WEBSITE

www.bitfinex.com

HIGHLIGHT

High levels of liquidity at competitive fees.

60%
TOTAL SCORE
SUMMARY

Bitfinex is one of the largest, most popular, longest standing and controversial cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Based in Hong Kong and launched in 2012, it supports 52 countries and allows users to earn a return for lending currency to margin traders.

DETAILED RATING
Trading Fees
Deposit & Withdrawal Fees
Deposit & Withdrawal Limits
Customer Support
Hacks
Customer Satisfaction
INFO
  • Payment Methods Cryptocurrency or wire transfer.
  • Coins offered 64 different coins supported.
  • Custody Support Yes
  • Withdrawal Methods Cryptocurrency, bank wire and express bank wire.
  • Year Founded 2012
  • Countries Supported 52 different countries.
POSITIVES
  • Advanced trading and order types.
  • Lots of liquidity.
  • Useful mobile app.
  • Wide-ranging number of cryptocurrencies supported.
  • Low trading fees.
NEGATIVES
  • Not the best platform for beginners learning to trade.
  • Long history of hacks and other turmoil.

If anything is clear as we at CryptoRadar continued to review cryptocurrency exchanges, it’s that the United States and China seem to have a stranglehold on the market. Given that Coinbase and Kraken call America home, and Binance originated in China, it only makes sense that Bitfinex would be our next review. It’s kind of sort of based in China. Hong Kong to be exact. And just like what’s going on in Hong Kong right now, Bitfinex has been through its share of tumultuous times.

All of that and more will be covered in this review. Unlike the exchanges we’ve already reviewed so far, Bitfinex actually doesn’t accept American customers. This is actually very common among exchanges that are based outside of North America. The reality is that the current regulatory climate of the cryptocurrency industry makes it hard for digital currency related businesses to set up shop overseas.

Still, Bitfinex is open for use to Canadians and many others around the world. The platform has a checkered past but ultimately still fulfills orders and holds a large enough share of the market to offer traders adequate liquidity.

A full review of the pros, cons, ups and downs of Bitfinex will shed light on one of Asia’s most active trading platforms.

Bitfinex Overview

Bitfinex is in its seventh year of doing business. It’s one of the crypto industry’s earliest exchange platforms, launching in 2012, just a year after another exchange we’ve reviewed, Kraken. Although its headquarters is in Hong Kong, Bitfinex’s business licenses are actually registered in the British Virgin Islands. It’s not uncommon for crypto exchanges to register in financial safe havens, if only for the simple fact that regulations surrounding cryptocurrency are always changing and not exactly clearly defined across the globe.

Of all bitcoin-friendly exchanges that might have added reason to do this, perhaps Bitfinex has added reason to be nested in a safe haven. The exchange has faced its share of controversy.

Bitfinex Hacks

In 2013, Bitfinex was hacked for $400,000. Just three years later, a whopping $73 million was stolen from customer accounts. The latter hack forced banks and third-party payment providers to place limits on the exchange, thus making it harder for new customers to register and gain access to the market. It also forced Bitfinex to look for other providers and build new banking relationships, essentially created a revolving door of payment providers.

That’s why Bitfinex doesn’t have the same share of the market it did in its early days. An exchange can only lose the trust of its customers so many times before they start going somewhere else.

Bitfinex Tether Controversy

Here’s the skinny. Bitfinex allegedly used U.S. Dollar Tether tokens to cover over $850 million in company losses. The Attorney General of New York accused iFinex of misleading investors on a mass scale and promises to use the long arm of the law in pursuing the company. The Attorney General is releasing the following statement:

“Our investigation has determined that the operators of the ‘Bitfinex’ trading platform, who also control the ‘tether’ virtual currency, have engaged in a cover-up to hide the apparent loss of $850 million dollars of co-mingled client and corporate funds. New York state has led the way in requiring virtual currency businesses to operate according to the law. And we will continue to stand-up for investors and seek justice on their behalf when misled or cheated by any of these companies.”

This recent news is certainly concerning for anybody looking to trade on Bitfinex as it potentially means customers having trouble withdrawing money may never see their funds again. What makes the whole controversy worse is that the company behind Tether is being accused of lending people more tokens than the company has available. In other words, Tether is potentially being run like a reserve bank without going through any of the typical regulatory requirements such an operation would normally need to go through.

