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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  

 

CoinSpot

CoinSpot Review
Trader's rating 1
Editor's rating 3.8

Trading Accounts

Account type Daily Limit Leverage Bitcoin Fee Altcoin fee
Standard $2,000/$10,000 None 2%  3% 

 

CoinSpot is one of the leading Australian cryptocurrency "gateway" companies i.e. a service which allows the purchase of crypto with fiat money. They put a lot of emphasis on domestic clients.

 

The company, security of funds

Company

Country Regulation
Casey Block Services Pty Ltd  Australia N/A

 

CoinSpot was founded in Melbourne in 2013. At the time of writing of this review they are not registered with a relevant Australian body, simply because the legislative process in the country is still in progress. You can read a brief summary of the current situation, as well as find reviews on the other major players in the space in the link below. 

 

>>Australian cryptocurrency exchanges<<

 

That being said, CoinSpot is a member of ADCA - the Australian Digital Commerce Association. This may not be a regulatory body, but it shows a long term commitment to the adoption of blockchain technology and it is viewed as a major player by its peers.

 

The company offers traders multiple wallet support, which is not the case with one of their direct counterparts CointTree. On top of that there is a mobile app which allows you to send crypto-payments on the go.

 

There aren't any reports of a massive hack, like the one experienced at Bitfinex, for CoinSpot. This is no guarantee of future security, but is still a nice sign.

 

The user reviews for CoinSpot are very mixed. Some people enjoy their service, while others are dissatisfied with the verification process, the speed of bank transfers (when selling coins) and the fees. Their service is definitely not cheaper than trading coins on some of the other exchanges, but at least they are very transparent when it comes to fees.

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Over 30 coins are provided by CoinSpot. This is a very wide array, especially for a company which specializes in accepting fiat currencies. As a comparison, Coinbase offers only Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. 

 

Maximum daily volume

The initial maximum daily purchase volume at CoinSpot is $2,000. This can be increased to $10,000 a week after you have hit the first cap. While the company does not exclusively mention it, these levels are probably in Australian dollars.

 

Leverage

Leveraged trading is not supported at CoinSpot, which is quite understandable, given their targeted customers. This is simply a place from which one buys cryptocurrencies with Australian dollars. 

 

>>Forex brokers providing Bitcoin trading<<

 

It is worth mentioning, that if you are only looking to speculatively trade Bitcoin, instead of use it four transfers, another type of service may be better for you. We are talking about forever brokers, who offer cryptocurrency trading, like the industry leaders at IG. We must mention there are a few specifics to this kind of service and you should read our guide.

 

 

Fees

The fee structure at CoinSpot Is very clear, which is not the case with all companies who offer direct purchases of coins with fiat currencies. For instance the similar Dutch company Bitonic provides little information about its markups, which many users dislike.

 

CoinSpot charges between 2% (for Bitcoin) and 3% (for altcoins), when trading against the AUD and 1% for crypto to crypto trading. While the direct trading commission may be considered reasonable, 1% is high for digital asset trading. Other exchanges typically charge 0.20-0.25% for this activity.

 

>>List of all cryptocurrency exchanges we have reviewed<<

 

Additionally, the company charges fees on some AUD deposits. This varies by payment method and we will cover the details below.

 

 

Trading platform

 

CoinSpot does not provide what one would typically call a trading platform. The service has a convenient dashboard, which allows you to monitor your different wallets. It looks like this:

 

 

When buying a cryptocurrency one is greeted by a simple order-entry form, which gives you an estimate of the AUD you would have to pay for the given amount of coins. Here is a preview:

 

 

If you want to convert one coin for another, you would have to go through the sell menu. This felt very counter-intuitive, but then again you can find much better exchanges to do this (check the fees section for more information).

 

Additionally, a very simple form of charting is provided, as seen here:

 

 

The overall summary of this “platform” is that it does the job. Experienced traders will not enjoy this, but newbies will enjoy the simplicity.

 

Methods of payment

 

When depositing fiat currencies to CoinSpot, one can choose between POLi Payments, Bpay and a “cash” option, which features going to a newsagent and using Blueshyft. The fees for making a deposit are as follows:

 

POLi payments – free. 

BPAY payments – 2% fee. 

Cash payments – 3% fee. 

 

If you were to sell coins at CoinSpot, you would be funded via Bank Transfer. The company will not charge you anything for that, but the bank may. The actual cost and speed of the transfer will depend on the bank you use.

 

Conclusion

 

CoinSpot is an Australian cryptocurrency exchange, which allows trading against the AUD. They are a well known company, which is respected in the local Bitcoin community. The entire service is very beginner-friendly, but this comes at a cost. While the fees for fiat to crypto trading are acceptable, trading one coin for another comes at much higher rate than with other exchanges. This feels like a solid Australian entry level company, but active traders will prefer dealing with another exchange. Here is a summary: 

 

Pros   Cons
No major hacks yet Slow bank withdrawal times
Multiple payment methods (for AU clients) High crypto to crypto fees
A lot of altcoins supported Focused on Australia (only a con if you are non-AU)
Easy to use interface  

 

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