With a sudden rise of cryptocurrencies, the world of trading will surely never be the same. The backing technology of those currencies, called blockchain, has been in existence for nearly ten years, and it has already been recognized by many as a core technology of the future. By bringing decentralization, ultimate security and openness to the world, anyone can develop their own idea or solution to existing problem, and make use of tremendous features of this new tech. However, although quality blockchain projects tend to provide unique solutions to problems of various industries, there are very few of them that tackle the core of the world of trading – exchanges. One of those is called Bisq, a full-scale decentralized peer-to-peer ecosystem acting as an exchange service between users that wish to swap their cryptocurrencies for other. Established back in 2014, the purpose of Bisq is to provide safe, secure and feeless environment for exchanging various crypto assets, without the central point of failure and without the annoying trading fees. While it still has some room for progress, present features are more than enough reason for us to dive deeper into the platform. Our journey resulted with this extensive Bisq Review, where we analyze the project’s key features, possibilities, use cases, reliability and future. Can this newcomer start a decentralized exchange revolution? Read on and find out!
First things first – before explaining how this ground-breaking platform actually succeeds in bringing fair, decentralized and safe experience to its clients, let’s give a brief overview of its features. These are a direct product of using blockchain as the backing technology. If you still don’t know what this term denotes, we’ll give you a quick explanation. Per definition, blockchain is an ever-growing list of chunks of information, called blocks, which are interconnected using principles of cryptography. It is also sometimes referred to as being a decentralized and transparent public ledger of information. In other, simpler words, blockchain is a database that is regularly updated with fresh data and is also distributed to a certain percentage of network users. That means that each of these users owns a local copy of this database, which is automatically synced and updated with each new chunk of information being added. This “addition” or block generation is performed by a quite specific group of users called miners, whose purpose is to check the legitimacy of information being added to a block. Once a block is created, it is added to the blockchain and linked to a previous block, preventing any chance of future data tweaking. At the very same moment, creating of a brand-new block is triggered, and the process repeats itself indefinitely.
Now, the key Bisq features are basically a combination of this technology and a more opened approach to classic exchange environment. First of all, the whole system is fully decentralized as a result of blockchain information being broadcasted among users. This means that, unlike classic online exchange platforms that sport a single database location, Bisq doesn’t have a central point of failure, resulting in incomparably higher security level. As for the safety side, the platform serves merely as a mediator between its customers – you’ll be transferring funds directly to the other user, meaning that Bisq will never ever have them at their vault. Due to the fact that you’re not required to provide any personal information when opening your trading account, your transactions are anonymous and private, with the platform itself becoming instantly accessible. No lengthy KYC procedures, sending copies of your personal documents or completing annoying registration forms – with just a couple of clicks, you are fully eligible to start trading. And finally, due to the fact that all the code that powers this environment is an open-source, available to anyone willing to learn how the platform actually works. Of course, if you have some programming knowledge and wish to contribute to the project, you’re more than welcome – the same goes for going through the latest code and proposing changes or pointing out some possible bugs.
That’s basically it when it comes to general features of the Bisq platform. However, now that you know the basics, it’s time to dive a bit deeper and learn how to actually use it and which new concepts you’ll have to learn in order to use it effectively. Keep reading!
As one of the core principles of the project’s philosophy is providing easy-to-use platform available to everyone, setting things up with Bisq is extremely easy. Stick with us and let’s go through all important steps of connecting to the global Bisq network.
Prior to actually placing your first exchange request, you’ll need to download and install proprietary Bisq desktop application or, if you’re more technically inclined, build it directly from the source code provided on the project’s GitHub page. If you’re running Mac or some popular Linux distribution, fear not, as the joint effort of project and community developers have made versions of this app compatible with all of these operating systems. Installing and setting up the application is fairly simple and painless, and you should complete the whole process in a matter of minutes.