Still amid all this controversy, Bitfinex remains a trusted exchange with lots of volume. Perhaps traders around the world have realized that hacks and controversies are just part of the game, but still, it doesn’t bode well as an argument for keeping crypto on exchanges, which is why traders should never do that!

On we go.

Currencies Offered at Bitfinex.com

Coinmarketcap.com lists 132 trading pairs available on Bitfinex.com. Some of the trading pairs are duplicates. Coinmarketcap.com simply lists all of them. The actual number of currencies available is 64. All the top coins are there, including most of the top 20 traded coins by market capitalization. Be warned. Not all of them have a high trading volume, meaning a trader looking to acquire a high number of a certain altcoin might have to wait a while.

The good news is, Bitfinex still for the most part makes trading the major digital currency is really easy and the volume is there. What’s also awesome is that it’s one of the first exchanges to offer both margin trading and margin lending. We’ll explore that in the section below.

Other Bitfinex Services

Bitfinex services include regular trading, pro and corporate account trading, margin investing and margin lending. The subheadings below will go over each one. Engaging in each is relatively straightforward but the advantages and disadvantages very. The overall benefits of the services really depends on what the trader is looking to achieve. Perhaps the best part of these services is that they’ve all been around for a long time already, several years in most cases. And when we say several years, we mean years before other platforms were doing it as well.

More on Margin Trading at Bitfinex

In order to start margin trading on Bitfinex, traders simply need to go to the wallet page within their dashboard. Funds then need to be transferred from the regular trading wallet into the margin account. Margin trading allows traders to bet on a given coin decreasing in value (often called shorting an asset). They can also bet on it to increase in value which amplifies their gains (this is called going long on an asset).

Once the funds are in the margin wallet, traders can simply go to the trading platform and trade several times their personal balance. The upside to doing this is that traders get to capitalize on swings in the market using money that isn’t their own. The downside is that trying to amplify gains with someone else’s capital can also amplify losses really quickly.

In order to access the privilege of borrowing other people’s money, traders have to be willing to pay a daily interest rate to borrow the funds. The proceeds generated from the interest rate pay lenders on Bitfinex’s platform (more on that shortly). The user of the funds must pay the interest from their existing town, the platform either deducts the interest from a profitable trade once the position is closed, or liquidates the position once the interest starts to accumulate above a certain margin. That’s why this kind of trade is called the margin trade. The more a trader borrows, the lower the margin for losses is, meaning the sooner positions will be liquidated at a loss. To say the least there’s a lot of opportunity in a fair amount of danger in margin trading. It’s something only experienced investors should engage in.

Margin Lending with Bitfinex

Lending money to margin traders is another way to get a piece of the margin action without having to risk one’s own finances directly in the market. In the traditional stock market, margin trades are financed by banks, who take a rate of interest just for helping to facilitate the desire of margin traders to amplify their gains or go short on a trade. In the cryptocurrency world, other traders act as the bankers. They get a margin of interest paid out by Bitfinex in exchange for lending out their money to other traders.

Setting this up is simple. Simply move currency from the default trading wallet to the margin wallet. Once the transfer is complete, select a given amount to lend to the market. An order book details how much currency other traders are willing to buy and the rate of interest the lender will receive for taking the order. Select an order that meets the desired interest rate and duration and watch the money roll in.

The advantage to engaging in margin lending is that lenders earn interest without taking a risk in the market directly. They also benefit from the fact the Bitfinex platform monitors the whole process, meaning funds are locked in until a trader sells a position in the interest is paid out automatically. There is no such thing as somebody borrowing money and walking away with the lender’s funds. The other benefit is that the lender is guaranteed their interest rate as soon as a position is sold. This means there is no downside risk for the lender as far as losing money.

However there is a downside to any kind of trading or investing. For margin lenders, the downside is that the interest rate being paid out is much lower than the potential interest rate one can gain from making a successful trade. The whole idea behind lending however is that it cancels out the need to stress over winning or losing trades. The lender is simply being paid to act as the banker as we’ve mentioned.

