bitFlyer is a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange based in Tokyo, Japan and launched in 2014, today serving over 2M users. Today, bitFlyer offers Japanese Yen (JPY) crypto pairs and sees around $200M of daily trading volume.

The exchange requires KYC (Know Your Customer) identity verification or document protocols to be completed for use of the exchange. 

History of bitFlyer

bitFlyer was founded in 2014 by Yuzo Kano, who is a former derivatives and bonds trader from Goldman Sachs. By 2016, bitFlyer had become the largest crypto exchange in Japan and was processing about $64M USD in monthly crypto volume. The exchange then went on to raise about $36M USD in venture capital funding over three funding rounds. 

The exchange has established partnerships with retailers, mobile app companies, and payment processors to facilitate smartphone-based cryptocurrency payments at retail locations. Additionally, bitFlyer has also secured regulatory approval to sell cryptocurrency to institutional investors. The exchange expanded to the US in late 2017 and to Europe in Jan 2018, having grown to 150 employees. 

bitFlyer USA is headquartered in San Francisco, CA and is the US subsidiary of bitFlyer Inc. 

bitFlyer is best for:

  • All types of cryptocurrency spot investors and traders who desire access to crypto instruments on a top-tier Asian exchange, along with a core offering of a handful of major crypto coins with high volume and liquidity. Especially great for Japanese investors.
  • Spot traders and investors who desire a variable, volume-based fee schedule that is extremely competitive in its rates 

PROS

  • Simple UI
  • Relatively high volume and good liquidity
  • Has a pro version with advanced charting and order types
  • Optional wallet
  • Native block explorer
  • API
  • Mobile and desktop friendly

CONS

  • Only 5 crypto coins and 8 markets for trading pairs
  • Limited crypto financial services
  • No futures or other advanced derivatives, or margin trading
  • No lending or staking services

Pros & Unique Features

The features of bitFlyer are its simplicity and core offering, though it is limited to offering only 5 crypto coins and 8 markets for trading pairs. The main benefits of bitFlyer are that it’s a low-frill exchange with relatively high volume and good liquidity for investors and traders, and without all the complicated features other exchanges that focus more on a complete financial services ecosystem may have. 

bitFlyer has its standard exchange as well as a “Lightning Pro” version that offers customers an exchange with charting, order book, advanced order types, and full-featured trading functionality. The pro version offers fast trading execution, top security standards with multi-sig transaction support, and requires KYC. 

The exchange also offers wallets for custodying digital assets with the exchange, like many other exchanges do. bitFlyer also runs a service called the Blockchain LAB which carries out research and development into the creation of new services that use blockchain technology. 

Additionally, bitFlyer offers a block explorer called “Chainflyer” and an API for traders and investors to connect to. In summary, the main benefits of this low-frills exchange are that it is a stable, regulated exchange offering the choice of a core set of top offerings, with low trading fees, great security protocols, and an option for a pro exchange platform that also offers more advanced trading, charting, and execution functionality.

Lastly, the exchange offers a full-featured mobile app for both iPhone and Android with trading functionality as well. For trading on both the app and the online exchange, only spot trading is offered, with some pairs offered in JPY, USD, EUR, and also crypto-to-crypto pairs. 

As for customer support, bitFlyer offers a support service centers customers can access via logging in and submitting a request. The exchange staff also maintains a blog with news and reports.

bitflyer blockchain explorer

Cons & Disadvantages

The main disadvantages of bitFlyer are its lack of crypto financial services compared to other top comparable exchanges on the market, as well as its lack of futures and other advanced derivatives offerings, or even margin trading. There do not even seem to be any basic lending or staking services offered as of 2022, which has become standard across the industry even for simple exchanges. 

This makes the exchange functionality quite limited for active traders and better suited to investors, especially those seeking liquidity using the JPY currency. Additionally, bitFlyer is also accessible in many countries globally, including the USA, unlike some other Asia-based exchanges.  Also, the exchange’s asset and trading pairs selection are quite limited, with only around 5 coins offered, which is much lower than almost any other exchange reviewed.

Thus, bitFlyer may be an exchange that is better geared to investors and spot traders, whereas advanced and high volume margin, or futures traders would prefer options such as BitMEX, FTX, or Binance. US users who wish to transact with more functionality or trading pairs and access may opt to use competitors like ByBit for futures or Bittrex for spot, thereby gaining access to a much wider selection of trading instruments such as margin and futures as well.

bitflyer mobile app

bitFlyer Fees

bitFlyer uses a volume-tiered fee model with the same fees for both market makers and market takers. The fees are based on the past 30 day volume and start at 0.10% for its Lighting Pro product. 

