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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)  


 

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  

 

Forex
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