat currency—the Mexican peso—the number of available markets here is obviously a little limited.
Having said that, you can still execute a solid number of trades with this single fiat. You can trade pesos against all nine of the supported cryptocurrencies, including BCH, BTC, ETH, LTC, and XRP. Pleasingly, though, you can make trades both ways here—you can buy cryptos using MXN or sell them for purposes of buying Mexican pesos.
You can also make crypto-to-crypto trades, although—again—your choices here aren’t exactly extensive. Bitcoin is the only crypto that can be traded for other cryptos, but you can still exchange it for all eight of the other supported currencies.
There aren’t a huge number of trading tools, but there’s enough here to satisfy casual and intermediate traders.
Head over to the Market Overview section on Bitso.com, and you’ll find a solid amount of information to help you guide your trades. You can see live order books for every supported trading pair, which is fantastic, along with wider market data like 24-hour volume, the daily price change, and the most recent open and close prices.
You’ll also find price charts—something many exchanges bizarrely omit. Considering Bitso seems to have created these themselves (as opposed to using those provided by a site like Tradingview), they’re actually pretty good.
The price action can be clearly seen using a candlestick format, there’s a nice range of time frames, and you can see the volume directly below the price action. I’d like the option to use at least basic indicators, like moving averages, but these Bitso charts are certainly respectable.
How to Make a Deposit
There are essentially two types of deposits you can make: you can deposit pesos to buy cryptos, or you can deposit cryptos to sell for MXN.
If you want to deposit the fiat, you only have two options for doing so. You can either make a bank transfer via SPEI, or use cash at an OXXO store. Bank transfers are processed within 24 hours, whereas cash deposits should be ready to use within one minute.
To deposit cryptos on this Mexican coin broker, you simply need to send them from your existing wallet to your Bitso wallet. This is extremely easy to do: you simply go to the appropriate section of your Bitso wallet (e.g. Bitcoin), click “Fund,” and you’ll be shown both a QR code and an address. Use either of them with your other wallet to directly transfer the funds. The cryptos will appear in your Bitso wallet after four confirmations, with each confirmation taking 30–60 minutes.
How to Make a Trade
Making trades on Bitso is commendably easy to do, whether you’re looking to acquire cryptos or buy Mexican pesos that are for sale.
The main trading screen is extremely well laid out. At a glance, you can see your own balances, add either crypto or fiat funds to your account, change the pair you’re trading, and of course, execute some actual trades. The live order book is also displayed lower down, allowing you to swiftly gauge the current mood of the market.
When it comes to actually making a trade on this Mexican coin exchange, all three of the most common order types are present and correct: market, limit, and stop (either loss or limit). Setting your desired price for limit or stop orders is easy to do, and you can enter the price in either the crypto itself or the equivalent in MXN.
Alternatively, you can use the Convert feature. This is a completely stripped down way to buy and sell cryptos. It removes all terminology from the equation (pairs, limit order, and so on) and simply makes things as beginner-friendly as possible.
Although I had some reservations earlier about the interface, I have no such reservations here. The trading interface is extremely intuitive and caters brilliantly to rookie and experienced traders alike.
Bitso is nice and transparent about its fees. While other sites like to hide them away, Bitso has a dedicated page on its website that clearly outlines all the charges you’ll incur.
The fees for deposits and withdrawals vary depending on your payment method. That said, all deposits are free of charge except for those using OXXO Pay (the cash deposit option), which incurs a 2.6% + tax fee.
All fiat withdrawals are free of charge, which is obviously great, although crypto withdrawals incur a fee, except for Ripple. Those fees are all flat rates and range from 0.00021746 BTC for Bitcoin ($0.74 US) to 0.00175441 LTC for Litecoin ($0.054 US). Nothing that’s going to break the bank, in short.
Like many exchanges, Bitso operates a maker/taker model for its trading fees. The website offers lower fees for market makers as a reward for adding liquidity, whereas takers pay higher fees.
Your trading volume also affects the fees you pay over the past 30 days. Most users will probably fall under the minimum threshold for getting reduced fees, which is 30 BTC. If you do trade more than 30 BTC per month, however, Bitso charges lower and lower fees based on your volume. The website charges people trading over 500 BTC a month considerably less than more casual users.
The specific fees vary depending on the pairs you’re trading, and you can see a full list here. That said, crypto-to-crypto trades are charged vastly lower fees than fiat-crypto ones. For example, casual BTC/MXN traders will pay 0.5% as makers, and 0.65% as takers. By comparison, casual BTC/ETH traders will pay only 0.075% as makers, and 0.098% as takers.
While another Bitso exchange review may criticize these fees, I don’t have a problem with them. For a typical trade worth $100, for example, you only pay $0.65, even as a taker. They’re not literally the lowest fees on the market, but—much like the deposit/withdrawal fees—they’re hardly going to break the bank.
Technically there are no actual trading limits in place with Bitso. There are deposit and withdrawal limits, which effectively act as trading limits, but these aren’t likely to be a problem. The Bitso exchange operates on a level-based system for these limits. There are three levels, based on the amount of verification on your account.
