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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  

 

Gemini

Gemini Review
Trader's rating 1
Editor's rating 3.8

Account types

 

Account type

Minimum deposit

Leverage

Fees

Standard

Undisclosed

N/A

Max of 0.25%

 

Gemini is a relatively simple cyptocurrency exchange. It offers a few instruments, but on the other hand accepts USD bank transfers as a method of payment. There is also a more specific type of trading – auctions, which we will get to later on in the review, 

 

The company, security of funds

 

 

Company

Country

Regulation

Gemini Trust Company, LLC.

USA

US Trust regulation

 

Gemini is a brand owned by t Gemini Trust Company, LLC. They are regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS), but not under its infamous BitLicense, but simply as a trust. This assures some consumer confidence, while avoiding the hassle with the unpopular piece of legislation. If you are not familiar with the case, the aforementioned New York regulators wanted to create a licensing system for crypto exchanges. The idea was to make the Big Apple a major cryptocurrency trading centre, just how it is in traditional finance. That being the case the project wasn’t appreciated by most of the companies in the field, as a lot of them didn’t apply for it. Those who argue this makes it basically useless are backed by the rate at which licensing was given to the companies who did apply. At the time of writing of this review, two years since the legislation came into effect, only three companies have been granted the license.

 

The name Gemin comes from the owners of the company, the Winkelvoss twins. While they may be most famous for suing Facebook creator Mark Zukerberg over their idea for a social networking site, they also have interest in the crypto-space. It is worth pointing out, the famous rowers were also involved in Bitinstant, a company which was involved in facilitating transfers for drug deals. The brothers claimed they were only passive investors and were not aware of the operations. 

 

When it comes to security, Gemini hasn’t experienced any large-scale hacks yet. This is generally a good sign, although it does not guarantee anything for the future.

 

The user reviews on the company aren’t that many, which can be explained by the fact it doesn’t operate in the entire world. Here is a map of all of the regions, which they support (click to zoom-in):

 

 

That being the case most of the complaints are focused on slow account verification.

 

The most unique feature of Gemini are the auctions, which are held twice a day. The way they function is similar to the ones which occur at the opening and closing transactions on stock exchanges (not to be confused with “the highest bidder wins the item” auctions). This is where relatively big, in terms of volume, transactions are usually made. Traders can place buy or sell orders which are then matched at a single price. While of of this is happening, trading on Gemini still occurs. This creates an interesting dynamic, just like it does on the New York Stock Exchange – after seeing the pending orders for the auction (known as the “imbalance”) traders can speculate on them moving the market in the short term. For instance, if a relatively large buying imbalance is placed, most will expect the price to rally. That being said, this type of trading is very risky, as new orders may come to meet the imbalance, even in the last second. Furthermore the initial imbalance creator may have set a limit price for his order, above (in the case of buying) he does not want to participate. Trading on imbalances is tricky and while some traders used to enjoy doing so on the NYSE, they can all tell you stories about times when they lost a lot of money on a last second turnaround. This is definitely not recommended for beginners.

 

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

The trading instruments available at Gemini are only Bitcoin and Ethereum. Both coins can be traded against the US dollar and against each other. Obviously, this is limiting, but clients who wish to pursue altcoins can always transfer their BTC or ETH to an external wallet or another exchange, like Bittrex.

 

Minimum initial deposit

Gemini does not mention any minimum initial deposit, unlike the majority of forex brokers, which we mostly cover. In that industry, it is quite common for a company to specify an amount, below which one can’t open a new trading account. The levels are fairly low now, with FXCM requiring $50, for instance.

 

Leverage

Margin trading is not available at Gemini. More aggressive clients will not appreciate this fact, although there is enough volatility in cryptocurrencies already. The forex brokers who offer Bitcoin trading, provide leverage. As an example the FCA-regulated industry pioneers at IG have a 1:13.3 ratio (7.5% margin requirement) for Bitcoin trading.

 

Fees

Gemini offers relatively competitive fees. The maximum is in line the current industry standard of 0.25%, with discounts for bigger trading volume. On top of that, fees are lower for market “makers” (traders who passively place their orders in the book). The fees actually turn into rebates above a certain point in volume (only for "makers"). As a comparison, forex brokers usually condense all of their fees in the spread. This makes comparing the two types of services a bit tricky, although we have done so in this post.

 

Trading platform 

 

The platform provided by Gemini is web-based and rather simplistic, with the order book being the main focus. Here is a preview:

 

 

We must note this is an old screenshot, which wasn’t taken by us, due to the restrictions on accepting clients. That being said, the platform may have been improved in the meantime.

 

Methods of payment

 

Gemini accepts Bank Transfers as well as Bitcoin or Ethereum ones. Not a lot of exchanges accept bank transfers nowadays, with the major two ones being Coinbase and Bitstamp.

 

Conclusion

 

Gemini is a US-based crypto currency exchange. The company is registered as a trust, which should give investors a bit more confidence, when compared to a lot of other entities in the crypto-space. The people behind the company are the Winkelvoss twins, which you may be familiar with. Gemini offers little variety, in terms of the trading instruments, but accepts bank transfers. The company operates in a relatively small number of countries. The Auctions which they offer are a neat idea, but most traders will probably not feel the need to use them. Here are the pros and cons of Gemini :

 

Pros

Cons

Regulated US trust

Operates in a few countries

Commissions in line with the industry

Trading platform looks simplistic

Auctions available

Only BTC and ETH available

Accepts bank transfers (from some countries)

 

 

 

Forex
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