Bittylicious is a weird and wonderful take on the classic Bitcoin exchange. The site takes Pounds Sterling as payment, so it’s mostly there for people within the United Kingdom. But operating without formal regulation, there’s technically no limit upon who can buy cryptocurrency this way.
Bittylicious supports 16 cryptocurrencies at the moment, including some fairly niche altcoins with dedicated followings but not widespread adoption. The company’s business model allows them to facilitate transactions without actually providing any of the liquidity themselves.
This model is different from any other exchange we’re aware of. Part LocalBitcoins, part Changelly, Bittylicious remains a resource unto itself. Whether Bittylicious works for you or not depends on your needs and preferences. We think Bittylicious has real value for a certain type of investor. We’ll describe how this works, as well as provide an alternative that will be a bit easier and more secure for beginners than Bittylicious’s unusual vision.
So we’ve indicated that Bittylicious has a strange business model, but we haven’t yet gotten into what that looks like. In truth, Bittylicious’s concept is really easy to understand. It is, however, unfamiliar to most.
Bittylicious pairs up individual cryptocurrency buyers and individual cryptocurrency sellers. If you want to buy Bitcoin, you just go straight to the homepage and use the order form right in front of your eyes. You create an account, submit a bit of information, and you can immediately then make your first order using one of a couple of payment methods.
Then, under the hood, Bittylicious matches up your order with the sell order of another user. Bittylicious is just the intermediary, the middleman. Bittylicious, in fact, never stores your coins or provides liquidity of any kind. It’s just a streamlined meeting place for buyers and sellers.
As such, Bittylicious sometimes has problems with liquidity. After all, they don’t have a stock of these coins squirrelled away like Changelly or Shapeshift. The coins they sell must come from individual sellers who use the platform. While this is no big deal for big coins like Bitcoin, you might have trouble on occasion buying Belacoin from Bittylicious.
Nonetheless, Bittylicious is a pretty solid way to buy cryptocurrency. It might seem a little shady (and who knows, really; it’s not regulated), but it’s been in operation for more than 5 years, and the users of the internet seem to like it quite a bit. So we give Bittylicious our cautious recommendation, but we have a lot more explaining to do before we’re ready to specify the type of user who would get the most out of the platform. For the beginner, an alternative platform like eToro might be a better bet.
Bittylicious supports a somewhat unusual array of cryptocurrencies. All of these coins have their proponents and use cases, but some won’t have the widespread interest of coins supported by some other platforms. This doesn’t mean they’re not good coins – and in fact, their inclusion on Bittylicious is another mark in favor of this interesting exchange alternative.
As you can see, a number of these coins are forks of Bitcoin. It makes sense that Bittylicious would support them, perhaps because they were already fully integreated with Bitcoin. Coins like Blackcoin maintain a strong following. Whatever reason they coins are included, we think that Bittylicious’s coin selection is generally well curated.
Bittylicious is an interesting, and often practical, way to buy Bitcoin and altcoins. However, due to Bittylicious’s unusual peer to peer (P2P) business model, the exchange often has liquidity problems. We’ll explain what this means for people who are new to the concept.
You can think of Bittylicous as a physical store, with shelves and goods and cash registers. If Bittylicious were a normal store, products would be brought in by truck, and employees would stock the shelves with them. If something ran out, you could always ask someone to go into the back to get more. Or, worst case scenario, you could simply wait for the next shipment to replace the product which was sold out.
Bittylicious doesn’t work this way. Instead of a traditional store, it’s more of a community warehouse – a place where people with things to sell can come and fill the shelves. If you want to buy one of the products that often shows up at the Bittylicious store, you go and take a look. Very popular items like Bitcoin are always in stock, because so many people have them and there are always those who are trying to buy or sell.
But you go looking for Peercoin, a comparatively unpopular product. You put in an order, but unfortunately, there haven’t been any Peercoin on the shelves for 6 days. You wait around and after 3 more days someone shows up for some Peercoin to sell, but it costs more than you wanted to pay in the first place.
This liquidity problem is what differentiates Bittylicious from similar (but not the same) competitors like Changelly or LocalBitcoins. Changelly offers users the same instantaneous, product sent straight to personal wallet, buying experience as Bittylicious. But Changelly has its own store of coins, meaning that it doesn’t have to rely on individual user/sellers for liquidity. LocalBitcoins only sells the most popular coins in the world, so even though it’s P2P, liquidity is not a problem.
Bittylicious accepts this liquidity issue because it allows them to go without being regulated. Unfortunately for the user, this lack of regulation doesn’t result in more privacy. In the end, you’ll have to decide for yourself whether this liquidity problem is a dealbreaker for you.
No one really knows what Bittylicious charges for their service. Fees are taken directly from the exchange rate offered by Bittylicious on any given day, and while that price is often comparable to what is available in the general market, this is never formally explained and also appears to be fluid.
By some reports, Bittylicious gouged its Bitcoin prices by about 10% just a few months ago, while today the price seems to be well less than that. Anytime a company doesn’t tell the user the fees which they will be charged, it makes price hunting among crypto exchanges impossible. Without a doubt, Bittylicious doesn’t reveal their rates because they don’t have to – this is not a formally regulated business.
The unknown and variable nature of Bittylicious’s fees means that users will have to do a little extra homework when determining whether or not this is the exchange for them.
Bittylicious is a singular exchange. The company doesn’t “sell” Bitcoin in the conventional sense. Instead, they are the middleman, connecting peers and facilitating the exchange of a dozen-or-so cryptocurrencies.
The system works well, by all accounts, but Bittylicious does not reveal its price structure, and these rates seem variable. This makes it impossible for price-conscious investors to plan. Bittylicious also has regular liquidity problems, as the smaller coins it supports (Belacoin anyone?) simply don’t have enough regular buyers and sellers to create a consistent market. This makes the platform a bit less than reliable.
Furthermore, Bittylicious is not regulated. This means that, while users have to reveal personal information to use the platform, there is no real guarantee that the company will behave in a trustworthy manner. Of course, Bittylicious is an older exchange now, and has been generally trustworthy during this time. It’s up to the user to figure out how important regulation is for them personally.
At the end of the day, Bittylicious is a viable way to buy cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, though they don’t offer the privacy of similar platforms like LocalBitcoins, or the liquidity assurances of Changelly. Still, Bittylicious has its fans and regular users, and you may find that you like the platform and find value within it you can’t find elsewhere. To learn, you’ll just have to try it yourself.