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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)  


 

Gemini

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

Account types

 

Account type

Minimum deposit

Leverage

Fees

Standard

Undisclosed

N/A

Max of 0.25%

 

Gemini is a relatively simple cyptocurrency exchange. It offers a few instruments, but on the other hand accepts USD bank transfers as a method of payment. There is also a more specific type of trading – auctions, which we will get to later on in the review, 

 

The company, security of funds

 

 

Company

Country

Regulation

Gemini Trust Company, LLC.

USA

US Trust regulation

 

Gemini is a brand owned by t Gemini Trust Company, LLC. They are regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS), but not under its infamous BitLicense, but simply as a trust. This assures some consumer confidence, while avoiding the hassle with the unpopular piece of legislation. If you are not familiar with the case, the aforementioned New York regulators wanted to create a licensing system for crypto exchanges. The idea was to make the Big Apple a major cryptocurrency trading centre, just how it is in traditional finance. That being the case the project wasn’t appreciated by most of the companies in the field, as a lot of them didn’t apply for it. Those who argue this makes it basically useless are backed by the rate at which licensing was given to the companies who did apply. At the time of writing of this review, two years since the legislation came into effect, only three companies have been granted the license.

 

The name Gemin comes from the owners of the company, the Winkelvoss twins. While they may be most famous for suing Facebook creator Mark Zukerberg over their idea for a social networking site, they also have interest in the crypto-space. It is worth pointing out, the famous rowers were also involved in Bitinstant, a company which was involved in facilitating transfers for drug deals. The brothers claimed they were only passive investors and were not aware of the operations. 

 

When it comes to security, Gemini hasn’t experienced any large-scale hacks yet. This is generally a good sign, although it does not guarantee anything for the future.

 

The user reviews on the company aren’t that many, which can be explained by the fact it doesn’t operate in the entire world. Here is a map of all of the regions, which they support (click to zoom-in):

 

 

That being the case most of the complaints are focused on slow account verification.

 

The most unique feature of Gemini are the auctions, which are held twice a day. The way they function is similar to the ones which occur at the opening and closing transactions on stock exchanges (not to be confused with “the highest bidder wins the item” auctions). This is where relatively big, in terms of volume, transactions are usually made. Traders can place buy or sell orders which are then matched at a single price. While of of this is happening, trading on Gemini still occurs. This creates an interesting dynamic, just like it does on the New York Stock Exchange – after seeing the pending orders for the auction (known as the “imbalance”) traders can speculate on them moving the market in the short term. For instance, if a relatively large buying imbalance is placed, most will expect the price to rally. That being said, this type of trading is very risky, as new orders may come to meet the imbalance, even in the last second. Furthermore the initial imbalance creator may have set a limit price for his order, above (in the case of buying) he does not want to participate. Trading on imbalances is tricky and while some traders used to enjoy doing so on the NYSE, they can all tell you stories about times when they lost a lot of money on a last second turnaround. This is definitely not recommended for beginners.

 

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

The trading instruments available at Gemini are only Bitcoin and Ethereum. Both coins can be traded against the US dollar and against each other. Obviously, this is limiting, but clients who wish to pursue altcoins can always transfer their BTC or ETH to an external wallet or another exchange, like Bittrex.

 

Minimum initial deposit

Gemini does not mention any minimum initial deposit, unlike the majority of forex brokers, which we mostly cover. In that industry, it is quite common for a company to specify an amount, below which one can’t open a new trading account. The levels are fairly low now, with FXCM requiring $50, for instance.

 

Leverage

Margin trading is not available at Gemini. More aggressive clients will not appreciate this fact, although there is enough volatility in cryptocurrencies already. The forex brokers who offer Bitcoin trading, provide leverage. As an example the FCA-regulated industry pioneers at IG have a 1:13.3 ratio (7.5% margin requirement) for Bitcoin trading.

 

Fees

Gemini offers relatively competitive fees. The maximum is in line the current industry standard of 0.25%, with discounts for bigger trading volume. On top of that, fees are lower for market “makers” (traders who passively place their orders in the book). The fees actually turn into rebates above a certain point in volume (only for "makers"). As a comparison, forex brokers usually condense all of their fees in the spread. This makes comparing the two types of services a bit tricky, although we have done so in this post.

 

Trading platform 

 

The platform provided by Gemini is web-based and rather simplistic, with the order book being the main focus. Here is a preview:

 

 

We must note this is an old screenshot, which wasn’t taken by us, due to the restrictions on accepting clients. That being said, the platform may have been improved in the meantime.

 

Methods of payment

 

Gemini accepts Bank Transfers as well as Bitcoin or Ethereum ones. Not a lot of exchanges accept bank transfers nowadays, with the major two ones being Coinbase and Bitstamp.

 

Conclusion

 

Gemini is a US-based crypto currency exchange. The company is registered as a trust, which should give investors a bit more confidence, when compared to a lot of other entities in the crypto-space. The people behind the company are the Winkelvoss twins, which you may be familiar with. Gemini offers little variety, in terms of the trading instruments, but accepts bank transfers. The company operates in a relatively small number of countries. The Auctions which they offer are a neat idea, but most traders will probably not feel the need to use them. Here are the pros and cons of Gemini :

 

Pros

Cons

Regulated US trust

Operates in a few countries

Commissions in line with the industry

Trading platform looks simplistic

Auctions available

Only BTC and ETH available

Accepts bank transfers (from some countries)

 

 

 

Forex
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