Bisq Review 2022: Is It the Best Decentralized Crypto Exchange?

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Bisq is a peer-to-peer trading network where users can trade Bitcoin for fiat currencies and other cryptocurrencies. Bisq is decentralized, open-source and community driven. Bisq doesn't have a single headquarters or central authority. Instead, it has servers around the globe.

If you're considering using Bisq, then this review is for you. Keep reading to learn some of the pros and cons of this platform, how much it costs to use, how to open an account and more.

Features - 4
Fees - 8
Supported Currencies - 9
Ease of Use - 6
Security - 8

7

Total

There are many places to trade cryptocurrency today, but Bisq stands out from many of its competitors in that it's a decentralized exchange. With Bisq, there are fewer hoops to jump through to get started (you don't have to set up an account or verify your identity) and it supports a large number of cryptocurrencies. However, the platform targets experienced traders rather than beginners and virtually all transactions require users to trade Bitcoin.

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Pros & Cons

pros

  • Decentralized, open-source and community driven
  • Many supported currencies
  • Easy to get started with no identity verification needed
  • Strong security measures in place

cons

  • Complex interface, especially so for beginners
  • All transactions require Bitcoin
  • Potential for fraud
  • Limited customer support

Who Is Bisq For?

Bisq logoBisq works differently from other cryptocurrency exchanges. With other platforms, you can place a buy or sell order and easily trade with other investors. Because there's automatic order matching, most of this process happens behind the scenes.

In contrast, Bisq is a peer-to-peer marketplace. This means you trade directly with other users. You have to communicate with other users to agree on a price, which may not be the same market rate you find on other exchanges.

Unlike with other crypto exchanges, you don't have to set up an account or verify your identity. Bisq is best suited to investors who want more control over both their personal information and their transactions.

All Bisq transactions involve Bitcoin. If Bitcoin isn't a cryptocurrency you trade, then this may not be the best platform for you. It's also not right for anyone who wants a more streamlined, hands-off process like what you find on other exchanges.

Read more: How to Invest in Bitcoin

What We Like About Bisq

Decentralized, Open-source and Community Driven

Decentralization is at the very heart of blockchain technology, and Bisq truly embraces that concept — there's no central authority for Bisq. Rather than using a website or app to make trades, you download the software onto your own hardware. This creates anonymity and control for users. And it also allows for increased security.

Many Supported Currencies

Bisq allows users to trade Bitcoin for more than 120 fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies. While the transaction needs to include Bitcoin, Bisq allows trading of more types of currencies than many other platforms offer.

Easy to Get Started With No Identity Verification Needed

With many crypto exchanges and traditional brokerage accounts, you have to create an account and verify your identity to use the platform. But Bisq doesn't require identity verification, so you can remain anonymous.

Strong Security Measures in Place

Bisq understands the risks to its users, and it takes precautions to mitigate those risks. These include security deposits on all transactions and a three-tier mechanism for resolving disputes. We talk more in a later section about the security measures Bisq has in place.

Read more: Centralized vs. Decentralized Exchange: Which Is Right for You?

Where Bisq Could Improve

Complex Interface, Especially So for Beginners

Bisq's interface may be confusing to use, especially when you're just getting started. What makes it even more complex is that, unlike on other exchanges, you can't simply place a buy or sell order and have your transactions automatically go through. Instead, you have to directly connect and communicate with other parties to find a buy or sell partner.

All Transactions Require Bitcoin

Each Bisq transaction requires trading Bitcoin with another fiat currency or cryptocurrency. The only exception is when you're using Bisq's proprietary coin, BSQ. It's not like other platforms where you can buy other coins with U.S. dollars. You can buy Bitcoin with U.S. dollars or other fiat currency on Bisq, but to obtain other cryptocurrencies through Bisq, you must trade your Bitcoin for them.

Potential for Fraud

Like other financial platforms, Bisq has security measures in place. However, the fact that users don't have to verify their identity and the fact that Bisq doesn't serve as a middleman for transactions both leave room for fraud and scams.

Limited Customer Support

The fact that Bisq is a decentralized platform has many advantages. But one of the major disadvantages is that there's limited customer support. While it's possible to open a support ticket if you need mediation for a trader dispute, you have to rely on the help of the community for most issues.