Level 1 ($5,300 MXN per day and $32,000 per month limit, for deposits and withdrawals) simply requires a confirmed phone number.
Level 2 ($150,000 daily, $480,000 monthly) is a little trickier—you need ID verification, proof of residency, to have funded your account using SPEI, and to have made at least $5,000 MXN-worth of trades.
To reach Level 3 ($1,000,000 daily, unlimited monthly), you need to actually sign a contract with Bitso.
The need to have any verification whatsoever to achieve a Bitso rating may, of course, deter some users. One of the founding principles supporting cryptocurrencies was supposed to be anonymity, after all. If you don’t mind verifying your identity, though, then these are some pretty relaxed limits, which shouldn’t hinder your trading.
One of the most common drawbacks to going with a smaller exchange is inadequate customer support, and that’s very much the case here, too. There’s really no getting around it—Bitso’s customer service is pretty terrible.
There is literally one way to get in touch with the support team, and that’s by opening a ticket. You’re told that you should get a response within 24–48 hours. In reality, though, there are a whole lot of reports—on the Cryptocompare page on Bitso and elsewhere—of it taking a lot longer than that, even for simple inquiries.
To their credit, the support team is pretty active on social media, particularly on Twitter. They’re only really willing to answer basic questions there, though, preferring to direct more challenging queries to the ticketing system.
In these circumstances, you’d hope for a pretty impressive Help Center, right? Well, for purposes of my review of Bitso, you may be disappointed again! While there are a decent number of articles (over 40 in total), finding one that will actually solve your specific issue is annoyingly tricky, thanks to the baffling lack of a search function.
The detailed “Tutorial” entries are better than the extremely basic FAQ answers and do a good job of guiding you through the basics of getting started. They’re not enough to rescue the Help Center, though, nor Bitso’s customer service as a whole.
In some ways, this exchange actually distinguishes itself from its competition pretty well, as I’ve highlighted in my Bitso website review. In others, however, it falls prey to the same shortcomings as so many other exchanges. Security is an example of the latter.
On the homepage, the Bitso team clearly states that “We follow the best security practices and processes in the industry.” Unfortunately, they then fail to back this hefty claim up with any noteworthy information whatsoever.
You can’t actually click on that big “Security” button to get more detail. Even if you go looking in the Help Center, you’ll find very little mention of security measures. The only ones discussed are 2FA (which most exchanges have), and multisig security, which helps to secure your transfers.
And that’s about it. No detail is given regarding how this Bitcoin exchange in Mexico actually secures your data or your funds. Again, this isn’t exactly unusual among cryptocurrency exchanges, but that doesn’t make it right.
Honestly, Bitso hasn’t got a significant reputation online one way or the other.
You can find the highest number of user reviews on Cryptocompare, where it has a solid 3.3/5 rating based on 30 reviews, at the time of writing. Unlike most other exchanges nowadays, Bitso doesn’t have much of a Reddit community. The actual sub-Reddit is extremely quiet, so you’ll only find the occasional Bitso Reddit review.
Unfortunately, the few major online news articles about Bitso are pretty negative. One user believes he was tricked by Bitso on a sizeable trade, having been quoted one price and ultimately receiving a much lower one.
Bitso’s team also confirmed a hack that took place in mid-2018. Given that there’s already a lack of information about security measures on the Bitso website, this doesn’t exactly give you a huge amount of confidence that your funds and data will be kept secure.
Is Bitso Legit?
I started off this Bitso review by saying how great it was that there was a fully-fledged cryptocurrency exchange dedicated to Mexico and the Mexican peso. I still believe that, but looking at Bitso objectively as a simple cryptocurrency exchange, it’s far from perfect.
The interface is excellent in parts, particularly in the trading section, but it lacks elsewhere. The customer service on offer here is extremely poor, with the lackluster Help Center certainly not making up for the lack of contact options. The lack of information on security measures is also troubling, particularly since there was a hacker attack on Bitso in 2018.
I’ll still say in this Bitso exchange review that Bitso has some good things going, though. It nails its self-professed aim to be accessible, thanks to a quick signup process, the clear and simplified trading process, and the option to deposit via cash. The low trading fees help in this regard, too.
Overall, Bitso isn’t the finished article quite yet. But, it does fill a gap in the market for Mexican users, and it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on for traders around the world.
- Q) What is Bitso?
- A) As detailed in our Bitso review, it’s a Mexican cryptocurrency exchange allowing you to buy cryptos with Mexican pesos, and vice versa.
- Q) Which cryptocurrencies are available to trade?
- A) Nine in total, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple.
- Q) Which countries are supported?
- A) While it’s Mexican exchange, technically anyone can sign up for Level 1 of Bitso.
- Q) Are there trading limits in place?
- A) No, although there are deposit and withdrawal limits, which scale depending on your verification level.
- Q) Is there a Bitso API available?
- A) Yes, and it allows you to integrate Bitso with essentially any third-party application.