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itBit

itBit Review
Trader's rating 1
Editor's rating 4

Trading accounts and conditions

 

Account type Leverage Fees
Standard 1:1 *0.20% taker fee, 0% maker fee

*The OTC Trading desk for large orders charges a 0.10% flat fee per transaction.

 

itBit is a New York licensed US bitcoin exchange that offers services both to small retail and large and institutional clients. The service for smaller clients is called simply “exchange”, while the institutional service is called “OTC Trading Desk”. It is a “boutique service specializing in large bitcoin trades starting over 100 bitcoins”. It offers a deep orderbook, personalized trading support and competitive pricing. This service charges a flat fee of 0.10% per transaction. Additionally, itBit offers personalized service for active traders with a 30-day trading volume over 2,500 bitcoins.

 

Currently itBit offers trading only in Bitcoin against USD, EUR and SGD.

 

Unlike many exchanges who do not require verification at initial registration itBit does require immediate account verification, even before letting the users into their account. For the purpose one needs to provide a copy of government ID and proof of residence, which is more or less the industry standard. The verification process, particularly for foreign clients, takes a few days. For the institutional clients, there is a set of required documents that include incorporation or sole proprietorship proof.

 

ItBit does not offer leveraged trading, but there are cryptocurrency exchanges who do so, like Kraken, bitFlyer, Coincheck, Poloniex, etc. There is also a large number of forex brokers like IG, HYCM and easyMarkets, for example, who offer leveraged trading on CFDs on some of the most popular cryptocurrencies.

 

>> Forex brokers offering leveraged Bitcoin trading <<

 

The Company. Security of Funds

 

Company Country Regulation
itBit Trust Company, LLC USA  NYDFS

 

itBit is a New York based cryptocurrency exchange established in 2013 that operates legally in all 50 states, but also accepts international clients.

 

So far there are no unified rules and requirements for the US cryptocurrency exchanges, but the state of New York has introduced a license. In the spring of 2015 itBit has become the first US bitcoin exchange to get a charter from the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) under the state banking laws. There are two major cryptocurrency exchanges who have a New York bitcoin license: Coinbase and its institutional platform GDAX.

 

itBit employs robust security measures, such as two-factor authentication, multiple layers of platform security and 100% bitcoin cold storage. The company adheres to the CryptoCurrency Security Standard (CCSS) , which is a set of procedural requirements for secure handling of bitcoins established by C4, BitGo Inc. Additionally, all USD assets,  FDIC-insured and all fiat and bitcoin customer assets are fully protected and backed by mandatory capital reserves. Furthermore, the funds of itBit’s US customers are held exclusively in regulated US banks and do not leave American soil. ItBit also provides its US customers with the 1099 forms for tax reporting. 

 

The exchange also is fully compliant with the US anti-money laundering and know-your-customer procedures and requirements.

 

Trading platform

 

We could not gain access to itBit’s trading platform. We noticed, though, that the exchange provides access to market data with charts, the order book and the bitcoin network with a hash rate, market cap, mining revenue and average confirmation charts to anyone who visits the site. We find this fairly convenient.

 

We also came across user comments that the mobile web interface of the exchange is quite slow, but this could be actually caused by slow network and not by the platform itself.

 

Methods of payment

 

The only payment method for fiat currencies itBit accepts, is bank transfer and nothing else. This is quite inconvenient, as the bank transfers, especially the international ones, are far from instant and come with hefty fees. There are also default withdrawal limits of USD $2, 500 daily and USD $15, 000 monthly, but they can be changed. This, however, is done through printing out, filling in and e-mailing a two-page from and we find this a bit tedious.

 

The fact that itBit does not accept payments with credit/debit cards is quite inconvenient, especially for international clients who must pay through the nose for bank fees and wait several days for their payment to be processed.

 

>> crypto exchanges who accept credit cards <<

 

Conclusion

 

The best thing about itBit is that it is a regulated and strict cryptocurrency exchange. It takes rules, regulations and security very seriously and this is a very good thing.

 

However, those who wish to remain anonymous or register and start trading quickly, should go elsewhere and look for exchanges that do not have such strict and lengthy verification requirements. Those who have nothing to hide, though, would be absolutely fine with itBit.

 

A plus of itBit is the offering of special services and lower fees for the large traders.

 

What we do not like about this exchange is the fact that it does not accept credit and debit cards as payment. This, as we said, is not very convenient for a number of reasons.

