Bitfinex is one of the most recognizable cryptocurrency exchanges. Since 2012 it has been offering affordable trades, a multitude of cryptocurrency options, high liquidity, and an intuitive user interface. Even as Bitfinex has had to withdraw its service to the United States, it remains one of the largest and most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Here’s a full Bitfinex review to answer all of your questions.
What is Bitfinex?
Bitfinex is a direct competitor to multi-currency exchanges like Bittrex and Binance. It’s a place where you can trade Bitcoin and Ethereum for a wide range of digital currencies. Bitfinex distinguishes itself, however, by also accepting US Dollar and Euro payments, delivered through bank wire transfer. There may be no other exchange, at the time of this writing, that allows you to buy so many cryptocurrencies with fiat currency.
Bitfinex is headquartered in Hong Kong. Bitfinex services are available throughout much of the world. However, in 2017, Bitfinex had to restrict United States citizens from its service, as the demands of American regulation were too complex and expensive to coordinate with the complexity of Bitfinex’s service. The site remains accessible through US internet, but using the exchange is illegal for Americans.
Which Cryptocurrencies Does Bitfinex Trade?
Bitfinex supports a few dozen high-volume crypto coins and tokens. The most popular tend to be Bitfinex Iota, Bitfinex NEO, Bitfinex Bitcoin, and Bitfinex Tether. Here’s the complete list:
While not everyone of these cryptocurrencies is a roaring success, Bitfinex does tend to work with highly credible projects, rather than simply putting any hyped coin on its markets. As such, Bitfinex has a great deal of legitimacy as a pillar in the industry. It consistently demonstrates among the highest trading volume for the above coins, compared with all other crypto exchanges in the world.
A complete list of Bitfinex fees can be found here. Below, we’ll highlight some of the most noteworthy.
- Deposits: Deposits for any currency with a USD equivalent value of $1,000 or more are free. Smaller deposits receive a “Small Deposit Fee”, which is a small charge at a different rate for each supported currency. In this way, Bitfinex compensates itself for the operational costs of small deposits. These would be unlikely to be recovered in the trading of these small deposits, because small deposits tend to translate into few/small trades.
- Trading Fees: Almost all users will be charged a seller’s fee of 0.1% and a buyer’s fee of 0.2% for all trades on the Bitfinex system. Those who trade more than $500,000 in cryptocurrencies in 30 days get a small discount. Discounts continue to be applied to high volume traders, and those who move more than $30,000,000 in a month get free selling and 0.1% charges for buying.
- Withdrawal Fees: Bitfinex takes a small percentage of all currency withdrawals, denominated in the currency being withdrawn from the network.
There are a few margin fees which will apply only to a fraction of traders. That’s the last of the Bitfinex fees. Bitfinex definitely has one of the most straightforward fee structures in crypto.
Bitfinex Fees Compared to Other Major Exchanges
Most readers will not know how to compare the above fees with those of other cryptocurrency exchanges, at least without doing a bit of offsite research. We’ll do that work for you. Here’s what other cryptocurrency exchanges charge.
- Bittrex: Bittrex changes 0.25% for trades of all kinds, well more than Bitfinex’s 0.1% and 0.2% for sell orders and buy orders, respectively.
- Binance: Binance charges 0.1% for all trades. This is the same as Bitfinex’s sell order price, but is half the price of Bitfinex’s buy order price. Binance fees can also be discounted by using the native Binance token, BNB (Binance Coin).
- Kraken: Kraken starts at 0.16% and 0.26% for sellers and buyers, respectively. This is higher than Bitfinex’s starting prices. Kraken offers discounts at roughly the same trading volume stages as Bitfinex, and settles at the same price of Free and 0.10% for sells and buys.
- Poloniex: Poloniex is more expensive than Bitfinex, starting at 0.15% and 0.25% for makers and takers. At its most discounted rate, Poloniex is free for sellers and charges only 0.05% for buyers. Of course, this is only relevant for traders with monthly trading volumes of 120,000 Bitcoin and higher (almost no one).
As you can see, Bitfinex is (for the most part) the same or cheaper than its direct competitors. Only Binance offers cheaper trading, and even then, not by much.
Starting a Bitfinex Account
It’s easy to start a Bitfinex account. Though not legal, you can even do this as an American if you use a VPN (though we don’t recommend it). Here’s what it looks like when you sign up at Bitfinex.com.
The following pages will differ depending on where in the world you are logging in from. Make sure to add 2 Factor Authentication. This will add a second layer of security to your account, and is more powerful than a password alone. Continue on until you get into your account. Now we’ll look at the key Bitfinex exchange features.
Using Bitfinex Exchange
Once you’ve logged into your Bitfinex account successfully, you’ll be presented with a number of options. Fortunately, Bitfinex knows that its best to offer only that which is necessary, so there isn’t a lot of fluff to navigate through. Let’s first acquaint you with the “Wallets” page. This is where everything you deposit to or buy on Bitfinex will be stored.
This is the page where all of your Bitfinex Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will be stored (Bitfinex Iota, Bitfinex NEO, Bitfinex Tether, for example). You can deposit and withdraw from this screen.
If you want to make a deposit directly, you can do so on the “Deposit” page. Here, you can see that you can deposit USD and EURO fiat currencies directly, through bank wire transfer. You can also directly deposit any cryptocurrencies that Bitfinex currently deals with. These can then be traded for Bitcoin or Ethereum (sometimes others), and those either saved or traded for still other currencies.
Here’s the “Trading” screen. On the left, you’ll see a column with every trading pair on the Bitfinex network (Bitfinex trading fees discussed in a prior section). Choose the currency pair you’re interested in (Bitcoin and USD, for example). You’ll also see the “Order Form” on the left. Here you’ll simply choose the amount of currency (Bitcoin in this example) you wish to buy, placing this number in the text bar to the right of the bar with the current Bitcoin price. Confirm the transaction with the green button.
You can also do Bitfinex Margin Trading with this Order Form. Margin trading allow you to buy more currency than you can afford, dollar for dollar. This method potentially compounds gains and losses, so be careful with it, especially if you are a newcomer to Bitfinex.
In an effort to create a fair and balanced Bitfinex review, let’s talk about Bitfinex alternatives.
Bitfinex has a handful of strong competitors, 4 of whom we’ve already discussed. It, however, distinguishes itself and does things no other exchange can do. For example, Binance has more cryptocurrencies to trade, and it can be cheaper, but it does accept fiat currency transfers – a huge plus for Bitfinex! Bitfinex doesn’t support as many currencies as Bittrex, but it’s cheaper and many of Bittrex’s coins are for dead and dying blockchain projects. Bitfinex doesn’t have any of that sort of clutter.
Bitfinex has proven more reliable than Kraken or Poloniex. It also has more useful features (fiat payments, primarily) than either, while maintaining a more concise platform design, even if the learning curve is a little steeper.
In the end, there is no “Best” cryptocurrency exchange. For many, however, Bitfinex will simply offer the most usefulness for a diverse set of investors’ market needs.
Final Thoughts on Bitfinex
Bitfinex remains a cryptocurrency exchange that the market simply couldn’t do without. Though it’s no longer available for residents of the United States, Bitfinex offers key crypto services to a large swathe of the world. With a little practice, you’ll enjoy Bitfinex’s helpful features, ease of use, and high rate of uptime. If it’s available in your part of the world, try Bitfinex for your next cryptocurrency trades.