itBit Offers Incentives for Bitcoin Traders to Switch Exchanges

Daniel Cawrey
Feb 16, 2014 at 14:13 UTC
Updated May 15, 2015 at 16:22 UTC

Singapore-based exchange itBit recently built a trading-specific platform for bitcoin; now it is offering a cut-price promotion in an attempt to draw in new customers.

The company has not had any of the problems that other exchanges have been experiencing lately. In fact, itBit CEO Rich Teo has said that recent events have led to increased interest in his company’s platform.

“Based on the way our wallet is built, we weren’t affected. We haven’t seen any issues,“ he said.

Near the end of last year, itBit received $3.2m in venture capital, bringing its funding total to $5.5m.

Cold storage

Some exchanges have been struggling with transactional problems, but itBit’s cold (offline) bitcoin storage methods have allowed the company to avoid these issues altogether. Teo said:

“No customer coins are ever exposed to a hot wallet.”

“At itBit, bitcoin and fiat deposits and withdrawals are business as usual,” said Antony Lewis, business development manager for the exchange.

“For withdrawals, we enforce a 72-hour withholding period,” Lewis said. “This can be reduced to 24-hours at a user’s request, if they enable multi-factor login authentication.”

These waiting times are for user security purposes, which is something itBit takes seriously. The company provides a flow chart that shows how it handles transactions and the processes that are in place to protect investors.

“Although some clients say they don’t like this, it gives them protection against unauthorized withdrawals,” Lewis explained.

Free trades

Because the company believes its secure bitcoin storage features will attract customers shaken by the recent events at other exchanges, itBit is doing a promotion – waiving some commissions for new customers

“We are giving out trading credits so people can essentially trade for free,” Teo said. “If you deposit over $10,000 worth of BTC or currency, then we’ll provide you with a $50 trading credit.”

For customers who deposit between $5,000 and 10,000 there will be a $25 trading credit, while those who fund their account with $2,000-$5,000 will get a $10 credit.

itBit is currently attempting to get money transmitter business (MSB) licensing in the 48 US states that require it. Because of this, it is only accepting US banking customers who reside in New Mexico or South Carolina, because these are jurisdictions where state MSB licensure is not required.

An alternative for customers in the US is to wire itBit money from an offshore bank account. Many US-based customers, who Teo terms as “institutional”, go this route. “We also don’t charge any withdrawal fees or any transaction fees,” Teo pointed out.

Big in Asia

Teo says that itBit has a diverse and global clientele, and it has a large customer base in the Asia region. itBit has proved very popular with traders in Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Australia.

While most customers are trading in US dollars, the euro and the Singapore dollar are also available trading pairs.

USD exchange trading volume has been big business recently. Source: Blockchain.info

USD exchange trade volume has been big business the past 30 days. Source: Blockchain.info

itBit’s 15-person headquarters is sited in Singapore, but the company has offices in New York and Shanghai as well.

Teo used to work in the finance industry in New York, and he believes the city will be important for cryptocurrencies.

“We do have a very New York-based background. We think that New York will play a role in digital currencies over the next decade.”

The company is hoping to expand its reach to mainland China soon. Yuan-to-BTC trading is not available on itBit at the moment, and will not be within the next few months. However, it is “something that we want to do,” according to Teo.

The exchange’s waived-fee promotion, called the Rebate & Reward Program, will last until February 16. (See also itBit’s announcement concerning malleable transactions.)

Incentive image via Shutterstock

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