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Bitstamp

Bitstamp Review
Trader's rating 1
Editor's rating 3.9

Our Experience

We registered an account at Bitstamp and after confirming the ID, we decided to make a credit card deposit. What first stroke us, was the fact you can only directly buy Bitcoin via credit card, instead of simply transferring funds to your account. The purchase went fine, after dealing with an external payment services provider. We immediately sold the coins, in order to have a USD trading balance. At that point we realized the 8% fee on credit card transfers (at the time, now the fee is 5%) truly applies.

 

Later on, we traded with the platform and everything felt fine. While the speed of execution was slightly lower than the one provided by most forex trading platforms, it was still pretty decent. The order book seemed to have some trading robots, which moved the best bids/asks constantly, but this didn’t hinder trading at all.


We also made a SEPA Bank transfer to this exchange. The funds arrived less than 24 hours later and the only fees we paid were the ones charged by our local bank.

 

We ended up having some Litecoin, which we transferred to Bittrex, in order to continue our journey in the world of altcoins. Additionally, we left some Ethereum, which we sent to a newly created wallet at MyEtherWallet – a wallet, which allows users to control their private keys. All of these blockchain transactions, which are external to Bitstamp happened in minutes. We are yet to test the speed of bank transfer withdrawals, from this exchange.

 

Trading Accounts

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Fee
Standard Undisclosed N/A 0.25%*

*Fees can go lower for bigger traders

 

Bitstamp is one of the few cryptocurrency exchanges which accepts deposits directly from traditional payment methods. In essence this service can be used to obtain Bitcoin (via a bank transfer or credit card) which you are then free to send.

 

The company, security of funds

Company Country Regulation
Bitstamp Ltd. Luxembourg CSSF

 

Bitstamp Ltd. is the company behind this project. They have offices in Luxembourg, London and New York. More importantly, this is the first fully licensed cryptocurrency exchange in Europe. It is regulated by the (Luxembourg Financial Industry Supervisory Commission, known as the CSSF). As we often warn against the risks involved in dealing with unregulated or off-shore forex brokers, it is nice to see a company in the cryptoverse, which is registered with a watchdog.

 

The CSSF Licensing ensures the company periodically files reports with the appropriate agencies. Bitstamp is registered as a “Payment institution”, which implies you can be sure about the real-money transfers you send to (and receive from them). That being said we don’t know if mandatory policies on fairness of execution are in place. No matter the case, this is much more than, what most other crypto-exchanges provide in terms of regulation.

 

Bitstamp was hacked in early 2015. Afterwards the company rebuild its entire trading platform. Nowadays they claim to store 98% of their client’s cryptocurrencies on cold storage, while only 2% are directly available on the exchange. This is a major improvement in terms of security.

 

Bitstamp partnered with Swissquote, in July 2017.  The Swiss bank and broker, decided to trust this company, in order to provide Bitcoin trading to its clients. This speaks volumes in terms of Bitstamp’s credibility. At the time of writing of this review, there is no integration with the MetaTrader4 (MT4) platform. Trading is instead done on the Swissquote’s website, with limited functionality. This is bound to change in the future. 

 

The user reviews for Bitstamp are fairly mixed. There are lots of satisfied customers and people claiming dissatisfaction with the support. Similarly to Poloniex, the company may be experiencing more significant traffic than expecting, but the negative comments are not that harsh. 

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Bitstamp allows trading cryptocurrencies against the old-fashioned EUR and USD. On the other hand few coins are supported, namely Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple. If you want to dive into more exotic altcoins, you can use Bitstamp as a way to convert your cash into one of these three and then transfer it to a different exchange which supports your preferred altcoin.

 

Minimum initial deposit

There is no information on the minimum deposit at Bitstamp. While this is not that unusual, when dealing with cryptocurrencies, the company does accept traditional payments. There may be a level below, which they would not accept your transfer. We are used to forex brokers disclosing their minimum entry levels beforehand, like easyMarkets, who require $100.

 

Leverage

Margin trading is not available at Bitstamp. For those of you who do not know what margin trading is – this is a mechanism by which you trade with more buying power than the money you have in your account. When it comes to froex brokers, they allow substantial leverage levels, like 1:500, meaning you can trade with positions worth 500 times more than your investment. The catch is your account serves as a guarantee, and if you start loosing, there will be a point at which your positions will be closed (this is known as receiving a margin call, followed by a margin stop-out).

