BitInstant Dealing with Increased Traffic and Transaction Delays  

The last few months have seen some growing pains here at BitInstant that you may have, unfortunately, had to deal with. Let’s get this blog rolling by flat out apologizing for that. We’re sorry for delays in transactions and communication. We understand how much it sucks to be sweating your money without great communication. So, keep reading and you’ll learn what’s been going on and how we’re changing to make these problems a thing of the past.


Why the Problems?


With all the popular media attention bitcoin has been getting lately, people have been getting wise to the idea that this is the future. As a result, BitInstant been slammed with new and return users alike. And it’s not just us; our partner exchanges have been feeling the burn too. So why exactly does that cause problems?


How BitInstant Works


To understand this it’s important that you realize exactly how BitInstant works. It takes time to move funds around, even digitally. We created BitInstant to help you get money faster by creating accounts at the different exchanges and putting our own funds into them.


When you make a new BitInstant transaction we aren’t able to magically move YOUR funds faster – we take some of OUR funds out of OUR account and move them into your account on whatever exchange you’ve chosen. When things are running smoothly our funds show up in your account and you go on your happy way. Then we patiently wait for your funds to catch up to our account and repopulate our reserves – a process that can take days. 


What are you doing with my money when I don’t see it?

We’ve heard a lot of complaints suggesting that when you don’t get your money immediately it’s because we’re hanging on to it so that we can make more money. So let’s set the record straight, this is definitely not what’s happening. We don’t hold bitcoins and don’t make more money when your orders are delayed; it actually hurts us because orders are processing more slowly. When you send us your funds we immediately initiate your requested transaction and queue the funds to enter your requested exchange. We aren’t trying to game the system and we’re not making more money when your transaction is delayed.


What’s the Problem?


High volume with lots of requests for fund transactions increases the demand on our accounts. Because it can take days for us to receive the funds that previous customers sent, our reserves on the different exchanges can get low. When many people make near simultaneous demands on our system it’s been hard to keep up with the demand.


How are we fixing this?


We are working to be aware of issues sooner so that we can temporarily disable transaction methods when backlogs exist. This will ensure that customers who have placed transactions will have their orders fulfilled before new orders are entered into the system. We have backup liquidity providers that we are working on getting online to help prevent these situations. So when you see an exchange temporarily disabled from our list of transaction methods – this is what’s going on. We’ll also alert you via @bitinstanthelp on Twitter when we make these temporary changes to the transaction methods.


We take these problems very seriously and work every day to improve our customer experience. In the last six weeks we’ve hired four new full-time support staffers to help process tickets and we’ve been training them on our systems. There’s a lot to know to help process your orders but we’re starting to turn the team loose to help out which should make a notable difference on our support ticket turn-around time.


We’ve added a support form to our website to help collect the information that we need to solve your problem quickly ( This will reduce the number of interactions that are required to solve problems. You can also access this form from our Facebook page by clicking the “WuFoo” icon at the top of the page.


We’ve also launched a Twitter account to help alert you to potential delays in our system. Please follow @bitinstanthelp – we will be updating this account regularly when our support team is working.


**We will still be working through the tickets that are still outstanding in our system but you are welcome to submit a new request through the form to make sure we have all the necessary information to solve your problem.



We’re sorry that we haven’t been able to keep ahead of the Bitcoin demand, but we’re actively trying to solve these problems. The items listed above are only the beginning of the support improvements we have planned for the coming weeks. We hope that you will bear with us through some of our growing pains and understand that we value our customers and want nothing more than for your transactions to be quick and painless. We will always do our best to try and turn problems into happy customers. If you think we’ve made a mistake let us know and we’ll work with you to refund fees and resolve the situation.    

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Reader Comments (43)

I'm glad that you guys are proactive in admitting a problem, and working on a solution. Some *cough* other actors in the Bitcoin market think that clamming up and attempting to solve the problem in silence is the best way to deal with customer upset.

April 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterK. Darien Freeheart

Gentlemen: Thanks for posting all of that information. Just stay on-top of it and give us updates. That is all we are asking for...

April 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Yes, communicate please.

I've made two orders... both took multiple customer service emails to resolve, with days waiting for a response.

I can except the explanations given. But the thing that bothers me, was that during this whole time there was NOTHING on the website indicating any problems. It continued to accept orders and proclaim "Pay for your bitcoins in about an hour!" (which I see has now been changed.)

April 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkj

Great initiative, was an order and had no news.

I hope they can work around the problem.

April 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjorge luiz

Cool, thanks for the update. As a customer of a number of bitcoin services, I can say that keeping us up to date on where our money is if/when there are problems is key!! It definitely sucks to wait, but if I know why, I won't freak out. If there's just silence, it's not hard to think the worst and go a little nutty. So I definitely appreciate this effort! Keep it up!

April 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave S.

Thank you. But my question is what BTC rate do we get? When we placed the order or when it's executed? Also, is there a way to simply cancel my request and get my money back? Thank you.

April 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe E.

Thanks for being such pioneers. I know this is bumpy at times. I appreciate all you've done and are doing!

April 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDoug from MN

As regards bitcoin price:
We will honour the price from the time your order was placed - but we will usually do so by sending you the difference manually with a fee refund after dealing with delayed orders.

Since price has recently dropped, it may in fact be in a lot of customer's interests to allow their orders to execute at current prices and this is what we would recommend.

