Relai and Pocket Bitcoin are Swiss Bitcoin-only exchanges that allow you to conveniently buy Bitcoin with a European bank account. They are both no KYC exchanges. Relai was founded in 2020 and Pocket in 2021.
How They Work
Relai is a Swiss bitcoin-only investment app. You can instantly sell and buy Bitcoin using various payment methods, set up auto-invest plans using Dollar Cost Averaging, and store, sell, send, and receive Bitcoin using the built-in noncustodial wallet. Relai supports Lightning Network transactions and allows you to transfer purchased Bitcoin to your hardware wallets.
Pocket Bitcoin is a non KYC exchange that converts bank transfers into Bitcoin and sends them directly to your Bitcoin wallet. It’s essential to note that on Pocket Bitcoin, you can only buy Bitcoin, not sell. It supports automated recurring buys (standing order). With the acquisition of noncustodial BitKipi wallet, Pocket Bitcoin makes it easy for beginners to start with Bitcoin and self-custody. You can also receive Bitcoin on various wallets, including hardware wallets and Opendime USB sticks.
Pocket has recently incorporated Lightning Network support, allowing you to transfer Bitcoin directly to your Lightning Node or your Breez or Phoenix wallet. However, unlike Relai, for your standard Bitcoin savings plan, it is advisable to use the regular on-chain service for optimal performance.
Read more: Pocket Bitcoin Review
Ease of Use
Both Relai and Pocket Bitcoin provide user-friendly mobile apps compatible with Android and iOS. The Relai app supports Dutch, English, French, Italian, and Spanish, while the Pocket app is available in Dutch, English, and Italian.
Relai’s app is designed for simplicity. Whether on Android or iOS, you can download the app, create a backup, input the investment amount, choose the frequency, select a payment method, and purchase Bitcoin. Enhancing your user experience, Relai offers features such as an auto-invest plan, external wallet stacking, and a referral program. While Relai doesn’t mandate KYC for regular use, becoming a Relai Private or business customer requires submitting identification documents.
Pocket Bitcoin allows instant Bitcoin purchases without the need for registration or KYC. The app guide users through wallet creation, order generation, and payments using a European bank account. Setting up recurring purchases through Dollar-Cost Averaging (DCA) is straightforward process.
It’s essential to note that Pocket exclusively supports bank transfers. The duration of bank payments reaching Pocket varies based on the involved banks, ranging from a few minutes to several business days. You can expedite the process by opting for SEPA instant payments, ensuring payments arrive within minutes. Additionally, when using Pocket for the first time or with a new bank connection, there might be a brief delay until the purchase is manually cleared.
Read more: Relai Review
Relai offers a comprehensive set of features designed to enhance your Bitcoin experience. With the ability to easily buy and sell Bitcoin, an auto-invest plan for BTC investment, and support for external wallet stacking, Relai provides useful features for Bitcoiners. For larger purchases, the platform offers a private service with personalized assistance, along with the flexibility to customize Bitcoin network fees. Additionally, Relai’s referral program allows users to enjoy benefits through participation.
For businesses looking to integrate Bitcoin into their financial portfolios, Relai provides exclusive services tailored for small to medium-sized enterprises. This specialized assistance ensures businesses receive expert guidance to incorporate Bitcoin into their balance sheets. It also caters to investors dealing with large Bitcoin volumes through its Relai Private service.
On the other hand, Pocket Bitcoin offers the convenience of automated recurring buys with SEPA and a noncustodial wallet app for added control. The platform supports receiving Bitcoin on various wallets, including hardware wallets and Opendime USB sticks. You can also share you xPub for functionalities like key generation, Bitcoin tax tracking, and portfolio management. An API is available for developers, allowing integration of bitcoin purchases into their applications or services.
Both Relai and Pocket Bitcoin enable you to buy Bitcoin directly to supported hardware wallets, including BitBox Wallet, Ledger Wallet, Trezor Wallet, and Coldcard Wallet. This feature ensures added security and control over your cryptocurrency holdings.
One notable feature that sets Relai and Pocket apart is their support for the Lightning Network, providing an additional layer for faster and cheaper Bitcoin transactions.
Relai and Pocket Bitcoin use different fee structures for their services. Relai charges fees based on factors such as order amount, referral code utilization, and transaction type. To make Bitcoin purchases cost-effective on Relai, you can opt for recurring buys (weekly or monthly) of at least 100 EUR/CHF while using a referral code. This strategy reduces fees from 2.5% to 1.0% for standing orders (auto-invest) under 100,000 CHF/EUR. It’s important to note that credit card transactions on Relai involve additional fees ranging from 1.5% to 3.0%.
