- Solid security measures
- Plenty of payment options
- Good trading tools
- Terrible customer service
- Poor layout
- Generally confusing platform
- Strange fee structure
If you’re going to stand out in the crowded marketplace of cryptocurrency exchanges, you really need to make a splash. From the first time you log on to the LakeBTC website, you can see that’s exactly what its creators have tried to do.
Literally, the first two things you see are “all currencies” and “all payment methods in the world” for their OTC trading service. I’ll evaluate how good that service actually is later in my LakeBTC review. One thing’s for sure, though: this exchange knows how to grab your attention.
Of course, getting people’s attention is one thing. Getting them to actually spend money with you? Well, that’s another matter entirely.
In this review, I’ll evaluate the actual quality of LakeBTC’s offerings. I’ll look at its trading tools, security features, supported markets, and much, much more.
Let’s get started.
LakeBTC Key Features
LakeBTC is a cryptocurrency exchange that offers a wide feature set. Cryptos are bought and sold in a peer-to-peer fashion, rather than to and from the exchange itself.
The LakeBTC.com founders have a solid pedigree in the trading sphere, having worked in a variety of sectors, including currencies, commodities, and interest rates. After gaining a reasonable amount of publicity in the past couple of years, LakeBTC is now looking to become a truly worldwide business.
Here are a few of its key features:
Let’s kick off with the most important consideration of all: security. LakeBTC talks up its security features a lot, which is always a positive sign. It secures your account through two-factor authentication and SMS withdrawal confirmation and protects your funds through cold storage, and it also secures the broader LakeBTC exchange by SSL.
All the major security bases are certainly covered here.
This is another extremely important factor for any exchange with high aspirations. Seasoned traders expect their deals to be processed quickly and smoothly, after all.
The aforementioned pedigree of LakeBTC’s owners shows itself here, as they’ve focused on making strong liquidity a priority to all their users, large and small. This exchange has a strong user base and processes a high volume of trades every day.
The number of ways in which you can make a LakeBTC deposit is extremely impressive. This certainly helps reinforce its credentials when it comes to providing a worldwide service.
Both commonplace and rarer payment methods are supported here. USD deposits alone can be made in 12 different ways. In this respect, LakeBTC is one of the most versatile exchanges out there right now.
It’s certainly not “easy” to provide a beginner-friendly service, but it’s easier than satisfying even the most experienced of trading veterans. The LakeBTC crypto platform actually tries to accomplish both of these tasks. For those grizzled veterans specifically, though, they provide price charts, fast trade machines, and powerful trading APIs. There’s also a Bitcoin wallet for all users, which is always a welcome bonus.
Well, this is something you don’t see every day from a cryptocurrency exchange. In addition to all of the trading features, LakeBTC also offers a full package of easy-to-use merchant tools, which are available to sellers around the world. These essentially allow vendors to accept payments from anywhere, with hardly any charge at all.
As I mentioned in the intro to my LakeBTC review, literally the first thing you see when you visit the website is “all currencies, all payment methods in the world,” in big letters. It definitely gets your attention!
While I’m pretty sure that’s not true—every single currency in the world certainly isn’t represented here—there is an excellent selection of fiat currencies. I counted around 40 in total, which ranged from USD, EUR, and JPY all the way to the rarely seen Kenyan shilling.
When it comes to cryptocurrencies, however, your choice is a bit more limited. Only five are supported: BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, and XRP. They’re all obviously major currencies, but I was surprised to find such a small selection of LakeBTC cryptos in comparison to the fiats.
LakeBTC Signup and Login
Things get off to an extremely fast-paced start on LakeBTC, courtesy of a super-speedy signup process. The website only asks for the bare essentials from you—literally just an email address and password—in order to join.
You do need to confirm your email address, but the confirmation message is sent instantly. All told, it takes at most thirty seconds to sign up.
Once you’ve done that, you can browse the user area in full. In order to actually start trading, you’ll need to create “sub accounts” for the LakeBTC pairs you want to trade. If you want to trade Bitcoin against the dollar, for example, you’ll need to create BTC and USD sub accounts.
This might sound complicated, but it’s not. You literally just choose one of the currencies you want to trade, click on it, and confirm that you want to create a sub account. The next moment, it’s created for you. I’m not entirely sure why LakeBTC’s developers felt it was necessary to do this, but it’s only a minor inconvenience to the user.