Bitfinex Pro and Corporate Accounts

Bitfinex Pro and Corporate exist to serve a higher volume traders and corporations. Many other exchange offer this as you’ll see in other CryptoRadar reviews. Bitfinex promises customers in this category a few major benefits:

  • Co-Location and Connectivity

This isn’t just about guaranteeing traders can stay connected to the Internet. It’s about guaranteeing faster transaction speed, meaning pro and corporate traders have an easier time taking advantage of smaller moves in the market that happen quickly. This can be very profitable.

  • Sun-Accounts

Creating sub-accounts means that a corporation with several people trading with that it can group together all of the trading fees accumulated by the individuals executing the trades and consider them all together when saving on trading fees. Trading platforms typically charge lower fees to those who trade more frequently. So considering the trades of say five people altogether under one umbrella saves everybody involved money on the fees.

  • Expedited Verification

Although most cryptocurrency trading platforms now collect KYC information from all of their users as required by most governments, they’re not all in a rush to get it done. Sometimes when a new trader signs up for an account and hands and their identification, they end up waiting weeks for approval. Having a pro or corporate account at Bitfinex gives users priority service.

  • Dedicated Customer Support

High-maintenance clients are usually much more profitable for exchanges. After all, they’re making more trades at a larger volume. This is why pro users get access to dedicated customer support teams. They help handle the complexities of trading on a larger scale. It’s worth it for Bitfinex and its worth it for anybody making big moves in the market.

CriteriaBitfinexOther Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Fiat-to-crypto capability.Credit card, debit card and bank transfers accepted through third parties. Kraken accepts fiat, most others require customers to have crypto already.
Coins Offered158 total cryptos supported.Anywhere from 10-26 cryptos depending on the exchange.
Deposit & Withdrawal Fees0.1%-3%0.1%-3.99%
Deposit & Withdrawal LimitsFrom zero to $300 million depending on account type and verification levelupper limit up to two full bitcoins. Lower limit is a few thousandths of a bitcoin.
Trading Fees0.055%-0.200%anywhere from 0.1% to 1.49% on a trade.
Customer Ratings8.4 out of 10 on 99 Bitcoins, 6.8 out of 10 onBlockonomi and 3.5 out of 5 on Forex Brokers.Most exchanges rank low on security and customer support, some rank higher in terms of offering a better fee structure and more cryptos.

Bitfinex Payment Methods and Fees

Just like any other exchange, Bitfinex fees depend on the type of account being held, the asset being traded and the trading volume. For an individual user the fees are pretty simple to understand. Pretty much all trading fees range between 0.055% and 0.2%.

Bank wire fees for both deposits and withdrawals are each 0.1%. That’s it. Many traders like using Bitfinex because of the low fees. Many of these exchanges we’ve reviewed charge more depending on the deposit or withdrawal type.

Considering all of the issues and controversies that Bitfinex is facing, their fees are some of the cheapest in the industry.

Bitfinex Limits

There are no limits on how much fiat currency traders can deposit into a Bitfinex account. However, there is a small fiat withdrawal limit of $20. The fee on cryptocurrency trades is simple the fee amount quoted in the section above. Anyhwere between 0.1% and 0.2% on most trades depending on the currencies involved. High volume trades can get a fee as a low as 0.055%. All of these fees consider the last 30 days of trading volume.

Margin Trading Fees

As mentioned, fees related to margin trading at Bitfinex are not only profit for the platform, they’re profit for users who are lending out there money.

Bitfinex takes 15% of the fees collected by margin trading lenders. The site also takes an 18% fees on hidden trades offered by margin providers. Hidden trades give the trader more anonymity.

Supported Countries

Bitfinex accepts the U.S. Dollar, Great British Pound, Japanese Yen, and the Euro. Certain countries aren’t allowed to use the platform including: Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ecuador and Kyrgyzstan. Any other country in the world can use it, making Bitfinex one of the most supported cryptocurrency exchanges in the industry.

Bitfinex Support

Like most other exchanges, Bitfinex offers a knowledge base and frequently asked questions section as opposed to a live phone number or chat window. That seems par for the course in the industry right now. That kind of support can be frustrating when a trader really needs help.