 

Fees

The commissions, charged by Bitstamp go as high as 0.25% for cash to cryptocurrency trades (for the lowest volumes). As is the practice with most other exchanges, they go lower with bigger volumes. The unusual aspect of this offering is that there is no incentive for the market “makers” (people who place orders on the exchange, instead of aggressively buying from the ones which other traders have placed). Most cryptocurrency exchange provide an ever so slightly lower fee for traders who provide liquidity.

 

Comparing this to the spreads provided by forex brokers is rather hard, as we have mentioned in our general comparison of the two type of service providers. On the other hand, Bitstamp’s fees are in-line with what other cypto-exchanges are offering.

 

 

Trading platform

 

Bitstamp’s trading platform is web-based. This is the norm with most cryptocurrency exchanges, unlike the situation with forex brokers, where downloadable software (like MT4) is prevalent. At first glance Bitstamp’s trading platform looks solid. A big emphasis is placed on charting, with a nice package. It feels pretty similar to cTrader, although it lacks a lot of the functionality. Lots of technical indicators and tools are available, but most forex trading platforms still provide even more options. That being said Bitsatmp’s offer is better that what we have seen at a lot of other crupto-exchanges. Here is a preview of the charting (click to zoom-in):

 

 

The order book is located below the chart and is one of the best ones available (at such exchanges). Here is a screenshot (click to zoom-in):

 

 

It was clearly designed by someone with trading experience as the bid and ask price are next to each other, where the two tables meet (on the left). This allows for a quick and easy comparison of the market depth, although the size of the orders (outer columns) must also be taken into account.

 

Methods of payment

 

Bitstamp accepts payments via Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card and cryptocurrencies. There are some specifics regarding the bank transfers, with EU clients being more easily accepted via the SEPA System. While this system is relatively faster than traditional bank transfers, it may come at higher fees (depending on your bank). On the other hand Credit Card transfers, while instant, come with an 8% fee. That being said, virtually anybody can transfer fiat currencies to this exchange. This feature is probably their biggest advantage over others.

 

Conclusion

 

Bitstamp is the first regulated European cryptocurrency exchange. The company keeps 98% of customer’s coins on cold storage wallets, which is a pretty good security measure. Bitstamp is one of the relatively few exchanges who accept deposits by Credit Card and Bank Transfer. Three of the major coins are traded directly against EUR and USD. On the other hand the exchange offers few alternative coins. In essence this is a great gateway for those who are new to the world of cryptocurrencies. Here is a summary Bitstamp’s strong and weak sides:

 

Pros Cons
Luxembourg licensing Few altcoins available
Accepts Bank Transfers and Credit Cards Was hacked in 2015
Competitive commissions 5% fee on credit card purchases
Relatively nice trading platform  
98% of coins kept in cold storage  

 

easyMarkets

easyMarkets Review
Trader's rating 5
Editor's rating 4.9

Trading Accounts

  

Account type   Minimum deposit  Minimum trade size Maximum leverage Spreads
Standard $100 0.05 1:400 3 pips*
VIP $5000 0.1 1:400 1 pip

 

*Those Standard account holders who deposit $250 or more, get VIP spreads.

 

easyMarkets offers its clients two trading accounts to choose from, available on two platforms – the good old MetaTrader 4 and the broker’s proprietary web-based platform. Both account types offer commission-free trading, fixed spreads and leverage up to 1:400. Micro lots are available for trade only to Standard account holders.

 

There are a number of features available solely to VIP account holders, such as Personal Market Analyst, Loyalty Rebates, Express Withdrawals, Free trading signals, Free Breaking news, SMS Alerts, etc.

 

If you don’t need such extras or simply don’t want to invest 5 thousand bucks, you can get VIP spreads on your Standard account by depositing $250.

 

Islamic (swap-free) accounts compliant with the Sharia law are also available to clients who don’t want to earn interest for religious reasons.

 

The Company. Security of Funds

 

Company

Country

Regulation

Easy Forex Trading Ltd.

Cyprus

CySEC

EasyMarkets PTY Ltd.

Australia

ASIC

 

easyMarkets (previously Easy-Forex) is the trading name of Easy Forex Trading Ltd. – a Cyprus-based brokerage, established back in 2003. It provides its services in over 160 countries worldwide, offering trading in 175 products ranging from currencies, CFDs on indices commodities, metals and Bitcoin, as well as options and forward contracts. 

 

Easy Forex Trading Ltd, doing business as easyMarkets, is licensed and regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC, license No 079/07), and its Australian subsidiary - EasyMarkets PTY Ltd. - is authorized and regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).


