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GDAX

GDAX Review
Trader's rating 1
Editor's rating 4

Trading Accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Maker Fee Taker Fee
Standard Undisclosed 1:3 0% Up to 0.25%

 

GDAX, which stands for Global Digital Asset Exchange, is a company owned by Coinbase. While some of you may know Coinbase for the ability to purchase Bitcoin directly by Credit Card, GDAX is the other part of the company – the exchange aimed at traders. Trading fees at GDAX are much lower and margin trading is available.

 

The company, security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
Coinbase USA NY BitLicense

 

As mentioned above GDAX is actually a part of San Francisco – based Coinbase. The company holds the New York BitLicnese, which is by its nature an interesting piece of legislation. The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) attempted to make the city a major Bitcoin trading center, the same way it hosts the world’s largest stock exchange. One may argue the idea backfired, as a lot of the key players backed-out of the 2015 proposal. This is due to the burdensome and slow regulatory procedure. As of the summer of 2017 only three companies have received the license and Coinbase is one of them.

 

When it comes to hacking, a major attack has not struck GDAX or Coinbase. That being the case, there was a “flash crash” in Ethereum prices, which raises suspicion. The coin was trading at around $317, when it suddenly spiked to an alleged value of 10 cents and quickly retraced. The company proceeded to halt trading and later claimed this was merely a “fat finger” - single large trader accidentally placed a market sell order, which triggered a chain of stop-loss orders to be executed. Here is а live video, shot by a trader, who has connected a MetaTrader4 platform to his GDAX account (the interesting thing happens around 2:50):

 

 

The public’s concerns, of course, come from the fact GDAX offers margin trading. The company could have manipulated the price, in order to wipe-out traders who were long. All of this is purely speculation.

 

 

Other than this case, the user reviews for GDAX generally match the ones for Coinbase. One of the major concerns of the fans of decentralization in the cryptoverse, is the fact a lot of the investors behind the project are well-established in the traditional financial sector.

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Only three crypto currencies are available at GDAX, namelyBitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Trading is done against USD and EUR, with BTC/GBP also being available, alongside the crypto-crosses ETH/BTC and LTC/BTC.

 

Minimum initial deposit

There is no information on the minimum initial deposit at GDAX, which is not that unusual in the crypto currency sphere. On the other hand, most forex brokers have such a level and disclose it on their websites. For instance the FCA-regulated industry pioneers at IG (who also offer some coins as CFDs) proudly announce they do not have a minimum – you can open an account for as low as you want.

 

Leverage

Margin trading is available on GDAX, with a maximum leverage ratio of 1:3. While this may sound like nothing in comparison to the 1:500, which a lot of forex brokers offer, keep in mind such high levels only apply for fiat currencies, which rarely have price movements bigger than 1-2% per day. 

 

When it comes to crypto, the aforementioned broker IG offers 1:13 in leverage (a 7.5% margin requirement). For a full comparison between crypto-exchanges and forex brokers, who offer Bitcoin trading, read this article.

 

Fees

The costs of trading at GDAX are a lot lower than the ones available at Coinbase. When trading on the exchange, market “makers” (the people who place passive orders and wait for other traders to trigger them) do not pay a fee. Market “takers” (i.e. the “aggressive” traders who directly buy/sell with a market order) pay fees starting from 0.25% and going down for the bigger traders. Both of these levels (especially the free of charge passive trading) are very competitive.

 

Trading platform

 

The platform provided by GDAX, which is web-based, is a lot better than the one offered at Coinbase. That being said, we find the charting lacking when compared to the charts provided by TradigView (which other exchanges have integrated, as well as MetaTrader4, of course. Only a couple of predetermined moving averages are available, in terms of technical indicators. Here is a preview (click to zoom-in):

 

 

The order book is located at the left and the more bizarre design decision to place the “ask” column on top of the “bids” is made. While this may seem strange to experienced traders it does provide a nice graphical representation for beginners. The tape is located to the left, with the middle ground being taken by the chart (which is nothing special) and the open positions tab. 

 

Methods of payment

 

While Coinbase is obviously the main source of clients (and funds) for GDAX, money can also be sent directly to the exchange. This is a massive convenience tool, as accounts can be funded, without the need of paying the hefty Coinbase fees. That being said, Credit/Debit Card deposits can only be made via Coinbase, while GDAX accepts Bank transfers.

 

Conclusion

 

GDAX is a part of Coinbase and more specifically the part of the company, which is targeting more active traders. The fee structure is very competitive, especially with the free market “maker” trades. The selection of trading assets is not great, but the trading platform feels relatively nice (although charting is nothing special). Here is a summary of GDAX: 

 

Pros Cons
New York BitLicense Few altcoins available
Competitive trading fees Suspicion regarding the ETH spike
No major hacks yet  
Accepts Bank Transfers  
Relatively nice trading platform  

 

Binance

Binance Review
Trader's rating 1.8
Editor's rating 4

Trading Accounts

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Fee
Standard Undisclosed Not available 0.10%

 

Binance is a crypto currency exchange, focused mainly on the Chinese market. Of course, you could still use it, if you are based elsewhere.