Trading fees are 0.2% for BTC spot makers for both makers and takers, 0.2% for USDT markets for both makers and takers, and 0.25% for SGD markets for both makers and takers. The fee schedule for all of the volume tiers can be noted below.

bitFlyer Spot Trading Fees for BTC/USD and BTC/JPY

Past 30 Day Volume

Lighting Spot Fee

$0-$50K

0.10%

$50K-$500K

0.09%

$500K-$1M

0.08%

$1M-$5M

0.07%

$5M-$10M

0.06%

$10M-$50M

0.05%

$50M-$500M

.04%

Over $500M

0.03%

This fee schedule is simple and easy to understand, however it lacks the benefits of reduced fees, rebates, or preferable rates for liquidity providers (market makers). 

Trading fees are incurred when an order is filled by the exchange’s matching engine. If an order does not execute, there is no fee charged until it does execute at a later point, or it can be canceled. The full fee schedule can be found here

Other Fees

bitFlyer charges the following deposit, withdrawal, and other fees:

  • No account creation or maintenance fee
  • No deposit fees for any digital asset or fiat bank deposits (only USD deposits and withdrawals are available, not JPY)
  • Withdrawal fees depend on the asset in question. The fee list is here. The BTC withdrawal fee is 0.0004 BTC and that of ETH is 0.005 ETH, for reference
  • No fee for wire deposits but there is a $20 fee for wiring USD out of the user’s bitFlyer account
  • No fees on ACH withdrawals or deposits for fiat

There are no fees for signing up or for having an inactive exchange account, nor any fees for holding funds in an exchange account, and users may hold assets as long as desired. 

Account Tiers & Limits

There are two levels of verification, called “account class,” that both come with different account limits.

  • “Trade”
    • May deposit and withdraw digital assets
    • May deposit and withdraw USD
    • May buy and sell digital assets
    • May use the Lightning Pro exchange 
    • Max digital asset daily deposit and withdraw limit of $50K per day
    • Max USD daily deposit and withdraw limit of $50K per day
    • Unlimited single transaction volume
  • “Trade Pro”
    • May deposit and withdraw digital assets
    • May deposit and withdraw USD
    • May buy and sell digital assets
    • May use the Lightning Pro exchange 
    • Max digital asset daily deposit and withdraw limit is Unlimited
    • Max USD daily deposit and withdraw limit is Unlimited
    • Unlimited single transaction volume

Both account tiers are required to KYC. KYC verification of identity, residential address, and bank account is required to use the exchange.

Crypto Security

bitFlyer takes extensive security precautions. In addition to using multi-sig, the exchange has also established industry leading standards with AML and KYC policies. 

The website itself is SSL encrypted, a firewall is used for restricting outside access, users are encouraged to use complex passwords with 2-factor authentication, only connections from pre-registered IP addresses can access the terminal and services, ID and phone verification is required for all customers changing their details, and virus and malware checks are regularly done on the programs being used in the exchange’s upkeep. 

More information on bitFlyer’s security protocols may be noted in full here.

bitflyer prices

bitFlyer Review Conclusion

bitFlyer is a good general choice of crypto exchange for users, especially those in Japan desiring access to JPY crypto pairs, but also any international and US user who desires access to a very simple, no-frills exchange with a simple core offering of cryptos with high volume and good liquidity, without more extraneous financial services that other top exchanges include in  their offerings. 

Whilst the exchange offers a strong core offering of top 5-8 crypto coins and trading pairs, spot only trading, a full-featured charting and trading platform, and very competitive fees based on volume tiers, bitFlyer is a simple and easy to use exchange without all the bells and whistles of other complicated exchanges in the modern day.

Users have exactly what they need and every user pays the same fees to transact, irrespective of their maker/taker status, starting at 0.10% fees for the Lighting Pro trading platform. 

However, the exchange can leave much to be desired for many users who have grown accustomed to the range of crypto financial services at other top-tier exchanges, such as lending and staking, competitions, cashback cards, margin and futures access, and more features. 

US users can access bitFlyer and KYC is required to use the exchange at all verification levels. 

International users looking for lending, borrowing, and staking options, or institutional clients looking for other features may find other competitors more valuable.

  • bitFlyer offers access to 5 coins and 8 trading pairs, for only spot trading
  • Intermediate to advanced traders trading margin or futures who desire access to advanced trading tools and charting would prefer to pick a different exchange especially if desiring one not requiring KYC, as bitFlyer is better suited to spot investors in Japan or elsewhere 
bitflyer lightning pro exchange

Other Alternatives

For customers who desire access to a simpler user interface with far more trading pairs, or those who do not desire to participate in cryptocurrency futures trading either Bittrex, OKX, Coinbase, and Voyager can make great alternatives with a much greater amount of cryptocurrencies offered to trade along with more competitive trading fees and functionality.

