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OKCoin

OKCoin Review
Trader's rating 5
Editor's rating 3.8

Trading Accounts

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Fee
Standard Undisclosed None Max 0.20%


OKCoin is one of the biggest Bitcoin exchanges, at the time of writing of this review. They focus mainly on the Chinese market and more specifically on retail customers.


 
The company, security of funds

Company Country Regulation
OKCoin.cn Inc China N/A


 
OKCoin is based in China and also has a second brand. The company has a structure similar to Coinbase and GDAX, one of the brands is focused on the needs of basic customers and the other on more serious traders. OKEX is the name of the more trading oriented solution.



While OKCoin accepts real money transfers, they can only be done in Chinese Yuan (CYN). This is simply the company’s focus, which also carries on to the trading instruments offered (more on them later in the review). That being said, OkCoin used to accept USD deposits, but “issues with intermediary banks” caused the company to cease this activity, much like Bitfinex. Additionally OKCoin stopped accepting US clients, probably because of pressure to comply with US regulators.



While we are on the topic of regulation, we must mention the rather obvious (for some, at least). While China is not strictly against Bitcoin and cryptrocurrencies altogether, the country recently banned ICOs. With that in mind, they may be planning on applying rules on all crypto-transactions, which may affect OKCoin.



OKCoin has not been involved in major hacking scandals so far. The non-Chinese user reviews on the company aren’t that many, but are generally positive, which can’t be said for all cryptio-exchanges.



Trading conditions


 
Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)
There are a few altcoins available at OKCoin, but this is definitely not an exchange which list a lot of coins. The options currently available are: BTC, LTC, ETH, ETC and BCC. The addition of Etherem Classic and Bitcoin Cash will be appreciated by some users. Trading at OKCoin is only done against the Chineese Yuan (CNY), while the other brand owned by the company provides more products.


 
Minimum initial deposit

There is no information on the minimum deposit at OKCoin. This is rather odd, especially given the fact they accept deposits in Yuan. We are used to forex brokers, disclosing their entry barriers. For instance FXCM only requires a $50 deposit, for the opening of a new trading account.


 
Leverage
Margin trading is not available at OKCoin, while it is at the company’s other brand OKEX. In essence OKCoin is the company which takes fiat currency deposits (only in Yuan), while the other website is the more trader-oriented exchange. Leverage at crypto-exchanges is usually lower than the one provided for forex trading, where brokers often allow 1:500 or even higher ratios. That being said, cryptocurrencies are a lot more volatile, so margin trading is a lot riskier, in general.


 
Fees
Fees at OKCoin are competitive with the current offers by other brokers, going as high as 0.20%. With greater volumes, the rate declines, which is also a procedure applied by multiple exchanges. Luckily for the more aggressive traders there is no difference for market “makers” and “takers”. The forex brokers who offer bitcoin trading on the other hand include all of their costs in the spread. They also mostly provide CFD trading. For a full comparison of the two types of services read this post.


Trading platform


 
The platform provided by OKCoin is web-based and a bit simplistic, especially when compared to the one provided by the other brand owned by the company. That being said there are a lot of options, when it comes to charting. Traders can choose between several styles of charts. There are simple ones, the solution provided by trading view, as well as a proprietary solution. Here is a preview:




 

 

The charting is very nice, with some technical indicators being pre-loaded, to stimulate more active trading. The order book at OKCoin is also very user-friendly. Here is a preview:




 

One can clearly distinguish between the bids and asks. The tape is also conveniently located to right.

Overall this is a solid platform. The company’s other brand OKEX offers an even more sophisticated solution.


 
Methods of payment


 
Money transfers in CNY are accepted at OKCoin. Other than that crypto-currency transfers in BTC LTC ETH ETC and BCC are also accepted. Essentially you can open a wallet for each of the coins and use them to transfer funds.


 
Conclusion


 
OKCoin is the largest Chinese cryptocurrency exchange, which is mainly oriented towards the domestic market. The company targets retail customers, while also providing another brand OKEX, for the more sophisticated traders. Trading volumes and liquidity for the major coins are quite high. Here is a summary of the pros and cons:

 

Pros    Cons
No major hacks yet  Trading against CYN
Accepts CNY payments Few altcoins available
Competitive commissions Does not accept US clients
Relatively nice trading platform  
Has another brand for sophisticated traders (OKEX)  


 

Bitstamp

Bitstamp Review
Trader's rating 1
Editor's rating 3.9

Our Experience

We registered an account at Bitstamp and after confirming the ID, we decided to make a credit card deposit. What first stroke us, was the fact you can only directly buy Bitcoin via credit card, instead of simply transferring funds to your account. The purchase went fine, after dealing with an external payment services provider. We immediately sold the coins, in order to have a USD trading balance. At that point we realized the 8% fee on credit card transfers (at the time, now the fee is 5%) truly applies.

 

Later on, we traded with the platform and everything felt fine. While the speed of execution was slightly lower than the one provided by most forex trading platforms, it was still pretty decent. The order book seemed to have some trading robots, which moved the best bids/asks constantly, but this didn’t hinder trading at all.


We also made a SEPA Bank transfer to this exchange. The funds arrived less than 24 hours later and the only fees we paid were the ones charged by our local bank.

 

We ended up having some Litecoin, which we transferred to Bittrex, in order to continue our journey in the world of altcoins. Additionally, we left some Ethereum, which we sent to a newly created wallet at MyEtherWallet – a wallet, which allows users to control their private keys. All of these blockchain transactions, which are external to Bitstamp happened in minutes. We are yet to test the speed of bank transfer withdrawals, from this exchange.