 

The company, security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
Binance China N/A

 

Binance is a relatively new Chinese company, created by experienced professionals in the cryptocurrency space. The most recognizable name behind this project is that of Changpeng Zhao, former CTO at OKCoin.

 

Binance was created after attracting funds via an ICO (Initial Coin Offering – creating a new digital asset, backed by the project). The BNB tokens can now be traded on the exchange, or used as a method of paying your trading fees, which will reduce them by 50%. Additionally a small portion of the coin has to be paid to the company to cast your vote in the community poll, which determines which altcoin will be added to the exchange next.

 

That being said, whenever a new coin is added, Binance holds some kind of promotional distribution to existing clients. Usually it involves tracking the biggest holders of the new asset and rewarding them with extra coins. While these can not be taken as a guaranteed means of attaining more altcoins, they do raise attention towards the new tradign product.

 

Given its brief history, it is not surprising that Binance has not yet been hacked. That being said, the most obvious issue with this exchange is the fact it operates in China. Given the recent moves by the local authorities, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them register in a different country.

 

The English user reviews on Binance, while few, are fairly positive. Again, we must reiterate this is still a very new company, at the time of writing of this review.

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Binance offers a substantial number of coins, which are traded mostly against Bitcoin and Ethereum. On the other side the two major coins are also paird with USDT (US Dollar Tether a digital asset, backed by US dollars, which aims to keep a 1:1 price ratio). The list of coins available at Bitnancie includes, but is not limited to (especially since new ones are added frequently): BTC, ETH, LTC, BCC, OMG, IOTA, ICN, MCO, SALT, KNC, CTRm SNLS, FUN, BQX, XVG, ZRX and BQX.

 

Minimum initial deposit

Binance does not provide information on the minimum deposit amount. As we cover mostly forex brokers, we are used to companies stating this information openly. The need for a minimum deposit level is associated with the legal costs of opening an account, which may exceed the potential commissions you will make with a broker, if you are trading too small. That being said several companies don’t have a required minimum, like the FCA-regulated industry leaders at IG

 

Leverage

Margin trading is not available at Binance. For those of you who are not familiar with the trading world – this is a system which allows you to trade with more money than you actually have in your account. Your balance is then used as a guarantee to maintain your position open. As an example, forex brokers require very little in collateral, in order to maintain massive positions. The so called leverage ratios can go as high as 1:500 or more. For instance, XM offers 1:888 in leverage.

 

That being said the cryptocurrency space is a lot more volatile, hence the need for lower ratios. Exchanges and forex brokers alike, rarely offer more than 1:20 in leverage.

 

Fees

The fee structure at Binance is simple to understand, but more importantly very competitive in the current environment. There is a flat 0.10% fee on all trading. Other exchanges often separate clients based on their trading volume and the way they enter/exit a transaction (traders who provide liquidity to the exchange usually get some benefits).

On the other hand forex brokers incorporate the costs of trading in the spread. While comparing them is a bit like comparing apples to oranges, we have made a side-by-side review of both services here.

 

Trading platform

 

Binance’s trading platform is web-based. Furthermore it offers two distinct trading layouts, a more simple one and a “Pro” version. Visually it reminds us a lot of the platform provided by Bitstamp. Here is how the “standard platform” looks:

 

 

The order book is placed on the left and more interestingly is arranged vertically. While being a bit avant-garde, this is by no means unique. The tape is on the bottom right, with a news feed placed directly above it. Overall, the presentation seems enjoyable. The “Pro” version, on the other hand looks like this:

 

 

This reminds us a lot of Bitstamp’s platform. The positioning of the order book and tape is a bit more convenient, with them being grouped up. The charting package also seems a bit more sophisticated, but it’s not even close to the forex industry standard which we have grown accustomed to, MetaTrader4 (MT4)

 

Methods of payment

 

Binance is one of the exchanges which doesn't accepts fiat currency payments and focuses only on the digital side of things. Clients can deposit and withdraw the coins supported at the exchange.

 

Conclusion

 

Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange, created by a former key member of OKCoin. While the company mostly focuses on the Chinese market, everybody is welcome. That being said, they do not accept fiat money deposits. The amount of coins available for trading is relatively high and still growing, but there are other exchanges offering the more exotic ones. The major issue we have with Binance is that the project hasn’t been around long enough to actually prove itself. Here are the pros and cons of this exchange:

 

Pros  Cons
Founded by industry veterans New company
Some altcoins included  Based in China (may have issues with regulators)
More assets being added constantly Does not accept (fiat) money transfers
Competitive commissions  
Relatively nice trading platform  

 

Forex
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