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Bitfinex

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Top 10

Bitfinex Review 2023: An Expert's Comprehensive Analysis

3.8

4.25

3.5

3.75

3.5

Overview

General

Fees

Customer service

Requirements & Accessibility

Pros

Cons

Key Takeaways

  • One of the world’s first cryptocurrency exchanges

  • Strong security 

  • Available to most users around the globe

  • Great variety of cryptocurrencies

Origins

Introduction

Bitfinex is a well-known exchange that – despite facing controversy and setbacks – remains popular among traders.

Founded in 2012, the exchange's location has been questioned, with some claiming it is based in Hong Kong while others state it is based in the British Virgin Islands.

However, despite whereabouts and legal issues, Bitfinex manages to remain operational and attract traders. And it’s no wonder.

Bitfinex offers a wide range of trading pairs and options, including spot trading, margin trading, and margin funding.

In addition to these services, this exchange also operates an attractive, easy-to-use peer-to-peer lending platform. So, join CoinScan as we dive deep into everything this exchange has to offer. 

History

Bitfinex is a cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2012 by Giancarlo Devasini and Raphael Nicolle. It is owned and operated by iFinex Inc., which also owns and operates Ethfinex, a digital asset trading platform for Ethereum-based tokens, and Tether, a stablecoin issuer.

During the early years of Bitfinex, the exchange primarily focused on providing a platform for bitcoin trading. As the cryptocurrency market grew and diversified, Bitfinex expanded its offerings to include a wide range of other cryptocurrencies.

Although it is difficult to confirm the exact location of the exchange's headquarter as mentioned in the introduction, the majority of publications state that it is based in the Virgin Islands. 

In addition to spot trading, the exchange also introduced margin trading, which allows users to borrow funds to trade with leverage, and margin funding, which allows users to lend their funds to other traders in return for a daily interest rate.

Bitfinex was one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges to offer these types of advanced trading features, which helped to establish the platform as a leader in the industry. Especially considering the exchange launched before many other exchanges, 11 years agobefore the exchange giant’s Coinbase and Binance

Over the years, Bitfinex has faced several controversies and challenges, which will be mentioned in detail later down the line. However, despite these controversies and challenges, the exchange has continued to operate and remains a popular choice for traders. 

User Experience

Ease of Use and Design

As previously mentioned, the exchange offers a range of features that are designed to make it easy for users to trade cryptocurrencies and access a wide range of trading options, attracting both beginner and advanced traders alike.

However, although attractive to many types of traders, one of the key features of Bitfinex is its advanced trading platform, which includes: real-time charting and analysis tools, as well as a range of order types, including market orders, limit orders, and stop orders.

These tools make it easy for traders to monitor the market and make informed trades. Bitfinex's over-the-counter (OTC) trading and margin funding is useful for institutional investors – to further increase the popularity of the exchange among professional traders.

In addition to its desktop platform, the exchange also offers a mobile app that allows users to trade on the go and access their accounts from any device.

The mobile app is available for both iOS and Android and includes many of the same features as the desktop platform, including real-time charting and analysis tools, a range of order types, and access to a wide range of trading pairs.

The app is designed to be user-friendly and easy to navigate, making it accessible to traders of all experience levels, and includes a range of security features to protect user funds, including two-factor authentication and biometric login options.

Usage and Popularity

Bitfinex has gained popularity due to its wide range of trading options (188 different coins and 457 trading pairs), advanced trading tools, high liquidity, good security, and strong customer support. It offers trading in a wide range of digital assets, with the most actively traded pair being USDT/USD, at $16,387,576.73 24h volumen.

Tether (USDT) is one of the most popular assets traded on the exchange due to its association with iFinex, the company that owns both Tether Limited and the cryptocurrency exchange.

USDT is a stablecoin, meaning it is designed to maintain a stable price by being pegged to a specific asset or currency. This makes it an appealing choice for traders who value price stability and wish to avoid large price fluctuations.

In addition, USDT's association with iFinex (a reputable company in the cryptocurrency industry) adds to its credibility and appeal. However, there’s much controversy behind the cryptocurrency, related to Bitfinex. 

During a bull market, the exchange’s trading volume typically hits a billion dollars. However, during this current bear market, its current 24-hour trading volume currently stands at $73,909,947.93.

Regardless, the exchange’s token, $LEO, an ERC-20 token built on the Ethereum blockchain, also opens the doors to new members, due to offering reduced trading fees and increasing in value over time. 

