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Coinbase

Coinbase Review
Trader's rating 2.8
Editor's rating 4.1

Our Experience

 

When testing the direct purchasing service, provided by Coinbase, we were relatively satisfied. After entering our debit card details it was saved as a payment method. We must notе that our card was 3D-secured, which appears to be a mandatory condition. Having your card stored in the website, as opposed to having to enter the details a second time (which is the case with some websites, dealing with external payment providers) is a huge benefit.

 

Here is a preview of the order screen:

The commission charged was slightly lower than the maximum of 4%, and we had full price transparency. When compared to the 8%, charged by Bitstamp (for direct card purchases), this is obviously preferable. The rate at which we bought Bitcoin was around €14 off the current market price, at GDAX. This is quite reasonable considering the fact we are talking about a volatile asset, trading around  €6,500 at the time of purchase. We tried comparing it with the rate provided by other exchanges, but the price differences (especially since we are talking about EUR trading) were much wider.

 

Trading Accounts

 

 

Account type Initial weekly limit Leverage Fees
Standard €325 None Up to 4%

 

Coinbase is one of the leading US companies in the world of crypto currencies. It operates two separate brands. One of them is Coinbase, a more retail consumer oriented platform for buying Bitcoin with fiat currencies, much like Bitstamp. On the other hand, GDAX (Global Digital Asset Exchange) is a more advanced crypto currency trading platform. This review will be focused on Coinbase.

 

The company, security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
Coinbase USA NY BitLicense

 

Coinbase operates out of the US, with many subsidiaries around the world. It was the third company to be awarded the New York BitLicense. The story behind this license is quite controversial. In short, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) wanted to make the Big Apple a “Bitcoin trading hub”, much how it is one of the major centers of traditional finance. The idea, dating from 2015 wasn’t met with much enthusiasm by the leading companies, as many of them preferred to avoid application. Among the dozen who did, Coinbase obtained the license in January of 2017. The entire process is apparently so time (and effort) consuming, a lot of other major players opted out of it, which makes the license borderline useless. 

 

When it comes to crypto exchanges, hacking is an important topic. That being said there haven’t been any major hacks at Coinbase, although numerous individual cases have been reported. Some involve the hackers going past the two-factor authentication barrier, which one would believe to be very secure.

 

As we mentioned above, Coinbase is the retail-oriented brand of the company. As such it accepts fiat currencies and allows an instant purchase of several coins (more on the list, later). The vast majority of user complaints against Coinbase involve the size of the commission fees which the company charges. They vary by region and payment method, but go as high as 4%.

 

In 2018, Coinbase acquired an e-money license from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which allows it to provide payment services in the UK and issue e-money. Abiding by the FCA requirements, Coinbase will be keeping clients in segregated funds and will observe operational standards on par with the other regulated financial institutions.

 

Additionally, Coinbase is backed by a lot of investors, including major players in “traditional finance”. This is another factor which fans of the decentralized aspect of crypto currencies do not enjoy. 

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Only a few coins are available at Coinbase, but they are the majors – Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Don’t forget this is an entry-level service, which is aimed at people who are not that familiar with the world of crypto currencies. If you would like to buy less known coins (or altcoins), you could do that at another exchange, after transferring your newly acquired BTC/ETH/LTC there.

 

Weekly Limits

After verifying your e-mail, telephone, ID and credit card, at Coinbase, you can beginning purchasing coins. Our initial limit was €325 per week (via Credit Card). This may vary for you, based on your location (US clients will surely get a USD level). This level can be increased after you reach the maximum and some time has passed. This is done as a security measure and one should not feel frustrated about it.

 

Leverage

Coinbase does not offer margin trading. This is the more accepted practice, when dealing with crypto currencies. The forex brokers who offer Bitcoin trading, on the other hand mostly provide CFDs on it and margin trading is allowed. For a full comparison of trading crypto currencies on an exchange and with a forex broker read this post

 

Fees

The commission structure at Coinbase is one of its criticisms. If you decide to deposit via Credit Card, for instance, you can buy your chosen coin directly. While this may appear to be convenient, it comes at a price – for most countries the commission fee on such a purchase can go as high as 4%. 

 

Alternatively, you can fund your account with fiat currencies, which you can then use to trade. In that case the fees are set at 1.5%, which is pretty high. However if trading is what you are looking for, the company’s other brand – GDAX (as well as many others) are alternatives.

 


Trading platform

 

Coinbase does not provide a platform, as much as it offers an interface similar to an online banking application. Here is an overview (click to zoom-in):

 

 

There is a basic chart in the top section, allowing you to switch between the three supported instruments and multiple timeframes. On the bottom you have a column with all of your wallets with the company as well as a transaction history column. Overall, it doesn’t get any simpler than this. That being the case, we must reiterate, this is only the “real-money payments” brand of the company, while a more dedicated platform is also available at GDAX.

