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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 US

Forex.com US Review
Trader's rating 4.8
Editor's rating 5

 

Trading Accounts & Conditions

 

Account type Min. deposit Min. trade size Max. leverage Average Spreads
Standard $50 0.01 1:50 1.4 pips 

 

Leading US broker Forex.com offers a single account type on several trading platforms. The broker provides commission-free trading with variable spreads and the option to use micro lots.

 

In addition, Forex.com offers swap-free accounts to investors of Islamic belief, as well as free demo ones for 30 days after sign up.

 

 

Forex.com (US) Advantages

 

Regulated in the US and other countries

Forex.com belongs to the Gain Capital group. Gain Capital meets high standards of corporate governance, financial reporting and disclosure. The parent company of the major FX brand Forex.com, GAIN Capital Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:GCAP)  is a registered Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) and Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and is a member of the National Futures Association (NFA).

 

Besides, its subsidiaries are properly licensed in the countries of their operation: 

 

Company Country Regulation
GAIN Capital Group, LLC USA 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

 

Apart from Forex.com, Gain Capital Group is operating the brands City Index, GTX, Gain Capital, FinSpreads, and others.

 

The largest broker in the US

Not only that Forex.com is regulated in the United States, but it is actually the largest forex broker in the country. After FXCM has left the US market, Forex.com became the undeniable leading provider of financial services in the US.

 

Actually, a very few brokers have remained active on the strictly regulated US market: Oanda, Interactive Brokers, and TD Ameritrade.

 

Competitive spreads

Forex.com offers commission-free trading with variable spreads, the average ones on EUR/USD amounting to 1.4 pips, which is a rather competitive pricing. By comparison, the cost of trading at Oanda, another US broker, is exactly the same.

 

Low minimum investment required

In order to open an account with Forex.com, one has to invest just $50. Almost everyone can afford such an investment.

 

Several top-notch trading platforms available

Leading US broker Forex.com offers a single account type on several trading platforms. The broker provides commission-free trading with variable spreads and the option to use micro lots.

 

Actually, this piece of trading software is as sophisticated and customizable as the MT4. Its professional-grade trading tools include top-notch interactive charting with more than 100 predefined indicators, as well as the option to create some of your own. There are also a number of Integrated trading strategies, which are also customizable. Besides, users can code their own trading strategies (in C++), there is a back-testing excel tool available, and signals trading. Here is a snapshot of the platform:

 

Click on the image to zoom-in.

 

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. 

   

Various payment methods, fast withdrawals

Yet another thing we like about Forex.com (US) is the fact that it support several convenient payment methods, and namelY Debit Card, Wire Transfer, ACH and Checks. What is even more important from a client's point of view, withdrawals are processed pretty fast – within 48 hours.

 

Bonuses available

Last but not least, Forex.com (US) offers cash rebates for high volume traders. The latter are able to get rebates up to $10 per million traded. 

 

 

Forex.com (US) Disadvantages

 

Leverage capped to 1:50

Actually, this is not a weak side of the broker itself, but a legal requirement in the US. Brokers operating in the country are not allowed to provide leverage of more than 1:50, and Forex.com simply complies with the regulatory requirements. 

 

 

Conclusion

 

Forex.com (US) is the largest US broker and one of the few actively operating in the country. A market leader offering trading in more than 80 forex pairs and CFDs, it has serviced over 200,000 customers globally.

 

The US broker is a part of the Gain Capital group – a leading forex brokerage with global presence. All members of the Gain Capital family are duly regulated by the respective governmental agencies, including Forex.com (US). It is registered with the CFTC and a member of NFA. 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 example, Brokers registered with the NFA are required to maintain a net capital of at least $20 million to guarantee customers’ positions, which is the highest minimum capital requirement worldwide. Moreover, hedging is not allowed and leverage is limited to 1:50, as we already mentioned above.

 

Now, let’s sum up the strong and weak sides of Forex.com (US):

 

Pros Cons
A global leading broker Leverage capped at 1:50
Solid regulation  
Competitive spreads, commission-free  
Several trading platforms, including MT4  
Low min. deposit required  

 

Forex
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