April 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGareth Nelson

yeah that's great. SO when I take the time to do a money gram to make the money show up faster that money actually goes to another customer and I end up getting another customers money. Sounds like a fucking ponzi scheme to me. I will be taking my refund now.

April 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergayshit

Nice, your only support is to fill out a form which you ask for the transaction id you only provided us once. So if someone is new they are fucked. Open a fucking hotline.

April 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWHAT THE FUCK

I bought $1000 in btc with bitinstant. It took 5 hours to get the funds after I paid. Over that five hours the price of the bitcoin fluctuated between mid 90's up to as high as $128-9ish then back down to $105. Guess what price they gave me my $1000 in yep, over $128. This price happen over an hour after I bought and paid. NOT INSTAND. Seems like I got scammed. VERY VERY VERY unhappy.

April 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn M

to "gayshit":
Not sure how to respond to that - all orders go into a queue for execution and are executed as quickly as possible, when an order is executed we use the reserves we have to fund it - that's how our system has always worked. A ponzi scheme would imply us not having the money to fill orders until other customers pay first - in fact the delay is due to needing to move funds from A to B the slow way - we always have reserves, just not always in the right place and this is why we sometimes have to disable a destination or delay transfers.

With regards to the form - if you don't have the QuoteID etc then you can still open a ticket at giving all the details you DO have - but we do need something to find your order with.

John - open a ticket and you can be compensated for the delay.

April 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGareth Nelson


April 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSCAMMERS

I have always been very pleased with BitInstant. Just placed an order yesterday and it went very smoothly. 9 out of my 10 orders have been processed quickly and my bitcoins were in my account within a couple hours. 1 time there was a problem, but I think it was with ZipZap and both ZipZap and BitInstant resolved it rather quickly. They charge a reasonable fee and make it so easy. I have 20 locations within 2 miles of my house where I can make a cash deposit and they are always adding locations. I would be upset too if I had some of the problems that people report. But my experience has always been very positive and I love BitInstant.

April 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLoganH

This mea culpa is nice, but it doesn't change the fact that my transaction has been in limbo for seven days now with ZERO response to any of my support requests (emails, ticket at ladesk, your new recommended contact form). How massive is your support backlog that you still can't even address orders that happened a week ago?

April 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWill

I am ignorant to a lot of this, But it seems BitInstant is cheating its costumers. Let me name a few ways:
1) It seems that "Cash" to bitcoin address shouldn't be a REOCCURRING problem. I can send bitcoins to people's addresses and BitInstant can't. Maybe they're making extra fees, have SPECIAL deals with other exchanges, etc.
2) BitInstant won't be clear about their calculations. If you try to add up the fees, price per btc, etc., you can't. I've asked them, and the first time, they said something like they go by (mtgox), and when I said it still doesn't add up, I believe they didn't respond.
3) Today I ordered CASH to my mtgox account, and they (BitInstant) sent cash to my mtgox account, not btc. Jesus, did I order cash or btc. If I wouldn't of checked my mtgox account, I wouldn't of known, I was sitting on cash, instead of increasingly valuable btc. I did not know you could order cash with BitInstant.
4) They should have been forthcoming that there'd be delays due to their lack of cash, or mtgox being down. Be up front, before you mess us up.
Well, that's all that comes to mind now. I think I'm missing some things, but that's the idea. I'm so disappointed with all these exchanges I've done business with: mtgox, bitfloor, coinbase, and intersango. I thought I might even be making money at coinbase's expense, but since they aren't upfront about how the prices add up, I don't know. I don't understand the whole system, and don't expect perfection, AND COULD BE WRONG, but I smell deceit, especially with BitInstant and Mtgox. And I don't like that the BitInstant guy (who I've heard on Free Talk Live), has a head role in the btc software. I hope I didn't give any incorrect facts above.

April 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge J

Ok, let’s get to the point. These guys that run this company are a bunch of clowns. Inept computer techies that have no idea how to run a business or create a business model within their corporate culture. I have sent 5 emails prior to their upgraded email drop down payment issues and did not get a response at all. After that, I use their new email issue form and sent three more emails to no avail. So, how can we trust that they will have their “Support Ninjas” take care of these issues if they can’t even look at the prior emails (i.e., the first 5 emails)? What a joke. Pure crooks at heart and these issues are going to be forwarded to the SEC, US Attorney General’s office and Inspector General’s Office. This is outright illegal not only to seize your funds, but not even responding to multiple inquiries over a week’s time. In addition, no 1800 hotline to contact someone at the office! I STILL DON’T HAVE MY MONEY FOR OVER ONE WEEK……….

Welcome to Hell my friends….

April 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIllegal


I understand everything. But it's been 5 days and order is not compreted. If you have problem with paying towards destination why you can't just cancel my damn order and put my money back where they were?

April 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlce

It has been 5 days on my order i have contacted them receiving what was an obvious prepared message. It even says my order has been confirmed yet nothing no hint at my transaction going through. I was looking forward to getting my money before the market shoots back up. But it does not seem like that will be happening by the comments here. It's understandable to have a delay of a day or 2 especially with the heavy traffic but 5 days come on.

April 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

Its been 6 days for me with no word from customer support. Just a simply email telling me that they got my request and that they are working on it would be nice. I have sent 2 emails so far. Will definitely not be back use bitInstant again. If you use dwolla to transfer money use campbx u can trade bitcoins right there or transfer your funds to Mt.Gox. Whole process takes about 20min.

April 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFred

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