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Bitfinex Review - is it scam or safe?

Bitfinex Review - Is bitfinex.com scam or a good cryptocurrency exchange?

RATING: 3.4 / 5 REVIEWS Bitfinex

RECOMMENDED BITCOIN BROKERS


Trading Accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Maker fee Taker fee
Standard Undisclosed 1: 3.3 From 0.10 % From 0.20%



Bitfinex is a cryptocurrency exchange, which also provides margin trading. The leverage ratio may seem low to experienced forex traders, but this is due to wild and unpredictable nature of cryptocurrencies. At the time of writing of this review Bitfinex is the largest Bitcoin exchange, in terms of volume.


The company, security of funds

Company Country Regulation
iFinex Inc British Virgin Islands N/A


Bitfinex is operated by iFinex Inc., a company based on the British Virgin Islands (while they used to operate out of Hong Kong). Although regulation in the cryptoverse is often times a bit shaky, this company has some history in dealing with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Despie claiming they should not fall under any dervatives regulation, Bitfinex did pay a fine to the CFTC rgarding a particular case. Of course, we are talking about the famous hacking scandal.

 

In August of 2016, Bitcoin worth approximately $72 million was stolen from Bitfinex users, resulting in the second-largest hack in the history of cryptocurrency exchanges. The company reacted accordingly, trying to trace the villains. Simultaneously it issued the so called BFX tokens, to the victims. This represented a pledge by the exchange, to pay back the money, once it has the ability to do so.
 

An interesting development then followed, as a secondary market for these tokens emerged. Applying a strategy, used by the aptly named “Vulture hedge funds”, the initial bidders were offering 2 cents on the dollar. Obviously the uncertainty regarding the payments was very high, as people were speculating this was the end of Bitfinex. Prices started increasing, with new developments in the story. Eventually the firm paid back the entire debt, at the full promised value (and withdrew all the tokens in the process).
 

This story raises the credibility of Bitfinex in our eyes. The exchange had a major issue but managed to handle it well.

 

Important Update: As of November 9 2017, Bitfinex will no longer accept US clients in any form. This is most likely the result of a SEC guideline, which suggests all crypto-exhanges will have to at least be registered in a newly created list.
 

Trading conditions
 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)
 

Most of the major coins are being traded at Bitfinex. At the time of writing of this review the list includes: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, EOS, OmiseGO, Iota, Ethereum Classic, Zcash, Ripple, Dash, Santiment, and Monero.
 

Minimum initial deposit


The minimum initial deposit, required by Bitfinex is not specified. Forex traders are used to brokers disclosing this information in advance. Some even use it as a means of attracting new traders, like FXTM, who only require $5 for the creation of a new cent account.
 

Although small transfers can be made with cryptocurrencies, we suspect there may be a minimum, under which Bitfinex will not accept your transaction.
 

Leverage


Bitfinex allows margin trading and short-selling of cryptocurrencies. The maximum leverage is 1 top 3,3. Some of the forex brokers, which provide Bitcoin trading, offer even higher leverage. For instance HYCM has set the cap at 1:10. Of course, you can only trade with cryptocurrencies at most forex brokers, without the ability to actually own and transfer them.

 

Do keep in mind, market moves in the cryptoverse tend to be very wild. A coin can gain or lose a significant portion of its value, within a day. On the other hand traditional fiat currencies rarely register a daily change of more than 1.5 - 2%. Trading a cryptocurrency with high leverage ratios is one of the riskiest things you could do.

Fees


When it comes to fees, charged by Bitfinex they are relatively fair when compared to the competition. In order to give you a better understanding, we have to clarify exactly how they are calculated. Unlike what you may be used to with most forex brokers, fees on crypto-exchanges are charged, based on what type of order you place.

If you buy from the lowest available ask, you are effectively taking away liquidity from the market, which results in you paying the higher “taker fee”. Alternatively, if you place your own bid/ask in the order book, other traders can “aggressively” make a trade with it. This is called providing liquidity, in which case you pay the lower “maker fee”.
 

The charges at Bitfinex are percentages of the total volume of the transaction. They are 0.20% for the “takers” and 0.10% for the “makers”. Comparing this with the offers provided by forex brokers is quite tricky. You would probably get a slightly lower spread at most brokerages, but you will be trading a Contract For Differance (CFD). This means you will only be speculation on the price of the asset, without actually owning it. We must reiterate, speculative trading of cryptocurrenies can be very risky.
 

When it comes to short-selling, there are additional borrowing fees, which vary based on Bitfinex’s internal platform’s peer-to-peer financing functionality. A key rule to note, is that when selling short, you can’t borrow more than 70% of your entire position.


