Hodly Review: Is it Safe to Buy CryptoCurrency With?
Update 15 May 2019: Hodly has closed down for new users. Consider using IQ Option for your crypto trading purposes.
Hodly is a brand new cryptocurrency mobile wallet that has just launched to much fanfare and is the latest service offering a "fiat gateway".
These are essentially cryptocurrency exchanges that give you the option to buy cryptocurrency with your Fiat currency. In the case of Hodly, this is done through the use of your personal credit / debit card.
Hodly was also started by the same team that had created IQ Option. It was created as an alternative to their CFD and options products for those traders who wanted to buy the physical coins.
Yet, the most important question is: Can such a new exchange be trusted?
In this complete Hodly review, we will take a look at the company and the steps required to buy coins on Hodly. We will delve into the security, customer support and fees etc.
Hodly Company Overview
As mentioned, Hodly was started by the same team that run IQ Option. IQ Option is one of Europe's largest CFD and Option brokers and are fully regulated by European agencies.
IQ Option Ltd was founded in 2013 and has grown the brand considerably. They have launched Hodly as they wanted to offer an option for cryptocurrenvy traders to buy the physical coins. This is something that you are not doing when you buy a CFD product.
They also wanted to create a wallet that was relatively simple and easy to understand. The wallet was designed as a method in order to buy cryptocurrency with the click of a button and used them regularly for purchases.
This is something that we approve of.
By providing users with the means to buy and spend cryptocurrencies on a daily basis, Hodly is increasing mass adoption of cryptocurrencies in general.
Hodly Step-by-Step Guide
To start the review, we are going to take you through our assessment of the process required to buy cryptocurrency on Hodly. We will then take a deeper dive into particular concerns or observations we had.
Creating Your Wallet
In order to buy and receive any crypto on Hodly, you will need to have a wallet. Your wallet will be created automatically when you sign up with a new account.
Once you have your Hodly account, there is nothing stopping you from buying, selling and receiving your coins. However, if you want to be able to spend them or withdraw them you will need to verify your account.
Verification is quite a simple process and only requires one form of identification. There is no need to upload other documents that some exchanges require such as proof of address etc.
Hodly makes use of automated verification software from net Verify that will perform the verification process. This means that the verification times take about 20 minutes to complete.
Once you are logged into your wallet, you will have a complete overview of your account including all your positions. The default for the wallet is to show you the amount that you have in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and OTN tokens (more on this below).
You will also have the Fiat balance of your coins in above that. You can select to display the balances of your other coins in your wallet by selecting "choose balances".
There is also a basic chart that is presented below with the price of the coin. This is nothing special and is similar to the charting on larger fiat gateways like Coinbase.
Now that you have your account set up on Hodly, you can proceed to buying your coins of choice. The only funding options that you can make use of surprisingly is credit / debit cards. They accept Visa and Mastercard.
The minimum amount that you can buy is $10 and the maximum is $100,000. This should be suffecient for most user's needs. If you are considering buying more than $100,000 in coins then you will probably want to use another exchange that has wire funding options.
After you have selected the coins that you would like to buy, you will then proceed as normal with credit card details etc. Assuming that all clears, the cryptocurrency will instantly be added to your account. We purchased $50 for our test amount.
Using Your Coins
Once you have bought your coins, you may want to send them out or receive more cryptocurrency from another wallet. When receiving, your wallet will present you with your public address that you can use to initiate the transaction. There is also a QR code which will streamline the whole process.
Sending is similarly as simple and you will merely insert the address that you are trying to send to. When we tried this, they wanted us to confirm the withdrawal. This is done usually on most exchanges to prevent anyone having their coins stolen.
Hence, whenever you are putting in a new wallet, they will request that you confirm it via email.
With that being said, it seems as if Hodly uses industry standard security when it comes to protecting the coins on exchange. For example, they use cold storage which is a technique that will take coins offline and "air gap" them.
What does this mean exactly?
From the moment that you create an account on hodly, your information is encrypted and sent to a secure offline location. Once this has been completed, backup copies are made and are stored on hard drives and paper wallets. They then take these hard copy forms of the wallets and will store them across multiple bank vaults in secret locations.
Of course, there is also a risk from credit card / data theft. For secure communications, they make use of Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology. They also use advanced PCI DSS for their credit card payments. In order to make sure that all of our communications with the platform are secure, they use AES 256 encrypted communications.
Lastly, there is also protection on the user side in the form of two factor authentication. This is able to protect the user from any phishing attempts that may take place from external actors. This is handled through an SMS confirmation.
They claim that they also have internal procedures in place in order to limit the amount of any staff who have access to important information. This is indeed a wise move given the social engineering attacks that have used previous soft spots at exchange employees.
Hodly Customer Support
This is one thing that we are particularly interested in when we look at a new exchange. From experience, we know how frustrating it can be when we have to wait days for any sort of confirmation from someone on the team.
Hodly has the instant chat option that is right on the dashboard. We wanted to try this out so we reached out to the customer support chat window when we were completing the review. We were getting in touch with them at 10pm on a Saturday night and wanted to test the 24/7 customer support claim.
The response time was literally within a couple of seconds. This is quite a departure from the day long response times that we have seen on other exchanges. Of course, this could just be as a result of being a new service but we can give them the benefit of the doubt.
Given that they complete their verifications with NetVerify algorithms, it means that you will not have to wait for human verification. This is usually what most exchanges face bottlenecks with.
Of course, there is always a chance that the software is unable to read your ID for some reason and in this event, they may request more information or have to have it manually verified.
Coin Coverage and Fees
The Hodly app covers 13 cryptocurrencies. Below is a list of all the coins that you can buy on the in the wallet.