 

Another minus of itBit is the fact that it does not offer other cryptocurrencies, besides Bitcoin. For those interested in trading in more than one or another altcoin, most exchanges have a somewhat larger selection. There are also platforms like Bisq and LiteBit who have a pretty big portfolio.

 

Pros Cons
NY regulation No anonymity
Robust safety Bitcoin only
Special service for large traders No credit/debit cards accepted
Accepts fiat currencies  

 

 

Forex.com

Forex.com Review
Trader's rating 2.9
Editor's rating 4

Trading Accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit  Minimum trade size  Maximum leverage* Average Spreads
Standard $50  0.01 1:200  1.8 pips 
AciveTrader/Premium  $20 000/$10 000   0.01 1:200 1.3 pips **/1.5 pips
*Leverage in the US is limited to 1:50.
** Spreads can be as low as 0.7, based on the clients’ trading
volume.

 

FOREX.COM currently offers two account types: Standard, and Active Trader.  The ActiveTrader account was launched in November, 2016 in Canada and US and soon it will also be rolled out to the rest of the markets where the broker operates. 

 

An alternative to the ActiveTrader, Premium account (currently available in UK, Australia, etc.) is available with $10 000 and offers spreads averaged 1.5 pips. It also offers 2% interest on your account balance, up to $50,000.

 

The Active Trader account is accessible only via the broker’s proprietary FOREXTrader platform and will not be offered to traders using the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) or any Managed Accounts and accounts referred by an introducing broker (IB).

 

In addition, FOREX.COM offers swap-free accounts to investors of Islamic belief.

 

Trading Conditions

 

Minimum initial deposit

In order to open an account with FOREX.COM, one has to invest just $50, which is a low minimum initial deposit. In comparison, FXCM also demands $50 from its clients as a start.

 

Spreads & Commission

One of the main advantages of major broker FOREX.COM is that it offers commission-free trading. Of course, this means that the company gets remuneration for its services by a mark-up. That is why FOREX.COM’ variable spreads are not among the tightest in the industry – average ones amount to 1.8 pips on EUR/USD pair. Nonetheless, you get access to a selection of trading platforms with fast execution (average execution speed is 0.05 seconds), and most importantly, your funds are safe.

 

In addition, ActiveTrader account holders may benefit from an average 15% reduction on our standard spreads. Spreads on this account type can be as low as 0.7 pips on EUR/USD, plus, their holders get personalized support, priority service and no account fees on the FOREXTrader Platform.

 

In comparison, FXCM offers variable spreads, averaged 1.5 pips on commission-free accounts. For further information, you may check out and compare real-time spreads of 15 leading brokers here

 

Maximum leverage

The maximum leverage levels offered by FOREX.COM is up to 1:200, which is considered average. Of course, the maximum leverage provided to US clients is 1:50.

 

If you need higher leverage ratios, many FX brokers provide such. FXCM offers leverage up to 1:400 and you may also check out a list of brokerages providing leverage up to 1:500 or higher here. You should keep in mind, however, that higher leverage involves greater risk of losses.

 

The Company. Security of funds

 

Set up in 1999, Gain Capital now has a global reach. Being one of the largest brokers in the US, it is therefore in direct competition with FXCM for the domination of the US market. It is It offers trading in currency pairs, index & commodities CFDs, precious metals, as well as exchange-traded futures and options (US clients).

 

First of all, GAIN Capital Group, LLC is a registered futures commission merchant and retail foreign exchange dealer with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and is also a member of the National Futures Association (NFA).

 

Brokers that are registered with the NFA are obliged to comply with a stringent set of rules. US regulation is one of the strictest, which is a good thing in terms of investor protection, however some of the rules imposed are considered too restrictive.

 

For instance, NFA-registered brokers are required to maintain a net capital of at least $20 million to guarantee customers’ positions, which is the highest minimum capital requirement worldwide.

 

Besides, hedging is not allowed and leverage is limited to 1:50, while European brokers are free to provide leverages up to 1:1000 or even higher than that.

 

The parent company, GAIN Capital Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:GCAP), is a New Jersey-based forex and CFD broker. As a global publicly traded company, regulated in 7 jurisdictions, Gain Capital meets high standards of corporate governance, financial reporting and disclosure. Generally speaking, if you choose to invest in forex.com, you may trade without worries about your funds’ safety.

 

Company

Country

Regulation

GAIN Capital Group, LLC

US

NFA, CFTC

Forex.com UK Limited

UK

FCA

GAIN Capital FOREX.com Australia Pty Limited 

Australia

ASIC

Forex.com Canada Limited

Canada

ILLROC

GAIN Capital Group (Hong Kong) Limited 

Hong Kong

SFC

GAIN Capital Japan Ltd. 

