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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  

 

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

 

Forex
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