With digital currencies becoming increasingly popular among Poles, a new bitcoin exchange, Bitmarket.pl, was launched this month in the country.
The company said the exchange aims to lure traders with high levels of security and a fast turnover of transactions.
Said Michał Pleban, co-owner of the exchange:
"What is important, only our own funds are allocated in the hot wallet, while our clients’ funds are safe in the cold wallet. We merge the rapidness of a currency exchange with the elasticity of a stock exchange.”
Pleban presented the exchange and its business model at a seminar on bitcoin, held on 24th March at the Warsaw School of Economics (Szkoła Główna Handlowa).
From domains to bitcoins
"The exchange was launched this month, but we represent a company which has been active on the Polish market for eight years,” Pleban said. "We are an offshoot of AfterMarket.pl – the largest domain aftermarket website in Poland, with more than 250,000 .pl domains in its portfolio.”
Pleban is the main architect of the website’s code, and said that the security measures employed by Bitmarket.pl are multilayered and based on two-step authentication, but do not negatively impact the speed of transactions.
"In addition to this, we decided not to impose any fees on users’ transactions on the exchange.”
That said, the company does collects fees for withdrawals of funds from user accounts. These are currently PLN 1 ($0.33) and PLN 5 ($1.65) for electronic fund transfers and regular bank transfers, respectively, and 0.0001 BTC and 0.001 LTC for digital currency transfers, according to data from Bitmarket.pl.
With Pleban's statements clearly aimed to garner the trust of the local digital currency scene, which has seen several bitcoin-related incidents over the past few months, local observers say that market entry is increasingly difficult for new Polish exchanges.
As part of its trust-building efforts, Bitmarket.pl has tried to emphasize its financial foundations. The exchange is owned by Luxembourg-based EuroDNS, which has a share capital of some €540,000, according to figures released by company representatives.
Recent examples of turbulence in Poland’s bitcoin market include Bitcurex, the country’s leading bitcoin exchange, temporarily shutting down its site on 14th March following a hack that targeted funds in its users’ bitcoin wallets. The site resumed service on 18th March after stating that the perpetrators did not manage to break its security measures and gain full access to its operational hot wallet.
Late last year, though, another Poland-based bitcoin exchange reportedly fell victim to a hack and its owners were forced to shut down the site. Bidextreme.pl was hacked in November 2013 and its customers’ bitcoin and litecoin wallets were emptied.