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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  

 

FXCM

FXCM Review
Trader's rating 3.9
Editor's rating 4.7

Trading Accounts

 

FXCM UK

Account type Minimum deposit  Minimum trade size Maximum leverage Average Spreads  
           
Standard $300 1000 1:30 1.5 pips + commission $4 (£3 in the UK)*   
 AciveTrader  $25 000 0.01 1:30 0.4 pips + commission $1.8 – $4 (£1.8 – £3 in the UK) *  

 

*Commission is calculated per standard lot of 100 000 base units (per side).

 

 

FXCM Australia

Account type Minimum deposit Minimum trade size Maximum leverage Spreads
Standard $50 1000 1:400 1.5 pips + commission $4 (£3 in the UK)*
AciveTrader  $25 000 0.01 1:400 0.4 pips + commission $1.8 – $4 (£1.8 – £3 in the UK) **

*Commission is calculated per standard lot of 100 000 base units (per side). 

 

FXCM offers two account types: Standard and Active Trader. For those unwilling to expose themselves to the greater risk related to trading in large volumes, micro lots are available on all account types.

 

Trading Conditions

 

Minimum initial deposit

In order to open an account with FXCM Australia, one has to invest just $50, which is a low minimum initial deposit. FXCM UK requires minimum deposit of $300, in line with the industry average. 

 

Spreads & Commission

FXCM offers competitive variable spreads, averaged 1.5 pips on EURUSD on commission-free accounts.

Active Trader account holders may benefit from tighter spreads and commission discounts, provided that they satisfy certain trading volume requirements. For further information, you may check out and compare real-time spreads of 10 leading brokers here

 

Maximum leverage

 

FXCM UK offers the highest possible under ESMA regulations spread levels to all of its clients:

30:1 leverage restriction for major currency pairs

20:1 for non-major currency pairs, gold and major indices

10:1 for commodities other than gold and non-major equity indices

5:1 for individual equities and other reference values

 

The maximum leverage offered by ASIC-regulated FXCM Australia is quite higer:

400:1 leverage for Forex trading

200:1 leverage for CFD trading

 

The Company. Security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
FXCM LTD UK FCA
FXCM Australia Pty. Limited Australia ASIC
FXCM South Africa (PTY) Ltd (IB) South Africa FSCA


This broker takes regulation, financial transparency and investor protection very seriously. In order to maintain transparency of operations, the company provides regular press releases where anyone can see the broker's monthly execution data. Besides, the companies within the FXCM group are regulated by some of the most respected regulatory bodies in the world: FCA in UK and ASIC in Australia.

 

Both FCA and ASIC regulated brokers are under strict supervision and are very well controlled. To acquire a license from the UK financial watchdog, financial services providers need to maintain net tangible assests amounting to at least EUR 730 000. Australian brokers, on the other hand, must hold at  least AUD 1 000 000 to prove  their financial stability.


Besides, under the UK regulations, investors’ funds are kept in segregated bank accounts separated from the company’s operating funds and, in case of default, sums of up to GBP 50,000 are protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
 

 

Trading platforms

 

This broker offers a selection of robust trading platforms to its clients, including the most popular MetaTrader 4, its award-winning Trading Station, and NinjaTrader. In addition, Copy trading is available through the advanced web platform ZuluTrade.

 

FXCM’s In-house award-winning platform Trading Station is available as desktop, web, and mobile versions.  Apart from its sleek design and intuitive interface, Trading Station comes equipped with Marketscope – a powerful charting package. Here are some of its key features:

 

-         -  Place and manage trades from the charts;

-          - Pre-loaded Indicators: over 30 popular indicators like MA, MACD, Bollinger Bands and RSI;

-          - Custom Indicators: over 600 custom indicators available;

 

FXCM’s Trading Station. Click to enlarge.

 

As trading robots are extremely popular among forex investors, Trading Station offers automated strategies that take the human element out of trading and what is more, you don’t need to stare at the PC screen all the time. You may easily determine key areas where your trading strategies can be improved, and gain confidence in your robots prior to applying them by using the platform’s strategy optimizer conducts excessive backtesting.

 

There are also some exclusive tools with Trading Station, like the unique order type, Good Till Date, which lets you execute at specific times; and the broker’s exclusive Real Volume indicators, which opens FXCM’s trading book of traders around the world.

 

NinjaTrader is another platform supported by FXCM. It has simplified interface and offers all of the functionalities that you can make use of if you trade on Metatrader 4 or the desktop version of Trading Station, and even more. You can also benefit from fast execution, trading from charts, creating your own trading strategies, superior back-testing options, custom indicators and alerts.

 

Those traders who stick to the good old MetaTrader 4 (MT4) will not be disappointed with FXCM, as the broker fully supports this powerful multiasset software. The platform comes equipped with an outstanding charting package, numerous built-in technical indicators, Fibonacci retracements, trend lines, support and resistance levels, and so on – pretty much everything a trader needs. Those who are handy with code may create their own automated strategies (EAs) and custom indicators in the MQL programming language.

 

Payment methods

 

Clients of FXCM may make deposits and withdrawals from and to their accounts via debit/credit card, bank wire transfer, check, and ACH (Automated Clearing House).

 

Conclusion

 

One of the biggest FX brokerages worldwide, FXCM is an excellent choice: a reliable and well-regulated broker, offering excellent trading conditions on a wide range of trading platforms. Here are, in a nutshell, the advantages and disadvantages with regard to this broker:

 

 

Pros Cons
Group of companies with multiple regulations Stocks, options, and futures are not available for trade
Tight spreads   
Low initial deposit  
A selection of trading platforms offered  
Advanced copy trading options   
Price improvement (e.g. positive slippage) is available  
   

             

 

Website: www.fxcm.com 

Headquarters:

55 Water St. FL 50, New York, NY 10041

Country: United States

Regulated by:
USA: CFTC, NFA # 0308179

US: CFTC and NFA (NFA Member# 0308179) 

UK: FCA (Firm registration #217689)

Australia: ASIC (AFSL #309763)

Hong Kong: SFC (SFC CE #AIM232)

Italy: CONSOB (#76)

Germany: BaFin (#122556)

France: Registered with the ACP, as the branch of Forex Capital Markets Ltd.

Forex
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