Bisq Review – Is This Decentralized Exchange Worth Using?

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By Austin DeNoce

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Bisq Review

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Bisq Review

  • DAO
  • Peer-to-Peer Payments
  • Trading
  • Trading Fees
4.3

Summary

Bisq is a decentralized exchange designed to allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrency with and for fiat currency without the use of a central server. This exchange includes peer-to-peer transactions, various funding options, support for a variety of altcoins, and more. Learn everything you need to know about this decentralized exchange by reading our complete Bisq review.

Pros

  • Tons of supported fiat currencies
  • Dozens of funding methods
  • Truly decentralized exchange

Cons

  • No developed trading interface
  • Very limited number of supported crypto assets
  • High taker fees

About Bisq

Bisq is a cross-platform desktop application that allows anyone to buy and sell cryptocurrency with and for fiat currency without any central server.

As a decentralized exchange, Bisq also enables individuals to exchange directly with one another through peer-to-peer transactions without any intermediaries.

Accordingly, Bisq’a mission is to provide a secure, private, and censorship-resistant way of exchanging crypto over the internet.

Unlike centralized exchanges, the Bisq platform requires no identity verification to buy and sell bitcoin. You don’t even need to create a Bisq account to participate in its peer-to-peer network.

If you want to learn all about Bisq’s services and whether or not they’re right for you, stick around for this in-depth Bisq review.

Bisq Dao

With no CEO or central leadership team, Bisq stakeholders (traders and contributors) are the owners of the Bisq exchange.

Through social consensus (via voting), stakeholders determine Bisq’s project strategy and overall governance, and thus all changes are run through its community.

Because of the BSQ token (the protocol’s governance token), the Bisq DAO facilitates value transfers from traders to contributors without centrally-held bank accounts or wallets.

This enables trading fees on the Bisq exchange to be distributed to project contributors without any banks, corporations, or other legal entities—keeping Bisq stateless & decentralized.

Bisq DAO

Peer-to-Peer Desktop App

Since Bisq is a standalone app, it is naturally very different from most centralized and decentralized exchanges, but the UI is great, and navigating the app is incredibly straightforward.

The first tab in the app, the “Market” tab, has a visual of the BTC offer volume and a list of peers you can transact with.

There are also subtabs under the “Market’ tab where you’ll find trade history and all the offer methods broken down by currency and payment method.

Because the Bisq exchange facilities peer-to-peer trading, it lets you view offers made by specific individuals. You can even see basic peer info on each buyer and seller, including their onion address.

Bisq Peer-to-Peer Payments

Bisq Supported Assets

The Bisq exchange supports trading for BTC, BSQ, XMR, ETH, DAI, and a few other altcoins.

While the Bisq exchange’s number of supported crypto assets is certainly limited compared to most decentralized exchanges, it also supports dozens of fiat currencies paired with BTC.

That said, trading through the Bisq exchange will not be ideal for anyone seeking a wide range of supported assets as it primarily caters to BTC.

Bisq also won’t be ideal for active traders focused on tight spreads, liquidity, or other features of highly financialized markets.

The Bisq platform will, however, cater to most people interested in exchanging fiat for BTC, given it supports just about every major fiat currency.

Funding Your Account

Bisq supports more funding options than perhaps all decentralized exchanges and possibly even most centralized exchanges.

Bisq Funding Deposit

Funding methods include ACH transfer, wire transfer, MoneyGram, SEPA, Swift, Zelle, and dozens more, so there is no shortage of deposit methods.

Once you’ve successfully deposited funds, you’ll see the “Take Offer” buttons highlighted under the “Buy” and “Sell” tabs.

If the “Take Offer” button is grayed out, you’ll need to create a payment account.

Overall, Bisq has to have the broadest range of payment methods and supported fiat currencies we’ve seen, so that will be an advantage to keep top of mind.

Bisq Decentralized Exchange

Before you start trading on Bisq, you’ll need to deposit/purchase a little BTC for a security deposit and to pay any mining fee your trades require.

Bisq Funding

The security deposit helps prevent fraud, so Bisq requires both buyers and sellers to post one (in bitcoin) for every trade. 

On the buyer’s side, this is usually 15% of the trade amount. However, sellers can specify their preferred security deposit percentage when creating an offer to sell bitcoin, so trade security deposits can vary.

Bisq Trading

Although Bisq doesn’t have a traditional chart or order panel, it has a subtab under Markets titled “Trades,” where you can see a very crude BTC chart in addition to a visual of the buy volume.

The chart is pretty unusable, but the volume visual is decent, and you can view details on previous Bisq trades in a panel below it.

Bisq Trading - Trades

To actually place buy and sell orders, you can create or take an offer in the “Buy” and “Sell” tabs, but you won’t find an order panel like those found on (most) other exchanges.

As alluded to, users can filter offers by currency and payment method, view the min/max of an offer, and even get some basic info on the various peer buyers and sellers, so transactions can be a very personal experience.

Bisq Trading Fees

The Bisq exchange fees are paid in either BTC or BSQ with maker/taker fees of 0.12%/0.88% and 0.05%/0.35%, respectively.

Bisq encourages traders to use BSQ by offering a discount on trading fees of approximately 60% since BSQ fees help fund Bisq’s development.

The BSQ discount rate creates a very competitive fee structure, but the taker fee when paying in BTC is quite high even when compared to a high-fee centralized exchange like Coinbase.

If you decide to use Bisq and aren’t willing to pay fees in BSQ, it would be wise to only be a maker, lest you pay 7x more in fees.

When it comes to Bisq withdrawal fees, there is no central authority taking a cut, and all funds outside of escrow are in self custody, so you will only have to pay the mining fee or network fee associated with the asset you’re withdrawing.

Conclusion: Bisq Review 

After downloading the Bisq desktop app to test all of its services for this Bisq Review, we found that it is not an exchange built for traders, but is still a great payment platform.

The decentralized peer-to-peer element of Bisq is ostensibly the only reason anyone should consider using it, but its’ capabilities will serve you well if that’s what you’re looking for.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of Bisq is the countless funding methods and supported fiat currencies that leave it well positioned to be a truly global peer-to-peer network for payments.

Like many decentralized exchanges, Bisq doesn’t have real charts, order types, enough supported markets, or many of the other features classic traders would like.

However, Bisq is a relatively user-friendly way to participate in a global payment network that comes off as actually decentralized as opposed to most other “decentralized exchanges.”

Although the Bitcoin network is decentralized, most people store their BTC with central authority manage transactions through some centralized intermediary, and Bisq is a way around that.

Decentralized exchanges throw that term around quite liberally, and Bisq is a platform that really meets that definition. 

In a nutshell, Bisq is just an organized way to connect to peers all around the world who want to buy and sell BTC, so if you aren’t interested in peer-to-peer payments, you’ll be better off with other exchanges.

In conclusion, we found Bisq to align well with the broader ethos of Bitcoin as a genuine peer-to-peer payment facilitator, but it won’t be particularly useful to traders or anyone uninterested in decentralized transactions.

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Austin DeNoce

Austin DeNoce is a writer, personal investor, and entrepreneur who is focused on trading and investing education for macro, crypto, equities, derivatives, and foreign exchange traders. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a bachelor’s in philosophy and carries a deep passion for a first-principles approach to investing and education therein. Austin specializes in topics related to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

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