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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  

 

BTCC

BTCC Review
Trader's rating 0
Editor's rating 4

Trading Accounts and Conditions

 

Account type

Minimum deposit

Leverage

Maker fee

Taker fee

DAX exchange N/A N/A 0.1% 0.2% *
USD exchange 0.0001 BTC / $50 N/A 0.1% 0.1% **

 

*Wthdrawal fee of 0.001 BTC / 0.01 ETC also applies.

**Deposit and withdrawal fees also apply.

 

BTCC is the oldest and biggest cryptocurrncy exchanges in China. Although BTCChina has exited the Chinese Market in October, 2017, its other exchanges, BTCC DAX, as well as the USD exchange, are functioning.

 

BTCC offers crypto-to-crypto and fiat-to-crypto trading on different exchanges, as listed in the table above. Besides, it also offers some additional services like Physical Bitcoins (Mint), Mobi Bitcoin Wallet, and others. The good thing is, you can access both exchanges and all services through a single BTCC account. More importantly, BTCC has one of the larges mining pools globallyAt the time of writing of this review, they had mined around 3.4% of the newly created Bitcoin (for the last 24 hours) 

 

BTCC Advantages

 

Good reputation, proven security

Founded back in 2011, BTCC is the longest-running bitcoin exchange worldwide. It was the dominant player for CNY/BTC trades before it closed its China operations. It is still considered as one of the best exchanges for trading in popular digital coins like BTC, ETH, ETC and BCC.

 

BTCC has a 100% track record in security since its inception, as it has not experienced any major hacks in its long history. More than 95% of its users’ digital assets are kept in cold storage with multi-signature controls to minimize the risk and exposure to hacking.

 

Large trading volume, deep liquidity

Currently, BTCC is rated 16th by 24-hour trading volume according to the data provided by CoinMarketCap and is typically among the top 20 players in this category. This basically means that its users don’t have to worry about insufficient liquidity.

 

Supports fiat (USD) currency, and Bank Wire and credit card transfers offered

On BTCC’s USD exchange you can exchange your dollars for Bitcon, or vice versa. Supporting fiat currencies is an advantage, especially for newcomers in the cryptocurrency world, who are yet to buy some digital coins with their real money in traditional currencies. For those, using their credit card or bank account is utterly convenient.

 

>>A list of crypto-exchanges accepting credit cards<<

 

Competitive trading fees

The fees charged by BTCC are relatively competitive, amounting to 0.1% / 0.2% per trade. Typically, exchanges charge 0.20% - 0.25%. However, some of them do not charge market makers, as the latter provide exchanges with liquidity.

 

Relatively low withdrawal fee

Like most exchanges, BTCC does not charge blockchain deposits. Other than this, certain fees apply to deposits in fiat currency, as well as to withdrawals, depending on the funding method and the currency. While many exchanges charge quite hefty deposit and withdrawal fees, BTCC's commission seem relatively low:


 

 

Platform with advanced trading user face

Most cryptocurrency exchanges do not offer advanced platforms like the most popular forex and CFD trading terminal for MetaTrader 4. Nonetheless, BTCC has chosen a different approach – not only that it offers crypto-to-crypto and crypto-to-fiat trading on different exchanges, but the latter has two different interfaces – basic and professional. The advanced trading user interface offers lots of bells and whistles: wide range of technical indicators, advanced charts, add-ons, etc. Besides, there is WebSocket and FIX API available for professional clients’ trading needs. Of course, BTCC Mobile App is also offered.

 

 

BTCC’ advanced trading UI. Click to zoom in.

 

Extra Services

In addition to having one of the largest and top-rated mining pools in the world and operating several crypto-exchanges, BTCC offers a service called BTCC Mint. These are titanium coins that can be purchased with BTC and are shipped to all countries except the US.

 

BTCC also offers its Mobi Digital Currency Wallet, allowing storage, conversion, and transfer of bitcoin and more than 100 currencies, including the United States dollar, the British pound, and the euro.

 

BTCC Disadvantages

 

Not regulated

Like most crypto-exchanges, BTCC is not licensed, nor overseen by any governmental authority. So, this is no big issue.

 

If you prefer to trade in digital coins via a regulated company, we remind you that you can do that with forex brokers. Make sure you are aware of the differences between trading on an exchange and with forex brokerage beforehand.

 

>> Check out our list of regulated bitcoin forex brokers <<

 

Limited instrument portfolio

BTCC doesn’t offer a wide range of pairs for trade, choosing instead to focus on a smaller number of high-volume ones. Currently the available ones on both exchanges are: BTC/USD (constituting 70% of its overall volume), BCC/BTC, ETH/BTC, and ETC/BTC.

 

If you would rather trade in more exotic cryptocurrencies, check out Bittrexthis major US exchange offers over 190 digital assets for trade.

 

No margin trading

As a matter of fact, BTCC used to offer margin trading but discontinued this service in the beginning of 2017 after “discussions” with the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). Most cryptocurrency exchanges do not offer leverage, but there are some who do, like Kraken, Quoinex and others. Besides, all forex brokers ffer leveraged trading on cryptocurrency CFDs.

 

>> Brokers offering leveraged Bitcoin trading <<

 

No anonymous trading

Since BTCC Exchange requires its users to verify their identity in order to trade in order to ensure the safety and security of the funds and activities on its platforms. Identity verification is also required in compliance with certain government AML KYC regulations. Verification process can be slow and complicated. Besides, it defies the initial idea of of Bitcoin to allow anonymous trades.

 

Conclusion

 

BTCC is the oldest Bitcoin exchange worldwide. It is highly regarded for its reliability, security, deep liquidity and the extra services it provides for its users.

 

Initially set up in Shanghai in 2011, BTCC was one of the Chinese “Big Three” along with Huobi and OkCoin. Following China’s ICO ban in the country, BTCC shut down its local division (BTCChina). BTCC DAX and BTCC USD exchanges, however, are functioning, and the company operates via its units in the UK and Hong Kong BTCC (UK Limited or XO Market Limited).

 

None of these companies is formally regulated, but this does not effect the overall reliability of BTCC. Unlike the situation with forex brokers, the legal crypto-exchanges is still unclear in most countries. The important thing is, BTCC complies with governmental instructions – its halted margin trading, and was the first among the “Big Three” to shut down its Chinese operations. More importantly, it keeps clients’ assets in cold storage and has not been hacked during its long years of operation.

 

Besides, BTCC has a lot of advantages, apart from its reliability: competitive fees, various transfer methods supported, advanced trading platform with mobile app, and some great extra services, such as top-tear mining pool.

 

Pros Cons
Many years of experience, no hacks Not regulated
Competitive trading and transfer fees A few altcoins available
Accepts bank transfers, credit cards No anonymous trading, no margin trading
USD fiat supported  
Platform with advanced features available, mobile app  
Top-tier mining pool  

 

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