As for the app’s interface and usability, we can honestly state that developers did a wonderful job here. Upon opening the app you’ll land on the Markets page, which contains an order book and graph for the chosen cryptocurrency. Choosing one of the many from the list will give you a visual overview of the ratio of bids and ask offers, as well as the list of currently active and recently closed trades. This serves as a great insight to the price trend of a certain crypto asset. You can also change the provider of relevant prices – major crypto exchanges are supported, so you can observe trading sentiment on multiple platforms. Right next to the Markets button are appropriate buttons for buying and selling your cryptocurrency of choice. Here you can create your own bid or ask order, set your target goals and send it to the market, thus making it active and waiting for another platform user to close the deal. Account page, on the other hand, lets you modify your own trading account. You can define either your own cryptocurrency wallets or traditional bank account and link them with the application. You can also edit your trading wallet by changing password and mnemonic seed required to approve your trades, or you can perform a full backup. Funds page lets you manage all your past deposits, withdrawals and completed trades, request new deposits, choose your preferred fund allocation methods, define deposit addresses and much more. Portfolio section keeps track of various cryptocurrencies you’ve been trading with and appropriate trades executed on the platform, giving you a complete insight of your trading trends. Finally, you can tweak more details by accessing the Settings page. That’s pretty much it when it comes to Bisq app – it’s fast, light and, judging by our experience, extremely easy to use. That being said, we can guarantee a great trading experience here. Now, let’s look at the available methods you can use in order to transfer funds to your trading account!
After you get accustomed to the Bisq trading app, you’ll want to get involved in the exciting crypto market by making your first trade on the platform. In order to do that, you’ll be required to make a deposit, as with every other exchange. However, apart from supporting all available cryptocurrencies for both deposits and withdrawals, you’ll be excited to hear that Bisq also support as much as fifteen other conventional methods of transferring funds! Stay with us through this part of our review article and find out which methods you can use.
As we have already stated, this platform accepts deposits made directly with cryptocurrencies. You can define address for your chosen cryptocurrency right on the Funds page, and all you need to do is to send a desired amount from your personal wallet to this one. There are many supported currencies at the moment, with even more being added on a regular basis – we’ll take a look at them later on. For now, let’s focus on more conventional methods of transferring funds. Apart from regular bank transfers, there are some other prominent services supported which enhance the classic wire transfer. Among these are UK-based Faster Payments service for reducing interbank transfers to a couple of hours, Zelle service for US banks, as well as international SEPA transfer protocol. Major credit cards are supported as well, as is a number of popular digital wallet services. These include companies like Swish, AliPay or OKPay, all respected services with high level of trust so you don’t have to worry about your funds getting lost in any way. As for the purpose of our review, we have thoroughly tested multiple banking methods and can confirm that all of them work exactly as they should – like a charm. Funds have been transferred to our trading account extremely fast and without any problems at all, so we can wholeheartedly recommend this exchange to you.
So now you know which methods of sending and receiving funds you can use here. However, there is one extremely important question that is still left unanswered – which cryptocurrencies can you trade with here? We’re about to reveal the answer, so stick around and learn how you can even propose a new cryptocurrency to be added on the platform!
When it comes to the offer of various cryptocurrency pairs on the platform, we must state that it does get a bit smaller compared to prominent exchanges like Binance or Bittrex, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a plethora of options. Bitcoin as a current market leader is present, as well as his most popular hard forks Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold. As for the altcoins, aside from the most popular ones like Dash, Litecoin, Ethereum or Monero, there are over 40 other projects available for trading. And you can be sure that you’ll find quite interesting investment opportunities among them. For example, you can invest in DeepOnion, an anonymous transactions coin similar to Monero that user specific Tor protocol for reaching complete anonymity. NAV Coin, for instance, features both public and anonymous payments and guarantees transaction time above 30 seconds. Also, with the integrated PoS coin generation protocol, you can earn additionally by keeping your coins staked in a wallet. There are many more interesting coins on the platform, so you can be sure you’ll be investing in quality coins – however, be sure to do your own research prior to actually putting your money on the table.
As a result of regular responding to requests of their loyal clients, Bisq team has implemented the procedure by which everyone can propose their own coin to be added to the exchange. Some requirements do have to be met though, such as having at least one block explorer, ticker that doesn’t conflict with any existing cryptocurrency or global fiat currency, and ability to commence transfers only by providing addresses. There is a complete procedure described in detail in the project’s GitHub repository, so be sure to take a look if you’re interested. To wrap it up, Bisq has a fine palette of available assets, and the fact that new coins are added regularly and can even be proposed by community members is a great feature. Now, let’s take a look at additional special features offered by this platform.
