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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  

 

XM

XM Review
Trader's rating 3.4
Editor's rating 4.7

Trading Accounts

 

Account type  Minimum deposit  Minimum trade size  Maximum leverage  Average Spreads
Micro  $5  0.01 1:500 1.7 pip on EUR/USD
Standard  $5 0.01 1:500 1.7 pip on EUR/USD
Zero  $100 0.01 1:500 0.1 pips on EUR/USD + $7 / lot (round trip) 

 

XM offers its clients three types to choose from: Micro, Standard and Zero. You may choose from commission-free trading (in Micro and Standard accounts) or tighter spreads, involving commission fees and higher initial deposit (Zero account). The broker offers high leverage levels and floating spreads. Beginners can sign up for Micro accounts with as little as $5, and micro lots are available for trade on all accounts.


What is more, swap-free (Islamic) accounts are available, designated for clients who are not willing to earn interest for religious reasons.


The Company. Security of Funds

 

Company Country Regulation
Trading Point of Financial Instruments Ltd. Cyprus  CySEC
Trading Point of Financial Instruments PTY Ltd. Australia ASIC
     

Based on the sunny island of Cyprus, XM offers great trading conditions for trading in a wide range of instruments, including currency trading, CFDs on commodities, indices, precious metals, energies and stocks on two trading platforms (MT4 and MT5). What is more, XM provides ultra-fast execution (99.35% of all trades executed in less than 1 second), as well as awesome bonuses & promotions.

 

XM is a brand name of Trading Point Holdings Ltd, which wholly owns Trading Point of Financial Instruments Pty Ltd (XM Australia) and Trading Point of Financial Instruments Ltd (XM Cyprus).

  

CySEC and ASIC apply certain rules and requirements to regulated firms, which are not as stringent as those in the US, for instance, however they provide a good level of credibility. Besides, licensed brokers are required to keep customer funds in segregated accounts, separated from the company’s operating funds.

 

As a further guarantee to clients’ funds, all companies regulated in Cyprus are covered by compensation schemes as additional guarantee to clients funds. All deposits with a Cyprus regulated forex broker up to EUR 20,000 per client are guaranteed by the  Investor Compensation Fund.

 

Currently, however, Australian forex brokers are not covered by any compensation scheme.

 

The XM group also includes Belize-registered XM Global, as well as Trading Point of Financial Instruments UK Ltd (XM UK), a company authorized by the Financial Conduct Austhority in the UK. It currently operates Trading.com brand. The latter is also expected to launch in the US, as XM has also applied for authorization with the National Futures Association (NFA). 

 

 

Trading Conditions


Minimum Initial Deposit

In order to open an account with XM, traders have to invest just $5. Such low minimum initial amount is rather attractive, as typically brokers require $100 - $300 as a start.


Spreads & Commissions

This broker offers variable spreads. The typical ones on commission-free accounts amount to 1.7 pips on EUR/USD. According to us, the conditions on the Zero account are better: spreads averaged 0.1 pips on EUR/USD and commission $3.5 per standard lot traded (per side). So, basically trading costs on the Zero account amount to around 0.8 pips, commission included, which is a great offer. What is more, you can open a Zero account with just $100.


Leverage
XM offers flexible leverage between 1:1 to 1:500. Using leverage means that you can trade positions larger than the amount of money in your trading account. Leverage amount is expressed as a ratio, for instance 50:1, 100:1, or 500:1. Assuming that you have $1,000 in your trading account and you trade ticket sizes of 500,000 USD/JPY, your leverage will equate 500:1.


Trading Platforms

 

When trading with this broker, you will be offered both MetaQuuotes;s platforms - the Metatrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5).

 

MT4 is an internationally acclaimed trading software, offering a full array of trading tools and features: more than 50 built-in technical indicators, advanced charting package, a wide range of Expert Advisors (EAs) and extensive back-testing options for them. Traders can download ready-made or create their own EAs and let the program do all the work, no human emotions involved. The MT4 with XM is availavle in all forms and shapes: desktop, web, and mobile.

What is more, XM provides MT4 MultiTerminal, which offers a practical and convenient way to manage multiple accounts simultaneously from a single interface (PAMM).

 

Recently MetaQuotes has been putting a stronger emphasis on the MT5: the hedging function was finally added to it and all versions of the platform have been ehanced. As a result, the number of brokers that support the platform has been on the increase. XM also followed suit and added it to its offerings. 


Besides, free Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is offered to both new and existing customers of XM who deposit a minimum of $5,000 and trade at least 5 round turn lots per month. VPS hosting allows the execution of orders 24 hours, 5 days a week.


Promotions

 - Free VPS for clients who maintain a balance (Equity-Credit) USD 5,000 or currency equivalent. No end date for this promotion;

 - $30 Non-Deposit Trading Bonus for new clients only. No end date for this promotion;

 - The two-tier deposit bonus offers 50% deposit bonus up to $500 and 20% deposit bonus up to $5,000. No end date for this promotion;

 - The XM Loyalty Program offers the clients XM Points (XMP) per lot traded. These XMP can be redeemed at any time for credit bonus which can be used for trading purposes only. No end date for this promotion.

 

*Clients registered under Trading Point of Financial Instruments Ltd are not eligible for bonuses. 

 


Deposit/Withdraw Methods


XM accepts the most commonly used Local Payment methods today including Credit/Debit Card, Neteller, Skrill, Bank Wire Transfer, etc. Their coverage is quite extensive and adds more flexibility on adding funds into the account


XM covers all deposit and withdrawal transfer fees for payments made via Neteller, Moneybookers and all major credit cards (including VISA, VISA Electron, MasterCard, Maestro and China UnionPay). Additionally, all deposits and withdrawals above 200 USD processed by wire transfer are also included in our zero fees policy.


Conclusion


XM is a EU award-winning broker that offers wide range of trading products and account types on two great platforms under competitive conditions. What is more, it provides Negative Balance Protection, as well as lucrative bonuses to its clients. To sum up the above, here are the advantages and drawbacks with regards to this broker:

 

Pros  Cons
Well-regulated (ASIC and CySEC licenses) No significant disadvantages
Negative Balance Protection  
Low trading costs on the Zero account  
MT4 and MT5 available  
Attractive Promotions  
Fast execution speed  

 

Why XM?

- Licensed in UK and Australia
- Tight Spreads from 1 Pip
- Leverage up to 888:1
- Deposit bonus up to 5000 USD
- 24 Hour Support
- No Requotes
- Personal Account Managers
- Automated Trading
- Loyalty Program
- Phone Trading
- Hedging Allowed
- Islamic Account

Registered with

- FSA, UK 
- BaFin, Germany 
- CNMV, Spain
- AFM, Netherlands
- FI, Sweden
- FIN, Finland
- PSZÁF, Hungary
- CONSOB, Italy
- ACP, France
- KNF, Poland

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