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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  

 

Exness

Exness Review
Trader's rating 4
Editor's rating 4

Account types

 

Trading account Min. deposit Max. leverage* Spread
Mini  $1  1:30  0.2-1.1 pips
Classic  $2 000 1:30  0.1-0.9 pips
ECN  $300 1:30  0.1-0.4 pips + $ 2.5 per standard lot

*Leverage goes up to 1:200 for professional traders and to 1:unlimited for non-EU residents.


This broker offers a choice of three basic account types: Mini, Classic and ECN accounts. The Mini account is targeted at inexperienced traders, as well as such who do not wish to trade in large volumes. The Classic account is targeted at regular and professional traders and offers full range of tools and trading facilities. As its name suggests, the ECN account is designed for clients who wish to trade in Electronic Communication Network environment, which involves a commission fee.

 

Another important thing worth mentioning is that the Mini and Classic account offer market and instant execution option. Most traders prefer instant execution, since it allows greater control on slippage and traders are offered requotes, instead of executing the order at the next best price.

 

Keep in mind that Exness does not provide it services to residents and citizens of the USA and Japan.


The Company. Security of Funds

 

Company

Country

Regulation

Exness (Cy) Limited 

Cyprus

CySEC

Exness (UK) Limited 

UK

FCA

 

The EXNESS group is a global ECN broker, consisting of companies regulated by reputable authorities such as UK's FCA and Cyprus' CySEC a. The broker offers trading in more than 120 forex currency pairs under fairly good conditions through the popular MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms.

 

EXNESS is the trading name of the EXNESS group, set up in 2008 and consisting several companies: Cyprus-based EXNESS (CY) Ltd., (which operates the website www.exness.eu), and EXNESS LTD., (which operates the website www.exness.com) - an International business company in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It also has set up a UK unit, which is licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority.

 

CySEC applies certain rules and procedures to brokerage firms, one of them being the requirement for a minimum capital. Cypriot financial watchdog requires forex brokers to hold at least €730 000 in order to operate legitimately. The same minimum capital requirement applies to brokers licensed in UK.

 

Furthermore, all CySEC-regulated companies are members of the Investor Compensation Fund, which serves to protect and secure the claims of covered clients and provide them with compensation of up to 20,000 EUR per person, where broker is at default. Similar compensation schemes apply in UK: FCA-regulated brokers fall under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, where the maximum compensation cover is £50,000 per person. Such compensation schemes serve as additional guarantee to clients’ funds.
     

Trading Conditions


Minimum initial deposit
Most brokers require a certain amount of money to be deposited in order the client to start trading. Exness, however, requires none (for the Mini account). Cyprus-based XM, for instance, requires a minimum initial deposit, amounting to $5, while FxPro, also CySEC-regulated, demands $ 500 from its clients.


Average Spreads & Commissions
EXNESS offers trading with variable spreads, which are attractively low. Average spreads on the commission-free accounts amount to 0.9 pips on EUR/USD, while ECN account holders are offered average spreads of 0.4 pips on EUR/USD, however a commission amounting to $2.5 per standard lot is charged.

 
You may look up real-time spreads of 15 leading brokers here.

 

Leverage
Leverage levels offered by EXNESS are in line with current ESMA guidelines, up to a maximum of 1:30.

 

 

Leverage may both multiply their profits and lead to heavy losses. Due to investor protection concerns, limitations on leverage rates are set in many jurisdictions: 1:50 in the USA, 1:25 in Japan, and 1:30 throughout the EU and the EEA.


Trading Platform


EXNESS offers its services on two of the most popular platforms among traders - MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5. The industry standard MT4 is available as desktop version, mobile apps and there is also a web-based version offered, called MT4 Web terminal. More brokers using the MT4 can be viewed here.

The MT5 was developed and marketed as an improvement on MT4, yet many brokers still prefer the earlier technology, since MT5 does not allow hedging, and what is more, MT4’s indicators and Expert Advisors (EA) are not supported on the MT5 platform.


More brokers offering the MT5 can be viewed here.

 

Promotions

EXNESS has partnered with forex rebate web site PayBackFX, and now offers its clients an option to receive cash back for each trade they make in the amount of 30% of the spread if they use Mini or Classic trading accounts, or $0.75 for each round-turn lot.

 

Methods of Payment


The broker accepts customer deposits and allows withdrawals via Wire Transfer, Neteller, Credit card and Internal transfer (available for withdrawals).


Skrill and PayPal are the only major e-payment systems missing.


Conclusion


EXNESS is a reliable broker with solid regulation, offering its clients a variety of tradeable instruments on two platforms under attractive trading conditions. To sum up the above, here are the advantages and drawbacks in relation to this broker:
 

Pros Cons
Solid regulation No proprietary platform
MT5 and MT4 both available Leverage capped at 1:30 (as required by law)
Attractive spreads  
No initial deposit required  
   

 

Headquarters: 46, Ayiou Athanasiou Avenue, Interlink Hermes Plaza, Office: 301 A, 3rd Floor, 4102, Limassol

Country: Cyprus

Regulated by: Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (Cyprus); Center for regulating OTC financial instruments and technologies (Russia). 

The EXNESS brand covers three companies:

 - EXNESS LIMITED (VC), registered in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

 - EXNESS LLC – a member of Russia's self-regulatory organization CRFIN

 - EXNESS (CY) LIMITED,  Cyprus-regulated, started operations in August 2013.  

The clients of the broker may count on 24/7 support in 23 languages.

 
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