Bitfinex is a platform operated by iFinex Inc, which is based in Hong Kong. It is one of the largest by trading volume.
It was founded by Raphael Nicolle and Giancarlo Devasini, in 2012. Raphael has said he has since moved on from the company and Giancarlo Devasini is listed as the Risk Manager. Based on a LinkedIn profile J.L. Van Der Velde is the CEO of the company and Phil Potter is the chief strategy officer.
Bitfinex’s facilitates US dollar trading along with a range of other altcoins, including: Bitcoin, Tether, ZCash Monero and Litecoin.
To register with the site, you need to provide a copy of your ID, proof of your country of residence and a signed statement confirming the validity of the documents and the account details provided. US residents are no longer allowed to trade on the site.
Since January 1st of 2018, Bitfinix requires new accounts to deposit of a minimum of US$10,000 or the crypto equivalent, before they can begin trading. Customers who had accounts before this date are not required to have these capital requirements.
Bitifinex allows leverage of up to 3.3 times and allows customers to lend funds to margin traders, through its peer-to-peer lending network. Bitfinex has its own token for trading, BFX.
Bitfinex supports trading in the following crypto currencies:
Bitfinix offers customers margin trading, where you can trade up to 3.3 times leverage. So for example, you can open a $1000 trade with just $300. If equity falls below 15 percent, Bitfinex will force liquidation, forcing you to repay the loan with interest.
So on the other end of margin trading, you can lend out funds on Bitfenix with the following currencies:
You can set your own rate and loan term, or set the rates using: FRR (Flash Return Rate). The FRR is an average of all of the fixed rate positions. It is updated hourly and basically follows the market.
Bitfinix has the usual trading options, such as a limit order to buy or sell at a better price, a market order to buy or sell at the market price and stop orders to close the position when a set price is reached.
This is a stop order which you can be set to execute when the market goes against you by a set price. They can help to protect profits as prices rise and limit losses if the price falls.
Fill or Kill:
An order where it must be filled completely otherwise the whole order will be cancelled.
This is an order where you will always pay the maker fee, which is cheaper than the taker fee.
This is where you can create an order that does not appear in the public order book, therefore it does not influence everyone else in the market. Taker fees are charged for this order type.
Bitfinex’s interface is customizable. It has a light and dark theme and custom sound alerts. You can adjust the columns and save your preferences. You can receive trade notifications by email and SMS. Emails can be encrypted with PGP.
Bitfinix says security is their top priority, but they have had some major security incidents. To keep user accounts secure, they offer Two-factor authentication (2FA) and Universal 2nd Factor (U2F). They have systems to monitor unusual activity and IP address changes.
They have an additional security step when withdrawing funds to prevent malware breaches.
The majority of Bitfinex’s funds are stored in cold storage with just 0.5 percent of assets available in hot wallets to perform everyday operations in the exchange.
Despite these security measures, the platform has been hacked in the past. In May 2015, 1,500 Bitcoins were stolen from their hot wallet. Bitfinix reimbursed the stolen funds, but then in August 2016, 120,000 Bitcoins were stolen, worth at the time around $72 million.
In an effort to pay back customers, Bitfinex issued customers with their own tokens, BFX. Customers could hold the tokens until Bitfinix bought the tokens back, exchange the tokens for equity in the company or trade the tokens themselves. By March 2017, all customers had been paid back the money they had lost.
In April 2017, Bitfinex was in the news again after the bank Wells Fargo suspended Bitfinex wire transfers. Wells Fargo was acting as a correspondent bank. Bitfinix sued Wells Fargo, but later withdrew the lawsuit. Bitfinex does not use Wells Fargo as their bank.
They actually bank with four Taiwanese banks: Hwatai Commercial Bank, KGI Bank, First Commercial Bank and Taishin Bank, which transfer funds on behalf of Bittfinex back to the US through Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo did not provide any explanation for the freeze.
Bitfinix currently has a minimum capital requirement of US$10,000 to open an account. This could put off investors just starting out with crypto trading. Ironically, they have high US dollar liquidity, but do not allow US residents to trade on the site. The platform is intuitive and easy to use and they have mobile apps to allow you to trade and monitor your portfolio on the go.
As you’ll learn in this review and other online reviews, Bitfinex is one of the top crypto platforms by volume and they have the most liquid US dollar trading. The platform is easy to use and they have Android and IOS apps to trade and get notifications on your mobile device.
The site offers a demo where you can get familiarize yourself with the platform. Despite having security problems in the past, they offer two-factor authentication to secure individual accounts. When the site was hacked in 2016, Bitfinix repaid all of the stolen funds.
