After some initial trouble locating the sign up button on the busy home page, creating an account was fairly straightforward with minimal requirements. Verification took a little longer as expected, taking a day for my Identification documents to be confirmed but this is a familiar process across a number of Australian exchanges. Once verified I could make my first deposit, Independent reserve accept transfers via EFT and POLi Pay, so either way I would have to wait another day at least before I could finally buy some bitcoin. I chose to use a standard EFT method and received confirmation of my deposit via email within 24 hours.
With funds in my account I went to the trade page and was overwhelmed with the stream of data and options available. Pausing to have a careful read through the various buy order options I decided to place a buy order at the market price and clicked to confirm. The process was instantaneous from there and I could see the bitcoin appear in my account. It was difficult to feel confident in navigating the trade page given the complexity surrounding the purchase and each step was taken with noticeable hesitation but I had my bitcoin and I get the sense that it would not take long to overcome this somewhat steep initial learning curve.
Looking at Independent reserve’s homepage it is clear they are approaching the bitcoin market as a fully featured trading platform rather than a straightforward buy/sell model. It can be quite confronting at first but it’s clear the site is packed with information.
You will find tooltips in the form of question marks next to many of the technical terms and its very apparent that an effort has been made to breakdown and explain what at first appears a complex process. The peer-to-peer bitcoin buy / sell format of the site is certainly the less user friendly option for beginners purchasing bitcoin so its nice to see attention has been paid to clear up some of the jargon.
Independent Reserve from all accounts appears set up for high volume trading, so security is obviously of the utmost importance. All of the security features you would expect are available and recommended, with two factor authentication offered via either Googles Authenticator service or SMS message. They even offer the ability to provide a duress password, something I have not seen on any other platforms, which essentially gives you the ability to lock down your account if for some reason you are being forced to login or give up your details.
Users can also turn on an option to have email correspondence with Independent reserve be verified via PGP signing. It’s an interesting feature although may fly over the heads of beginners and people just hoping to buy some bitcoin but shows a clear dedication to providing the most secure user experience possible.
A quick check of their social media shows an active presence, and a quick message I sent through to the support team was responded to within 24 hours as promised.
Although the site and trader focus is not going to be for everyone, Independent Reserve certainly offers a secure option for serious bitcoin traders or traditional traders looking to expand into bitcoin. The choice of trading in three currencies, US, AUS and NZ dollars is a great feature and the site provides all the tools needed to buy and sell quickly at the market price. There is very little hand holding when it comes to getting started which may scare off beginners and the lack of a cash deposit option is certainly not ideal for someone simply hoping to sign up and buy some bitcoin quickly.
Review date: August 2016.