Supported Cryptocurrencies

Bisq offers trading of an impressive 120 cryptocurrencies, which is more than many other exchanges allow. Some of the cryptos most recently traded on the platform include:

  • Monera (XMR)
  • BSQ (BSQ)
  • Ether (ETH)
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)
  • Doichain (DOI)
  • Dash (DASH)

This is only a small sampling of the cryptos available on Bisq. However, it's important to remember that each transaction includes Bitcoin. When you trade on the platform, you're trading Bitcoin for another fiat currency or cryptocurrency. For example, you can't trade a fiat currency for any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin. You can buy Bitcoin on Bisq, but to obtain other cryptocurrencies through Bisq, you must trade your Bitcoin for them.

Fees & Limits

Trading fees on Bisq are calculated as a percentage of the total trade value. There's a combined trading fee of 1% of the total trade amount. The seller pays 0.12% and the buyer covers the remaining 0.88%. The trading fee is roughly half as much if it's paid in BSQ, which is the platform's proprietary coin.

In addition to trading fees, you also have to pay a security deposit, which helps to prevent fraud on the platform. Both buyers and sellers must pay this security deposit in Bitcoin for each trade. Sellers can specify their preferred security deposit when they create their offer. In most cases, the deposit is about 15% of the transaction amount, with a minimum security deposit of .006 Bitcoin for both buyers and sellers. The security deposit is returned to both parties when the trade is complete.

Account Opening Process

The process of getting started with Bisq is a bit simpler than getting started on most other cryptocurrency exchanges since Bisq doesn't require users to verify their identities. Not only does this simplify the process, but it also allows you to keep your identity and personal information secure.

Here's how to get started with Bisq:

  1. Download and install the platform. You can download Bisq directly from the website or from GitHub. Users can also choose to build Bisq from source code, given that it's a fully open-source platform.
  2. Ensure access to your account. Bisq is a fully secure platform. This means you're the only one with access to your data and funds. While this is an advantage in many ways, it also has some downsides, including the fact that no one can help you access your data or assets. When you download and install Bisq be sure to write down your seed words and back up your keys right away.
  3. Set up your payment method. Like with any other exchange, you need a way to provide funds for transactions. Bisq allows for many different payment methods, including ACH, Amazon gift card, wire transfer, money order and Zelle.
  4. Start trading. On Bisq, you can be either a trade maker or trade taker, meaning the one to initiate a transaction or the one to accept it. You have more control over the payment method, price, deposit percentage, etc., as the maker.

How Safe Is Bisq?

Safety is of the utmost importance with any financial platform, and Bisq is no exception. The good news is there are plenty of measures in place to make sure your data and money are safe.

Bisq uses three primary security mechanisms. First, all Bitcoin traded on the platform is secured in a 2-of-2 multi-signature address. Additionally, both the buyer and seller are required to pay a security deposit, which is returned after the transaction. Finally, there is a three-tier mechanism for handling trade disputes, which includes end-to-end encrypted chat, mediation and arbitration.

Because you don't have to provide your identity to join Bisq, there's little chance of identity theft or hacking. However, there's still the opportunity for fraudulent activity because prospective scammers also don't have to provide their identity to use the platform.

Read more: How to Spot a Crypto Scam

Best Alternatives

Bottom Line

Bisq is one of many cryptocurrency exchanges on the market, but it stands out from its competitors in quite a few ways. It is a decentralized and open-source platform that has no headquarters or central authority. There are fewer hoops to jump through than at most exchanges. For example, you don't have to verify your identity. This feature and the large number of cryptocurrencies available make it attractive for many investors.

However, there are a few things to consider before using this platform. All transactions require either Bitcoin or Bisq's proprietary coin, BSQ. Additionally, the platform may be too complicated for some investors, since you're completing transactions directly with other users rather than simply placing your buy or sell order as you would on other crypto exchanges.

Further reading:

Erin Gobler

Erin Gobler is a freelance personal finance based in Madison, Wisconsin. After seven years working in state politics, she left to pursue writing full-time. Now she writes about financial topics including mortgages, investing, and more for major publications like Fox Business and NextAdvisor. In addition to finance writing, Erin also provides financial coaching services where she works with individuals to help them reach their money goals.

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