Customer Support

The exchange provides various support channels for its users. It has a dedicated support team that can assist users with any questions or issues they may encounter. However, like Binance and Coinbase, it does not offer phone support at any time of day. 

In spite of that, users are able to contact Bitfinex support through the exchange's online ticket system, which allows them to submit a request for assistance and receive a response from the support team.

The exchange also has a comprehensive knowledge base that includes a range of resources and guides to help users navigate the platform and troubleshoot common issues.

In addition to its online support resources, Bitfinex also offers support through its social media channels and has a presence on platforms such as Twitter and Telegram.

Users can contact the exchange through these channels to get somewhat quick assistance (depending on the issue), as well as stay up to date with the latest news and updates.

Fees and Promotions

Fees

Similarly to other exchanges, like Gemini and KuCoin, Bitfinex charges a fee for spot trading based on the trading pair being used and the 30-day trading volume of the user.

The fee schedule can be found on their website and is subject to change. For example, If the 30-day trading volume of the user is less than $500,000, the fee is 0.1% and 0.2% for the maker and taker, respectively.

It's worth noting that the fees for certain trading pairs may be different.

However, If the 30-day trading volume of the user is between $1,000,000 and $2,500,000, the fee is 0.06% for the maker and 0.2% for the taker.

Additionally, users who hold certain amounts of the exchange's native token, $LEO, may be eligible for fee discounts. It's always a good idea to check the current fee schedule on the Bitfinex website to get the most accurate and up-to-date information.

For margin trading, the exchange charges a financing fee that is based on the length of the trade and the size of the loan. This fee is charged in the currency being traded and is paid to the user who provided the loan.

The fee is paid to the user who provided the loan and is charged in the currency being lent. For instance, these fees for margin trading on Bitfinex apply:

  • For positions with a size of less than $500,000, the fee is a daily interest rate of 0.01% for the maker and 0.02% for the taker.

  • For positions with a size of between $500,000 and $1,000,000, the fee is a daily interest rate of 0.008% for the maker and 0.018% for the taker, etc., 

Fees are also included for users who want to withdraw their funds from the exchange. The fees for withdrawals depend on the type of cryptocurrency being withdrawn and the withdrawal method being used.

For example, the fee for withdrawing bitcoin using a blockchain wallet is 0.0004 BTC, while the fee for withdrawing Ethereum using a smart contract is 0.01 ETH. So, be cautious of unwanted charges. 

Not forgetting, customers must watch out for network and miner fees, which are out of Bitfinex’s control. The fees are paid to the network of computers that process and validate transactions on particular blockchains.

These fees are necessary to incentivize participants to process and validate transactions, and vary depending on the network and current demand.

On the whole, Bitfinex charges a variety of fees for its trading and other services, but these fees are generally reasonable and are used to cover the costs of operating the exchange and offering a high-quality service to its users. It's important not to be deterred by the fees, as they are necessary for the exchange to continue providing a reliable platform for traders.

Comparison

Bitfinex is one of the largest and oldest exchanges ever created, so when it comes to comparisons, there are few that can match their track record and experience in the crypto industry. Bitstamp comes to mind as it's also one of the oldest exchanges ever created. Bitfinex has much more available cryptocurrencies than Bitstamp, however Bitstamp reports having more trading volume (close to double).

Both platforms are relatively easy to use and well optimized, however the deciding factor here is that Bitstamp has much lower fees and not as complex a fee structure as Bitfinex. Bitfinex is definitely for the more seasoned and experience exchange traders / users. Those who are looking for a wider variety of cryptocurrencies and also can quickly and intuitively understand the fee structure and what the platform has to offer will likely enjoy using it.

Safety Essentials

Security

Bitfinex places a strong emphasis on security – especially considering past controversy (but more about that later). The exchange has implemented a number of measures to protect user funds and prevent cyber attacks, including cold storage for the majority of its cryptocurrency reserves and advanced security protocols to prevent unauthorized access to user accounts. 

The exchange implements a number of advanced security protocols to prevent unauthorized access to user accounts. These include two-factor authentication, which requires users to provide an additional layer of security when logging in or making trades, and biometric login options, which allow users to access their accounts using facial recognition or fingerprint scanning.

Even more importantly, it is a regulated exchange that requires users to complete the “Know Your Customer” (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) checks.

These checks are designed to ensure that Bitfinex is in compliance with relevant regulations and to prevent the platform from being used for illegal activities such as money laundering or terrorist financing.

