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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  

 

HF Markets (Hot Forex)

HF Markets (Hot Forex) Review
Trader's rating 4
Editor's rating 4.2

Trading Accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit  Minimum trade size Maximum leverage  Average Spreads 
Micro  $50 0.01 1:1000  1.2 pip on EUR/USD
Premium $500 0.01 1:400 1.2 on EUR/USD
Fixed $500 0.01 1:400 1.8 pip on EUR/USD
Zero $100  0.01 1:200  0.1 pips on EUR/USD + commission $4 per lot traded (per side)
Currenex $500 0.01 1:400 0.2 pips on EUR/USD + commission $5.00 per lot traded (per side)
VIP $20,000  0.01 1:300 0.2 pips on EUR/USD + commission $6.00 per lot traded round turn

 

In order to suit the needs of traders of all preferences and levels of experience, HotForex offers its clients a variety of account types to choose from. You may choose from fixed and floating spreads, commission-free trading (in Micro, Premium and Fixed accounts) or tighter spreads, involving commission fees. Beginners can sign up for Micro accounts with as little as $5, and micro lots are available for trade on all accounts.


Apart from the above mentioned account types, HotForex offers 2 more copy trading ones: an Auto Account, enabling traders to subscribe to free and paid Trading Signals from the MQL5 Community, (built-in to the MT4 trading terminal); and HF Social, which provides trading powered by FxStat.


What is more, swap-free (Islamic) accounts are available with minimum initial deposit $150, designated for clients who are not willing to earn interest for religious reasons.


The Company. Security of Funds

 

Company Country Regulation
HF Markets (Europe) Ltd Cyprus CySEC
HF Markets (UK) Ltd UK FCA
HF Markets SA (DIFC) Ltd UAE DFSA

 

HotForex is a retail forex broker, offering attractive conditions for trading in a wide range of instruments, including Forex, Spot Metals and CFDs on commodities, indices and popular shares such as Google, Apple and Facebook.

 

HotForex is a brand name of a group of companies, operating in different jurisdictions. The most reliable is HF Markets (Europe) Ltd., a Cypriot Investment Firm (CIF), registered in the European Union and licensed by Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).

 

The broker also holds licenses from UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the South African regulator, as well as from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). The HF Markets group also includes operates two offshore units (HF Markets Ltd., registered in Mauritius, and HF Markets (SV) Ltd., incorporated in St. Vincent & the Grenadines). 


Cyprus is currently one of the most attractive forex broker destinations and probably the main reason for this is its well-balanced regulation. Tough regulation with high entry capital requirements and low maximum leverage has reduced competition in the United States and Japan, while light touch regulation affects credibility and safety.


CySEC applies certain rules and requirements to Cyprus Investment Firms, which are not as stringent as those in the US, for instance, however they provide a certain level of credibility. Cypriot Investment Firms must hold at least €1,000,000 in order to prove their good financial standing. Besides, they are required to keep customer funds in segregated accounts, separated from the company’s operating funds.


As a further guarantee to clients’ funds, all CySEC-regulated companies are members of the Investor Compensation Fund, which is able to pay compensation up to 20,000 EUR, If the company is in default.


Additionally, every CySEC- regulated investment company is also MiFID compliant and therefore entitled to offer cross-border services within the EU under the MiFID Passporting Regime. This also means that they have to meet all requirements for financial servoces provider set on a EU level, such as to provide negative balance protection to their clients, not to offer trading incentives which expose their clients to additional risk, and more.


Trading Conditions


Minimum Initial Deposit

In order to open an account with HotForex, traders have to invest a minimum of $5. Such minimum initial amount is comparatively low, however, many Cyprus-based brokers require even less. For instance, FXTM and XM demand just $5 from their clients as a start.


Spreads & Commissions
This broker offers both floating and fixed spreads. Fixed ones are comparatively low, amounting to 1.8 pips on EUR/USD. In comparison, Easy-forex offers fixed spreads amounting to 1.8 pips on VIP accounts only.


As regards floating spreads with HotForex, typical ones on commission-free accounts amount to 1.2 pips on EUR/USD, which is average. According to us, the conditions on the Zero account are the most attractive ones: spreads averaged 0.1 pips on EUR/USD and commission $4 per 1.00 lot traded (per side), so basically trading costs amount to around 0.9 pips, commission included. And you can open a Zero account with just $100.


