Bitfinex is a crypto trading exchange based in Hong Kong that was set up in 2012 by Founder Raphael Nicolle. Since then, the exchange has quickly worked its way to the top of the charts in terms of trading volumes and user activity.
The exchange currently handles approximately $2B worth of trades a day and records 24 hour trading volumes worth around $600m for its BTC/USD pair, and this represents around 6.27% of the total market.
Here is a look at Bitfinex key features, customer reviews and fees to help you decide whether it is an exchange worth trading on in 2020.
Commissions & Fees
The commission fee for crypto trading at Bitfinex generally ranges from 0.1% for makers (those posting orders) to 0.2% takers (those whose orders match with an existing maker order).
For those who have traded more than $500,000 worth of crypto in the last 30 days, the maker fees are reduced to 0.08%, and further discount tiers kick-in at higher volume thresholds, ultimately getting to zero fees for trades upwards of $7.5 Million.
Moreover, the taker fees are cut down from 0.2% to 0.18% once the 30-day volume reaches $10 Million, with the drop capable of going as low as 0.1% when the trailing 30-day volume touches $30 million.
Bitfinex’s fee schedule will suit the needs of highly active crypto traders, and its lower-tier fees are also competitive compared to its peers.
Currently, more than 72 market pairs related to the 4 base currencies of USD, EUR, BTC, and ETH are being offered on the Bitfinex exchange.
In addition to allowing fiat purchases of the two major cryptocurrencies, a number of other currencies are also available to be traded and these include LTC, BCH, ETC, XRP, XMR and EOS.
USDT Tether is also available on the platform and can be easily deposited and traded for other tokens on the exchange and any other exchange that supports the token. Digital assets held in USDT can be transferred and held in any BTC wallet where a user controls the private key.
Additionally, USDT is linked to the price of the U.S fiat currency and acts as a stable token that allows traders to enter into a stable cryptocurrency during spells of great market instability.
Bitfinex is also one of a few exchanges that allow their users to purchase IOTA (MIOTA).
Bitfinex provides investors on its renowned platform with leveraged trading of up to 3.3x by giving them access to the P2P funding market. Traders just need to open a position and the exchange takes out funds for them at the best available rate.
Alternatively, traders can enter an order to borrow the preferred amount of funds at the rate and time of their liking.
More fascinatingly, users on the Bitfinex margin funding system can earn interest on both cryptos and supported fiat currencies such as the US Dollar. Users can also choose to lend at the “Flash Return Rate” (FRR) or to modify the rate and period of the loan.
Bitfinex also offers a wide variety of order types, giving its users the tools they need for a wide range of trading scenarios.
Trading Interface and Customer service
Bitfinex exchange is equipped with an advanced and detailed interface that includes charts based on the prevalent Trading View charting website.
Users can customize Bitfinex’s interface more intensely than they can on most exchanges, getting the options to pick from different themes, change the general layout, and set up notifications or data preferences.
You can also organize and sort the order book columns, set table preferences, manage tickers navigation, and compose the trading sidebar and choose whether it’s one the right or left side.
On customer support, Bitfinex offers comprehensive customer support, including an active forum, a FAQ section, 24/7 email (firstname.lastname@example.org) where you can ask questions.
Should you have any outstanding issues you can also submit a ticket to the support team once logged in.
Is Bitfinex Safe?
Bitfinex states that it holds approximately 99.5% of its users’ funds in cold storage offline, using a multi-signature scheme that requires at least 4 out of 7 of its Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) held by its management team, who are distributed across the world.
The broker maintains just 0.5% in its hot wallet or only the amount needed to process withdrawals that are in its queue.
The broker also recently migrated to a new data server and has performed a complete audit of its source code and entire stack, in addition to DDoS protection and encrypted connections with HTTPS TLS version 1.3.
Moreover, Bitfinex supports 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) largely from Google Authenticator, with which users can whitelist any dubious IP address.
Over the years, Bitfinex has aggressively introduced stringent security mechanisms, such as locking withdrawals for 24-hours when a new IP address is used and also offering users the ability to set a passphrase when performing withdrawals to deter compromises from malware.
Bitfinex also implements an automated suspicious activity detection system to freeze users’ accounts in the case of a suspected breach.
Recent Hacks on Bitfinex
Unfortunately, Bitfinex has had a controversial existence so far with a major hack occurring on the exchange in August 2016, resulting in the loss of 120,000 BTCs.
In response to the theft, the exchange chose to issue BFX tokens which were to be redeemed by its customers at a later date. Each token was valued at $1 and was issued in the same amount lost by each user.
Since issuing the BFX tokens, the exchange has bought them all back and finalized their purchases in April 2017.
They have also upgraded their security architecture and there have been no hacks/attacks on this exchange ever since.
Another controversy Bitfinex is associated with is that during the bull run of 2017, they made use of the USDT coin to allegedly pump the token value with manufactured liquidity and faked orders.
This led to several lawsuits against Bitfinex, most notably a suit by New York’s attorney general’s office of an $850 million coverup.
All 4 lawsuits against Bitfinex thus far, were in Jan. 2020 consolidated into one case of total claims amounting to over $1 trillion.
Bitfinex exchange offers its users and investors with a wide-ranging knowledge base on trading strategies and market trends. The broker currently averages a good TrustPilot score, implying that it’s doing a fairly good job in upholding user approval.
For instance, a reviewer on TrustPilot writes:
“There interface for trading is one of the best. They are an innovative company…creative in staying alive…”
However, there has been a lot of criticism about the exchange throughout the years, mainly about the transparency of their business and their close relation to the stablecoin Tether.
Customers also regularly complain of slow response times when using BTC or XRP to transfer money out and keeping order books are full of poor bids.
For instance, Lennon Mark, a user on TrustPilot Writes:
“Bitfinex is a false investment site that requires a customer to invest bitcoin in exchange for a nonexistent Cryptocurrency. Fooling unaware customers into feeding hard earned money for nothing.”
Another Bitfinex user on Reddit, complains:
“I made the same decision and my withdrawal completed but XRP never showed up in my Ledger and the transaction not found.”
Our Thoughts About Bitfinex Exchange
Bitfinex is undoubtedly one of the most established exchanges in operation today and provides a service tailored to experienced traders and institutional investors with high USD liquidity and extensive orders and trading options. In fact, Bitfinex is currently the largest BTC exchange by volumes traded.
Moreover, expert traders that regularly employ the use of top-grade charting analysis tools with significant volumes of liquidity find Bitfinex as a suitable exchange due to its advanced interface.
Nonetheless, trading fees are really high, unless you trade upwards of $500,000 per month. To make matters worse, it is also frustrating that users can only deposit fiat money via a bank transfer.
As we conclude our Bitfinex review, we are concerned about the exchange operations as it has been in receipt of several major hacks. Not to mention, Bitfinex has also been accused of pumping and dumping crypto markets artificially on multiple occasions.
With this in mind, we recommend that anybody using the crypto exchange to only maintain a small balance on the hot wallet at any time, making sure to transfer funds to their own wallet at all times.