 

Methods of payment

 

When it comes to the methods of payment available at Coinbase, they include Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card and PayPal (only for US clients). While we discussed the transaction fees above, it’s worth pointing out that no additional fees are charged for crypto currency transfers to other exchanges or wallets.

 

Conclusion

 

Coinbase is one of the major players in the crypto currency space. The company is focused on allowing people who are not familiar with Bitcoin and allows them an easy way of acquiring crypto currencies. While there isn’t any trading platform to speak of, the company has another brand (GDAX) which provides exactly that. We feel it would be much better for Coinbase to honestly state their trading fees are higher, but you can use your account at their other platform, in a big banner upon account cration. Here are Coinbase’s pros and cons: 

 

Pros

Cons

New York BitLicense Few altcoins available
No major hacks yet High trading fees
Accepts Bank Transfers and Credit Cards  
Easy to use interface  
Ability to transfer crpyto to wallet  

 

HF Markets (Hot Forex)

HF Markets (Hot Forex) Review
Trader's rating 4
Editor's rating 4.2

Trading Accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit  Minimum trade size Maximum leverage  Average Spreads 
Micro  $50 0.01 1:1000  1.2 pip on EUR/USD
Premium $500 0.01 1:400 1.2 on EUR/USD
Fixed $500 0.01 1:400 1.8 pip on EUR/USD
Zero $100  0.01 1:200  0.1 pips on EUR/USD + commission $4 per lot traded (per side)
Currenex $500 0.01 1:400 0.2 pips on EUR/USD + commission $5.00 per lot traded (per side)
VIP $20,000  0.01 1:300 0.2 pips on EUR/USD + commission $6.00 per lot traded round turn

 

In order to suit the needs of traders of all preferences and levels of experience, HotForex offers its clients a variety of account types to choose from. You may choose from fixed and floating spreads, commission-free trading (in Micro, Premium and Fixed accounts) or tighter spreads, involving commission fees. Beginners can sign up for Micro accounts with as little as $5, and micro lots are available for trade on all accounts.


Apart from the above mentioned account types, HotForex offers 2 more copy trading ones: an Auto Account, enabling traders to subscribe to free and paid Trading Signals from the MQL5 Community, (built-in to the MT4 trading terminal); and HF Social, which provides trading powered by FxStat.


What is more, swap-free (Islamic) accounts are available with minimum initial deposit $150, designated for clients who are not willing to earn interest for religious reasons.


The Company. Security of Funds

 

Company Country Regulation
HF Markets (Europe) Ltd Cyprus CySEC
HF Markets (UK) Ltd UK FCA
HF Markets SA (DIFC) Ltd UAE DFSA

 

HotForex is a retail forex broker, offering attractive conditions for trading in a wide range of instruments, including Forex, Spot Metals and CFDs on commodities, indices and popular shares such as Google, Apple and Facebook.

 

HotForex is a brand name of a group of companies, operating in different jurisdictions. The most reliable is HF Markets (Europe) Ltd., a Cypriot Investment Firm (CIF), registered in the European Union and licensed by Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).

 

The broker also holds licenses from UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the South African regulator, as well as from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). The HF Markets group also includes operates two offshore units (HF Markets Ltd., registered in Mauritius, and HF Markets (SV) Ltd., incorporated in St. Vincent & the Grenadines). 


Cyprus is currently one of the most attractive forex broker destinations and probably the main reason for this is its well-balanced regulation. Tough regulation with high entry capital requirements and low maximum leverage has reduced competition in the United States and Japan, while light touch regulation affects credibility and safety.


CySEC applies certain rules and requirements to Cyprus Investment Firms, which are not as stringent as those in the US, for instance, however they provide a certain level of credibility. Cypriot Investment Firms must hold at least €1,000,000 in order to prove their good financial standing. Besides, they are required to keep customer funds in segregated accounts, separated from the company’s operating funds.


As a further guarantee to clients’ funds, all CySEC-regulated companies are members of the Investor Compensation Fund, which is able to pay compensation up to 20,000 EUR, If the company is in default.


Additionally, every CySEC- regulated investment company is also MiFID compliant and therefore entitled to offer cross-border services within the EU under the MiFID Passporting Regime. This also means that they have to meet all requirements for financial servoces provider set on a EU level, such as to provide negative balance protection to their clients, not to offer trading incentives which expose their clients to additional risk, and more.


