Founded in Japan in 2014, bitFlyer offers a very short menu of coins—just five in total—at industry-low trading prices. It’s this focus on doing just a few things extremely well that has led bitFlyer to become one of the largest crypto exchanges in Japan.

While this exchange is a viable option for some U.S. crypto investors (particularly those who would prefer using Japanese yen) you may want to look elsewhere unless you plan to exclusively invest in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic or Litecoin.

Who Should Use bitFlyer?

bitFlyer is best for people who are new to crypto and looking to stay exclusively in the realm of trusted, proven coins—sorry, no Dogecoin here. Alternatively, it’s a good choice for serious traders who either don’t have interest in altcoins or prefer to buy them on a separate platform.

Broadly speaking, bitFlyer’s low prices give it a leg up on well-known brands like Coinbase or Gemini that charge high premiums to those just starting out. While a 0.10% trading fee for bitFlyer’s easy-to-use and beginner-friendly buy/sell platform is a stellar deal, be aware that fees won’t always necessarily be that low—and they can potentially range as high as 6%. Fees that range above 2% are much higher than you’ll find on just about any competing platform, so may sure your fees are actually competitive before you make a purchase with bitFlyer’s buy/sell platform.

Meanwhile, for those looking to learn while they invest, know that bitFlyer’s educational resources pale in comparison to those available on other leading platforms.

Advanced users may appreciate the Binance.US-level low fees, notably on a platform available to even those in New York and Texas, where Binance is not currently accessible. bitFlyer also provides extensive security features to its users, including multi-sig, a means of keeping Bitcoin wallets more secure by requiring multiple keys to remove funds from a Bitcoin wallet.

These advantages aside, if you want a broad range of coins to trade, bitFlyer is fatally flawed. If you want to buy ADA, for instance, you’re simply out of luck.

Regardless of your experience level, it’s important to think carefully before putting money into this or any other cryptocurrency exchange. With such a volatile asset, not even the most regulated and secure platform can protect you from a potentially capricious market.

bitFlyer Features

Compliance and Security

Launched in the wake of the infamous Mt. Gox hack that saw more than 850,000 Bitcoin stolen by hackers, bitFlyer takes both compliance and security seriously. It was the first exchange licensed to operate in Japan, the U.S. and the E.U.

bitFlyer has the distinction of being a platinum member of the Japan Blockchain Association (JBA), meaning the platform meets the security and trade restriction measures required by the association. bitFlyer reports it uses the highest level encryption technology available to keep your information and investments safe.

This includes security features like multi-sig, a process that requires multiple keys to authorize a cryptocurrency transaction. Multi-sig should decrease the likelihood of hacks—even if a hacker stumbled upon one of your crypto keys, they would be unable to remove coins from your wallet unless they also procured all of the wallet’s other keys.

In addition, bitFlyer claims that it stores more than 80% of its users’ crypto offline, which helps reduce the likelihood that hackers would be able to access large amounts of user funds. That said, it ranked the lowest in cybersecurity out of the crypto exchanges we evaluated, according to CER, an independent crypto exchange security evaluator.

JPY Crypto Purchases in the U.S.

While most major exchanges enable crypto purchases with fiat currency like dollars, it’s normally limited to the country’s local denomination. bitFlyer, however, recently debuted what it calls “cross-border trading,” which allows U.S.-based consumers to buy and sell Bitcoin with Japanese yen and by extension gain access to the Japanese Bitcoin market.

While this may be appealing to certain types of investors, the feature is seeing a limited rollout. U.S. customers cannot deposit JPY directly into their bitFlyer accounts, and instead must use Bitcoin to buy yen…that they then can use to buy more Bitcoin. Users may also be frustrated because if they hope to withdraw funds from their accounts, they must do so with Bitcoin or USD as bitFlyer does not yet support JPY withdrawals in the U.S.

bitFlyer Fees

Unlike many other cryptocurrency exchanges, bitFlyer does not utilize maker/taker fees. Instead, it charges different amounts depending on whether you use the Lightning Exchange advanced trading platform or the instant buy platform.

Like most crypto exchanges, bitFlyer’s trading fees depend on the investor’s previous 30-day trading volume.

If you buy and sell cryptocurrency on the instant buy platform, bitFlyer advertises the trades as “free,” but that’s not really true. The platform assesses a fee of between 0.1% and 6.0% on the purchase and sales prices displayed on the buy/sell displays. If you aren’t careful when you buy or sell your crypto this way, your trades on bitFlyer’s instant platform could be significantly more expensive than similar trades on other exchanges, even pricy beginner-friendly platforms like Coinbase and Gemini.

There are no fees for ACH deposit or withdrawal from a U.S. bank, nor is there a fee for a wire deposit. However, wire withdrawals may incur a hefty $20 fee.

If you choose to move your cryptocurrency off of the bitFlyer exchange, like if you wanted to store your coins in a Bitcoin wallet disconnected from the internet, you’ll also be hit with withdrawal fees. If you anticipate wanting or needing to move substantial amounts of crypto off of an exchange, a platform like Gemini, with a certain number of free withdrawals per month, may be a better fit.

Supported Cryptocurrencies on bitFlyer

BitFlyer currently supports the following cryptocurrencies:

  1. Bitcoin (BTC)
  2. Ethereum (ETH)
  3. Ethereum Classic (ETC)
  4. Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  5. Litecoin (LTC)