Japan

FFAJ

 

Trading platforms

 

Forex.com offers its clients two basic trading platforms: its in-house FOREXTrader & and the popular MetaTrader 4. In addition, the brokerage also supports Tradable and its special ECN platform, GTX.

 

The fully-customizable FOREXTrader is equipped with advanced trading features, professional charting tools and integrated research and analysis. It comes in as web, PC varsions and full array of mobile apps (including iOS and Android devices). FOREXTrader PRO’s professional-grade trading tools include real-time charting, pattern recognition software by Autochartist, and custom-built automated trading software, called Strategy Center.

 

Among the FOREXTrader’s features is the Strategy Center with automated buy and sell signals, which allows traders to access 15 user customizable pre-defined trading strategies as well as build their own via the Strategy Wizard. The Strategy Center includes the ability to back test strategies against historical data and then activate them to generate buy and sell signals in real time.

 

Forex.com's inhouse FOREXTrader platform. Click to enlarge.

 

The comprehensive research and analysis includes round-the-clock updates from our expert in-house research team, real-time concise headlines from Reuters News, and professional technical analysis from industry-leading Trading Central.

 

With this platform, users are able to choose between instant and market execution (through the Execution Mode drop-down). Unfortunately, FOREXTrader does not allow hedging, as open positions are closed in compliance with the (First in First Out) FIFO accounting rule, applicable in the US.

 

Some of the new functionalities of the platform after a recent update include powerful charts with integrated one-click trading, smart trade ticket with advanced risk management option, pre-defined and customizable layouts, and more.

 

The most common forex trading platform - MetaTrader4 - is also supported by Forex.com. It offers competitive pricing on over 45 currencies, superior market execution and EA optimized environment. Furthermore, Forex.com’s MT4 is equipped with some unique trader tools & resources, such as live commentary from the company’s Global Research Team, real time technical analysis from Trading Central and actionable ideas from Autochartist. According to us, MT4, offered by forex.com has one significant disadvantage - it does Not offer a 3rd party bridge.

 

GAIN Capital’s GTX is an independent and innovative ECN designed for institutions and professional traders. It offers robust algorithmic trading capabilities that enable clients to develop and implement a wide range of trading strategies using GTX’s Java or FIX-based APIs.

 

Payment methods

 

Clients of Forex.com may use bank wire transfer, as well as debit/credit cards as payment methods.

US clients may also make deposits and withdrawals via Check and eCheck (U.S. bank accounts only), while EU clients can use Sofortbanking (online funds transfer available in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Belgium only).

 

Conclusion

 

Although its spreads are not among the tightest on the forex market, we highly recommend Forex.com, for it has earned its reputation of a reliable broker with strong regulation and transparent policy. It offers reasonable conditions for trading in forex, CFDs and stocks on a wide range of platforms. Here are, in a nutshell, the advantages and disadvantages with regards to Forex.com, the retail forex brand of Gain Capital:

 

Pros       Cons
Well-regulated & reputable broker Mediocre spreads
Commission-free trading  
Choice of trading platforms, MT4 available  
Fast execution speed  

                                                                                  

Company Name: FOREX.com

Website Address: www.forex.com

Headquarters: Bedminster One, 135 US Highway 202/206, Suite 11, Bedminster, NJ 07921.

Country: United States

Regulated by: NFA (USA), CFTC (USA), FCA (UK), FSA (Japan), ASIC (Australia), IIROC (Canada)

 

Languages: English, Chinese Traditional and Simplified, Arabic, Russian, German, and Japanese 

Phone: +1 908-731-0750

Fax: +1-908-731-0701

E-mail: [email protected]

Free Phone: Toll Free: 877-367-3946 (US & Canada)

Year of company's foundation: 1999 

Year of company's forex division foundation: 1999

Client base: Individuals (IBs, Money Managers, White Label partners, please visit www.gaincapital.com).

Services: Forex and Metals (UK and AU only). Trading 24 hours a day from Sunday 5pm ET – Friday 5:00pm ET. Commission Free trading (bid/ask spreads apply). Web-based trading platform requires no download or installation. No debit balance guarantee. Free access to charting, news and research. 24 hour customer support via phone, email and chat during trading hours. Mobile trading available. 24 Hour trading.

Languages: English, Chinese simplified and traditional, Arabic, Russian, Japanese

Forex
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