However, Bitfinex does do slightly better than competitors like Coinbase. The platform at least offers an option to submit a support ticket in the top right-hand corner of their support page. Comments provided in these support tickets usually get a reply from a customer service representative within a few business days.

It’s not quite the most instant and robust but it’s better than what most other competitors offer. Of course, traders using a pro or corporate account with Bitfinex get a dedicated live account manager any time they need it.

Customer Reviews

TrustPilot gives Bitfinex an overall rating of 3.5 out of five stars. Revian.org gives it a 4.7 out of five stars. Nomics.com gives it a 3.6 out of 5 stars.

In general customers offer the same kind of feedback that any crypto exchange receives on a regular basis. The number one complaint is often related to loss of funds or a lack of customer support. Bitfinex offers more customer support than most platforms, but still doesn’t offer the best live support to individual users. As for complaints about currency being stolen, that’s a common theme among all platforms because individuals are responsible for their own currency at all times, and any centralized website can be hacked regardless of the security features offered. That includes Bitfinex.

Overall the platform’s ratings fall in line with the rest of the industry quite comparably.

Bitfinex vs. Other Cryptocurrency Exchanges (Binance, Coinbase, Bitfinex, etc…)

CriteriaBitfinexOther Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Fiat-to-crypto capability.Credit card, debit card and bank transfers accepted through third parties. Kraken accepts fiat, most others require customers to have crypto already.
Coins Offered158 total cryptos supported.Anywhere from 10-26 cryptos depending on the exchange.
Deposit & Withdrawal Fees0.1%-3%0.1%-3.99%
Deposit & Withdrawal LimitsFrom zero to $300 million depending on account type and verification levelupper limit up to two full bitcoins. Lower limit is a few thousandths of a bitcoin.
Trading Fees0.055%-0.200%anywhere from 0.1% to 1.49% on a trade.
Customer Ratings8.4 out of 10 on 99 Bitcoins, 6.8 out of 10 onBlockonomi and 3.5 out of 5 on Forex Brokers.Most exchanges rank low on security and customer support, some rank higher in terms of offering a better fee structure and more cryptos.

Bitfinex supports approximately 132 different currency trading pairs at the time of this writing. That puts the platform among the leaders of the pack in that category. Bitfinex has also been around a long time. It came into being just a year after Kraken. Both stand as two of the longest serving and most known platforms in the business.

See the chart below for a snapshot of how Bitfinex compares to all other exchanges in different areas of interest.

Frequently Asked Questions about Bitfinex

Is Bitfinex properly insured?

Bitfinex offers insurance coverage up to $25,000 per customer. This is not the highest amount of coverage offered by a crypto exchange, but others offer no insurance at all. Something is certainly better than nothing.

How do customers withdraw money from Bitfinex?

Customers usually withdraw money using a simple crypto-to-crypto transfer from one wallet to another. The other major way to transfer funds off of the exchange is through a bank wire transfer. Bitfinex takes a 0.1% fee to facilitate such a transfer and banks also charge their own fees on the other end.

How long does withdrawing from Bitfinex take?

Withdrawing from Bitfinex usually takes 3 to 5 business days of for talking about fiat currency. Crypto transfers can take a few hours or just a few minutes depending on how long it takes a given blockchain to confirm a transaction on its ledger.

Is it safe to buy coins on Bitfinex and keep them on the platform?

Yes it’s safe to purchase coins on the platform, but no, we would not recommend keeping them there. Even though Bitfinex follows proper KYC protocols and offers two-factor authentication on accounts, its rich history of controversies and hacks make keeping coins on the platform a big no-no.

Should You Use Bitfinex?

Despite all of its trials and tribulations, Bitfinex is still one of the most used and popular exchanges on the market today. It has a proven track record of liquidity and a well-known brand name. Crypto traders can do worse. There are a lot of shady platforms out there.

We definitely recommend Bitfinex to advanced traders with a higher than normal risk tolerance looking to make money using margin trading. It’s also one of the only platforms in the market that allows users to lend money to margin traders for a fixed return.

In general though, Bitfinex is not the best choice. We recommend looking at all of the exchange reviews here at CryptoRadar before making a selection.

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks