BitBay Review 2020 – #1 for Polish Users With a High-Liquidity PLN-BTC Pair

BitBay started life as the primary destination for Polish cryptocurrency enthusiasts and traders to get safe and easy access to multiple trading pairs. Since then it has grown to not only become the #1 crypto exchange for Poland, but also a viable option for other European users.

Want to know why BitBay has one of the highest-volume BTC-PLN pairs in the world, or just generally how it compares to its competitors? Throughout this review, I analyze what products the exchange offers, how secure it is, how to create an account, and finally how to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on BitBay.

BitBay logo

BitBay Pros and Cons

Intuitive trading platform for buying bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Ripple (XRP) and 25+ other cryptocurrencies.
#1 exchange for Polish users with almost 100% of global PLN-BTC trading.
Never been hacked, licensed in the EU (Estonia).
Easy to use through a browser or with the iOS and Android apps.
Some payment methods are restricted to Polish customers.
Low trading volume of non-PLN fiat pairs.

What is BitBay?

Founded in 2014, BitBay is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Poland and amongst the biggest European exchanges. The company has over 40 employees according to LinkedIn, nearly 1 million users, and over 1.65 million visits to its website in April 2020 – most of whom come from Poland.

In terms of trading volume, BitBay accounts for close to 100% of the BTC/PLN market! Over the last 6 months, the exchange has experienced a minimum daily trading turnover of 50 million PLN (11 million EUR equivalent). It has a spread hovering around 0.2 to 0.3% – fairly low given that BTC/PLN is not a major trading pair.

Despite existing since 2014, the exchange’s growth looks to continue, as demonstrated by its volume peak on 13th March 2020 when it hit a 24-hour volume of 11,233 BTC ($75 million equivalent) on its Polish Zloty trading pair.

BitBay’s success can be largely credited to its Polish origins. Poland is an untapped market and the exchange quickly adapted to local products, such as allowing the trading and purchase of BTC through PLN deposits.

Despite having a strong core in the Eastern European country, BitBay has diversified and now allows for deposits, withdrawals, and trading in EUR, GBP, and USD. However, the exchange falls short on liquidity with its BTC/EUR, BTC/USD, and BTC/GBP pairs, as these account for a maximum of 2% of the exchange’s overall volume. This is one of the biggest downsides of using BitBay if PLN isn’t your preferred fiat currency.

Chart: BitBay Trading Volume BTC/PLN

Is BitBay Legit and Secure?

Yes, so far, BitBay is secure. Since its inception in 2014, it has never been hacked and it demonstrates a professional approach towards keeping user funds secure.

Standard user security features such as 2FA are present (and encouraged) and transactions are processed through a secure, encrypted connection. BitBay also requires a pin code whenever you contact customer support – a feature missing from many other exchanges. This ensures that only you can lock your account if it has been taken over, and prevent someone else from entering your account through impersonation.

It’s important to note that BitBay isn’t licensed in Poland and no longer operates from there. Due to the lack of certainty surrounding the crypto industry in Poland, and the last Polish bank working with the exchange ending their cooperation, the company moved to the crypto-friendly nation of Malta. A little later the company incorporated BB Trade Estonia OÜ (formerly Pinewood Estonia OÜ), a company with two licenses allowing it to operate a cryptocurrency exchange in Estonia.

How High Are BitBay’s Fees?

BitBay’s trading fees are a bit more expensive than the competition – trading fees hover between 0.43% and 0.25% per transaction depending on the monthly amount you trade. However, unless you plan to trade on a daily basis, these fees are acceptable, and the ability to deposit in Polish Zloty outweighs the 0.1% premium on trading fees. Since very few exchanges accept PLN deposits, users using BitBay and trading with PLN will appreciate the lack of foreign exchange fees when depositing their money on the platform.

Like most exchanges, deposits in both fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies are free of charge. Withdrawals, on the other hand, do cost money (but are within the industry average), and follow a different fee schedule depending on the currency you would like to withdraw. For PLN, the fees are capped at 6 PLN, while for Euro you will need to pay the higher of either 1.5 EUR or 0.1%.

How Easily Can You Buy Bitcoin on Bitbay?

I signed up for BitBay and easily purchased both bitcoin and Ether (Ethereum). I had to first verify my account, but once I had passed this step, it took me just a few hours to deposit some PLN into my account (fully explained further down the page) and buy some bitcoin.

Since BitBay’s banking operations are being operated by Poczta Polska, fiat deposits and withdrawals are processed by the Elixir Network (faster payment scheme in Poland). This means that money transfers arrive on the exchange within hours, since BitBay processes wire transfers three times a day on business days at 11 am, 2 pm, and 5 pm. For non-PLN currencies, deposits are processed in one to two days. Deposits and withdrawals of cryptocurrencies are processed very quickly as with any other exchanges.

Can You Buy Bitcoin Instantly on BitBay?

Despite its fast deposits, BitBay currently doesn’t allow instant bitcoin purchases with credit/debit card (or any other payment method).

