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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  

 

OANDA

OANDA Review
Trader's rating 2.9
Editor's rating 3.8

Trading Accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit Minimum trade size Maximum leverage Avg.Spread 
Standard $ $1 - 1:50  1.4 pips on EUR/USD, variable

 

There is only one standard type of trading account at OANDA. On the one hand, this limits clients’ choice; on the other, it means that all account holders are treated equally.


To make things even better, this broker doesn’t require any minimum deposit, nor minimum trade size. However, you need to have at least $1 in your account balance in order to initiate a trade.


The Company


OANDA is one of the pioneer online forex brokers. Established back in 1996, It is now a large group with offices in Toronto, San Francisco, New York, London, Singapore, Tokyo, and Sydney. ALL group companies are duly regulated by the relevant authorities in the US, Singapore, Canada, the UK, Japan and Australia.


OANDA offers Internet-based forex trading and currency information services to both retail and institutional customers. The broker is a market maker, having one of the largest currency databases in the world. Its product portfolio includes forex, index, commodity & bond CFDs, as well as precious metals.


Security of Funds


OANDA Corporation is a registered Futures Commission Merchant and Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and is a member of the National Futures Association.


Brokers that are registered with the NFA are obliged to comply with an extensive set of rules. Unfortunately, these rules are often limiting from traders' point of view, but there is no way around them. For instance, hedging is not allowed and leverage is limited to 1:50, while European brokers are free to provide leverages up to 1:1000 or even higher than that.


Besides, NFA-registered brokers are required to maintain a net capital of at least $20 million to guarantee customers’ positions, which makes them super safe to invest with. Similar minimum capital requirements apply in most jurisdictions, for instance UK-based brokers are obliged to hold at least 730 000 EUR in order to prove their financial stability, and Australian ones must possess a minimum of $ 1 million in order to operate legitimately.


All OANDA Subsidiaries, including OANDA Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. (Singapore), OANDA (Canada) Corporation ULC (Canada), OANDA Europe Limited (UK), OANDA Japan Inc. (Japan) and OANDA Australia Pty Ltd. (Australia) are duly licensed and regulated by the respective bodies.


Trading Conditions


Minimum Initial Deposit

OANDA has no minimum deposit requirements for opening an account. This makes it attractive for risk averse or inexperienced traders who are not willing to invest a large amount of money.


Most brokers require a certain minimum initial deposit in order to cover the costs related to opening a new account. For instance, Forex.com demands $250 from its clients to start with, and FXCM - $50.


Average spreads & Commissions
This broker offers variable spreads, the average ones on EUR/USD amounting to 1.4 pips, which is on the upper end of average. Clients, however, take advantage of commission-free trading, as OANDA doesn’t charge any commission for their trading services, nor any account maintenance fees. Instead, the broker gets its remuneration through the spread.


In comparison, FOREX.com, also a global FSA-regulated broker and market maker, offers average spread of 1.8 pips on EUR/USD and also charges no commission fees. You may look up real-time spread of 15 leading brokers here.


Maximum Leverage
OANDA offers a maximum leverage level of 1:50 on FX products, which is quite low, however, the broker has no choice, since US regulator has set a limitation on leverage ratios. CFTC limits leverage available to retail forex traders in the United States to 1:50 on major currency pairs and 20:1 for all others.


If you need higher leverage, you can pick a broker, who offers leverage ratios of 1:500 and exceeding 1:500 from this list. We advise traders to exercise caution when using higher leverage levels, for such rates may not only multiply their earnings on a small deposit, but also lead to heavy losses in excess of the initial investments made.


Trading Platforms


Oanda provides its clients with a choice of threetrading platforms: its custom-made fxTrade, Protrader Multi-Connect (PTMC) and the popular MetaTrader 4.


fxTrade comes in desktop, web and mobile versions. It has a simple, yet effective interface, and what is more important – superb execution speed. According to OANDA`s website, this platform executes 98% of trades within 0.057 seconds or less, which is super-fast.


Furthermore, fxTrade is equipped with intuitive and powerful charting features, multiple sub-accounts to test different trading strategies and financial news and market analysis from leading news providers.


We presume that fxTrade is aimed mostly at new traders, since it has all the usual functionalities, but more advanced features are missing.

 

Oanda`s proprietary  fxTrade. Click to enlarge.

 

Oanda recently added to its platforrms line up Protrader, developed by PFSOFT. Protrader offers everything regular forex trading platforms do: Advanced charts and technical analysis, indicators, various order types, customization options, and auto trading options. In fact, Protrader has created AlgoStudio - a professional algorithmic strategy development tool. It enables users to test different types of data aggregation: time, ticks, range, Renko, LineBreak, etc.

 

In addition, Oanda offers the powerful MetaTrader 4, which is highly regarded by the online trading community mostly because it allows users to fully automate their trades. By choosing from a wide range of Expert Advisors (EAs), traders may sit back, while the program does all the work. What is more, it offers a number of technical indicators, extensive back-testing environment and advanced charting package. Here is a list of more forex brokers offering MT4 platform.


In addition, fxTrade bridges directly to MetaTrader 4 using custom-built technology, which we find useful.


Methods of Payment


OANDA offers its clients various methods to deposit/withdraw funds to and from their accounts. They vary, depending on the OANDA division of registration, but the main payment modes are debit/credit card, bank wire, checks, PayPal and UnionPay.


Conclusion


OANDA is a leading global forex broker, offering online trading in a wide range of currency pairs, CFDs and precious metals under attractive conditions. To sum up the above, here are the advantages and disadvantages of this broker:

 

Pros  Cons
Variety of platforms offered  Market maker
Mt4 available Low maximum leverage
No initial deposit required  
No minimum trade size  
No commission and account maintenance fees  
Well-regulated  

 

Find Better Broker 

Headquarters:140 Broadway, 46th Floor, New York, NY 10005 

Country: United States

Regulated by: CFTC, NFA , MAS, FSA, IIROC, DFSA

Branches:
OANDA UK 
OANDA Japan 
OANDA Asia Pacific
OANDA Middle East 

Forex
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