In addition to the KYC process, Bitfinex also has robust AML policies in place to help detect and prevent illicit activity on the platform. These policies include measures such as transaction monitoring and suspicious activity reporting, which are designed to identify and prevent any potential violations of AML laws.

When signing up, users must also be aware that the exchange does not insure user funds!

However, it does take the responsibility of compensating users when funds are lost due to security breaches.

All things considered, Bitfinex is a secure cryptocurrency exchange that takes a number of measures to protect user funds and prevent unauthorized access to user accounts. Despite facing challenges in the past, it has continued to operate at a high standard, hence, remains a popular choice for traders.

Controversy

Unlike one of its competitor’s Gemini – which appears to be one of few crypto exchanges that, to this day, pretty much remains controversy freeBitfinex has faced several controversies and challenges in its past. 

In 2016, the exchange suffered a major hack that resulted in the loss of nearly 120,000 bitcoin (~$69 million USD at the time).

At the time, this event caused a significant drop in the price of bitcoin and led to a loss of confidence in the exchange when it occured.

In 2019, Bitfinex then faced accusations of insider trading as a comeback of the $69 million heist, according to publications. The exchange was accused of sending $850 million to the payment processor in Panama, Crypto Capital Corp, without telling clients.

After the funds went missing, at least $700 million of Tether’s reserves were drained. This led to a class action lawsuit, alongside a $18.5 million fine that was paid by the owner of the Tether cryptocurrency and Bitfinex exchange – to resolve allegations that client and company funders were mixed in order to conceal the loss of $850 million.

Of course, this further damaged the exchange’s reputation. 

As a result, the exchange faced regulatory challenges, including investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Many times, these investigations have focused on the exchange's relationship with Tether. 

Interestingly, in the same year, to smooth things over, iFinex launched a native token on behalf of Bitfinex – $LEO – as part of a fundraising effort to cover the losses incurred by the exchange after losing access to $850 million in customer funds that were seized by authorities.

As a result of this, LEO holders are entitled to a share of the exchange's profits, as well as other benefits such as reduced trading fees on the platform. Bitfinex also states that it will buy back and burn LEO tokens over time in order to reduce the total supply and increase the value of the remaining tokens.

Proof of Reserves

Ethereum Virtual Machine
$3.36B
Ethereum Virtual Machine
$483,014,697
Bitcoin
$478,346,226
Ethereum Virtual Machine
$131,658,281
Tron
$78,746,783
Bitcoin
$71,356,573
Tron
$55,196,638
Ethereum Virtual Machine
$2,876,083
Ethereum Virtual Machine
$364,935
Ethereum Virtual Machine
--
Ethereum Virtual Machine
--
Bitcoin
$6.11B

Bitfinex is one of many cryptocurrency exchanges that has implemented a proof of reserves system to demonstrate the solvency of its platform, following a public proof of reserve twitter post in November of 2022.

Its proof of reserves system works by allowing users to send a special message to the exchange's servers, which responds with a cryptographic proof that the exchange has the assets on hand to cover the balances of its users.

This proof is generated using a cryptographic algorithm and can be verified by anyone with access to the exchange's public key.

The proof of reserves system is designed to provide transparency and build trust with users. By demonstrating that it has the assets on hand to cover the balances of its users, the exchange can show that it is financially solvent and can meet the needs of its users.

Such a system is an important part of Bitfinex's commitment to financial transparency and solvency. By implementing this system, the exchange can provide users with confidence that their funds are safe and secure on the platform, which the majority of users realize is much-needed when delving into the exchange’s past.  

Conclusion

Bitfinex has gained a lot of popularity and become one of the largest exchanges due to its wide range of trading pairs and advanced trading features.

If it were to expand its presence in the United States, one of the world’s largest financial markets, it would likely attract even more users.

Regardless of its troublesome past, Bitfinex has continued to operate and remain a popular choice for traders. The exchange has implemented a number of measures to protect user funds to help prevent such events from occurring, and also supplies its Proof of Reserves, showing that it has nothing to hide – unlike many others hiding in the woodworks following the FTX controversy. 

The platform is suitable for both beginner and professional traders. However, professional traders can get the most from this platform due to offering a variety of other services, including a P2P lending platform and OT trading that, the majority of the time, only institutional investors can truly understand. 

All things considered, Bitfinex is a well-respected and widely used cryptocurrency exchange that offers numerous advanced features and tools to meet the needs of diverse traders. Despite facing challenges in the past, it has continued to operate and maintain its position as a key player in the cryptocurrency market. Thus, it should hold its head high for doing a good job in more recent years.