In the case of Relai Private transactions, fees start at 1% and can decrease to as low as 0.5%. Sending or receiving Bitcoin through Relai does not incur additional charges, except for standard Bitcoin network fees.
Relai introduced a promotional feature in May 2023, offering one free bitcoin purchase per month for orders between 25 EUR/CHF and 100 EUR/CHF (excluding credit card fees or other payment provider-related fees). This promotion is exclusive to single orders and does not extend to weekly or monthly auto-invest orders.
On the other hand, Pocket Bitcoin has a straightforward approach, applying a standard service fee of 1.5% with no hidden charges. For instance, converting 100 EUR into Bitcoin through Pocket results in receiving Bitcoin worth 98.5 EUR in your wallet.
Within the Bitcoin network, Pocket optimizes cost efficiency by consolidating multiple transactions into a single Bitcoin transaction, spreading the network fee across users. On average, this fee amounts to approximately 50-100 satoshis per transaction, equivalent to around 2–4 cents. Notably, if multiple transactions occur to the same Bitcoin address on a given day, the user may only be billed the Bitcoin network fee once.
When it comes to limits, Relai has set specific boundaries for buying and selling Bitcoin. You’re allowed daily transactions up to 950 EUR (1000 CHF) with an annual cap of 95,000 EUR (100,000 CHF). On the other hand, Pocket gives you the flexibility to buy Bitcoin without registering within the daily limits like CHF 1000, EUR 950, and GBP 850. If you go beyond these limits, Pocket will send you an email and ask for a brief video call to verify your identity.
It’s worth noting that there is no minimum amount requirement when buying Bitcoin with Pocket. On the Relai platform, the minimum amount for both buying and selling is set at 25 CHF/25 EUR.
Relai is available across all European countries. In contrast, Pocket Bitcoin is accessible in several European countries, including Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Supported Payment Methods
Relai gives you a variety of payment methods to choose from, including bank accounts, credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. However, Pocket Bitcoin exclusively supports bank transfers as the payment method.
Privacy and Security
Both Relai and Pocket are Swiss licensed financial service providers, following strict Swiss financial regulations.
Relai operates as a noncustodial wallet, ensuring you have complete control over your private keys. Additionally, Relai provides two-factor authentication (2FA) for an extra layer of security. With daily transaction limits in place, you don’t have to disclose personal information for your transactions.
Pocket is also a non-KYC exchange, allowing you to buy Bitcoin without sharing personal information. However, if you surpass purchase limits, you might need to verify your identity through a video call. Unlike other exchanges that hold your Bitcoin on your behalf, Pocket has its own built-in self-custody wallet.
Relai vs Pocket Bitcoin: Which One Is Right for You?
When deciding between Relai and Pocket Bitcoin, your choice may hinge on several factors. Both exchanges exclusively deal in Bitcoin and support SEPA transactions. However, it’s essential to note that while Pocket accommodates EUR, CHF, and GBP, Relai is limited to CHF and EUR. Additionally, Pocket allows only Bitcoin purchases, whereas Relai allows both buying and selling.
If your priorities include simplicity (buying without registration) and speed (Lightning support) in acquiring Bitcoin without undergoing KYC procedures, both platforms are preferred options. Moreover, if hardware wallet support is valuable to you, both platforms offer this feature. For diverse payment options, including bank accounts, credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, or Google Pay, Relai is the optimal choice, as Pocket exclusively supports bank transfers. However, Pocket Bitcoin stands out for its bank-to-bitcoin conversion with automatic transfers, making it an attractive choice for those looking to buy Bitcoin with SEPA.
Pocket is ideal for individual purchases. On the other hand, Relai provides specialized services like Relai Private for investors dealing with large Bitcoin volumes and Relai Business for small and medium-sized businesses seeking to integrate Bitcoin into their financial portfolios.
In terms of fees, Relai offers fee flexibility with reduced fees for recurring buys and referral codes, but credit card transactions have extra fees. Relai Private transactions may have lower fees, and there’s a promotional feature for a free monthly bitcoin purchase. On the other hand, Pocket Bitcoin has a simple 1.5% service fee with no hidden charges. While Relai has more fee options and is cost-effective for high-volume buyers willing to navigate a complex fee structure, Pocket Bitcoin’s straightforward fee structure may be ideal for occasional or smaller Bitcoin purchases.