If you ever log out of your account, then the LakeBTC login process is equally easy. You simply enter your email address and password, tick a reCAPTCHA box, and you’re done.
This may just be a personal preference, but in my mind, it’s a case of the simpler, the better when it comes to trading platform interfaces.
To me, the best layouts are the most streamlined—the ones that strip away anything unnecessary, only presenting you with the most important elements. In turn, this makes them appealing to newcomers and easy to navigate.
This interface doesn’t really fall into that category, and the LakeBTC experience suffers for it. It’s not a disaster, by any means; everything just looks a bit too … busy.
The first thing you see on the homepage—aside from a slideshow of strangely cartoonish banners—is an enormous selection of currencies that are available to trade, and the payment methods you can use for deposits.
When you’re on the LakeBTC homepage, scroll down, and you’ll see four big blocks of text, which ramble on about security, liquidity, fairness, and service. These are nice buzzwords, and the information is welcome, but it’s all a bit overwhelming. There’s no simple “LakeBTC—a worldwide cryptocurrency exchange” or anything of that sort. Instead, you’re thrown straight in at the deep end.
Even the footer is enormous and stuffed with links that surely could’ve been organized better.
Things get slightly better at LakeBTC after you finish your account login. The top menu is fine, with five pretty clear options taking you to the main sections of the website. I still wouldn’t say it’s intuitive to navigate the interface, but it’s okay.
For some reason, though, even when you’re logged in, LakeBTC insists on pounding you with information. This comes primarily through a big old sidebar that you can’t get rid of, which advertises more features—like the LakeBTC LakeBanker scheme—in great detail.
Overall, this interface isn’t disastrous by any means. It’s simply far too busy for my liking and could do with a tremendous amount of streamlining.
Some exchanges are happy to specialize, perhaps simply offering Bitcoin purchases with only a handful of fiats supported. Others offer every trading pair under the sun in the hope that you’ll never need to use a different platform.
LakeBTC has taken something of a middle approach. As I mentioned earlier, there’s an absolute ton of fiats supported, but only five (admittedly big) cryptocurrencies. You can use LakeBTC to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and Bitcoin cash, but that’s it.
Overall, this still means there’s a pretty wide range of trading pairs. How many of them you’ll actually want to trade, however, is a different question entirely. Just because there’s the option to trade Ripple against the Bulgarian lev, for example, doesn’t mean anyone’s actually going to do it.
I hope to see quite a few more cryptos added in the future to increase the number of appealing, viable trading pairs.
In their many aforementioned information sections, LakeBTC’s creators like to talk about their extensive industry experience. While this didn’t aid them in creating an attractive website, it did help them make a platform that’s pretty rich in features.
The most noteworthy tools are found in LakeTrader, the in-browser trading LakeBTC app. While there’s an option to simply buy cryptos “over the counter,” LakeTrader is what the more experienced traders will use.
It’s an impressively detailed platform, which smartly makes use of TradingView’s exceptional price charts. These charts are attractive, easy to navigate, and feature a wide range of indicators.
Another intriguing integration is that of CoinDesk’s pricing data. Different websites frequently have different valuations of cryptos. With this feature, you can easily and instantly compare the LakeBTC BTC price with the overall one on CoinDesk. This gives you a more accurate picture of the market, which, in turn, helps inform your trade.
Special mention must also be made of the API—called REST API—which seems to be available to all users (at least, I couldn’t find any qualifiers). For those with the requisite technical skills, this greatly expands the feature set. I won’t get into all of its capabilities here, but you can find out more about them on the LakeBTC API page on the website.
How to Make a Deposit
If you’re going to cater to a varied, worldwide audience, then you’d better offer a whole boatload of payment methods. Fortunately, LakeBTC does exactly that.
The exact payment methods you can use depend on the currency you’re depositing. If you’re using one of the more popular fiats, like the US dollar or the euro, you’ll have a truly excellent selection. These range from the commonplace—bank transfer, PayPal, Neteller, Western Union—to the more unusual, like Leupay and Payza.