Trading Conditions


Minimum Initial Deposit

In order to open an account with HotForex, traders have to invest a minimum of $5. Such minimum initial amount is comparatively low, however, many Cyprus-based brokers require even less. For instance, FXTM and XM demand just $5 from their clients as a start.


Spreads & Commissions
This broker offers both floating and fixed spreads. Fixed ones are comparatively low, amounting to 1.8 pips on EUR/USD. In comparison, Easy-forex offers fixed spreads amounting to 1.8 pips on VIP accounts only.


As regards floating spreads with HotForex, typical ones on commission-free accounts amount to 1.2 pips on EUR/USD, which is average. According to us, the conditions on the Zero account are the most attractive ones: spreads averaged 0.1 pips on EUR/USD and commission $4 per 1.00 lot traded (per side), so basically trading costs amount to around 0.9 pips, commission included. And you can open a Zero account with just $100.


For purposes of comparison, average variable spreads on Exness’ 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 with $5 commission per standard lot.


Leverage
The maximum leverage with HotForex is high, reaching 1:1000. Some jurisdictions cap leverage ratios at considerably lower levels (1:50 in the USA, 1:100 in Poland).


The reason for such leverage limitations is that the higher leverage, the higher the risk of losses, which may even exceed initial investments. However, many Cyprus-based brokers offer leverage levels, similar to the ones provided by HotForex (XM – up to 1:888), or even higher – Exness offers leverage up to 1:2000. More FX brokers offering leverage equal to or exceeding 1:500 may be vewed here.


Trading Platforms


This broker supports both MetaQuotes' plaforms: the standard  MetaTrader4 (MT4) and the latest MetaTrader 5.

 

MT4 is an internationally acclaimed trading terminal, offering a full spectrum of trading tools and resources: 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.


MetaTrader 4 is available to clients of HotForex as desktop, web and mobile versions. More brokers using the MT4 can be viewed here


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

 

The MT5, on the other hand, was intended as a multi-asset trading platform. In addition to forex, it facilitates trading in exchange-traded stocks. The platform is generally an enhanced version of the MT4, keeping most of the functionalities of its predecessor - the great charting, Expert Advisors, and more.


Besides, free VPS hosting is offered to both new and existing customers who deposit a minimum of $5,000 and maintain this amount for the subsequent months. VPS hosting allows the execution of orders 24 hours, 5 days a week.

 

In addition, HotForex has developed a copy trading service of its own. It is called HFCopy and enables the broker's clients to follow other traders and copy their deals.


Promotions
By the time of writing this review, HotForex runs the following promotions:


- 100% SuperCharged Bonus – applies to each deposit of $250 by FIX, Premium, Currenex and Islamic account holders up to $50,000;
- 30% Rescue Bonus - to a maximum of $7,000 which cannot be withdrawn under any circumstances;
- 100% Credit Bonus - applies on new deposits or internal transfers to trading accounts of at least $100 (available on Micro, Premium, Islamic, FIX and Currenex account types), which can be withdrawn as soon as trading volume requirements are met.
- Performance based competitions: demo contest with $3500 pool prize;
- Other ongoing promotions: HTA award and a $1000 cash prize as a showcase to the superb skills that lead to an excellent performance.


Methods of Payment


HotForex supports a wide range of payment methods: credit/debit cards (Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express), bank wire transfer and e-wallet payment systems Skrill, Neteller, WebMoney, TrustPay, iDeal, Sofort, Western Union, Przelewy24.


Conclusion


HotForex is a EU award-winning broker that offers wide range of trading products and account types under competitive conditions. To sum up the above, here are the advantages and drawbacks with regards to this broker:

 

Pros  Cons
Solid regulation (FCA, CySEC, DFSA)  No choice of trading platforms
Low competitive spreads  
MT4 available, HFCopy  
Attractive Bonuses & Promotions  

 

Headquarters:
HF Markets Europe Ltd

Spirou Kyprianou 50, Irida 3 Tower, 10th Floor, Larnaca 6057
 
 
Country: Cyprus
 
Regulated by: CySec
 
Promotions:
100% SuperCharged Bonus  
100% Credit Bonus
30%   Rescue Bonus  
 

Dealing:
Straight Through Processing (STP

Spread:
Variable, from 1 pip  (no commision)
Variable, from 0.02 pips  ($6 or $10 commision)

Deposit/Withdraw
Bank Wire, Credit card,  Skrill (MoneyBookers), WebMoney, Neteller, Perfect Money, CashU

Platform:
Metatrader, Currenex, Web Trader, iPhone Trader, druidTrader, PAMM, FIX/API

Extra Services:
Technical anaysis from TradingCentral.com
MYFX platform for deposits over $2000

Forex
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