Beginners, buy-and-hold investors, and low volume traders may prefer the easy to use features and functionality of Coinbase with its brand presence, US regulatory approval, and cryptocurrency education that even provides the chance to earn free cryptocurrency for learning. 

Coinbase is best designed for buy-and-hold investors or casual to intermediate cryptocurrency users though has a much larger selection of cryptocurrencies offered compared to bitFlyer—402 pairs vs. bitFlyer’s 5 coins—while active traders who need access to order books and advanced charting functionality may prefer using Coinbase Pro, FTX, Binance, or KuCoin though their fee structures and product offerings differ, and they all use volume-tiered fee schedules just like bitFlyer, though bitFlyer’s fee schedule is certainly more competitive than that of Coinbase.

For customers who desire to trade and invest in stocks in addition to top cryptocurrencies and do not mind having a smaller selection from which to choose or only desire access to the top 20 cryptos on the market, Webull and Robinhood are brokers that offers US equities and a small selection of cryptocurrencies. 

Other competitors to bitFlyer include OKX, Upbit, and Kraken.

bitFlyer vs Coinbase 

Coinbase is better in all aspects of functionality and range of trading coins and products offered if compared to bitFlyer. 

Both exchanges offer no margin trading, but bitFlyer easily wins in the fee department, as the base volume tier starts at 0.10% which is much lower than at Coinbase. An advantage for high volume traders will be the volume-tiered fees at Coinbase, which decrease most rapidly over 20M in 30-day trading volume, since bitFlyer does not differentiate between liquidity providers and liquidity takers. 

Coinbase also offers about 50x the selection of trading pairs as is offered at bitFlyer, with 440 trading pairs, compared to 8 at bitFlyer.

Coinbase is a public US company and offers transparency into its industry-leading security along with its brand reputation, while bitFlyer is registered in the USA as well and allows US users but lacks the brand presence that Coinbase enjoys.

Ultimately, advanced users who desire both competitive fees and a greater selection of trading products than what either FTX or Coinbase offer may find the choices below equally valuable.

bitFlyer vs FTX 

FTX will win against bitFlyer for even intermediate or beginner traders unless specifically seeking JPY trading pairs, as FTX offers 323 coins and 492 trading pairs, which is again far higher than bitFlyer’s 5 coins and 8 trading pairs. 

Derivatives traders who want to trade margin, extensive crypto futures pairs, or leveraged tokens and options will prefer FTX since bitFlyer offers only spot trading and no derivatives instruments of any kind.

FTX is known for its extensive futures pairs and top-class matching and liquidation engine for advanced derivatives traders, while bitFlyer also offers a full-featured trading experience with high trading volume, however FTX is known for catering to active derivatives traders and optimizing for high order volume and trading execution speed.

FTX cannot be used by US persons but bitFlyer can, though FTX offers a US version of its exchange whose trade offerings are far more limited than its parent global exchange and do not at all compare to FTX International’s selection, but still win if compared to the selection that bitFlyer offers. 

International users who can use FTX International may prefer FTX for these reasons over bitFlyer. US users trading at FTX US need to do KYC procedures and likewise for bitFlyer. Fees are slightly more competitive at FTX, since FTX offers both fee incentives for volume and for holders of its FTT token.

bitFlyer vs Gemini

BitFlyer and Gemini are two exchanges with similarities in their offerings and lack of extensive crypto financial services.

There is a slight difference in fees to start giving bitFlyer the edge: the minimum fee tier at Gemini starts at 0.35% for takers and 0.10% for makers, with a flat transaction fee between $0.99-$2.99 and 1.49% transaction fee for trades over $200, so there are extra fees per transaction and extra “auction” fees, while bitFlyer offers volume-tiered fees that start at only 0.10% for both makers and takers. 

US investors and traders are allowed to use Gemini with KYC compliance since Gemini is regulated and based in the USA, however as a result, Gemini offers no margin or futures products, and neither does bitFlyer.

Gemini offers 62 coins and 86 trading pairs which is much larger as compared to that of bitFlyer’s 5 coins and 8 trading pairs. Additionally, Gemini’s Gemini Earn product has far more staking selection and higher APY offered than bitFlyer’s staking services and other financial services products currently offered, which are non-existent.

bitFlyer vs Kraken

Kraken offers margin trading at up to 5X leverage even for US investors and several other margin offerings, which is a win over bitFlyer’s lack of any margin or leverage offerings. Simply put, US users may prefer Kraken for its regulatory compliance and strong track record.