The platform offers low fees and you can get up to 3.3 times leverage available through their peer-to-peer margin funding platform. You can also lend out funds to margin traders at custom or market rates.
Currently, 18 altcoins are available for trading as well as US dollars and Euros. Support is available 24/7, by email only. Support tickets however, can sometimes take up 12 hours to be responded to.
Bitfinex offers the speculative, ‘Chain Split Tokens’ (CSTs). These are coins which allow members to trade on the future success of coins forked from digital currency blockchains, such as the potential fork between Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Unlimited.
The user interface of Bitfinex can be a bit unwieldy for beginners and takes time to get used to. You need to make sure you know what you are doing as trades are irreversible and mistakes can be very costly.
As you find by reading online reviews, Bitfinix has had its troubles with the exchange being hacked and millions of dollars in currency stolen. Holding funds with a platform for longer than necessary is never a good idea, but the past experiences of having money stolen from their accounts, will be on the minds of many people.
In August 2017, Bitfinex stopped allowing US residents to trade on the site, because of compliance issues with the US government. While this should not affect non-US residents, it is not an encouraging sign for a company to take this path, rather than attempting to address the compliance issues. Transparency in the company is also somewhat lacking.
The recent move to set the minimum deposit of US$10,000 for new accounts, could deter new traders from joining the site.
For existing members and anyone who doesn’t have a problem with the minimum deposit amount, this could be considered a plus, as it could free up resources from support having to deal with beginners.
Bitfinex does not allow trading from US residents. US citizens living outside of the US can join the site as long as they can prove that they are living abroad. You need to show a government ID and proof of residence.
There have been claims that Bitfinix has been involved in market manipulation. Bitfinex’s CEO is also a CEO of a Virgin Islands based company, Tether Limited, which issues tethers (USDT), a crypto currency that is pegged to the US dollar. One US dollar should equal one tether.
Tethers are tokens which are not mined like Bitcoin. Tether Limited claims that they create tokens after receiving US dollar deposits from investors. So they should have the equivalent US dollar amount for every tether. There has been allegations that Tether has been creating tokens without the US dollar backing, in an attempt to drive up the price.
Crypto currency exchanges are expected to conduct regular audits. This provides transparency and gives people an idea of the balance sheet. Recently Tether dissolved its relationship with its auditing company Friedman LLP, sending off alarm bells in the crypto community.
Bitfinex’s trading fees are based on the maker, taker model at the rates shown below:
$0.00 or more traded $500,000.00 or more traded $1,000,000.00 or more traded $2,500,000.00 or more traded $5,000,000.00 or more traded $7,500,000.00 or more traded $10,000,000.00 or more traded $15,000,000.00 or more traded $20,000,000.00 or more traded $25,000,000.00 or more traded $30,000,000.00 or more traded
Deposits made to Bitfinex over $1000 using a supported altcoin are free. There is a small charge for deposits under this and the fee depends on the digital currency. There are fees also for withdrawals. Wire transfers are 0.1%.
Bitfinex collects a 15 percent fee on margin funding providers.
To get started trading you can fund your account by transferring one of the supported digital currencies. They also accept US dollars and Euros. Your account must be verified before you can deposit, trade or withdraw fiat currencies.
Bittfinex offers support through email only. The response times can be around 12 hours. Some people have mentioned that the support folk are not very friendly. They also have an official forum where users can help each other out.
Once you have an account set up and it is verified, you can start making deposits to begin trading. Bitfinix offers three wallets: exchange, margin and funding wallets. You can swap your funds freely between each wallet.
Most people use the platform's wallet. The margin wallet is used when trading on margin and the funding wallet is for when you lend out funds to margin traders.
To trade, first select the trading pair you would like to trade. On the order form, select the Exchange tab. Specify the order type, order size and price. If you select marker order for example, your order will be executed immediately.
With margin funding, you can lend out funds to margin traders in any of the supported digital currencies. You set your own terms like the amount, duration and interest rate.
With margin trading, you can trade up to 3.3 time leverage. It is a more risky form of investment, just as the returns can be far greater, so can the losses. To start margin trading, you need to have funds in your margin wallet. You can specify your own desired rates, or open a position and Bittfinex will automatically select the best rates.
You can make fiat currency and cryptocurrency withdrawals from your account. Simply go to the withdrawal page and you can select the currency and amount you would like to withdraw from your account.
As you’ll find by reading online reviews, there are some alternative exchanges to Bitfinex, which include Binance and HitBTC.