Given the fact that this platform sports somewhat different approach to cryptocurrency exchange because it serves merely as a mediator, there are some unique features present regarding trading in general. For instance, once you make an offer when you want to exchange a certain amount of coins, your local instance of Bisq app must be kept running until the trade is closed. The exchange doesn’t have its proprietary wallet, therefore it doesn’t keep your funds stored locally. This means that you will always have full control over your funds, even when you have created and submitted your trade. Once the other user has accepted your offer and the exchange process has been activated, you don’t have to remain online anymore. Also, there is a specific role called arbitrator, who aims to resolve any disputes that may occur between two parties due to various reasons. Arbitrator needs to pay the so-called BSQ bond by investing a large number of his proprietary platform tokens, in order to guarantee that his work will be transparent and unbiased. Currently, not so many people have contributed as much to the platform as to earn such high number of coins (we’ll explain BSQ coin generation and distribution later on). Therefore, all arbitrators are trusted and will do their job properly. And finally, in order to commence your trade or accept an offered one, you’ll have to make a deposit of a certain amount as collateral if you fail to deliver the trading requirements. This is actually a security feature that prevents stealing, thus distinguishing fair traders from scammers. If you believe that the user you’re exchanging crypto coins with won’t complete their payment, you can contact your arbitrator in order to solve this issue. That’s how Bisq works, and the system has proven itself numerous times, meaning that decentralized, self-governing exchanges might truly one day replace the traditional ones. Now, unlike traditional exchanges, Bisq doesn’t act as a company, but rather as something known under the abbreviation DAO. What does it mean, and how does it impact its operations? Find out the answers in the coming paragraphs!
Generally, DAO stands for decentralized autonomous organization that has self-governing ability. Technically speaking, they can be viewed as a set of code snippets and so-called smart contracts popularized by Ethereum development platform. It is a set of rules that enables decentralization and voting option for network participants – consider it a democracy with zero chance of vote manipulation or corruption. That voting mechanism is enabled by introducing BSQ tokens, which were initially given to the early backers and contributors to the platform. 144 past contributors have received 2.5 million of these tokens, totaling to 25 BTC gathered by donations since the project’s inception. The BSQ token has a total of five different use cases in the Bisq DAO ecosystem. It can be sold to traders, used to get lower transaction fees, earned by contributing to the project, cast as a vote or posted as a bond to obtain more important roles such as arbitrator. There is also an internal mechanism of controlling the total number of these tokens in existence, where tokens are created by submitting contributions to the project and destroyed by paying trading fees. This creates incentives to both developers to keep on coding, and to traders to keep on using these tokens to pay cheaper fees. This way Bisq fulfills its mission of creating a stand-alone, community-driven and fair environment for conducting peer-to-peer transaction without a centralized mediator. However, there are still some things that need to be implemented and changed in order to complete the mission, which are thoroughly analyzed and highlighted on the Bisq roadmap. Learn what the future holds for Bisq in the last paragraph of our review.
Judging by the planned goals and the effort of the development community, Bisq has nothing to worry about in the future. The last major version, 0.6 was released in November 2017, and the current one running is 0.6.4, which fixes some connection issues, display issues and adds some new altcoins. The fact that each version upgrade (which regularly happens at least once a month) introduces a couple of new altcoins at least, results in a steady growth of available trading assets. As per roadmap, upcoming versions will bring additional UI improvements of the application, native mobile apps for iOS and Android, and the 1.0 version will implement missing DAO features – bonding, voting and requests for compensation in the form of BSQ tokens. Given the fact that development activity is present on a daily basis, we are confident that all defined goals will be reached in the coming months.
As for our final verdict on the project, we must state that we are very optimistic. The idea of having a full-featured exchange platform capable of serving thousands of customers, without a central database that doesn’t even hold your money but only enables you to swap it with other users, is fantastic. If implemented correctly and successful in luring in more traders, this could easily change the way people trade today. The need for having a centralized body for settling trades will vanish, as the platform’s self-governing feature will enable users to solve disputes, decide about platform changes and get rewarded for their contributions automatically, by code execution. The utilization of blockchain renders all data immutable, thus greatly reducing the opportunities for stealing or confiscating funds. Also, vibrant communities on Twitter, Slack and project’s own forum speak for themselves. People are starting to see the importance of projects like this, which could help Bisq become a leader among emerging decentralized exchange projects. That being said, we strongly encourage you to open and give Bisq a closer look – you might get surprised with this new way of trading!
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