Kraken uses a maker-taker fee schedule, starting at 0.16% maker fees and 0.26% taker fees at the entry level which is not quite as competitive even at the entry volume tier level than bitFlyer’s volume tiered fee structure starting at 0.10% for both makers and takers. Both exchanges offer no other fee incentives besides those for volume. Market makers enjoy reduced fees however at Kraken whereas at bitFlyer they pay the same fee rates as market takers.

Kraken offers a much larger variety of cryptocurrencies and pairs (over 90 coins, over 400 pairs), so users who value a large selection and advanced traders who seek margin will prefer Kraken by far.

If an active trader wishes to trade other instruments beyond crypto and prefers not to KYC, he or she may prefer other exchanges such as Bybit or OKX, but if he or she prefers a much larger selection of crypto only instruments and does not mind KYC, Kraken wins. 

Kraken is accessible in 48 US states with KYC and is regulated and licensed by FinCEN in the USA, while US users can also use bitFlyer.

bitFlyer vs Binance

Binance is the leading global crypto established exchange by trading volume, offering a much larger selection of cryptocurrencies than bitFlyer—over 351 coins and over 1300 pairs.

Traders looking solely for the most advanced trading options such as high leverage margin and futures products specific to crypto only will prefer Binance, as it offers many USDT futures pairs that are not offered even on FTX, the other derivatives leader, at the moment. 

Binance’s maker-taker fee schedule is better in its competitiveness compared to that of bitFlyer, starting at 0.1% (same as that of bitFlyer), however Binance also offers further 25% reduction in fees if paid in BNB, so this is a win for Binance, alongside its offering of reduced fee tiers for higher volume and even maker rebates. 

Binance also offers a more extensive web and ecosystem of products, support, and liquidity, especially given its larger daily volume as compared to bitFlyer. Binance is the most popular and well-known futures market in the global cryptocurrency industry and well-known for its extensive futures pairs. 

The Binance exchange is not at all accessible to US persons and US customers will have to use Binance US which is a much more limited version of its global parent site, with only 64 coins and 130 pairs, which is still more than that of bitFlyer, so Binance US still wins if compared to bitFlyer.

Binance requires full KYC now to trade even spot products, and bitFlyer requires full KYC compliance as well to use.

Advanced traders and intermediate users alike who value a large selection of cryptocurrencies, products like staking, lending, and more, competitive fee structures, and futures and margin products will probably prefer Binance. 

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Is bitFlyer Safe?

Yes, bitFlyer takes extensive security precautions. In addition to using multi-sig, the exchange has also established industry leading standards with AML and KYC policies. 

The website itself is SSL encrypted, a firewall is used for restricting outside access, users are encouraged to use complex passwords with 2-factor authentication, only connections from pre-registered IP addresses can access the terminal and services, ID and phone verification is required for all customers changing their details, and virus and malware checks are regularly done on the programs being used in the exchange’s upkeep. 

More information on bitFlyer’s security protocols may be noted in full here. The exchange also has a good reputation, is a member of the Japan Blockchain Association (JBA) due to its comprehensive trade restrictions and security measures being in compliance with the guidelines set forth by the JBA, and has never suffered any hacks.

How long does bitFlyer Withdrawal take?

USD withdrawals requested before 1PM PST on business days are reflected to the user’s bank account on the same business day typically. If the request is made after 1PM PST, the user may receive the wire on the next business day. There may be delays on federal holidays or on the banking system’s end.

For crypto withdrawals, on average, it takes from 30 minutes to several hours for a transaction to be confirmed. 

Please note that for crypto, the number of confirmations required for actual depositing of funds is determined by every receiving platform individually, for each particular currency, according to its own security standards.

After processing fiat withdrawals, the usual timeframe for ACH withdrawals to reach the user’s bank is 2-4 business days, excluding weekends and holidays.

Is bitFlyer a good exchange?

bitFlyer is a good general choice of crypto exchange for users, especially those in Japan desiring access to JPY crypto pairs, but also any international and US user who desires access to a very simple, no-frills exchange with a simple core offering of cryptos with high volume and good liquidity, without more extraneous financial services that other top exchanges include in  their offerings. 

Whilst the exchange offers a strong core offering of top 5-8 crypto coins and trading pairs, spot only trading, a full-featured charting and trading platform, and very competitive fees based on volume tiers, bitFlyer is a simple and easy to use exchange without all the bells and whistles of other complicated exchanges in the modern day.

Users have exactly what they need and every user pays the same fees to transact, irrespective of their maker/taker status, starting at 0.10% fees for the Lighting Pro trading platform. 