 

Trading Accounts

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Fee
Standard Undisclosed N/A 0.25%*

*Fees can go lower for bigger traders

 

Bitstamp is one of the few cryptocurrency exchanges which accepts deposits directly from traditional payment methods. In essence this service can be used to obtain Bitcoin (via a bank transfer or credit card) which you are then free to send.

 

The company, security of funds

Company Country Regulation
Bitstamp Ltd. Luxembourg CSSF

 

Bitstamp Ltd. is the company behind this project. They have offices in Luxembourg, London and New York. More importantly, this is the first fully licensed cryptocurrency exchange in Europe. It is regulated by the (Luxembourg Financial Industry Supervisory Commission, known as the CSSF). As we often warn against the risks involved in dealing with unregulated or off-shore forex brokers, it is nice to see a company in the cryptoverse, which is registered with a watchdog.

 

The CSSF Licensing ensures the company periodically files reports with the appropriate agencies. Bitstamp is registered as a “Payment institution”, which implies you can be sure about the real-money transfers you send to (and receive from them). That being said we don’t know if mandatory policies on fairness of execution are in place. No matter the case, this is much more than, what most other crypto-exchanges provide in terms of regulation.

 

Bitstamp was hacked in early 2015. Afterwards the company rebuild its entire trading platform. Nowadays they claim to store 98% of their client’s cryptocurrencies on cold storage, while only 2% are directly available on the exchange. This is a major improvement in terms of security.

 

Bitstamp partnered with Swissquote, in July 2017.  The Swiss bank and broker, decided to trust this company, in order to provide Bitcoin trading to its clients. This speaks volumes in terms of Bitstamp’s credibility. At the time of writing of this review, there is no integration with the MetaTrader4 (MT4) platform. Trading is instead done on the Swissquote’s website, with limited functionality. This is bound to change in the future. 

 

The user reviews for Bitstamp are fairly mixed. There are lots of satisfied customers and people claiming dissatisfaction with the support. Similarly to Poloniex, the company may be experiencing more significant traffic than expecting, but the negative comments are not that harsh. 

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Bitstamp allows trading cryptocurrencies against the old-fashioned EUR and USD. On the other hand few coins are supported, namely Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple. If you want to dive into more exotic altcoins, you can use Bitstamp as a way to convert your cash into one of these three and then transfer it to a different exchange which supports your preferred altcoin.

 

Minimum initial deposit

There is no information on the minimum deposit at Bitstamp. While this is not that unusual, when dealing with cryptocurrencies, the company does accept traditional payments. There may be a level below, which they would not accept your transfer. We are used to forex brokers disclosing their minimum entry levels beforehand, like easyMarkets, who require $100.

 

Leverage

Margin trading is not available at Bitstamp. For those of you who do not know what margin trading is – this is a mechanism by which you trade with more buying power than the money you have in your account. When it comes to froex brokers, they allow substantial leverage levels, like 1:500, meaning you can trade with positions worth 500 times more than your investment. The catch is your account serves as a guarantee, and if you start loosing, there will be a point at which your positions will be closed (this is known as receiving a margin call, followed by a margin stop-out).

 

Fees

The commissions, charged by Bitstamp go as high as 0.25% for cash to cryptocurrency trades (for the lowest volumes). As is the practice with most other exchanges, they go lower with bigger volumes. The unusual aspect of this offering is that there is no incentive for the market “makers” (people who place orders on the exchange, instead of aggressively buying from the ones which other traders have placed). Most cryptocurrency exchange provide an ever so slightly lower fee for traders who provide liquidity.

 

Comparing this to the spreads provided by forex brokers is rather hard, as we have mentioned in our general comparison of the two type of service providers. On the other hand, Bitstamp’s fees are in-line with what other cypto-exchanges are offering.

 

 

Trading platform

 

Bitstamp’s trading platform is web-based. This is the norm with most cryptocurrency exchanges, unlike the situation with forex brokers, where downloadable software (like MT4) is prevalent. At first glance Bitstamp’s trading platform looks solid. A big emphasis is placed on charting, with a nice package. It feels pretty similar to cTrader, although it lacks a lot of the functionality. Lots of technical indicators and tools are available, but most forex trading platforms still provide even more options. That being said Bitsatmp’s offer is better that what we have seen at a lot of other crupto-exchanges. Here is a preview of the charting (click to zoom-in):

 

 

The order book is located below the chart and is one of the best ones available (at such exchanges). Here is a screenshot (click to zoom-in):

 

 

It was clearly designed by someone with trading experience as the bid and ask price are next to each other, where the two tables meet (on the left). This allows for a quick and easy comparison of the market depth, although the size of the orders (outer columns) must also be taken into account.

 

Methods of payment

 

Bitstamp accepts payments via Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card and cryptocurrencies. There are some specifics regarding the bank transfers, with EU clients being more easily accepted via the SEPA System. While this system is relatively faster than traditional bank transfers, it may come at higher fees (depending on your bank). On the other hand Credit Card transfers, while instant, come with an 8% fee. That being said, virtually anybody can transfer fiat currencies to this exchange. This feature is probably their biggest advantage over others.

 

Conclusion

 

Bitstamp is the first regulated European cryptocurrency exchange. The company keeps 98% of customer’s coins on cold storage wallets, which is a pretty good security measure. Bitstamp is one of the relatively few exchanges who accept deposits by Credit Card and Bank Transfer. Three of the major coins are traded directly against EUR and USD. On the other hand the exchange offers few alternative coins. In essence this is a great gateway for those who are new to the world of cryptocurrencies. Here is a summary Bitstamp’s strong and weak sides:

 

Pros Cons
Luxembourg licensing Few altcoins available
Accepts Bank Transfers and Credit Cards Was hacked in 2015
Competitive commissions 5% fee on credit card purchases
Relatively nice trading platform  
98% of coins kept in cold storage  

 

Forex
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