Things are looking favorable for crypto trading these days as exchanges are experiencing a surge in new customers and record trading volumes. If you’ve been waiting in the wings, now it’s the time to capitalize on the promising trading climate.
Now, we know for a fact that choosing a cryptocurrency exchange is no easy task. That’s why we’ve decided to create separate guides with detailed information on the pros and cons of different crypto platforms, hoping it will help you decide. This time, we’ll be diving into the features and trading services offered by Bitfinex, one of the crypto veteran platforms.
Although the first couple of years since its launch were marked by success, Bitfinex came to be associated with insolvency scandals and fund thefts later on. Led by a dedicated team of experts, Bitfinex managed to leave the doghouse and make its way to the top of the list once again.
Crypto Exchange Review: Bitfinex
Bitfinex was founded in 2012 in the British Virgin Island by iFinex Inc. but its main office is located in Hong Kong. The platform was built by IT technician Raphael Nicolle and is currently led by JL van der Velde, the CEO of Bitfinex who’s been in the company since 2013 and works on ways to make new solutions comply with regulatory systems, and Giancarlo Devasini, the CFO of Bitfinex.
Bitfinex got off to a flying start. During the first couple of years, the platform attracted the attention of thousands of traders around the world. The great variety of digital currencies, reasonable fees, fiat gateways, and user-friendly interface were enough to place Bitfinex in the same batch with the most popular crypto exchanges on a global level.
The exchange was also one of the few platforms that supported margin trading and lending of crypto assets which immediately drew in some more experienced traders.
Things took a dramatic turn between 2015 and 2018. Bitfinex suffered two major security breaches, followed by a series of allegations of market manipulation and insolvency. Bitfinex was also accused of issuing Tether to pump up the price of Bitcoin with general counselors dismissing such claims. Then in 2017, Bitfinex announced it was quitting the US market due to insurmountable regulatory roadblocks.
However, the last couple of years have seen Bitfinex strengthening its security measures to clamp down on hackers.
Bitcoin and Other Supported Cryptocurrencies
On Bitfinex, you can choose from over 90 different crypto tokens that include not only the most prominent and high-value ones like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Monero (XMR), NEO, IOTA, etc, but some newly-launched and promising altcoins, stablecoins, and DeFi tokens (ERC-20 tokens in particular) as well.
The great thing about Bitfinex is that it supports both crypto to crypto and fiat to crypto trades. This way, crypto novices don’t have to look for third-party platforms to convert their fiat money in order to purchase crypto assets on Bitfinex. The accepted fiat currencies are USD, EUR, JPY, and GBP.
You can make fiat deposits via bank transfer/wire transfers or link your debit card on selected coins via two payment services: OWNR and Mercuryo. You can use OWNR to purchase Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), EOS, Zcash (ZEC), DASH, Tron (TRX), Tezos (XTZ), USDT, and Tether Gold (XAUT) or Mercuryo for BTC, ETH, USDT, TRX, Algorand (ALG), and Basic Attention Token (BAT). Credit cards are not accepted as a deposit method.
Trading Fees and Limits
Like most crypto exchanges, Bitfinex determined trading fees based on a 30-day trading volume schedule, with the fees being different for makers and takers. The highest one starts at 0.20% for takers and falls down to 0% as the trading volume increases. Let’s take a look at the fee table:
|Value of trade||Maker fee||Taker fee|
|>$3 000 million||0.0%||0.075%|
|>$30 000 million||0.0%||0.055%|
Both cryptocurrency and wire deposits are free as long as they’re worth no less than $1,000. Otherwise, wire deposits under $1,000 incur a 0.1% fee with a minimum deposit of $60, while the fee for cryptocurrency deposits under $1,000 varies depending on the crypto asset in question. The same applies to withdrawals.
How to Set up Your Bitfinex Account
To create an account, visit the official website and click on “Open Account”. If this is the first crypto exchange you’re using, it might be useful to try the Paper Trading feature (explained below) first or click the “View Demo” button to familiarize yourself with the user interface.
If you have some previous experience with cryptocurrency trading, skip this step and go directly to “Open Account”. You’ll see a sign-up table that you need to complete. At this point, you also need to choose a strong password for your account. Once you’re finished, you’ll receive a confirmation email. Follow the link to activate your account.
To enjoy all services such as making fiat deposits, we recommend completing the KYC verification. The information approval can take from 6-8 weeks.
Although Bitfinex has some basic trading features that can be used by novices, its advanced trading platform and order types are primarily aimed at experienced traders. The platform supports limit orders, market, staking, lending, stop-loss orders, margin trading, etc.
One of the most popular trading features on Bitfinex is margin trading. You can ask for up to 5x leverage through margin funding. When you open a margin order, you can either manually select the amount you want to borrow together with the rate and duration of the order or let Bitfinex automatically select the best market rate available at the moment.
You can only margin trade 25 cryptocurrencies which is more than what other platforms have to offer. The only requirement is to hold at least 20% of the value in USD in your margin wallet as collateral. For example, if you have 1,000 US Dollars in your wallet, you can open a margin position of 5:1, i.e. purchase assets worth 5,000 USD the most.