However, the exchange can leave much to be desired for many users who have grown accustomed to the range of crypto financial services at other top-tier exchanges, such as lending and staking, competitions, cashback cards, margin and futures access, and more features. 

US users can access bitFlyer and KYC is required to use the exchange at all verification levels. 

International users looking for lending, borrowing, and staking options, or institutional clients looking for other features may find other competitors more valuable.

Where is bitFlyer located?

BitFlyer Inc. is located and registered in Tokyo, Japan, and bitFlyer USA has its headquarters in San Francisco, CA.

Does bitFlyer require KYC?

Yes, the exchange requires KYC verification for all intents and purposes. There are two levels of verification at bitFlyer, called “account class,” that both come with different account limits.

  • “Trade”
    • May deposit and withdraw digital assets
    • May deposit and withdraw USD
    • May buy and sell digital assets
    • May use the Lightning Pro exchange 
    • Max digital asset daily deposit and withdraw limit of $50K per day
    • Max USD daily deposit and withdraw limit of $50K per day
    • Unlimited single transaction volume
  • “Trade Pro”
    • May deposit and withdraw digital assets
    • May deposit and withdraw USD
    • May buy and sell digital assets
    • May use the Lightning Pro exchange 
    • Max digital asset daily deposit and withdraw limit is Unlimited
    • Max USD daily deposit and withdraw limit is Unlimited
    • Unlimited single transaction volume

Both account tiers are required to KYC. KYC verification of identity, residential address, and bank account is required to use the exchange.

What are the Deposit and Withdrawal Methods and Fees for bitFlyer?

bitFlyer offers the following deposit and withdrawal methods, with the corresponding fees:

  • Crypto assets: deposits and withdrawals—no deposit fees. Withdrawal fees depend on the asset in question: the fee list is here and the fees are minimal (as low as 0.001 BTC).
  • Fiat deposits via wire transfer and ACH bank transfer are free, withdrawals are free for ACH but $20 for wire withdrawals to bank accounts.

What is the Minimum Withdraw Amount for bitFlyer?

The minimum withdrawal amount for crypto assets is 0.001 BTC for BTC and 0.001 for ETH. Other minimums can be noted here from support.

How do you withdraw from bitFlyer?

Instructions for withdrawing from users accounts can be found here from official support.

Users can withdraw from the wallet by navigating to the “Account Funding” page, selecting their virtual currency, and then selecting the “Withdrawal” button.

From there, the user should select the destination address to which he or she wishes to withdraw or click “register an external address,” go to the user’s email inbox to verify. 

Then, fill in the details of the withdrawal including toggling the correct currency and be sure to include a tag or memo if needed.

The withdrawal options including the blockchain network and any associated fees will then populate on the screen. 

Finally, the user clicks the “Proceed to Send” button, opens his or her email, and confirms the withdrawal.

Is bitFlyer a wallet?

No, bitFlyer is a full-featured cryptocurrency trading exchange, but offers users a custodial wallet as part of its exchange services. 

How to use bitFlyer?

Using bitFlyer can be done by going to bitflyer.com, creating an account on the platform, first undergoing KYC verification procedures, and then depositing any trading funds into the account (either crypto assets or fiat via connecting one’s bank account) and then getting access to the market offerings and begin trading.

User Reviews

  1. bitFlyer users on Reddit discuss regulatory developments for the exchange, such as it adding Chainlink in December 2021. One user comments: "As someone living in Japan, this is pretty big as our exchanges are heavily governed and limited to listing only a few coins, I hope to see as much support for Chainlink as ADA has had."
  2. A publication on Medium called Coinmonks discussed why bitFlyer is not a popular US exchange yet despite being allowed for US users. They state: "An overall score of 85% was given to bitFlyer after assessing all the key factors of a cryptocurrency exchange. As a leading exchange they have all the fundamentals in place."
  3. The official bitFlyerUSA subreddit is the discussion community on Reddit for users of bitFlyer in the USA.
  4. A user reviews his issues with KYC verification and more with bitFlyer: "I'm literally begging you not to work with these guys. They will keep your funds hostage, reply whenever and in a copy/paste manner, etc." u/TokyoCuddlingService
     replies
    : "Your bad experience might have something to do with the recent FSA scrutiny. Since bitFlyer is the biggest in Japan, they receive the strictest scrutiny. They often have to freeze funds to fix issues. Just wait a while."
     

About the author 

Whiteboard Crypto Team

We are a team of blockchain enthusiasts dedicated to creating high-quality resources for anyone wanting to learn about the space. In fact, what inspired us was our grandparents - they didn't understand crypto. We aim so create all our content so that even they can understand it!

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