BitInstant complaints flare up after beta site launch

Shirley Siluk
Jun 13, 2013 at 10:00 UTC
Updated Oct 16, 2013 at 18:25 UTC
NEWS

BitInstant customers have been complaining loudly — and in large numbers — about slow orders and responses in recent days.

The service, which promises to let people quickly transfer funds to their bitcoin exchange accounts, saw the trouble start after launching its new beta website on Tuesday.

By Wednesday, numerous posters on reddit and the Bitcoin Forum were complaining that orders placed hours — even a day or more before — had yet to be processed.

“(A)lmost 32 hours since I placed 2 orders of 500.00,” wrote redditor vrusso123. “sickened. where is my money bitinstant?”

“(T)his is a large issue for the community,” noted user bit_herder. “It needs exposure … I am also currently out $300 with nothing but a copypasta [sic] response and a bunch of BS to show for it.”

Following requests for comment sent to BitInstant by CoinDesk via email and reddit messaging, CTO Gareth Nelson sent back an email noting that he was “speaking only for myself”:

“1 – New site came online on tuesday, and yes the backlogged orders were caused by technical problems we didn’t anticipate

2 – As of now most new orders are processing same as always with the odd one failing due to invalid bitcoin addresses and similar

3 – Our support team has been absolutely swamped with queries direct from customers and giving individual assurances but there is significant volume to deal with

4 – Speaking entirely for myself, i’ve bet everything on this company and can’t afford to have it fail so there’s no way on earth i’m going to sit here and allow failure, the same goes for the rest of the team – we are all stressing out and working day and night (literally) to get things fixed and hope to have a proper resolution for the backlogged orders and any outstanding misc bugs with the new site fairly soon”

In addition, a response from reddit user bitinstant was posted to the community on Wednesday afternoon:

“A quick update to address some common questions we’ve been seeing since launching our new site:

    • If you haven’t had your order processed yet, your funds are safe. We’ll manually process your order as soon as we can. We aren’t maliciously holding on to your funds – we want you to have your coins!
    • We had to turn the public Q&A off at our support site because people were posting personal/sensitive information. You can still contact our support staff via email if you’re having any issues.
    • Our support queue is a little backed up right now, but we are definitely receiving your emails and will respond to them as soon as we can. There are real, live people working to resolve your issues as fast as possible.
    • Sending us additional support tickets just clogs up our support channel and creates more work for us as we have to sift through duplicate tickets. If you sent us a support ticket, we have it logged and you don’t have to send any additional tickets.

Also, please refrain from using profanity here or on any other social media channel. We like to keep our pages family-friendly. Any profane posts or comments will be deleted from Facebook.

Edit: We’re taking all of your feedback into account and we’re going to try to handle outages and issues like this better in the future (i.e. warning before planned system maintenance). We are trying to handle all of your issues and concerns as best we can, so thanks for hanging in there and being patient with us!”

While many redditors continued to voice complaints after bitinstant’s post, others expressed appreciation for the update.

“Ive had good experiences with y’all and im (sic) chalking this up to new system jitters but I’d like to see this sorted,” wrote traintofunkytown. “Loving the look of the new site btw.”

“Thank you for this update,” responded user Shatteringblue. “If this error occurs, maybe it would’ve been better to announce it when it began, instead of when many people have been complaining.”

bitinstant replied, “Yes, we’re going to try to predict these issues better in the future and give our customers as much warning as possible. We’re definitely learning from our mistakes.”

Based in New York City, BitInstant was founded in 2011 by bitcoin traders Nelson and Charlie Shrem, now CEO. The startup recently raised $1.5 million in seed funding led by Winklevoss Capital, with added backing from other investors.

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