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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  

 

KorBit

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

Trading Accounts

 

Account type Leverage Maker Fee Taker fee Deposit Fee
Standard N/A Max 0.08% Max 0.20% Free

 

KorBit was the first Korean cryptocurrency exchange to offer BTC/KRW trading. They are an entry-level service (i.e. accept fiat currencies) but also offer a decent trading platform. The company is still one of the top-rated exchanges in the country, which drives relatively high trading volumes.

 

KorBit Advantages

 

Competitive fees –   The trading fees at KorBit are divided into the “maker” and “taker” category. Market makers are the traders who place a new entry in the order book, while takers are those who enter at the best available price. The fees at KorBit start from 0.08% and 0.20%, respectively. They can go even lower if you trade with bigger volumes. 

 

Cold storage – KorBit claims a majority of the coins they keep are kept in cold storage. This is a measure, applied by a lot of companies and drastically increases the security of wallets.

 

Several altcoins featured  – There are some alternative coins available at KorBit, but this is by no means the main benefit of the exchange (as is the case with Poloniex or Bittrex). The full list currently includes: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Calassic, Ripple, Litecoin, Dash, Zcash, Monero, Augur and Steem. They are all traded against KWR.

 

KRW bank transfers accepted – Bank transfers from Korean banks are accepted at KorBit. More importantly, the company does not charge fees on any incoming transactions (although the banks involved in the process will). 

 

>> Purchase Bitcoin with a credit card<<

 

Credit cards are a much more preferable option for some users, although the commissions involved in the process can be pretty harsh. As an example Bitsatmp charges 8% on such transactions. 

 

 

Positive user feedback – While the non-Korean reviews of this exchange are relatively few in number, they are all positive. The company seems to operating legitimately, and with the competitive fee structure, most customers should be happy.

 

Nice trading platform – The web-based platform delivered by KorBit looks solid. Charting is provided by TradingView, which is always nice. Additionally the order book and tape (trading history), which are located below the chart also seem well-designed. Her is how they look: 

 

BTC/KRW chart. While the default template is simplistic it can easily be changed via the TradingView package.

 

The easy to read order book and tape.

 

KorBit Disadvantages

 

 

Focus on Korea – The issue, which a lot of locally focused exchanges have is also present at KorBit. They accept only Korean bank transfers and likely require such an account for the verification of your main trading account. The presentation in English, while not terrible is also not ideal.

 

 

Trading against KWR –  All of the trading activity at KorBit is done against the Korean Won (KWR). This may seem nice for local clients, but limits their ability for currency diversification and the option of quickly converting one coin into another.

 

Withdrawal fees – KorBit applies fees on withdrawals. They may not seem significant, but especially the ones imposed on blockchain transfers are annoying. Here is the list which also states all deposits are free of charge:

 

 

No leverage provided  – Margin trading isn’t supported by KorBit, which isn’t that big of a flaw. Cryptocurrencies are so volatile, that most traders don’t have the need to further increase the risks they are exposed to. For those of you who are willing to take even more aggressive steps, we must will recommend trading with as forex broker.

 

>>Leveraged Bitcoin trading brokers<< 

 

That being said, we must also underline the fact this style of trading is not suitable for long term investing. Trading with such brokers is done via the so called CFDs and is very different from going through a crypto-exchange. Read all of the important points here.

 

Conclusion

 

KorBit is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in Korea. The company has earned a solid reputation and is still very popular. That being said, their main flaw (from our perspective) is the domestic focus of this exchange. While they are not unique in that regard, as other Korean companies, like Coinone and Bithumb also operate in the same manner. 

 

The trading conditions at this exchange are solid – the instrument list features some altcoins, the platform is nice and the fees are up to date with the offers from other exchanges.

 

That being said, when dealing with cryptocurrencies, you must always consider the fact, there will be a certain level of uncertainty. Most veterans in the field would advice you to transfer any larger amounts of coins to a private wallet, whose private keys you control (or even a hardware wallet, like the Trezor or Ledger Nano). With that in mind, the forex brokers, which we mentioned earlier are often much safer alternatives. Click the link below for more details.

 

>>Tightly regulated Bitcoin forex brokers<<

 

And here is the final summary of this exchange (keep in mind, we are viewing it form an outside perspective, as we are not based in Korea):

 

Pros Cons
Competitive Fees Focus on Korea
Cold Storage Trading against KWR
Several altcoins featured Withdrawal fees
KRW bank transfers accepted No leverage provided
No deposit fees  
Positive user feedback  
Nice trading platform   

 

Forex
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