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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  

 

QUOINEX

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

Trading accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Fees
Standard Undisclosed 1: 25 0.25%*

*While the company claims to offer 0% fees for Japanese clients, the situation is not that clear for the rest. Go to the fees section of the review for more details.

QUOINEX (which stands for QUOINE Exchange) is a relatively new competitor in the cryptocurrency space. The company behind this project operates two brands – one focused on accepting fiat currency deposits (this one) and another one for digital asset trading (QRYPTOS). This is similar to the business model used by Coinbase/GDAX and OKCoin/OKEX.



The company, security of funds

Company Country Regulation
QUOINE Pte. Ltd Japan/Singapore/Vietnam JFSA

 

QUOINE Pte. Ltd is the company behind QUOINEX. They operate from offices in Japan, Singapore and Vietnam, but more importantly they recently got the regulatory approval of the JFSA. This brings a lot of credibility to the exchange, as regulated entities are few in the crypto-space.



QUOINE was founded in 2014 and later received substantial funding. The company’s founders Mike Kayamori and Mario Gomez-Lozada have substantial experience in the “traditional” business world, which also makes the project sound better.



While there weren’t any major hacks at QUOINEX, we must mention the most famous case of a conflict with a client. The cryptocurrency market-maker B2C2 is currently suing the company after a canceled a major transaction. Reports state, B2C2 made around $3.7 million on a trade/s, which was/were allegedly executed at a price which was very distant from the current market price. QUOINEX claimed this was an abuse of a technical issue, and reverted the deals. We can’t clearly state which side of the argument is right, but we must mention this incident occurred before the company was regulated by the Japanese financial watchdog.



There aren’t many English reviews on QUOINEX, but a lot of them are fairly negative. The complaints are mostly on slow withdrawal process and high fees on deposits (which are not charged by the company, but by the partnering banks). 



Trading conditions


 
Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)
The cryptocurrencies available at QUOINEX are only Bitcoin and Ethereum, while more altcoins are available at QRYPTOS. More importantly, trading can be done against a lot of fiat currencies: USD, JPY, EUR, AUD, SGD, HKD, IDR and PHP. On top of that there are three types of trading: spot (without leverage), margin and futures. The latter can be quite tricky, so we don’t recommend it to beginners.


 
Minimum initial deposit
There is no information on the minimum deposit requirement at QUOINEX. This is not usually the case with the forex brokers, which we mostly cover. As an example FXCM requires $50 for the creation of a new account.


 
Leverage
QUOINEX offers leverage up to 1:25. This is one of the highest levels available for cryptocurrency trading, which should be used wisely. As you may know forex brokers usually offer even higher ratios, like 1:500. This is due to the fact traditional currencies are much less volatile than Bitcoin.

 

Be sure to fully understand the ways margin trading operates before participating in it. One must also be aware of the differences between trading Bitcoin with a forex broker and an exchange, one of which is the margin fee, applied by some exchanges. In the case of QUOINEX, the fee is set at 5%.


 
Fees
There are no fees on trading with your “base currency pair” at QUOINEX. When trading with against other currencies the fees go as high as 0.25% which is in line with the industry standards.



Your account’s “base currency pair” will be determined on your country of residence. All of the examples given at the website, state you will trade with zero fees, if you are based in Japan. That being the case, there isn’t total clarity on the fees, if you are not a Japanese client. Here is a screenshot of their fee structure (zoom-in to see the explanation in the bottom):




 
 

Trading platform


 
QUOINEX provides a web-based trading solution. They are one of the few companies, which offers a demo account. Here is what you get, after registering one:





The charting seems very solid and reminiscent of the package provided by bitFlyer. On the left side of the chart, we can see a nice order entry panel followed by the order book and tape. The latter two are surprisingly placed above one another. This is very counter-intuitive to seasoned traders.


 
Methods of payment


 
QUOINEX accepts bank transfers in multiple currencies. We must note, the processing times for the more exotic ones are fairly longer. Additionally, transfers in Bitcoin or Ethereum are also accepted. The lack of credit card or e-wallet (servies like PayPal or Netteler) support will tun away some potential new clients.


 
Conclusion


 
QUOINEX is a cryptocurreny exchange, which is regulated by the JFSA. The company accepts Bank Transfers, which makes it a competitor in the “entry service provider” category. Commissions are competitive, despite a lack of clarity on the “0% fees” for non-Japanese clients. The trading platform feels solid, although the positioning of the order books and tape is a bit odd. Here are the pros and cons of QUOINEX:

 

Pros Cons
JFSA Regulation No altcoins available (ex. ETH)
No major hacks yet Some negative user reviews
Accepts Bank Transfers Odd positioning of some elements of the trading platform
Competitive commissions  
Relatively nice trading platform   
Allows margin trading and futures     


 

Forex
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