Bitfinex not only lets you borrow funds but it also makes it possible to lend your digital assets to other users and earn interest. This feature is known as peer-to-peer margin funding, a low-risk investment strategy that’s quite popular with traders worldwide.
Large-volume traders and institutional traders are welcome to use Bitfinex’s separate OTC desk to avoid order books and slippage, and not to disturb the market and market rates with their large orders. Moreover, the OTC desk gives them access to higher liquidity than the regular trading platform.
Verified users (intermediate and above) are able to use the derivatives trading feature with a maximum leverage of 100x determined in relation to the collateral. You can find more information on Derivatives Trading here.
Finally, Bitfinec lets new traders use its Paper Trading feature that allows them to get a feel of and become accustomed to how the platform works without risking any money. Once they feel ready, traders can swap their demo account for a real one.
Like most cryptocurrency exchanges nowadays, you can follow Bitfinex for new updates on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, LinkedIn, etc. The exchange is quite vocal on these online platforms and keeps its followers informed on its current and future projects.
Additionally, you can reach out to Bitfinex via its official website and submit an email support ticket. The only thing this platform lacks is a live chat box or phone support for some more urgent queries.
For those of you who are interested to learn how the platform works and explore its services in more detail, you can check out Bitfinex’s help center and knowledge base, and browse through its neatly organized sections.
Bitfinex: Safe to Use or a Scam?
In 2015, hackers got their hands on the hot wallet Biftinex used for fund storage and managed to steal around 1,500 BTC which amounted to only 0.5% of the total money held by the exchange. The platform was able to react promptly and compensate its customers for this small-scale theft.
However, in August 2016, Bitfinex suffered a major attack in which more than 120,000 BTC were stolen (around $72 million at the time) or 57% of all Bitcoin deposits. It took more than a year for the company to reimburse the damage to all those affected by the hack with the help of “Recovery Rights Tokens” or BFX tokens used as IOU.
These events have opened the company’s eyes and made its team see the importance of implementing high-level security measures when you’re operating a custodial exchange. Since then, Bitfinex has introduced a number of novelties to increase both platform and account security.
For instance, customers are encouraged to add another layer of security to their accounts by activating two-factor authentication (2FA) to receive a unique code via Google Authenticator or using a USF Security Key. Similarly, you can activate the Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) option and use a physical security key instead. Every new user is required to pass a KYC verification process and provide a legitimate ID.
Over 95% of the funds are kept in cold storage, disconnected from the Internet which makes them immune to attacks. The platform tracks login activity and reports suspicious login attempts immediately. If another IP address tries to gain access to your account, the exchange reserves the right to momentarily freeze your account. In some cases, Bitfinex will send you an email notification to report such logins and ask for your approval or denial. Moreover, you yourself can create an IP address whitelist in advance, both for logins and withdrawals.
Frequently Asked Questions
What countries does Bitfinex support?
Bitfinex declares itself as an international crypto exchange available worldwide. On its website, we couldn’t find any article or FAQ answering this question. The only way to find out whether your country is eligible or not is to try registering for an account. During the KYC process, you’ll be asked to state your place of residence. In case your country is on the platform’s “blacklist”, you’ll be denied access. Since 2018, Bitfinex is officially unavailable in the US.
Does Bitfinex have a mobile app?
Yes, Bitfinex has a mobile app available for download on iOS and Android devices that fits into their customers’ busy lifestyles. The app is designed to include all the most important features of the web-based platform. Users can access their positions, trading history, make new orders, and track the market. Margin trading is also available. To enhance the security of your account when using the mobile app, Bitfinex suggests generating a unique API key that you will then import into the app, instead of logging in with a username and password.
Does Bitfinex have a wallet?
Bitfinex is a custodial exchange which means you can use it as a wallet to store your crypto assets once you purchase them. On the one hand, this is very useful because you don’t have to use another platform just for storing your tokens or spend extra cash on a hardware wallet. However, keeping Bitfinex’s past security breaches in mind, we suggest finding another solution if you’re planning to store your coins long term.
Bitfinex vs Binance
Bitfinex and Binance are both popular altcoin trading platforms. However, Binance is the second-largest crypto exchange by trading volume next to Coinbase and one with a spotless record (unlike Bitfinex). It supports more digital and fiat currencies and has more deposit options (including credit card payments via Simplex). In terms of margin trading, both platforms allow up to 5x leverage on crypto assets. Moreover, Binance is also available to US traders via its subsidiary Binance US, while Bitfinex is no longer available in the United States.’[;
Summing It Up
So, is Bitfinex worth your time? We think it is. Surviving a few tumultuous and uncertain years, Bitfinex has resurfaced stronger and has transformed its architecture to answer the needs and complaints of its customers.
For instance, its security infrastructure is now on the same level as other reliable crypto exchanges. Funds are stored securely in cold storage and users can activate various security features to further protect their account.
As far as cryptocurrencies and payment methods are concerned, Bitfinex offers a decent variety of options and affordable bank wire fees. Aware of the popularity of crypto assets among seasoned traders, Bitfinex has added support for margin trading, lending, and various order types. It even has its own OTC desk for corporate accounts.
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Disclaimer: Digital currencies and cryptocurrencies are volatile and can involve a lot of risk. Their prices and performance is very unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consult a financial advisor or obtain your own advice independent of this site before relying and acting on the information provided.