Spot test: Can beginners use exchanges? Part II: Bitstamp

Cointelegraph’s test series for exchanges continues with a report on using Bitstamp as an entry level user to see how its user experience matches its reputation.

The test is part of a practical report following publication of our exchanges reviews series earlier this year. As Bitcoin becomes more and more appealing to mainstream consumers, it is likely that more will need to use an exchange in order to perform various transactions.

As such, we wanted to see if the five leading exchanges from our review really are equipped to deliver a user experience which is easy and enjoyable to navigate for someone new to Bitcoin.

Bitstamp performed very well when under review, attaining joint second place with Hitbtc (whose usability review was first to be published here).

As with Hitbtc, the following operations were tested and will be reviewed in this article:

- Registration; 

- Account setup; 

- Account verification; 

- Account deposits and withdrawals (fiat and cryptocurrency); 

- User support system. 

Registration

The first visit to Bitstamp’s homepage presents an immediately visible sign-up link which leads to a standard form requiring basic information to be submitted. A confirmation link is then sent to the email address supplied, whereupon a trading account is opened.

Account setup

Password stipulations are somewhat irksome, requiring unmemorable character combinations, but as this is in the interest of security, it is likely users would not be put off. (This journalist in fact forgot the account password a total of five times while accessing the exchange for this report, which demonstrates the necessity of keeping secure offline copies of sensitive information when it comes to using Bitcoin.)

Once set up, accessing the account loads a set of values under the account tab. Information is laid out in overhead tabs while account