For purposes of comparison, average variable spreads on Exness’ commission-free accounts amount to 0.9 pips on EUR/USD, while ECN account holders are offered average spreads of 0.4 pips on EUR/USD with $5 commission per standard lot.


Leverage
The maximum leverage with HotForex is high, reaching 1:1000. Some jurisdictions cap leverage ratios at considerably lower levels (1:50 in the USA, 1:100 in Poland).


The reason for such leverage limitations is that the higher leverage, the higher the risk of losses, which may even exceed initial investments. However, many Cyprus-based brokers offer leverage levels, similar to the ones provided by HotForex (XM – up to 1:888), or even higher – Exness offers leverage up to 1:2000. More FX brokers offering leverage equal to or exceeding 1:500 may be vewed here.


Trading Platforms


This broker supports both MetaQuotes' plaforms: the standard  MetaTrader4 (MT4) and the latest MetaTrader 5.

 

MT4 is an internationally acclaimed trading terminal, offering a full spectrum of trading tools and resources: built-in technical indicators, advanced charting package, a wide range of Expert Advisors (EAs) and extensive back-testing options for them. Traders can download ready-made or create their own EAs and let the program do all the work, no human emotions involved.


MetaTrader 4 is available to clients of HotForex as desktop, web and mobile versions. More brokers using the MT4 can be viewed here


What is more, HotForex provides MT4 MultiTerminal, which offers a practical and convenient way to manage multiple accounts simultaneously from a single interface.

 

The MT5, on the other hand, was intended as a multi-asset trading platform. In addition to forex, it facilitates trading in exchange-traded stocks. The platform is generally an enhanced version of the MT4, keeping most of the functionalities of its predecessor - the great charting, Expert Advisors, and more.


Besides, free VPS hosting is offered to both new and existing customers who deposit a minimum of $5,000 and maintain this amount for the subsequent months. VPS hosting allows the execution of orders 24 hours, 5 days a week.

 

In addition, HotForex has developed a copy trading service of its own. It is called HFCopy and enables the broker's clients to follow other traders and copy their deals.


Promotions
By the time of writing this review, HotForex runs the following promotions:


- 100% SuperCharged Bonus – applies to each deposit of $250 by FIX, Premium, Currenex and Islamic account holders up to $50,000;
- 30% Rescue Bonus - to a maximum of $7,000 which cannot be withdrawn under any circumstances;
- 100% Credit Bonus - applies on new deposits or internal transfers to trading accounts of at least $100 (available on Micro, Premium, Islamic, FIX and Currenex account types), which can be withdrawn as soon as trading volume requirements are met.
- Performance based competitions: demo contest with $3500 pool prize;
- Other ongoing promotions: HTA award and a $1000 cash prize as a showcase to the superb skills that lead to an excellent performance.


Methods of Payment


HotForex supports a wide range of payment methods: credit/debit cards (Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express), bank wire transfer and e-wallet payment systems Skrill, Neteller, WebMoney, TrustPay, iDeal, Sofort, Western Union, Przelewy24.


Conclusion


HotForex is a EU award-winning broker that offers wide range of trading products and account types under competitive conditions. To sum up the above, here are the advantages and drawbacks with regards to this broker:

 

Pros  Cons
Solid regulation (FCA, CySEC, DFSA)  No choice of trading platforms
Low competitive spreads  
MT4 available, HFCopy  
Attractive Bonuses & Promotions  

 

Headquarters:
HF Markets Europe Ltd

Spirou Kyprianou 50, Irida 3 Tower, 10th Floor, Larnaca 6057
 
 
Country: Cyprus
 
Regulated by: CySec
 
Promotions:
100% SuperCharged Bonus  
100% Credit Bonus
30%   Rescue Bonus  
 

Dealing:
Straight Through Processing (STP

Spread:
Variable, from 1 pip  (no commision)
Variable, from 0.02 pips  ($6 or $10 commision)

Deposit/Withdraw
Bank Wire, Credit card,  Skrill (MoneyBookers), WebMoney, Neteller, Perfect Money, CashU

Platform:
Metatrader, Currenex, Web Trader, iPhone Trader, druidTrader, PAMM, FIX/API

Extra Services:
Technical anaysis from TradingCentral.com
MYFX platform for deposits over $2000

Forex
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