Although this will satisfy most people who want to buy cryptocurrencies instantly, we were surprised that there were quite a few coins that were excluded. For example, you cannot buy EOS, Monero (XMR), Cardano, IOTA or DASH. These are coins that many people use and may be disappointed about.
Of course, there is nothing stopping them from using Hodly as their Fiat gateway and moving the coins onto another exchange for them to buy the above coins.
In terms of the fees, these are not disclosed on the website. However, we reached out on the chat in order to get some more information. They responded immediately to our request and confirmed that there are no fees when depositing with your card.
However, when you buy coins, you will be charged a 4.9% commission. We also confirmed this when we calculated the amount of Bitcoin that we received after our purchase. This is on the higher end of things but is still below Bitstamp's 5% commission.
While the buying / selling fees are on the high side, there are no fees that are charged to withdraw and deposit on the exchange with Crypto. When you are making a transaction, you will only be charged a network fee which is the miner’s fee.
What are OTN Tokens?
You will also notice that you have the options to purchase OTN tokens on Hodly. Quite simple, OTN tokens are the native tokens of the Open Trading Network. This is essentially a 100% collateralized and decentralised exchange.
OTN operates using smart contract technology that will facilitate exchange between two incompatible blockchains. For example, if you want to exchange Ethereum (ETH) for Bitcoin with someone else then the OTN token can act as an intermediary liquidity token.
Unlike many other ERC20 standard tokens, there was no crowd sale for the OTN tokens. They were distributed through a number of avenues including through the IQ Option trading platform as well as to existing OTN holders. These are termed "Airdrops".
Hodly Chat Options
Apart from being able to reach customer service through the chat window, you also have the option to chat with a number of other traders in the particular coin groups. This could be great if you wanted someone to bounce ideas off of.
This option to chat with the group is unfortunately only open to traders who have invested more than $300 on the Hodly platform. So, we were unable to join any of the conversations. However, we could observe what was being talked about among the other traders.
The conversations were mostly about questions with regards to payments, withdrawals etc. There was not much ground-breaking and insightful conversation. Perhaps this is because it is still a new platform and the traders are still newbies.
Hence, you should consider some other trading telegram groups if you wanted more in depth analysis and opinions.
The Hodly Mobile App
Of course, one of the many advantages of the Hodly wallet is that there is a mobile version. This could be great for those users who would like to use their cryptocurrency wallets to pay for items at Point of sale.
The Hodly web wallet is now available on iOS and Android. Below are the screenshots from the itunes store for the iOS app. We downloaded the app to get an idea of the UX. It is well designed from an interface perspective.
Indeed, it is easy enough for new users to locate the most important information on the account including buying / selling, portfolio explorer and transaction overview.
One thing that we were disconcerted by was the rating of the app on the iStore. However, upon further examination, we noticed that these ratings were only from 9 users who were mostly complaining about the fees. As we mentioned, the fees are higher than usual but not the most pricey on the market.
It was also pleasant to see that each of the complaints were followed up by customer support that was interested in rectifying the situation. Similar to our online chat experience, they appear to be responsive to community concerns.
Moreover, if you were to take a look at the reviews that were presented on the Google play store, they were a lot more positive. The feedback was focused on the customer service as well as the user interface.
What was also interesting to us was the fact that there were considerably more reviews and downloads on Google play (281). Perhaps more users in the Crypto space are Android users and have chosen it because of this.
There are some other interesting features that we thought worthwhile to bring to your attention about the Hodly cryptocurrency wallet. One of them is the fact that they claim they will support cryptocurrency forks. This is something that not many exchanges will conclusively say.
For example, we recently had the drama with traders that were trying to take their Zclassic out of Cryptopia to try and trade the Bitcoin Private fork. They were doing this because Cryptopia let it be known that they would not be supporting it.
Of course, we would want to see how this pledge pans out in the case with an actual fork. There are numerous forks taking place today and they keeping track with them could be quite difficult for the Hodly team.
In the app, there is a feature that is called the "ultimate explorer". This is basically an overview of all the cryptocurrency market movements as well as news, information and charts that is related to that coin over the past day.
Some Things We Didn't Like
There were a few things that we didn't like with the Hodly wallet and thought warranted improvement.
For example, the charting package on Hodly is incredibly basic. The charts are merely to see where the price has gone over the past few hours / weeks / months. There are no options to map trend lines or place any studies.
Although this chart is just as simple as the one on Coinbase, we were expecting a much more advanced charting package from the same company that produced the IQ Option trading platform. That platform made use of the a host of charting features currently on the market.
Something else that we found quite unfortunate is that one only had the option to buy via card. Although this appears to be the fastest way, it is much more affordable to use wire funding. For those users who are in the EU, then they may also have wanted to use SEPA which usually clears in only a day.
The goal of creating Hodly was to develop a simple and easy to understand cryptocurrency wallet. From our view, this is something that the developers at IQ Option have managed to achieve.
The user interface is clean and the app is well laid out. This makes it is easy to navigate and trading can be done securely and within a matter of minutes. If you wanted to withdraw coins, verification is required but this is done in about 15-20 minutes.
While the trading fees were rather high, there were no costs to withdraw the coins. We would have liked to have seen a number of other cryptocurrency assets available to purchase as well as other funding options such as wire.
With that being said, the customer support was unrivalled in terms of speed. We hope that the Hodly team is able to keep this up over the next few months as the amount of traders on the platform increases.
So, is Hodly the cryptocurrency wallet for you? Well, that depends on a few factors.
If you are looking for an advanced trading platform with numerous cryptocurrency pairs and extensive volume then you are probably better served by using one of the other more established cryptocurrency exchangees such as Poloniex or Kraken.
However, if you are looking for a simple and secure way to buy the top crypto pairs instantly, then Hodly could be your best bet.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.