Sign up was a breeze, I filled in my info and went straight through to the verification process, an essential requirement to begin buying some bitcoin. I provided my mobile number and was told I would receive a phone call within the next few days, the first time I have seen such an approach. In the meantime I was asked to upload my ID documents and wait for the call. I waited two days for a call and heard nothing, so I sent off an email to see what the problem could be and received a reply telling me that my verification was complete. The process seemed inconsistent and I was disappointed with how long it took.
Once verified I could finally make my first purchase. HardBlock only accept EFT (online banking) payments, a straightforward and secure method, but certainly not the quickest way to send money so I would have to wait another few days for the transfer to confirm. Two days later I received an email confirming my funds and was advised that next time the process should be much quicker now that my first transfer was complete.
With funds available buying bitcoin was now easy, I entered the amount I wanted to spend in Australian Dollars and was given the corresponding bitcoin amount. My purchase appeared in my account's bitcoin balance within minutes.
I found the buying process easy largely due to that fact there was not much depth to the site or options to get lost in. Although very little information was provided regarding bitcoin terminology it did not feel missing and HardBlock have done a great job in removing bitcoin jargon from the experience, I did not see one mention of a wallet address for example. I found the site design equally simplistic and functional without much to comment on, it is easy to navigate but I couldn't hep thinking it all felt a little unfinished, some of the pages such as your dashboard, are extremely sparse and underwhelming.
As a result of the sparse theme HardBlock present, confidence in security suffers. The standard two factor authentication option is available but otherwise there is very littler in the way of reassurance that your information, money or bitcoin are in safe hands. The about page does provide information on the team which does provide some accountability and personality but overall the shallowness of the experience left me questioning just how sturdy the platform was.
The FAQ section again does not provide a great deal of additional information, with short, sometimes one word answers. A simple enquiry was responded to very quickly and with a personal tone which is a possible upside to such a simplistic service, more time for customer service.
From the perspective of a bitcoin novice the site is great as it really would be hard to go wrong. My issue with HardBlock however is that very little effort appears to have been paid to creating an exciting or at least welcoming experience for users. While effective, the cold directness of the buying process and the lack of many features standard on other exchanges did not give me any incentive to make a return visit or hold my bitcoin on the site. I had doubts regarding the sites reliability purely based on its presentation and although everything eventually worked smoothly for myself I did not see myself recommending it to first time bitcoin users.
Review date: August 2016.