Bitstamp is a bitcoin exchange operating out of Luxembourg. The services it provides extends to trading between USD currency and bitcoin cryptocurrency, as well as USD, EUR, bitcoin, litecoin, ethereum, or Ripple deposits and withdrawals.
Bitstamp was founded with the goal of providing cryptocurrency users with an European-focused alternative to Mt. Gox, the bitcoin exchange which was dominant at the time.Even though Bitstamp trades in USD, deposits through the EU's Single Euro Payments Area is supported making the process of transferring money between European bank accounts more convenient.
Founded in the August of 2011, Bitstamp was the brain-child of current CEO Nejc Kodrič and Damijan Merlak, both from Slovenia. Kodrič is a prominent member of the cryptography and bitcoin communities and was active in the field prior to founding this company. Later they moved its registration to the UK in April 2013, then to Luxembourg in 2016.[nb 1] According to the founders, some services and operations were outsourced to entities operating in the UK due to a general lack of qualified workforce in Bitstamp's native Slovenia, namely financial and legal services.
The UK's Financial Conduct Authority indicated that bitcoin was not classed as a currency, when Bitstamp was incorporated in the country, so the exchange was not subject to the kinds of regulation similar companies working with other currencies were beholden to. As a result, Bitstamp is a self-regulating exchange, and follows a proprietary set of policies used to ensure secure customer authentication and the prevention of money laundering. A security feature was introduced in the September of 2013, requiring the verification of account holder identity using passport copies and home address records. The government of Luxembourg granted Bitstamp with a license to be fully regulated in the EU in April 2016. This allowed Bitstamp to be recognized as a payment institution which is authorized to operate in all 28 EU member states.
After a DDoS attack crippled the site temporarily, Bitstamp suspended all withdrawal services for several days in February 2014. Kodrič was sent a demand of 75 bitcoins as ransom, as reported by Bitcoin Magazine, however he refused the demand because of a company policy against negotiating with “terrorists”. A few days after services were restored, a security measure was put in place to counter the resulting increase in phishing attempts, causing withdrawal services to be suspended for a few days.
- The company is registered in Reading in the UK, but this is in fact just the offices of UK PLC, a company specialising in company formation and which, amongst its services, allows companies to use its own address as their registered office, effectively acting as a forwarding address. There is no clear information available as to where Bitstamp's operations are located or whether they actually have any presence at all in the UK, or are still run out of Slovenia.
- Hill, Kashmir (26 June 2014). "The Bitcoin Economy's 'Backbone' Is Bitstamp, An Exchange Run By Two Young Slovenians". Forbes. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- Boase, Richard; Spaven, Emily (2013-11-22). "Bitstamp shows higher Bitcoin price than Mt. Gox". CoinDesk.
- "API – Bitstamp". Bitstamp. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
- Metz, Cade (25 April 2016). "A Bitcoin Exchange Just Got Approval to Operate Across the EU". Wired. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- "Online Bank Swissquote Partners With Bitstamp to Launch Bitcoin Trading - CoinDesk". CoinDesk. 2017-07-14. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
- Kharif, Olga (12 February 2014). "Bitcoin Exchange Bitstamp Halts Customer Withdrawals". Bloomberg. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- Spaven, Emily (2014-02-14). "Bitstamp to resume Bitcoin withdrawals today, BTC-e still working on a solution". CoinDesk. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
- Pagliery, Jose (12 February 2014). "Another Bitcoin exchange goes down". CNN. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- Alisie, Mihai (2012-10-15). "Bitstamp under DDoS". Bitcoin Magazine. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
- Hajdarbegovic, Nermin (2014-02-20). "Bitstamp restores withdrawals following security scare". CoinDesk. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
- Zack Whittaker (5 January 2015). "Bitstamp exchange hacked, $5M worth of bitcoin stolen". Zdnet. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
- Ember, Sydney (9 January 2015). "Bitcoin Exchange Bitstamp Resumes Services". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 January 2017.