RoboSats (Tor Link) is a brand new P2P exchange that only allows buying and selling Bitcoin with fiat over the Lightning Network. While doing our RoboSats review we were shocked to see it get almost perfect marks in Privacy & Security while also having the lowest fees of any exchange we’ve reviewed. Those great scores do come at a small cost though.
What Makes RoboSats Special
Non-KYC + Private Wallet: The most important thing about RoboSats is that it’s entirely non-KYC and uses your own self custody private wallet. This can be any Lightning Wallet and even works if that wallet is connected to your own Full Node.
Low Fees: It has the lowest fees we’ve ever seen from any exchange we’ve reviewed!
Extreme Privacy: RoboSats cranked the Privacy dial right up to 11 by acing almost every Privacy & Security check we test for. It requires no personal information, randomly generates a new and fun robot account each and every trade, is peer-to-peer, uses the Tor network by default and end to end encrypts everything.
Extremely Quick: With a wide array of supported currencies and payment methods (including custom ones), it works across a huge array of countries and ensures your sats arrive instantly by using the Lightning Network. You can also host your own copy of it on Node OS’s like Umbrel and it’s entirely open source.
Where RoboSats Falls Down
Low Liquidity: RoboSats isn’t perfect though. While it scores top marks it’s still a new exchange and thus suffers from low liquidity. This can make it hard to find a trade to take or get your trade taken by someone else.
Requires A Security Deposit: As it uses a Lightning Network version of an escrow account to ensure trades are secure, you need to put in a small deposit to start a trade. This can make things hard for Beginners who have no sats at all.
Technical: While the interface is simple and modern, the base concepts that it’s built on such as the Lightning Network, Lightning Wallets, Tor and its Robot Avatar system can be a bit confusing if you’re not already familiar with them.
Trade Limit: As trades use the Lightning Network, it has a trade limit of 5 Million sats or 0.05 BTC
Who RoboSats Is Best For
- Users who want the lowest fees possible
- Users wanting to buy Bitcoin quickly and with rock solid privacy
- Users who aren’t looking to buy more than 5 Million sats in each trade
- Advanced users that have a good grasp of Bitcoin and the Lightning Network
Quick RoboSats Review
Privacy & Security (27/30)
- Non-KYC 8/8: No personally identifiable information is ever required to trade at any level
- Private Wallet 7/7: Defaults to a non-custodial or “private” wallet
- P2P 3/3: Transfers funds P2P via an escrow wallet outside RoboSats control
- CEX / DEX 0/3: Order book is centralised with future plans for Federation
- E2EE 3/3: Encrypts all user information and communications end-to-end
- Tor 3/3: Can be accessed using Tor
- FOSS Code 3/3: All the code for the exchange is Free and Open Source Software
- Ease Of Use 4/5: Can be accessed via a website and has an ugly, old or complex UI (Easy)
- Fiat Support 4/4: Supports exchanging bitcoins to any other fiat currency
- Maker Fee 3/3: $0.05 for $200 Bitcoin purchase or 0.025%.
- Taker Fee 2/3: $0.35 for $200 Bitcoin purchase or 0.175%
- Payment Methods 3/3: More than 60 plus ability to create custom ones
- Customer Support 2/2: In chat dispute support if a trade goes wrong
- Shitcoin Support 0/0: Only supports Bitcoin
Detailed RoboSats Review
Extreme Privacy Meets Ease Of Use
While most exchanges force you create an account, then “verify” yourself with privacy invasive KYC requirements that often take days, RoboSats is a breath of fresh air. There’s no account to create, you simply open http://robosats.com in a Tor compatible browser and you’re off.
They present a modern and simple interface that doesn’t do everything, but does trading of Bitcoins very well. Their robot avatar system is not only great for your privacy and security, it’s fun and comes up with some hilarious names! Their new Robot Garage feature also allows you to store and swap between multiple robots if you want to do multiple trades at the same time.
They’ve also worked hard to bolster this privacy theme by allowing you to host your own copy of it as an App on Umbrel, E2EE all chats between traders and are proudly open source. This allows others to view and vet all the code that’s used which aligns perfectly with the Bitcoin ethos of Don’t Trust, Verify.
Rock Bottom Fees
The other thing that stood out to us is just how stupidly low their trading fees are. While most exchanges will happily rip you off by charging 1%, 2% or even upwards of 8% (looking at you Azte.co), RoboSats is 10-100x cheaper than even that lower 1% figure!
If you are the Maker (ie you create the trade offer to buy/sell Bitcoin) you’ll be getting a fee rate of 0.025% meaning you’d pay $0.05 to purchase $200 of bitcoins. Five cents! That’s insane and even more impressive when you realise that because you’re transferring everything over the Lightning Network, it means you also don’t have to pay any Bitcoin Transaction Fees.
The trade limits for RoboSats are constrained by how much the Lightning Network can support. At the moment, this means you can only create offers between $6 USD and $1,400 USD. As Lightning channels grow over time this will be increased, but for now it can be a barrier to those wanting to purchase large quantities of Bitcoin.
That being said, it might still be beneficial to make or take multiple $1,400 orders to get to your desired trade amount given how cheap the fees are. If you were wanting to buy $2,000 USD of bitcoins for instance, you could save almost $20 compared to a 1% fee rate.
One other downside for RoboSats is that it’s not nearly as feature rich as most other exchanges. This is intentional of course, but some users might prefer to use platforms that support other shitcoins. While we are a Bitcoin only focused company, we recognise that even Bitcoiners sometimes have shitcoins that they’d like to get rid of so this support can come in handy sometimes.
Beyond support for other cryptocurrencies there’s also no ability to have it automatically purchase a set amount of bitcoins each day/week/month. This can be helpful for those that want to Dollar Cost Average into Bitcoin or just want to save time.
While the interface itself uses modern and current technology, we feel the overall layout could be confusing to Beginners or those less technical and has a lot of room to improve. The design works, but it isn’t particularly pretty and lacks general polish and refinement.
This is understandable given the code is still in its “alpha” early release stage at the moment. We very much hope RoboSats improves the design as the underlying code is excellent, perhaps they could draw some inspiration from Hodl Hodl?
Should You Use RoboSats?
If you understand how Bitcoin and the Lightning Network works, absolutely! While they’re a new exchange and quite unique in that they only operate over the Lightning Network, they use this to their advantage to give incredibly low fees and super fast trades all with top notch privacy.
For those who haven’t used Lightning Wallets before or aren’t familiar with Tor, we’d recommend reading up on these technologies first. While they aren’t hard concepts to grasp, it’s best to have a firm understanding of them before you start throwing money into the mix. Once you’re ready though, we have full guide on How To Buy Bitcoins Using RoboSats ready to take you through every step.
How do we review crypto exchanges?
Athena Alpha's comprehensive review process considers and ranks crypto exchanges of all types and locations. Our primary focus is on Bitcoin and your privacy and security. We have strict rules that will immediately disqualify any exchange and set their score to 0.0 / 5 if they require KYC or don't default to storing a users funds in a self custody Bitcoin Wallet.
We believe that even from the first bitcoin, a user should only purchase non-KYC bitcoins and fully self custody their funds while holding their own Private Keys. This ensures their funds remain safe and increases their privacy enormously.
We collect data directly from the crypto exchanges through detailed testing and first hand experiences. With over a dozen analysed factors and in depth research into each exchange, we strive to ensure our testing is as transparent and verifiable as possible in keeping with the Bitcoin ethos. For more details, see the full, in depth Rating Methodology For Cryptocurrency Exchanges.