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Dukascopy

Dukascopy Review
Trader's rating 3.7
Editor's rating 3.9

Trading Accounts

  

Account type Minimum Initial deposit Minimum trade size Maximum leverage Average Spreads (and Commission)
Standard $1 000 0.01 1:100 0.2 pip + $3.5/lot*

 

*Commission is calculated per standard lot of 100 000 currency base units (per side). Commission discounts offered to clients with higher Equity or Net deposits (details provided below).

 

Dukascopy provides a single account type with leverage up to 1:100, tight variable spreads and a reasonable commission. Micro lots are available for trade and all transactions are executed automatically on its ECN, whatever their size.

 

Besides, PAMM services are also available with this broker. The Percent Allocation Management Module (PAMM) is a technical solution allowing Dukascopy’s clients to have their accounts managed by a trader appointed by them on the basis of a limited trading power of attorney. PAMM solution allows the trader on one trading platform to manage simultaneously unlimited number of managed accounts. 

 

The Companies

 

Company  

Country 

Regulation

Dukascopy Bank SA

Switzerland

FINMA

Dukascopy Europe IBS AS

Latvia

FCMC

Dukascopy Japan K.K

Japan

JFSA

 

Founded in 2004, Dukascopy Bank is a Swiss online bank based in Geneva, Switzerland, providing online trading services (with focus on foreign exchange, bullion, CFD and binaries), banking and other financial services through proprietary technological solutions.

 

The broker has a EU subsidiary, as well as a Japan-based unit (as a result of acquisition of Alpary Japan in the beginning of 2015). In addition to its Geneva Headquarters, Dukascopy Bank has offices in Zürich, Riga, Kiev, Moscow, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong.

 

All Dukascopy customers take advantage of the Swiss Forex Marketplace (SWFX) ECN dealing model. The broker's pricing model is transparent, and so are its operational metrics. To top this up, Dukascopy offers a historical data feed, and market depth monitor as well. 

 

Security of Funds

 

Dukascopy is regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) both as a bank and a securities dealer. So, this broker is rock solid in terms of safety and security.

 

Getting such a license is not an easy task, as applicants must comply with a set of draconian requirements, including a minimum capital requirement of CHF 20 million. Moreover, Swiss forex brokers are obliged to sign the Swiss Banks and Securities Dealers agreement, which protects all customer deposits of up to CHF 100,000.

 

The broker’s subsidiaries are also duly regulated: Ducascopy Europe AS is an EU licensed investment brokerage company based in Latvia, and is regulated by the local Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC); Dukascopy Japan holds Type-1 license by the Financial Services Agency of Japan (JFSA).

 

Besides, Dukascopy Bank exercises consolidated supervision from Switzerland over its subsidiaries, ensures adequate liquidity, risk diversification and capital adequacy at a Group level.

 

Trading Conditions

 

Minimum initial deposit

The initial deposit requirement of $1,000 is probably a tad off-putting to rookies looking to start with a smaller amount of money, however the broker's educational and research section is outstanding and can probably make a pro trader out of a monkey. Calendars, charts, market news and research, signals, calculators and many other tools are at trader's disposal. 

 

Average Spreads & Commissions

The spreads offered by Dukascopy are variable and pretty tight, averaged 0.2 pips for the EUR/USD pair, but traders also need to pay a commission of $7 per lot round trip. Nonetheless, the cost of trading with this broker is around 0.9 pips per lot for this pair, which is really low and competitive pricing. Most brokers offer spreads within the range of 1.0 – 1.5 pips on EUR/USD.

In comparison, Swissquote, the only other regulated Swiss broker, provides variable spreads starting from 1.8 pips on EUR/USD (and charges no commission fees).

 

Besides, discounts on commission fees are available to clients with higher net deposits or equity in their accounts:

  

Net Deposit/Equity Commission (per standard lot per side)
≥ $5 000 $3.3
≥ $10 000 $3.0
≥ $25 000 $2.5
 
≥ 10 000 000 $1

 

Maximum Leverage

Dukascopy provides its clients with maximum leverage of 1:100, which is considered a low ratio for the market.  If you need higher leverage levels, many forex brokers offer leverage equal to or exceeding 1:500. Keep in mind, however that higher leverage increases the risk associated with trading on margin. That is why Swissquote also offers leverage up to 1:100 and even advises inexperienced traders to use leverage lower than this.

 

Trading Platforms

 

Ducascopy supports the ever-popular MetaTrader4 (MT4), and also offers its proprietary Forex trading platform JForex.

 

The MT4 hardly needs a presentation. This is the most popular trading software, highly praided by traders of all skill levels. The platform has great charting and is especially popular for its automated trading bots, called ExpertAdvisors.

 

JForex platform is designed for traders interested in automated trading and/or developing and testing trading strategies based on the JAVA programming language. It is available as desktop, web and mobile versions. Here are some of the tools and features the platform offers:

 

- 250 indicators and chart studies

- Calendar of economic events, news

- Automated trading on user's machine or Strategy Server

- Automated trading historical tester

- Renko, Range bars, Point&Figure and Line break charts

- Mql4 expert advisor converter to JAVA

 

Dukascopy’s web-based JFrorex. Click to enlarge.

 

Besides, this broker also offers the possibility of API integration for professional traders (who deposit a minimum of USD 100.000). The Dukascopy API is based on FIX4.4 protocol. The API is used to receive real-time data feed, submit orders, set / modify / cancel orders, and receive automated notifications of trading activities.

 

In addition, Dukascopy offers social trading functionality.

 

 

Methods of Payment

 

Clients of Dukascopy can make deposits to and withdrawals from their accounts via bank wire, debit cards (Maestro, Visa Electron), and credit cards (MasterCard, Visa). Unlike most brokers, Dukascopy does not support e-wallets, such as Skrill, Neteller and PayPal.

 

Conclusion

 

Dukascopy Bank is a Swiss forex broker offering a wide range of financial instruments for trade on it robust JForex platform. Holding an actual banking license, among others, it is secure and well-regulated, and offers excellent trading conditions: very tight spreads and fast ECN execution through the SWFX Swiss FX Marketplace technology. To sum up the above, here are the advantages and disadvantages with regards to this broker.

     

Pros  Cons
Very well-regulated Mediocre leverage levels
Tight spreads and low cost of trading High initial deposit required
ECN environment with deep liquidity  
Automated & Social trading available as well a MT4 bridge   

                         

Headquarters:  ICC, Route de Pré-Bois 20, 1215 Geneva 15 

Country: Switzerland 

 

Regulated by: FINMA (Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority)

 

Subsidiaries: Dukascopy Europe

 

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  

 

Forex
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