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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  

 

Rakuten Securities Hong Kong

Rakuten Securities Hong Kong Review
Trader's rating 5
Editor's rating 3

Trading Accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit Minimum trade size Maximum leverage Average spreads
Rakuten FX None 1k unit 1:20 0.9 pips
Trading Station None 1k unit 1:20 0.4 pips + US$0.08/lot (roundturn)

 

Rakuten FX Spread Highlight

Currency Pair
Spread
Currency Pair
Spread
Currency Pair
Spread
USD/JPY
0.9
EUR/USD
0.9
GBP/USD
1.6
NZD/USD
2.1
EUR/GBP
1.8
EUR/CHF
2.7
USD/HKD
3.0
HKD/JPY
4.0
AUD/USD
1.3
EUR/JPY
2.2
GBP/JPY
2.2
CHF/JPY
2.6
CAD/JPY
2.2
AUD/JPY
1.9
NZD/JPY
2.4
GBP/CHF
3.0
AUD/NZD
2.6
CNH/JPY
2.3
AUD/CHF
2.3
NZD/CHF
5.4
ZAR/JPY
4.6
NOK/JPY
4.3
TRY/JPY
3.7
SGD/JPY
4.6

 Spreads on Rakuten FX platform

 

Rakuten Securities Hong Kong offers trading in 40 currency pairs on two robust platforms. Potential clients can register and download its Rakuten FX trading platform demo for trial before account opening or actual trade.

 

Note that there is a difference in the margin requirement for hedging in the two types of accounts. Both Rakuten FX and Trading Station platforms require margin only on one side and margin counts on the side requires larger amount.

 

 

The Company. Security of Funds

 

Company Country Regulation
Rakuten Securities Hong Kong Hong Kong SFC

 

Rakuten Securities Hong Kong (Rakuten Securities HK) is a subsidiary of the Japanese forex giant Rakuten Securities, one of the three largest forex brokers in Japan, and also a pioneer in leveraged foreign exchange trading in Hong Kong.

 

Rakuten Securities, Inc. (“Rakuten Securities”) is the securities division of Rakuten Group which operates as Japan’s largest E-Commerce provider. Rakuten Group is based in Japan, but operates globally through various subsidiaries offering business services like e-commerce, travel, banking, securities, credit card, e-money, portal and media, online marketing and professional sports, etc.

 

Actually, Rakuten Securities acquired the Hong Kong brokerage from FXCM in the autumn of 2015 and subsequently rebranded and relaunched it in 2016.

 

Rakuten Securities HK is regulated by the local Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). This means that the client trading accounts are well protected and fully within Hong Kong's legal jurisdiction.

 

The SFC licensing procedure is a long and complicated one, involving submission of various documents, a test for officials representing the firm, and maintaining adequate accounting and control systems. The commission also exercises supervision over licensed companies, performing on-site reviews and off-site monitoring. There are also stringent capital requirements for the brokers. Since 2015 there is also the requirement that the license holders allow investors to claim damages if the intermediary is selling or recommending a financial product that is not reasonably suitable for the client. 

 

 

Trading Conditions

 

Minimum initial deposit

Rakuten Securities HK does not have a minimum deposit requirement. Naturally, in order to trade, one does need to put in some money in their account.

 

Spreads and commissions

Rakuten Securities HK offers fairly tight spreads. The Trading Station account has tighter spreads, but there is also a commission. The calculation of this fee appears to be a somewhat complicated affair, measured in pips, and ultimately turns out to be less favorable. As per Rakuten's own calculations, the commission is around 0.8 pips, which added to the spread, amounts to a total of 1.2 pips, compared to only 0.9 pips on Rakuten FX platform.

 

Leverage

The leverage of Rakuten Securities HK is 1:20, which is not much, but many jurisdictions have imposed caps on leverage at similar levels. For example, the maximum leverage allowed to retail clients in Japan is 1:25 and in Europe – 1:30 (as of August, 2018). The reason for such restrictions is the fact that using high leverage levels involves significant risk of loss.

 

 

Trading platforms

 

Rakuten Securities HK offers two trading platform and neither of them is MetaTrader 4, which is relatively rare among brokers. Instead, it has Rakuten Securities Japan's proprietary platform Rakuten FX, iSpeedFX and Trading Station, which was “inherited” from FXCM.

 

All platforms have applications for mobile devices and web versions.

 

Rakuten FX is an award-winning user-friendly platform with robust functionality and an AS Streaming trading function that allows speedy user execution and one click order execution. The platform features 7 order types, notifications, real time reports, trading from charts, 9 types of charts, 44 basic and advanced indicators and customizable parameters.

 

Click on image for larger view

 

Trading Station allows users to trade raw spread directly from top liquidity providers with No Dealing Desk (NDD) execution with a low fixed commission and using the essential functions of the proprietary Marketscope charting tool. The platform supports five order types, hedging, trading from charts and 60 basic and advanced indicators. It also offers one click or double click order execution and “simple” and “advanced” dealing rates, real time news and customization.


 

Click on image for larger view

 

   

Methods of payment

 

Rakuten Securities HK accepts client payments through ATM, internet banking and bank counter, for Hong Kong residents. For international clients the funding options are bank wire and post office wire (for clients in China). The broker also accepts checks and e-checks.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The mere fact that Rakuten Securities HK is regulated by SFC and is a subsidiary of a Japanese broker suggests it is stable and reliable. Hong Kong is not such a large market in itself, but China is, which makes the regulation lucrative. Besides, the trading conditions of Rakuten Securities HK are transparent and more than attractive: low spreads, no minimum investment requirement, three great trading platforms available.

 

To sum up the above:

 

 

Pros Cons
Regulated in HK, part of an international group No MetaTrader
Tight fixed spreads Low leverage
No deposit requirement  
Two user-friendly trading platforms, individual training  

 

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