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QUOINEX

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

Trading accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Fees
Standard Undisclosed 1: 25 0.25%*

*While the company claims to offer 0% fees for Japanese clients, the situation is not that clear for the rest. Go to the fees section of the review for more details.

QUOINEX (which stands for QUOINE Exchange) is a relatively new competitor in the cryptocurrency space. The company behind this project operates two brands – one focused on accepting fiat currency deposits (this one) and another one for digital asset trading (QRYPTOS). This is similar to the business model used by Coinbase/GDAX and OKCoin/OKEX.



The company, security of funds

Company Country Regulation
QUOINE Pte. Ltd Japan/Singapore/Vietnam JFSA

 

QUOINE Pte. Ltd is the company behind QUOINEX. They operate from offices in Japan, Singapore and Vietnam, but more importantly they recently got the regulatory approval of the JFSA. This brings a lot of credibility to the exchange, as regulated entities are few in the crypto-space.



QUOINE was founded in 2014 and later received substantial funding. The company’s founders Mike Kayamori and Mario Gomez-Lozada have substantial experience in the “traditional” business world, which also makes the project sound better.



While there weren’t any major hacks at QUOINEX, we must mention the most famous case of a conflict with a client. The cryptocurrency market-maker B2C2 is currently suing the company after a canceled a major transaction. Reports state, B2C2 made around $3.7 million on a trade/s, which was/were allegedly executed at a price which was very distant from the current market price. QUOINEX claimed this was an abuse of a technical issue, and reverted the deals. We can’t clearly state which side of the argument is right, but we must mention this incident occurred before the company was regulated by the Japanese financial watchdog.



There aren’t many English reviews on QUOINEX, but a lot of them are fairly negative. The complaints are mostly on slow withdrawal process and high fees on deposits (which are not charged by the company, but by the partnering banks). 



Trading conditions


 
Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)
The cryptocurrencies available at QUOINEX are only Bitcoin and Ethereum, while more altcoins are available at QRYPTOS. More importantly, trading can be done against a lot of fiat currencies: USD, JPY, EUR, AUD, SGD, HKD, IDR and PHP. On top of that there are three types of trading: spot (without leverage), margin and futures. The latter can be quite tricky, so we don’t recommend it to beginners.


 
Minimum initial deposit
There is no information on the minimum deposit requirement at QUOINEX. This is not usually the case with the forex brokers, which we mostly cover. As an example FXCM requires $50 for the creation of a new account.


 
Leverage
QUOINEX offers leverage up to 1:25. This is one of the highest levels available for cryptocurrency trading, which should be used wisely. As you may know forex brokers usually offer even higher ratios, like 1:500. This is due to the fact traditional currencies are much less volatile than Bitcoin.

 

Be sure to fully understand the ways margin trading operates before participating in it. One must also be aware of the differences between trading Bitcoin with a forex broker and an exchange, one of which is the margin fee, applied by some exchanges. In the case of QUOINEX, the fee is set at 5%.


 
Fees
There are no fees on trading with your “base currency pair” at QUOINEX. When trading with against other currencies the fees go as high as 0.25% which is in line with the industry standards.



Your account’s “base currency pair” will be determined on your country of residence. All of the examples given at the website, state you will trade with zero fees, if you are based in Japan. That being the case, there isn’t total clarity on the fees, if you are not a Japanese client. Here is a screenshot of their fee structure (zoom-in to see the explanation in the bottom):




 
 

Trading platform


 
QUOINEX provides a web-based trading solution. They are one of the few companies, which offers a demo account. Here is what you get, after registering one:





The charting seems very solid and reminiscent of the package provided by bitFlyer. On the left side of the chart, we can see a nice order entry panel followed by the order book and tape. The latter two are surprisingly placed above one another. This is very counter-intuitive to seasoned traders.


 
Methods of payment


 
QUOINEX accepts bank transfers in multiple currencies. We must note, the processing times for the more exotic ones are fairly longer. Additionally, transfers in Bitcoin or Ethereum are also accepted. The lack of credit card or e-wallet (servies like PayPal or Netteler) support will tun away some potential new clients.


 
Conclusion


 
QUOINEX is a cryptocurreny exchange, which is regulated by the JFSA. The company accepts Bank Transfers, which makes it a competitor in the “entry service provider” category. Commissions are competitive, despite a lack of clarity on the “0% fees” for non-Japanese clients. The trading platform feels solid, although the positioning of the order books and tape is a bit odd. Here are the pros and cons of QUOINEX:

 

Pros Cons
JFSA Regulation No altcoins available (ex. ETH)
No major hacks yet Some negative user reviews
Accepts Bank Transfers Odd positioning of some elements of the trading platform
Competitive commissions  
Relatively nice trading platform   
Allows margin trading and futures     


 

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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