Bitstamp, a U.K.-based cryptocurrency exchange that was founded in 2011, is Europe’s largest crypto exchange. It offers crypto-to-fiat and crypto-to-crypto exchange services, and supports euros, U.S. dollars, bitcoin, ether, litecoin, bitcoin cash, XRP and other assets. It is led by CEO Julian Sawyer, a co-founder and former CEO of Starling Bank, a U.K. digital bank.
Bitstamp has been a proponent of regulation and compliance, and is audited by EY, a Big Four accounting firm. It emphasizes security and claims to have “military-grade storage” of assets. It allows fiat deposits from users by SEPA (single euro payments area) transfer or international bank wire or with a credit card and can be accessed online or through a mobile app. While Bitstamp doesn’t charge fees for cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals, it charges a fee for buying and selling crypto that varies depending on the amount and source (i.e. credit card transfer vs. fiat on platform).
In 2019, the exchange was granted a BitLicense from the New York Department of Financial Services four years after it applied. That allows Bitstamp to offer its cryptocurrency trading pairs to residents in the state. Last May, it announced plans to expand in the U.S., and in July, it named Robert Zagotta, a former executive at CME Group and crypto industry veteran, as CEO of Bitstamp US.
In 2015, hackers stole nearly 19,000 BTC from the exchange. A confidential document posted to Reddit revealed that hackers distributed files containing malware to targeted Bitstamp employees. The files included malicious scripts that automatically ran upon downloading the file, allowing attackers to compromise particular servers to perform the hack. In response, Bitstamp refunded affected users, and subsequently implemented multi-sig wallets, increased security technology and extended insurance coverage with Paragon International Insurance Brokers to cover employee theft, fraud and other loss. Bitstamp also offers cold storage provided by BitGo and Copper.co.