Trading platform


Bitfinex provides its services via a web-based platform and a mobile app. Although it doesn’t come near the most popular currency trading platform, MetaTrader4 (MT4), the Bitfinex offering is decent. Charting is provided by TradingView, which means you are getting a solid package, with lots of technical analysis tools, such as indicators, Fibonacci tools, trend-lines and so on. Here is a preview of the BTC/USD chart, as provided by Bitfinex (click to zoom-in):

 


 

The order book at Bitfinex is also fully transparent. Although volumes occasionally go down, there is a lot of swift order movement and many transactions in the major currencies. Whether classical tape-reading works, as a predictive technique nowadays is a rather interesting topic in itself, but you can attempt to do it at Bitfinex. Here is a preview of the order book (click to zoom-in):



 

Methods of payment
 

Funding your account at Bitfinex can be done via multiple cryptocurrencies. Furthermore Bank Transfers are accepted, although they are temporary disabled. It is not clear when and if they will “old fashioned” payments will be accepted. Options such as Credit Card, PayPall or Skrill are also not available, which limits the ability to attract people who are new to the crypto-world.
 

Conclusion
 

Bitfinex is one of the major cryptocurrency exchanges. The 2016 hack was a major blow to the company. That being said, they managed to handle the situation as best they could. This is definitely a good exchange for forex traders, willing to venture into the cryptoverse, as the platform feels intuitive. On the other hand one would need to already have a crypto currency wallet in order to make a deposit in the first place. This is a major drawback for the “uninitiated”. Here are Bitfinex’s pros and cons:

 

Pros      Cons
Reputable company, handled hacking well Only accepts payments in crypto (currently)
High BTC liquidity   Does not accept US clients
Solid charting, by TradingView  
Competitive commission  structure  

 

Latest news about Bitfinex
Forex
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Traders` reviews for Bitfinex

Spread

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Slippage

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Requotes

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Price feed

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Platform

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Deposit/Withdraw

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Customer service

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Summary

Pros

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Do not deal with Bitfinex, here's why

I would shortly specify why this exchange will scam you:

1. Huge spread makes your trades into 100% losses.
2. Market manipulation, selling data to market makers
3. The margin is so small, that you will be paying 1-2% for almost the same results as if you were trading by the initial cap yourself.
4. HSBC have refused to continue partnership with Bitfinex, stating, that "Their clients are manipulated like those 'work-at-home' slaves"

I've been trying to trade for half a year with this trash, but with zero success. Once I've tried bitmex, I did over 200% in 24 hours of initial trading. So do your conclusions - Finex will crash very soon, running away with traders money.

user 11/24/2018

Not a bad exchange at all

I've been working with them, I would say they're a 4 out of 5. High liquidity and fast performance. Reason why they are not 5/5 is because of lack in transparency.

Eric Nghuy 10/06/2018

Outstanding Margin Market

I've been doing margin trading using my personal funds for at least 2 years, and I've never had any problems with bitfinex. Support always try to be nice and polite, and answer in a timely manner; verification took less than a month; never experienced any downtime, and withdrawals and deposits are not that complicated at all. It's just my experience, but I've never had any problems at all.

Jonathan Morris 09/21/2018

Very very poor support

Bitfinex is worst trading platform I have ever used

No support provided. My account is locked out and I have been mailing them from last 3 days and also raised a ticket but no response. They are bunch of unprofessional guys who don't know the meaning of professionalism. It really sucks.

Rohit Jha 01/05/2018

Bitfinex platform glitches

I tried trading Bitcoin/USD (buying and shorting) mostly fast trending moves of .5-3% on Bitfinex with about $1000 and lost money in a volatile (good) market. I believe there are two main reasons for this here listed below:
The first is when I would normally execute a trade on my exchange account or margin account during fast trending (up or down) movement the site always glitched somehow before I could react (buy or sell) even if I was already in the right wallet. For instance I got logged out or the chart froze/closed or some other BS glitch but only when the market was trending quickly. This happened on many occasions in one week so I don't think it was a coincidence.
Secondly as far as I can tell to switch from a buy to short or vice versa you need to cancel your trade then transfer funds in an awkward way between your exchange (non-margin) and margin account and then open a new trade. Otherwise you have to somehow maintain a calculated weighted balance in each account to try to maximize your returns.
Unlike myself I have met someone who has made good money on Bitfinex buying a larger amount of Bitcoin and holding it for a while before selling it. That was not the case for me. Going after fast trends in volatile market like Bitcoin should be easy if you just wait but I found it difficult/impossible with Bitfinex even though I knew when to trade (unfortunately when the site failed). Sadly I have read another review with a similar isolated glitch type complaint before I started trading.
As a side note the first couple of withdraws via Bitcoin transfer took a few hours each but taking my last bit of Bitcoin out was more than an overnight ordeal.




Bryan 12/07/2017
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