BTC-e is one of the most well-known cryptocurrency exchanges on the Internet and features in the Bitcoin Price Index. In light of difficulties in withdrawing funds from Mt. Gox, more people are turning to the Bulgaria-based exchange to buy and sell digital coins. We take a look at just what you can do with this exchange.
To start with, BTC-e has a good range of trading options. On the fiat side users can trade for US dollars (USD), Russian Roubles (RUR), and Euros (EUR).
The range of digital currencies is even larger with: Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Namecoin (NMC), NovaCoin (NVC), Terracoin (TRC), PPCoin (PPC), and Feathercoin (FTC). The allowed trading pairs are shown in the table below:
The main page of the site, the trading interface, gives you a candle chart of the selected trading pair.
All trading pairs are displayed through HTML buttons, and include the current exchange rate. Each of them updates in real time, and if you watch for long enough you'll see a green or red highlight when the rate changes, depending on whether it has increased or decreased.
The rates are shown in the format of 'Buying'/'Selling', e.g. BTC/USD=120 would mean a bitcoin is worth 120 USD. Despite this, trading in both directions is possible.
An honourable mention goes to the real time chat box shown beside the trading data – lovingly known as the "troll box". This is a place where regular users inhabit and much sarcasm ensues!
From the trading page you can see a recent history of trades for the currently selected trading pair.
For each direction, there are fields you may fill to create a buy or sell order. If you accept the price that the forms are automatically filled with, your order will be completed immediately – as long as there are sufficient funds on offer at the given price.
If you decided to set your own price, you'll have to wait until offers come up that match your bid. In such cases, your order will (probably) be fulfilled gradually, rather than all at once. You can view the status of your orders on the funds page, where you'll be shown the percentage of your order that has been fulfilled.
Speaking of viewing your funds page, the link to that is found within the account status box in the top right of the page. There you'll also see your balances in BTC and USD – those being the two most likely currencies a user would be concerned with.
However, clicking the funds link takes you to a long list where you can see your balances in all currencies. With each one you'll find options to deposit and withdraw. For the digital currencies, this is a simple matter of copying and pasting a wallet address (and entering an amount in the case of withdrawals).
Matters get more complicated when trying to deposit fiat funds. This is no fault of BTC-e though: it's the unfortunate nature of the beast. Here is a list of the payment services available for each fiat currency on BTC-e.
If those services support transfers from your native countries then you're pretty much good to go. Just keep the fees in mind.
However, here in the UK things are trickier. Unless you have a bank that supports SEPA transfers (HSBC refused to give me such account on the grounds that it would not support bitcoin trading), you'll have to use an International Wire transfer.
Here you'll be charged for currency conversion by your bank, and your transfer will be subject to charges from any international banks that the money is routed though.
Again, this isn't the fault of BTC-e. BTC-e does take a small charge for receiving deposits though, and be sure to use the account information on the funds page so that BTC-e knows the deposit is destined for your account!
As with every other digital currency exchange, you'll have to provide evidence of your identity. To do this, you'll need scans or photos of your photo ID (drivers licence or passport) and a couple of utility bills. This process goes quickly and BTC-e customer support were (in our case at least) prompt to respond.
Advanced traders who use the MetaTrader 4 application will be glad to know that BTC-e recently added support.
A final feature that prospective traders should note about BTC-e is that its bitcoin prices are consistently lower than those found on Mt. Gox. This presents an opportunity for arbitrage between BTC-e and any other cryptocurrency markets that links its prices to Mt. Gox.