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bitFlyer

bitFlyer Review
Trader's rating 1
Editor's rating 4

Account type

 

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Fee
Standard Undisclosed 1: 15 Max 0.15% for BTC

 

BitFlyer is one of the most popular cyptocurrency exchanges in the Far East. It is also among the world leaders, in terms of volume.

 

The company, security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
bitFlyer, Inc. Japan JFSA, NY BitLicense

 

BitFlyer is based in Japan. The local regulators have made some changes in the way they treat cryptocurrencies in the past. Currently, they are treated as assets, upon which capital gains (profiting from the price movement) is taxed. BitFlyer was one of the first companies to received the JFSA (Japanese Financial Services Agency) license, along with the major competitors from QUOINEX

 

Update: BitFlyer also received has the regulatory approval of the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) in November 2017. The company is set to start offering Bitcoin trading vs the USD, while adding altcoins in the future. We will update this review, when the service is fully implemented.

 

The company has been around since 2014 and has not had any hacking issues yet. The most important thing to note, from a western trader’s point of view is that trading is done (mostly) against the Japanese YEN (JPY), unlike most exchanges where you can trade cryptocurrencies against one another, the US Dollar and occasionally the Euro. You may need an account with a forex broker, such as FXTM, just to hedge your currency risk.

 

The user reviews on BitFlyer (written in English) are mostly positive. This is a good sign, as the company maintains multilingual support. 

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

As mentioned above trading at BitFlyer is done against the Japanese Yen. This applies for the plethora of Bitcoin instruments, which include Spot BTC trading, Margin BTC trading, and BTC Futures (not to be confused with Bitcoin Cash Futures). Furthermore Etereum is available for trading, against Bitcoin.

 

Minimum initial deposit

BitFlyer does not give any guidelines about a minimum deposit level. Forex brokers, on the other hand usually announce their minimum entry barriers. For instance, you can open an account with XM, with only $5.

 

Leverage

BitFlyer offers a maximum leverage ratio of 1:15. However, in order to be allowed to trade on margin, one must go through a tougher verification process. This type of ratio may sound very small to someone who is used to forex trading, as lots of brokers provide 1:500 or even higher levels. 

 

Do keep in mind cryptocurrencies often move far more wildly than fiat currencies. While a major pair will rarel move more than 1.5 – 2% percent per day, the Bitcoin often has gains or losses exceeding 10%. This explains the lower leverage offering by BitFlyer, which by the way is one of the highest offers provided by crypto-exchanges. For a full comparison of trading Bitcoin with a forex broker and on an exchange click here.

 

Fees

Fees at BitFlyer vary slightly for the different services, which they provide. They offer directly exchanging JPY to BTC, the fees for which go as high as 0.15% for the lowest volume traders. As a comparisson, Bitfinex charges this type of fee only for the market "makers", while takers pay a slightly higher one. The maximum fee for ETH/BTC is 0.20%. Here is the full information, as provided by the company (click to zoom-in):

 

 

Lightning FX stands for the margin trading of BTC/JPY. Futures on the other hand are similar to exchange traded futures. However the liquidity in them appears to be far lower, which is to be expected. We would not recommend them to inexperienced traders.

 

 

Trading platform

 

BitFlyer provides two trading platforms. They are both web based, which is not unusual for cryptocurrency exchanges. One of them is the so called Bitcoin Easy Exchange, which serves, to facilitate direct JPY to BTC transfers. It is what people, who want to get their funds converted to Bitcoin, before transferring them would use. Albeit simple, it does the job. Here is a preview (click to zoom-in):

 

 

 

The company also offers the BitFlyer Lightning platform. It feels much more like a forex trading platform, as it is designed with the trader in mind. This is the platform where the 1:15 leverage ratio is provided. Here is what platform looks like (click to zoom-in):

 

 

There is a chart on the left, with lots pre-loaded indicators. The order book looks pretty solid (in the middle) and the tape is locate on the right. Several more fields are located below these, similarly to the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) terminal. Charting appears to be decent, with several technical indicators in place. Furthermore the charts can be set to full-screen mode.

 

There are multiple themes available, if you do not like the black and orange feel. One thing we must mention are the maddening sounds, which are turned on by default. Every time a transaction is made, more importantly, every time there is a movement of a bid/ask in the order book, play a sound. Luckily, these can be turned off quite easily.

 

Methods of payment

 

BitFlyer accepts Bank Transfers, Credit Cards issued in Japan and Bitcoin transfers. Although the company has a clear focus on its internal market, a foreigner can still use their services, albeit not with his credit card. Users of online payment systems, such as Skrill are also left out.

 

Conclusion

 

BitFlyer is the number one cryptocurrency exchange in Japan. It also rates pretty highly among the global volume charts. The most specific thing is that trading is done against the Japanese Yen (JPY). There are multiple platforms and services available, including margin trading. Despite being focused on its domestic market, the company appears to be reaching out to the rest of the world and with commission levels so low, customers will come. Here is a summary BitFlyer’s pros and cons:

 

Pros Cons
No major hacks yet Trading against JPY
Accepts Bank Transfer and Japanese Credit Card Does not accept Credit Card, from countries other than Japan
Competitive commissions No altcoins available (ex. ETH)
Relatively nice trading platform  
Allows margin trading and futures  

 

Ethfinex

Ethfinex Review
Trader's rating 4.7
Editor's rating 3.8

Trading Accounts & Conditions

 

Account type Leverage Maker Fee* Taker Fee* Deposit Fee Withdrawal Fee**
Standard 1:3.3 0.0% - 0.1% 0.1% - 0.2% 0.1% for Bank Wire only 0.01 ETH

 

* Trading fees depend on users’ trading volume.