With less prestigious currencies, however, you’ll have far fewer options. Often, you’ll be limited to sending LakeBTC a wire transfer. Alternatively, you’ll usually be able to pay in cash, thanks to the peer-to-peer nature of the system (assuming you’re carrying out localized trading).
Obviously the option you choose will determine the exact deposit process, but LakeBTC seems to integrate with all the methods well. Processing times will also vary, but bank transfers, for example, are usually processed in 1–2 working days.
Cryptocurrency deposits are even easier to make. You’re presented with a QR code, which you use to send cryptos from your usual wallet to your LakeBTC wallet. Again, processing times for your LakeBTC deposit will vary depending on how many confirmations your chosen crypto requires.
How to Make a Trade
Up front, you need to know that LakeBTC is purely a P2P system, not that this is made clear on the site. You buy and sell cryptos with users rather than to and from the actual platform. LakeBTC is an exchange, pure and simple, not a dealer.
With that in mind, there are two main ways to make trades on the LakeBTC exchange: over the counter (OTC) and by using LakeTrader. For the record, neither of these are explained particularly well on the actual website, so I’ll do my best to lay them out clearly and concisely for you.
OTC is the simpler option. You just pick a trading pair, identify how much you’re willing to spend, and choose how much of a currency you want to acquire.
Given that you’re reliant on another user being willing to accept your precise terms, of course, there’s less liquidity in OTC trading than there is when making market orders in LakeTrader.
LakeTrader is a more complex way of trading, as I explained in the Trading Tools section of my LakeBTC review. It’s not particularly hard to use, though.
The buying process is simplified by OneClick trade mode, through which you quickly enter an order size and multiplier. The overlay will subsequently show you Buy and Sell buttons at a suitable price, and—if you like one—you put the order through. Alternatively, you can still just choose to manually enter all the requisite information.
Fans of anonymous trading—originally one of the calling cards of cryptos—will be pleased to know that you don’t need to verify your ID before trading crypto-to-crypto. If you’re involving fiats, though, then you will require LakeBTC verification.
Finally, we also have the LakeBanker system. This is effectively a shortcut to becoming a cryptocurrency vendor, without the risk and hassle of setting up your own exchange. It’s available to all users, and you can use LakeBanker alongside the regular trading offerings on LakeBTC. It’s certainly an interesting idea, and if you want to find out more about LakeBanker, just head over here.
If you’re wondering how much you’ll be charged for depositing on LakeBTC—a perfectly reasonable question—then unfortunately there’s no simple answer.
On the website, it’s written that deposit fees are “dynamically” determined. In concept, I believe it’s supposed to sound cool and modern. In reality, it’s just a bit annoying. Various factors play in how much you’ll be charged, including the currency and payment method, how much you’re depositing, and even your reputation.
Unfortunately, that means I can’t tell you exactly how much the fees are. All fees will be clearly displayed before you make the deposit, though. As a general rule of thumb, they become smaller as your reputation builds up, and using more common LakeBTC payment methods, like PayPal for deposits, should help lower them, too.
On a brighter note, all BTC deposits are completely free. And it’s exactly the same story for withdrawal fees. BTC withdrawals are free, but charges for other withdrawal methods will be dynamically calculated.
LakeBTC operates a maker/taker model for its trading fees, which is fairly common in the cryptocurrency exchange sphere.
Taker trades always incur a 0.2% fee, which is extremely competitive.
LakeBTC maker fees vary depending on your trading volume over the past month. If you’ve traded less than 500 BTC in that time (which most individual traders obviously will have), you pay 0.15% per trade. The fees decrease as the volume increases, with those who have traded over 20,000 BTC—at the highest end of the scale—paying nothing at all.
OTC trading has different, but equally simple, trading fees. Buyers are charged nothing at all, and sellers pay a 1% fee.
If only the fees for LakeBTC withdrawals and deposits were this easy to understand.
There are currently no limits in place for either deposits or withdrawals. The LakeBTC help section simply says that if abnormal volumes are detected, then they’ll be in touch with you—which is fair enough.
The same goes for the trading limits themselves. Again, there are no hard limits on how much you can trade. This is even the case with a completely unverified account.
Finally, on a semi-related note, you can’t currently carry out any LakeBTC margin trading, although apparently this might be added in the future.