However, BitBay offers a near-instant way to deposit PLN if you don’t mind queuing at the Polish Post Office on weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm. This service is called BitBay Express Deposit and allows you to deposit up to 50,000 PLN at once. To use this service, you simply have to fill out a deposit form and submit it at the post office. Once completed, the deposit will show up on your BitBay account within 30 minutes. The downside of this service is that the fees are 2% of the total amount deposited!

Do I Recommend BitBay?

I recommend using Bitbay. It has firmly established itself as a quality exchange over the last 6 years, has never been hacked, and is licensed in a European country. Additionally, BitBay is the only exchange to not only have the option for PLN deposits, but also enough liquidity with the currency to accommodate even the more professional crypto traders. The fees won’t impact any investors wishing to buy 100, 1,000, or 10,000 PLN worth of bitcoin a month, and the ease at which you can deposit far outweighs the costs of fees in comparison to other exchanges.

In case you’re trading with other trading pairs such as USD or EUR, but want to deposit in PLN, then I recommend that you deposit on BitBay and send your bitcoin or other cryptocurrency to your favored exchange for trading.

On the other hand, if you don’t intend to use Polish Zloty then BitBay might not be the best place for you to buy cryptocurrency. In this case, don’t hesitate to check out our list of the best places to buy bitcoin.

Guide: How to Use BitBay

Now you have a better understanding of the platform, I’ll guide you through the process of purchasing your first bitcoin on BitBay! To create and verify your account, all you need is 15 minutes, your phone, ID, and proof of address.

Step 1) Create a BitBay account

The first step to creating an account on BitBay is to head to the exchange’s website and click on “Open a free account” on the homepage.

The process takes less than 5 minutes; all you need to do is provide your email, set a password, and select your country of residence.

Step 2) Verify your account

Creating an account on BitBay will provide you with limited access to the platform. The next step is to verify your account.

BitBay has two levels of verification:

  • Level I – you’ll gain access to cryptocurrencies and fiat deposits via bank transfer.
  • Level II – you’ll gain access to the full functionality of BitBay – like express deposits and withdrawals.

To proceed, click “Verify your account” at the top center of your screen of the homepage, and provide the information and documents requested.

I verified my account to test this out, and even as a non-Polish user the process took just 15 minutes. I submitted my verification late on Friday, and received confirmation of verification early on Monday morning.

Step 3) Deposit fiat or cryptocurrency to BitBay

Now that you’ve created and verified your account (at least to level 1), you’ll have to first deposit money or cryptocurrencies before you can buy bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies on the platform.

You’ll be able to deposit PLN, EUR, USD, and GBP, while cryptocurrencies include bitcoin, Ether, Ripple, and 20+ more.

To proceed, click on Wallets in the left menu, select the currency you want to send to BitBay, and follow the instructions. Keep in mind that transfers should be made with a bank account owned by the BitBay account holder or BitBay won’t process the payment. Don’t forget to add all the necessary information such as the Recipient name, Recipient address, and Transfer title.

Screenshot of BitBay's PLN deposit screen with payment info.

As mentioned earlier, your deposit should arrive in your account quite quickly since BitBay processes PLN wire transfers three times a day on business days at 11 am, 2 pm, and 5 pm CET. In case your transfers haven’t arrived in your account within this period, contact customer support. For GBP, EUR, or USD, wait 24 hours before contacting customer support.

To deposit bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), or any other cryptocurrency, the process is similar. First, on the homepage, choose “Wallet” in the left menu, and then BTC as shown below. After accepting the warning message, you’ll see your BitBay BTC wallet address which you can use by scanning the QR code or inputting the deposit address in the wallet or exchange you’re sending from.

Screenshot of BitBay's Bitcoin deposit screen with a Bitcoin address visible.

Step 4) Buy bitcoin on BitBay

In order to buy bitcoin or trade on the platform, you either have to click on “Exchange” or “Pro mode” in the left menu panel.

Buy bitcoin with Quick Transaction on BitBay

You can find the quick transaction feature in the exchange’s menu. This lets you quickly buy BTC without working out market rates. You can either input the amount of bitcoin you would like to purchase, or the amount of fiat currency (PLN, USD, EUR, GBP) that you’d like to spend. Then simply click on “Buy”, and voilà – you’re the owner of your first bitcoin!

Screenshot of BitBay's Quick Transaction feature for immediately buying bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
Enter a figure in BTC or your chosen currency and click “Buy”

Trade bitcoin on BitBay Pro

For users who prefer trading on an open order book, BitBay Pro allows you to place regular orders and use Limit, Stop Limit, Stop Market, or even Fill-or-Kill order types. However, I recommend you get to grips with the basics of how order books work before attempting more complex trade types!

The Best Cryptocurrency Exchange for Polish Users

BitBay is the best fiat gateway for Poland, giving Polish users easy access to high-volume PLN trading. It has quick and simple depositing options and several trading options for more advanced users. While testing I was overall satisfied with the simplicity of the trading, easy verification process, and accessible interface.

However, it can’t compete with other exchanges when it comes to USD, EUR, GBP or other top fiat currencies. If you’re looking to trade with these currencies, you should take a look at some of the other best exchanges for buying bitcoin.