Uphold Exchange Review: Can You Trust UpHold with Your Crypto?

Uphold

Uphold has developed a unique exchange for trading both digital and physical assets since its launch in 2015. It’s known as one of the few crypto exchanges that also supports commodity trading. It even became the first-ever financial service company to publicly share its reserve holdings in real-time.

The following Uphold review will dive into everything you need to know about the history of the exchange, using the exchange, and more. 

Uphold Exchange Key Information

Project Type Cryptocurrency Exchange
Beginner Friendly Yes
Mobile App Yes
Company Location United States
Availability 184+ countries, 30+ currencies
Company Launch 2015
Cryptocurrencies Supported 44+, including Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum
Fees Above Average
Community Trust Great
Site Visit Uphold

Mobile App

Uphold offers a mobile app that’s available on both Android and iOS. Out of over 4,300 reviews on the Apple App Store, Uphold has a rating of 3.6 stars. According to one review on the App Store, there are sometimes a few issues with being able to access accounts. On Google Play, the Uphold app has a rating of 4.2 stars with 15,260 reviews. 

Features

The Uphold website homepage compares the exchange with its primary competitors: Coinbase, Robinhood, and Revolut. For example, the site states that Uphold allows its users to access seven different blockchains. In contrast, Coinbase only has five. The other two competitors have zero access to blockchains. Another area that this exchange emphasizes is the availability of four tradable commodities. The other three major competitors have no such option.

Uphold has a new listed feature that states users can access a 3 – 10 percent return on digital currency holdings. There are also two major upcoming features. First, Uphold users will be able to borrow by accessing low-cost credit, secured by digital currency holdings. Second, the site will provide you with the option to create debit cards. This will allow you to easily spend Uphold account balances with physical and virtual cards.

Uphold vs Coinbase vs Robinhood

Security: Is Uphold Safe?

Overall, Uphold has a strong security track record. However, there has been at least one minor security incident in November 2018 where its mail service account (not the exchange) was compromised. Uphold later tweeted that the comprised account was a third-party service and wasn’t related to its own inbound mail system.

Nevertheless, hackers tricked users by sending a phishing email that said anyone could send between 0.1 and 50 BTC to a specified address and get back 15 percent more. It isn’t clear how successful the hackers ultimately were. One report states that the hackers stole at least $2,200 from a total of two transactions. During this event, Uphold decided to temporarily suspend BTC withdrawals. 

Additionally, some users have reported losing XRP on the platform.

Uphold Fees: Deposits, Trades, Withdrawals

Since Uphold offers support for all sorts of fiat and cryptocurrency options, its fee structure can be complex for newer traders. Opening an account and holding funds on Uphold is free. It’s also free when you fund an Uphold by depositing cryptocurrency or from another Uphold account. This means that all member-to-member transactions are free. If using a debit/credit card or China Union Pay to fund your account, a 3.99 percent fee applies.

Uphold’s Web dashboard

Trading fees for fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies, and metals vary greatly. The lowest amount is 0.65 percent for USD, EUR, and GBP. The highest amount is 3.95 percent for Platinum (XPT). A full, up-to-date list of fees can be found here.

To move fiat funds off-platform via bank transfer, the fee is $3.99. Third-party costs may also apply. Examples include bank wire costs in some geographies or blockchain network fees. Crypto withdrawal fees can be reasonable, but only if you’re taking out a larger amount of funds. For example, for crypto withdrawals, Uphold charges a flat fee of $2.99, plus an additional fee in the crypto you want to withdraw. Two examples are 0.0003 BTC and 0.005 ETH. Although you can trade commodities on the exchange, you currently can’t deposit or withdraw them.

Currency Options

According to the Uphold website, the exchange supports 23 fiat currencies. This is an area where Uphold excels over the vast majority of exchanges. Most major fiat-to-crypto exchanges don’t support currencies outside of USD, EUR, GBP, and CNY.

Uphold also supports trading of four precious metals: Gold (XAU), Platinum (XPT), Palladium (XPD) and Silver (XAG).

It also supports 44 cryptocurrencies, including BTC, ETH, DASH, LBA, LTC, BAT, BCH, BTG and XRP. In total, Uphold has over 1,000 trading pairs. One of the innovative things about Uphold is the ability to use email to send Bitcoin (BTC) to people in over 150 countries. 

Photo of the trading interface on the Uphold mobile app

The Uphold mobile app supports trading for crypto, fiat, and commodities.

Trading Limitations

Uphold is available in every nation in the world except for the Central African Republic, Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan and Syria. For locations where Uphold is available, you’ll likely have to go through a verification process. This is because Uphold requires all users to become verified members when the cumulative value of their lifetime transactions (excluding the addition of funds to their accounts) exceeds $1,000 US dollars.

During registration, the exchange collects info like date of birth and phone number. For residents of China, you have to submit a government-issued ID number. To become a verified member, you need to provide the following three items: current residential address, government-issued ID (passport, national ID card or driver’s license) and a clear photo of your face. 

Minimum deposits and withdrawals limits (and fees) depend on whether you are using a debit/credit card, bank transfer via ACH, bank transfer via SEPA or a cryptocurrency. As many users have pointed out, some fiat deposit methods can be costly. However, for cryptocurrency deposits, no minimum or maximum exists. 

Customer Service Experience

Uphold boasts an overall rating that is generally better than many exchanges, according to third-party review sites like TrustPilot.

While Uphold excels in many areas, the negative reviews mostly focus on issues related to customer service requests. Account locks after filling out verification information or depositing funds appear to be common. Some users have reported that they have talked with multiple customer service representatives over periods of days or weeks and have not been able to resolve their issues.

Still, many complaints listed on reviews are unfair. For example, some users gave bad reviews for long and/or inconsistent ACH transfer wait times. For the most part, this issue is outside of the control of Uphold or any other exchange.

In most scenarios, this has more to do with the processing capabilities of an individual’s bank.

Security

Security must be a paramount concern for cryptocurrency exchanges. In regard to the recent QuadrigaCX exchange scandal, where the founder Gerald Cotton allegedly died with private keys to $190 million, UpHold CEO JP Thieriot commented:

“While it’s certainly suspicious that an exchange would allow one man to hold $190 million, we can’t be certain that this was not the case. With all due sensitivity to the situation, an exchange’s cold storage being vulnerable in this way is bound to invite speculation of malfeasance. A fact pattern including $22m in frozen funds by the CIBC is also not encouraging.

Unfortunately schemes like this are not new to the space, and continue to tarnish the reputation of exchanges, and discourage new investors. If we want to make the leap to the mass market, we have to take steps to prevent issues like these from becoming commonplace.

Universal Protocol has alluded to the systemic problem by offering recoverability of private keys, though we never contemplated an event of this scale. While this may be potentially bullish for BTC, the bigger focus is on how these events impact the industry in the long run as we collectively aim for mass adoption.”

Final Thoughts: Is Uphold Legit

Overall, Uphold boasts some features that should qualify it as a top exchange choice for any beginner to intermediate. 

Signing up for Uphold is a seamless experience, and only takes 11 clicks from registration to purchase. The dashboard can also be customized to serve your unique preferences. The exchange doesn’t charge a fee for bank and card deposits and withdrawals. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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