CySEC applies certain rules to license holders, one of them being the requirement such firms to hold a minimum capital in order to conduct their business operations legitimately. The Commission requires Cyprus-based forex brokers to hold at least €730 000. As regulation of financial services providers usually involves such a requirement, Australian brokers are obliged to hold a minimum of $1,000,000 by ASIC.


Furthermore, the Cypriot financial watchdog applies a compensation scheme as additional guarantee to clients’ funds. All CySEC-regulated companies are members of the Investor Compensation Fund, the compensation fund of last resort for customers of authorized financial services firms. If the Company becomes insolvent or ceases trading, it is able to pay compensation to its covered clients, amounting to a maximum of 20,000 EUR.


Unlike many other EU-based brokers, Australian ones are not covered by any compensation scheme.

 

Focus on client protection 

 

 

 

 

easyMarkets is a broker that places a special focus on client protection. Apart from offering tight fixed spreads, which do not widen during news releases, easyMarkets is one of the few brokers that provide Negative Balance Protection. This means that you can never lose more funds than you have deposited, even though you are trading on margin.

 

Besides, it allows forex traders to cancel losing trades via its state-of-the-art feature dealCancellation, available on its in-house platform.

 

Trading Conditions

  

Minimum initial deposit

In order to open an account with easyMarkets, one has to deposit at least $100, which is a reasonable and competitive minimum initial deposit.

 

Spreads & Commissions

This broker offers fixed spreads, which allows traders to predetermine their costs. What is more, no commission fees are charged, as the broker generates revenues through the bid-ask spread paid by traders on each transaction.

 

Although fixed spreads generally tend to be wider that variable ones, this is not the case with easyMarkets – their spreads amount to 1 pips on EUR/USD and are accessible with a deposit of $250. In comparison, Exness and Plus500 (also regulated by CySEC) offer fixed spreads amounting to 2 pips for this currency pair.

 

Leverage

The maximum leverage level offered by this broker is 1:400, which is considered comparatively high, as CySEC has recently proposed the default leverage provided by brokers to be 1:50. The reason for such leverage limitations is that higher leverage involves higher risk of heavy losses. Nonetheless, many Cyprus-based brokers offer high leverage levels: XM – up to 1:888, FXTM – up to 1:500.

 

Trading Platforms

 

Clients of easyMarkets may choose from the broker’s proprietary web-based platform and the popular Metatrader 4 (MT4).

 

easyMarkets’ in-house platform offers advanced charts, live market news, technical analysis and sentiment all in one screen, one click trading (from the Market Explorer).

 

What is more, platform users get free Guaranteed stop loss and dealCancellation option, which are indeed two great risk management tools.

 

 

easyMarkets’ in-house web platform. Click to enlarge

 

 

In addition, easyMarkets offers the powerful MT4, allowing traders to fully automate their operations by choosing from a wide range of Expert Advisors (EA) and let the program do all the work. This is one of the reasons this platform to be preferred by most traders. Besides, it offers a number of useful technical indicators, extensive back-testing and advanced charting package, which includes the option to trade straight from the chart. Here is a list of more forex brokers offering MT4 platform.

 

Bonuses & Promotions

By the time of writing this review, there are two promotions offered (effective until March 31, 2016)

-        - First deposit bonus on initial deposit ranging from 30% to 50% (up to $2 000);

-         - Refer-a-friend bonus from $25 to $500 for new clients who deposit at least $250. 

 

Methods of Payment

 

easyMarkets offers a variety of payment methods, including credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, Visa electron), bank transfer and e-wallet systems, such as, Skrill, Neteller, WebMoney, SoFortüberweisung, American Express, Giropay, Ideal and UnionPay.

 

For withdrawals to credit/debit cards and eWallets there is no minimum withdrawal amount. For withdrawals to bank accounts, a minimum amount of USD 50 is required. All deposits and withdrawals with easyMarkets are commission-free.

 

Conclusion

 

easyMarkets is a well-regulated broker that offers trading in wide range of financial products products worldwide through both its proprietary platforms and the industry’s standard MT4. This is a broker that places a special focus on client protection. To sum up the above, here are the advantages and drawbacks with regards to this broker: 

  

 

Pros

Cons

Well-regulated

No significant disadvantages

Tight fixed spreads, no commission fees

 

Variety of trading platforms offered, MT4 available

 

Negative balance protection, option to cancel losing trades

 

Promotions available

 

 

Headquarters: P.O.Box 53742, Limassol 3317
 

Country: Cyprus

 

Regulated by: CySEC – License Number 079/07

Forex
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