Operating this October 2017, AEX remains a new exchange on the block. The company is based in London, England, but primarily serves the Chinese crypto buying public. AEX supports a wide variety of new and popular altcoins. Unfortunately for AEX’s credibility, they share a CEO with btc38.com, another exchange which recently lost more than a million dollars in user cryptocurrencies. Does this mean that AEX too is flawed, or does it succeed by its own merits? Find out in our complete AEX review for 2018.
AEX Quick Facts
- Overall score: 3 Stars
- Coins offered: Lots (listed later)
- Minimum deposit: Unknown
- Regulation: Unregulated
- Payment methods: Crypto
- Wallet included? Yes
- Main benefits: Cheap trading fees
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How We Reviewed AEX
AEX is a newer exchange which hasn’t had even a full year to prove itself. Still, there’s a fair amount of information to find regarding fees, support, performance, selection, and more. We’ll try to point out what AEX does well, as well as its most significant failings.
For a list of all of the AEX exchange alternatives we’ve review (some of which may fit your needs better), check out https://coinlist.me/exchanges.
AEX’s background is the place where suspicion usually arises about its legitimacy. AEX came about after BTC38.com was ousted by the Chinese government during the massive ban of domestic exchanges in 2017. This wasn’t the extent of BTC38’s problems, though. The exchange had been hacked, losing more than $1 million in user funds. There were many red flags which preceded this, and people were calling it a scam (which hasn’t been proven or disproven), even before the ban and hack took place.
AEX is basically a redo for BTC38. They’ve moved to London from China, where the Chinese government can’t shut them down. Here they still deal with Chinese citizens, primarily, though they do business with people all around the world. The site does take steps to make life easier for western users, but no western user could trade with the platform and think it was anything buy a China-facing exchange.
Regulation & Safety
AEX is unregulated. This is unsurprising, because many crypto exchanges are not regulated. But with an exchange like AEX, which already has many questions surrounding it, and which grew from the stump of a hacked and problematic exchange, regulation would be a nice way to give it some legitimacy among the skeptical public. As it is, AEX hasn’t had any big mistakes since it opened up shop almost a year ago. However, for western users especially, the lack of communication from the company doesn’t instill confidence.
To be fair, we’ve found plenty of people who have used AEX and have enjoyed it. They may well have corrected the mistakes of BTC38. The coming months will tell us everything we need to know about long term safety. For now, if you use the site, make sure to remove your coins quickly following transaction, and generally stay alert.
AEX Trading Platform
AEX has 2 trading platforms. You see this sometimes with large exchanges – one trading platform is meant for beginners, with an abbreviated set of features and a simplified trading interface; the other trading platform is for professional or experienced traders, who require a greater level of information about the price action of digital currencies they trade.
Both serve their user base well. The simplified trading interface is what most traders will use. It’s easy on the eyes, with plenty of white space, and no confusing images or terminology. The experienced trader platform has advanced charting tools, and will surely intimidate the inexperienced. Both platforms work well in our experience, though volume is not as high for some of the more obscure currencies supported by AEX.
This isn’t a problem of AEX, really. Small cryptocurrencies have small trading communities, so liquidity is a frequent issue. We think it’s better that AEX includes these smaller currencies than eliminate this important trading resource simply because liquidity is sometimes a problem.
One of AEX’s biggest selling points is the wide array of cryptocurrencies they support for trading on the platform. It’s not so long that we can’t include a complete list. See if you can find your favorite cryptocurrencies among their current offerings:
- Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Litecoin EOS, Dash, Ethereum Classic, Bitshares, Bitcoin Cash, NEM, Ignis, Ardor, NXT, Ripple, Aeternity, Stellar Lumens, Bitcoin Diamond, Civic, Ripple, Datum, Primecoin, ATN, Genaro, Quark, ZCoin, Ethland, Blackcoin, Bancor, Status, Syscoin, CanYaCoin, OmiseGo, QASH, Super Bitcoin, Bitcoin God
Some of these cryptocurrencies have huge market caps, others are hardly known. All have at least some trading volume on AEX exchange, though the lowest volume coin (Datum) only traded $10 worth the day of this writing.
AEX does not accept fiat payments. No dollars, Euros, Yuan, or anything else. They use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin for base trading, along with fiat-pegged currencies like Tether and its Chinese equivalent.
AEX Fees & Limits
AEX charges one of the lowest trading fee rates in all of cryptocurrency. 0.05% is the low, low price charged to buyers and sellers. This price is, to our knowledge) matched only by Binance at its most discounted. For high volume traders who use the coins supported on this platform, this trading price is a major incentive.
However, the company charges high withdraw fees to make up for the money they’re leaving on the trading table. These fees vary by coin type, but can be as much as 0.50%, and are usually in that neighborhood. This is a lot of money to pay, but users may find it worth it if they do enough trades to allay the cost of the eventual withdrawal. Only experienced and high volume traders will likely care, but individuals will have to run the numbers for themselves to determine if AEX is worth it.
