|Location||Reading[nb 1], United Kingdom, Slovenia|
|Key people||Nejc Kodrič (CEO and co-founder)|
Bitstamp is a bitcoin exchange based in the United Kingdom. As of September 2014[update] it was the world's second largest by volume. It allows trading between USD currency and bitcoin cryptocurrency. It allows USD, EUR, bitcoin or Ripple deposits and withdrawals. The company is headed by CEO Nejc Kodrič, a widely known member of the bitcoin community, who co-founded the company in August 2011 with Damijan Merlak. The company started in Slovenia, but moved its registration to the UK in April 2013.[nb 1]
The company was founded as a European-focused alternative to then-dominant bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. While the company trades in US dollars, it allows money to be deposited through the European Union's Single Euro Payments Area, allowing a relatively quick, low cost way of transferring money from European bank accounts to purchase bitcoins.
When incorporating in the United Kingdom, the company approached the UK's Financial Conduct Authority for guidance, but was told that bitcoin was not classed as a currency, so the exchange was not subject to regulation. Bitstamp says that it instead regulates itself, following a set of best practices to authenticate customers and deter money laundering. In September 2013, the company began requiring account holders to verify their identity with copies of their passports and official records of their home address.
Bitstamp also acts as a gateway for the Ripple payment protocol.
In February 2014, the company suspended withdrawals for several days in the face of a distributed denial-of-service. Bitcoin Magazine reported that people behind the attack sent a ransom demand of 75 bitcoins to Kodrič, who refused due to a company policy against negotiating with “terrorists”. Days after restoring service, Bitstamp temporarily suspended withdrawals for some users as a security precaution due to increased phishing attempts.
In January 2015, Bitstamp suspended its service after a hack during which less than 19,000 bitcoins were stolen.
- The company is registered in Reading in the UK, but this is in fact just the offices of UK PLC, a company specialising in company formation and which, amongst its services, allows companies to use its own address as their registered office, effectively acting as a forwarding address. There is no clear information available as to where Bitstamp's operations are located or whether they actually have any presence at all in the UK, or are still run out of Slovenia.
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