**Withdrawals in Status (SNT) & Golem (GNT) are free of charge.

 

As it name suggests, Ethfinex is a cryptocurrency exchange, which is heavily connected to Ethereum. Another thing one could tell by this venue’s name is that it belongs to a group of companies around one of the oldest and most popular exchanges, Bitfinex. Its parent company also runs the Tether.to platform.

 

Trading is live on Ethfinex for all existing Bitfinex users since December 29th. New signups will be available from January 15th. Currently still in beta, Ethfinex platform allows for trading in ERC-20 compatible tokens and Ethereum-based crowd sales with options for margin trading, as well as access to a peer-to-peer funding market. By the time of writing of the present review, the exchange is in the top 15 by trading volume at CoinMarketCap.


In addition, it offers a token of its own, called the Nectar token (or NEC). It is given for free to token market makers in proportion to the volume of trades they participate in on the exchange.

Ethfinex’s security is based on the expertise gained by Bitfinex’s team. The majority of system funds are stored in offline, in ‘cold’ wallets. Only around 0.5% of all crypto assets are accessible in ‘hot’ wallets for day-to-day platform operations. 

 

Ethfinex Advantages

 

Hybrid decentralized exchange, part of a trusted group

Ethfinex is planned as a hybrid decentralized exchange. In the long term, the company plans to move towards a completely trustless exchange, steadily decentralizing ownership of the platform to its community of users. The company’s team has learned the hard way that running an exchange on a centralized server is dangerous. Bitfinex was hacked in 2016, and approximately US$72 million was stolen in the form of Bitcoin. Eventually, the company managed to pay back the money to all its clients.

 

On the other hand, decentralized exchanges do not store coins, funds, private keys or user information on centralized servers, thereby making it very difficult for hackers to compromise sensitive information.

 

Competitive fees

At Ethfinex market makers are charged up to 0.1% per trade, and market takers – up to 0.2%, which is in line with the average pricing in the crypto world these days. Those users who trade in large volume get discounts. By the way, Bitfinex has exactly the same trading fee structure.

 

Deposit and withdrawal fees by Ethfinex are also competitive. Deposits in digital assets are free of charge, while those in USD are charged with 0.1%. Withdrawal fees of this exchange are also in line with the average in the industry.

 

 

Leveraged trading available

Similarly to its older brother Bitfinex, Ethfinex provides margin trading. The maximum leverage level available at both exchanges is 1:3.3. If you want to speculate aggressively with the price of Bitcoin or Ethereum, there are some forex brokers that offer higher leverage ratios.

 

>>Forex brokers offering leveraged Ethereum trading<< 

 

We must mention that trading in volatile assets such as cryptocurrencies involves risk of loss, which are multiplied if you use leverage. So, be careful when trading on margin.

 

Many Ethereum-based coins available

Ethfinex offers trading in decent amount of Ethereum-based tokens, such as Ethereum, OmiseGO, EOS, Aventus, Status, Golem, and more. Although its crypto portfolio cannot be compared to the one offered by EtherDelta, the trading volumes at Ethfinex appear higher on most instruments.

 

Fiat accepted, bank wire transfers supported

This exchange accepts US dollars, one of the most popular “traditional” currencies.   This makes the services offered by Ethfinex more accessible to beginner traders, as it accepts cash payments via bank wire transfer.

 

Community vote for listing tokens

One of the biggest problems with most centralized exchanges is their reluctance to list tokens with a large community backing. That is why we consider Ethfinex’ decision to list new tokens after rounds of voting by the crypto-community as an advantage.

 

Ethfinex Disadvantages

 

No Bitcoin

As this platform is dedicated to Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens, you canot trade in Bitcoin on Ethfinex. However, you can always do that on the group’s Bitfinex platform. 

 

Registered offshore

While Bitfinex is operated by Hong Kong based iFinex Inc., the company operating this exchange, Ethfinex Inc., is registered offshore. According to its Terms of Service, the governing law is the one of the British Virgin Islands. Companies registered offshore generally do not inspire a lot of trust.

 

Dependent on the Ethereum network 

If there is serious backlog on the Ethereum network, the activity at Ethfinex will also become slow, as trading is done mostly against ETH.

 

Conclusion

 

Launched by an established group in the cryptocurrency world, Ethfinex seems like an attractive exchange, especially to fans of Ethereum and Ethereum-based coins. It is planned like a platform based on a hybrid decentralized architecture, that will allow decentralized exchanges to plug into it and trade with Ethfinex customers, as well as each other.

 

Now in beta, Ethfinex is accessible to Bitfinex account holders with competitive trading and transfer fees. There is a decent amount of altcoins available to trade at the exchange, and besides, cash is accepted. Similarly to Bitfinex, Ethfinex provides leverage up to 1:3.3, which is a nice extra feature that most exchanges do not offer.

 

Although little to no regulation is applied to the crypto-exchanges in most jurisdictions, we don’t like the fact that Ethfinex Inc. is registered offshore. As we mentioned above, some forex brokers offer CFDs on digital assets. For those ofyou who prefer to invest in regulated entities, we have prepared a list of well-regulated ones.

 

>> Regulated Bitcoin forex brokers<<

 

Here is our summary of this exchange:

 

 Pros

 Cons

 Hybrid decentralized exchange, part of a trusted group

 No Bitcoin

 Competitive fees

 Dependent on the Ethereum network

 Leveraged trading available

 Still in Beta

 Many Ethereum-based coins available

 Registered offshore

 Fiat accepted, bank wire transfers supported

 

 

 

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