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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  

 

Ethfinex

Ethfinex Review
Trader's rating 4.7
Editor's rating 3.8

Trading Accounts & Conditions

 

Account type Leverage Maker Fee* Taker Fee* Deposit Fee Withdrawal Fee**
Standard 1:3.3 0.0% - 0.1% 0.1% - 0.2% 0.1% for Bank Wire only 0.01 ETH

 

* Trading fees depend on users’ trading volume.

**Withdrawals in Status (SNT) & Golem (GNT) are free of charge.

 

As it name suggests, Ethfinex is a cryptocurrency exchange, which is heavily connected to Ethereum. Another thing one could tell by this venue’s name is that it belongs to a group of companies around one of the oldest and most popular exchanges, Bitfinex. Its parent company also runs the Tether.to platform.

 

Trading is live on Ethfinex for all existing Bitfinex users since December 29th. New signups will be available from January 15th. Currently still in beta, Ethfinex platform allows for trading in ERC-20 compatible tokens and Ethereum-based crowd sales with options for margin trading, as well as access to a peer-to-peer funding market. By the time of writing of the present review, the exchange is in the top 15 by trading volume at CoinMarketCap.


In addition, it offers a token of its own, called the Nectar token (or NEC). It is given for free to token market makers in proportion to the volume of trades they participate in on the exchange.

Ethfinex’s security is based on the expertise gained by Bitfinex’s team. The majority of system funds are stored in offline, in ‘cold’ wallets. Only around 0.5% of all crypto assets are accessible in ‘hot’ wallets for day-to-day platform operations. 

 

Ethfinex Advantages

 

Hybrid decentralized exchange, part of a trusted group

Ethfinex is planned as a hybrid decentralized exchange. In the long term, the company plans to move towards a completely trustless exchange, steadily decentralizing ownership of the platform to its community of users. The company’s team has learned the hard way that running an exchange on a centralized server is dangerous. Bitfinex was hacked in 2016, and approximately US$72 million was stolen in the form of Bitcoin. Eventually, the company managed to pay back the money to all its clients.

 

On the other hand, decentralized exchanges do not store coins, funds, private keys or user information on centralized servers, thereby making it very difficult for hackers to compromise sensitive information.

 

Competitive fees

At Ethfinex market makers are charged up to 0.1% per trade, and market takers – up to 0.2%, which is in line with the average pricing in the crypto world these days. Those users who trade in large volume get discounts. By the way, Bitfinex has exactly the same trading fee structure.

 

Deposit and withdrawal fees by Ethfinex are also competitive. Deposits in digital assets are free of charge, while those in USD are charged with 0.1%. Withdrawal fees of this exchange are also in line with the average in the industry.

 

 

Leveraged trading available

Similarly to its older brother Bitfinex, Ethfinex provides margin trading. The maximum leverage level available at both exchanges is 1:3.3. If you want to speculate aggressively with the price of Bitcoin or Ethereum, there are some forex brokers that offer higher leverage ratios.

 

>>Forex brokers offering leveraged Ethereum trading<< 

 

We must mention that trading in volatile assets such as cryptocurrencies involves risk of loss, which are multiplied if you use leverage. So, be careful when trading on margin.

 

Many Ethereum-based coins available

Ethfinex offers trading in decent amount of Ethereum-based tokens, such as Ethereum, OmiseGO, EOS, Aventus, Status, Golem, and more. Although its crypto portfolio cannot be compared to the one offered by EtherDelta, the trading volumes at Ethfinex appear higher on most instruments.

 

Fiat accepted, bank wire transfers supported

This exchange accepts US dollars, one of the most popular “traditional” currencies.   This makes the services offered by Ethfinex more accessible to beginner traders, as it accepts cash payments via bank wire transfer.

 

Community vote for listing tokens

One of the biggest problems with most centralized exchanges is their reluctance to list tokens with a large community backing. That is why we consider Ethfinex’ decision to list new tokens after rounds of voting by the crypto-community as an advantage.

 

Ethfinex Disadvantages

 

No Bitcoin

As this platform is dedicated to Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens, you canot trade in Bitcoin on Ethfinex. However, you can always do that on the group’s Bitfinex platform. 

 

Registered offshore

While Bitfinex is operated by Hong Kong based iFinex Inc., the company operating this exchange, Ethfinex Inc., is registered offshore. According to its Terms of Service, the governing law is the one of the British Virgin Islands. Companies registered offshore generally do not inspire a lot of trust.

 

Dependent on the Ethereum network 

If there is serious backlog on the Ethereum network, the activity at Ethfinex will also become slow, as trading is done mostly against ETH.

 

Conclusion

 

Launched by an established group in the cryptocurrency world, Ethfinex seems like an attractive exchange, especially to fans of Ethereum and Ethereum-based coins. It is planned like a platform based on a hybrid decentralized architecture, that will allow decentralized exchanges to plug into it and trade with Ethfinex customers, as well as each other.

 

Now in beta, Ethfinex is accessible to Bitfinex account holders with competitive trading and transfer fees. There is a decent amount of altcoins available to trade at the exchange, and besides, cash is accepted. Similarly to Bitfinex, Ethfinex provides leverage up to 1:3.3, which is a nice extra feature that most exchanges do not offer.

 

Although little to no regulation is applied to the crypto-exchanges in most jurisdictions, we don’t like the fact that Ethfinex Inc. is registered offshore. As we mentioned above, some forex brokers offer CFDs on digital assets. For those ofyou who prefer to invest in regulated entities, we have prepared a list of well-regulated ones.

 

>> Regulated Bitcoin forex brokers<<

 

Here is our summary of this exchange:

 

 Pros

 Cons

 Hybrid decentralized exchange, part of a trusted group

 No Bitcoin

 Competitive fees

 Dependent on the Ethereum network

 Leveraged trading available

 Still in Beta

 Many Ethereum-based coins available

 Registered offshore

 Fiat accepted, bank wire transfers supported

 

 

 

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