I’ve generally blown hot and cold in this review so far. When it comes to security, however, I have no qualms whatsoever in commending LakeBTC for their efforts.
LakeBTC talks up its security all across the website, including a pretty lengthy section regarding it on their homepage. They don’t just talk the talk, though; they walk the walk. LakeBTC is legit. There are a number of technical security measures in place. 2FA, cold storage of funds, SSL encryption, and SMS confirmations for withdrawals (a particularly nice touch) are all present and correct.
In addition, there are also internal controls, which reflect the LakeBTC team’s experience. Although they don’t go into tremendous detail (except for withdrawals needing to go through two levels), the site does assure users that its team’s expertise helps protect them from threats like fraud and theft.
This platform doesn’t always inspire confidence, but I have no question marks whatsoever about security, here. LakeBTC is no scam.
Customer service is one area in which cryptocurrency exchanges tend to struggle, and LakeBTC doesn’t buck the trend!
You can’t talk to a support agent directly, by either phone or live chat. If you have an issue, your only options are to send an email or to try one of the LakeBTC social media channels. Well, I say that’s an option, but they haven’t actually posted on Twitter or Facebook since October 2017. So good luck with that!
Basically, the only way to get in touch with the LakeBTC help team is by email, and I couldn’t find any mention whatsoever of their response times.
With all that being said, you’d expect an exceptional knowledge base to be in place, right? Well, the FAQ section on LakeBTC is certainly big, but it varies wildly in terms of quality. That goes for both the helpfulness of the responses (which I often found confusing) and the level of the writing itself.
Even by the already low standards of cryptocurrency exchanges, LakeBTC’s customer support is poor.
LakeBTC was founded in Shanghai back in 2013 and is still based there today. Despite being in business for a while now, it hasn’t really established a strong reputation one way or the other.
In fact, I was surprised by the dearth of other LakeBTC reviews out there. This is all pretty puzzling considering the prestigious links the team has established. LakeBTC’s status as one of the “Big Four” exchanges on the Coindesk Bitcoin Price Index is especially eye catching (although it was briefly suspended from that position back in 2015).
Overall, while I believe it’s one of the bigger Bitcoin exchanges back in China, LakeBTC hasn’t really made waves out west.
As for the user reviews, well, they’re not great. I mean, user reviews for all crypto exchanges are generally mixed, but these—including the LakeBTC reddit page—are worse than usual. Most of the complaints revolve around very slow withdrawals. In fact, they say that everything is incredibly slow, from the withdrawals, to the trades, to the responses from LakeBTC’s customer support.
I was unsure about LakeBTC from the moment I set eyes on it. The big claims on the homepage are deliberately eye catching but clearly impossible to back up. It’s not even a case of “style over substance,” though, because the website doesn’t look particularly attractive either.
In general, everything feels a little … off here.
The layout is simply strange. Everything is confusing and poorly explained. In the course of my research for this LakeBTC review, it took me a long time to even realize the whole platform was P2P. You’d have thought this was a pretty important point, but—stunningly—it only seems to be mentioned in a corner of the FAQ section.
Rather than strengthening and streamlining their core offerings, however, the LakeBTC team seems determined to offer more and more features. There’s the LakeBanker scheme. There’s the LakeTrader section (which didn’t always work for me). They even seem to offer their own coin, BAC, which I haven’t mentioned simply because it barely seems to exist outside of one mention in the available currencies list.
There are plenty of features, yes, but none of them work very well, and all are confusing. Throw in a bizarre trading fee system, a mixed reputation online, and terrible customer support, and there’s simply not much to like here.
I take no joy in saying it in this LakeBTC review, but it gets a thumbs down from me.
- Q) Is LakeBTC popular?
- A) It has a solid trading volume. The LakeBTC CoinMarketCap page claimed over $4.5 million–worth of trades in the past 24 hours (at the time of writing this).
- Q) How does it work?
- A) LakeBTC is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading exchange. You don’t buy or sell directly from the platform.
- Q) Which cryptocurrencies are supported?
- A) You can trade five cryptos in total—BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC.
- Q) What customer support is available?
- A) You can only contact LakeBTC via email. There’s no phone or live chat support.
- Q) Is LakeBTC safe?
- A) There’s a nice range of security measures, including 2FA, cold wallet storage, and SMS confirmations.