AEX Payment Methods
AEX accepts no fiat payment methods, but allows deposits of all currencies supported, and allows trading with Bitcoin, Tether, and BitCNY (a Chinese Yuan Tether equivalent from Steemit).
AEX Customer Support
AEX exists for the Chinese market primarily. Though they do offer trading and support to the Western world, most people say that support is just not as responsive to Western users. This is one of the most frequent in the many complaints we’ve found about AEX online, so make sure to consider this if you’re thinking about trusting this exchange.
AEX’s Unique Features
Other than offering two different trading platforms for users with different skill sets, there isn’t much that’s unique about AEX as a trading platform. If anything, they lack features, like leveraging, which a more complex exchange would offer.
How AEX Compares to eToro
AEX and eToro could not be more different. While AEX is meant for the Chinese market, with much less attention to the West, eToro operates almost exclusively in the West. This is always changing, as eToro now is available in an ever-growing list of nations (more that 60 at the time of this writing). Western users who want to be sure that their crypto investment platform is well regulated and communicative if issues arrive will probably be more happy with eToro.
eToro doesn’t sell cryptocurrency in the normal sense. The sell CFDs. A CFD, or Contract For Difference, is a way to invest in crypto, without actually having to manage any coins. If you were to buy $500 of Bitcoin with an exchange like AEX, you’d have to transfer that currency to a wallet you control, then back to an exchange for trading at a future time, then to a bank or other destination. Each of these points would require you to spend a little bit of your balance, and at each point you’d run the risk of losing all of your currency by missing a single letter in destination address.
With eToro this isn’t a problem. The $500 you spend on a Bitcoin CFD entitles you to all of the profit and loss associated with that amount of Bitcoin, but without the trouble of actually having to transfer and store the coins. When you start a CFD contract, the price at the time of initiation is a bar you want to clear. eToro has a “spread” which is a price slightly above the price at which you bought the CFD. Any growth beyond this benchmark will be profit that you will get if you cancel the CFD while the price is still high.
eToro is also well regulated, with provisions in every country in which its products are bought and sold. AEX isn’t regulated at all. While this might make it a little more convenient to sign up with AEX (because they don’t require much of any personal information), if will leave users in a vulnerable position if something goes wrong. To whom do you turn if your money is lost to a devious unregulated business?
At the end of the day, though, people who want to buy stuff with their cryptocurrency won’t be able to do that with eToro, so AEX (or better yet, one of their strong competitors) will be a much better choice. We cover many of these alternatives in the Exchanges page linked a few sections above.
Tutorial: How to Register and Trade With AEX
Signup with AEX is a breeze. They aren’t regulated, so they don’t have any of the familiar KYC (Know Your Customer) requirements that we see in so many other exchanges. Just include your email and a new password.
Verification just requires you to click a link in an email from AEX. This gets you into the site. Make sure to put on 2 Factor Authentication to secure your account, but this is not required for you to be able to use the site.
Deposits & Withdrawals:
Deposits and withdrawals are made in cryptocurrency, with Bitcoin as the primary trading coin. Deposits are made with familiar wallet-to-wallet transfers, and withdrawals work the same way. Deposits are free, and withdrawals have different prices for different cryptocurrencies.
How to Buy/Trade:
Trading can be performed on either of the AEX trading platforms. Simply choose the currency you wish to buy, select the trading pair that uses the currency you have to spend, and type in how much of the desired currency you wish to buy. You’ll be able to specify the price you want to pay for some trades, but with market trades the price will be written in for you. Complete the trade and your new coins will appear in your AEX wallet (there’s a different one for every cryptocurrency they support) in just a few minutes. Once your coins arrive, send them to an outside wallet that you control.
How to Store Your New Cryptocurrency:
One of the first rules you learn in cryptocurrency is never to store coins on an exchange. Exchanges are places to bring lots of people together for digital currency trading; they’re not a place that’s meant to be a secure storage facility of cryptocoins (at least not to the level of dedicated software and hardware wallets). If you want to see some world class wallets that we recommend, check out https://coinlist.me/bitcoin/best-bitcoin-wallets.
AEX Advantages and Disadvantages
✓ Lots of cryptocurrencies to choose from
✓ Low trading fees
✓ Anonymous signup
✓ Not Regulated
✓ Not so easy to use for Westerners
✓ Major questions about credibility and security
Conclusion: Is AEX Safe?
AEX is a fairly sold exchange, but there are some serious questions about its credibility. Is it just the same exchange that lost user funds, with a new coat of paint? Or has AEX corrected the ways of BTC38, to stand apart as a new standard for the CEO and team members that cross-pollinated between the platforms. It’ll take time for AEX to prove itself. For now, it’s low trading fees are a major selling point (though perhaps the savings are wiped out by the high withdrawal fees).
Use AEX exchange at your own risk. If you do try it, we hope you have a good experience.