Bitfinex is one of the largest and most advanced exchanges on the market. More than $300 million worth of Bitcoin is traded each day!
Be warned: all of the crypto action comes with some headaches. You might not even be allowed to use the platform at all. Since most of the info out there about this platform is outdated or wrong, we decided to write this updated Bitfinex review for 2018.
Bitfinex is a full-featured crypto exchange platform with one of the most liquid markets in the world. Experienced traders love it for its in-depth trading options, customizable interface, and advanced tools. It is the 5th largest exchange by volume and the Bitfinex order book is the 2nd largest in terms of Bitcoin liquidity (3-1-18).
For someone like me that likes a flush order book (there’s even a Level 2), that was an instant draw.
Founded in 2012, this Hong Kong based exchange is still one of best places to trade popular altcoins and fiat.
But for all of the platform’s features, it still can’t escape the controversy of its checkered past.
I’ll cover everything you need to know to make a sound decision about depositing money on the site.
Let’s get to it.
What is Bitfinex and How Does it Work?
Bitfinex is a digital asset exchange. Think of it just like the New York Stock Exchange. Basically, it is a business that allows account holders to trade digital assets for other digital assets or fiat currencies (USD, EUR, etc.). The exchange operates as a marketplace that matches buyers and sellers and then takes a fee for its troubles.
You create an account, fund it, and then buy or sell digital assets. You can even borrow/lend on the margin (called “margin trading”—covered later).
What makes it unique is how detailed it is. The range of features is staggering (we cover exactly which ones later).
Is Bitfinex Safe Now? | Understanding the 2016 Hack
You should be aware of the Bitfinex hack before signing up, but not everyone is. I’ll cover the most important details here.
In 2016, roughly 120,000 ($70 + million) BTC were stolen from the company. It is still the second-largest hack in crypto history. Prices plummeted and users were hysterical.
But unlike other exchanges (see more), the company decided to make things right again. They socialized the losses (it took money away from ALL accounts, not just ones that were affected) and issued tokens in return. These could be traded or redeemed with the exchange.
The exchange said the hack was reportedly caused by how they structured their wallets and Bitcoin wallet provider, BitGo.
As of today, everyone has been reimbursed. Many are still skeptical about the company, but its reputation has almost fully recovered.
Today, the site is very secure. They have rehabbed their image well in the wake of the hack. Features include:
Verdict: The exchange is much safer now than before, and extremely focused on user security.
Payment Methods | What Are Bitfinex Funding Options?
In 2017, the company announced that they would suspend fiat deposits and withdraw from the US market. As of 2018, US customers ARE NOT ALLOWED to use Bitfinex.
However, USD and EUR are back now.
Your deposit options are:
*What is Tether?*: US Dollar Tether (or Euro Tether) is a digital asset issued by Tether. Think of it as a hybrid between a fiat/crypto hybrid. The value is always pegged to the fiat currency, but it can be traded and stored just like a Bitcoin. You can trade a USDT for a USD at any time. It’s just a method for facilitating the trading of fiat currencies online. Read the Bitfinex public opinion section to learn about a mild controversy.
After you log in, click Deposit in the upper right hand corner and choose your method.
What Are Bitfinex Fees and Limits?
The exchange is very trader friendly, especially for ones who drive market liquidity (market makers). The low fees were one of the main reasons we chose to start trading here.
Bitfinex employs a maker/taker fee schedule. If you add liquidity to the market you are a maker. If you place an order that is executed and takes that liquidity away, you are a taker.
Maker Fee: .1%
Taker Fee: .2%
Fees are volume-based. If you trade $15,000,000 or more (who doesn’t these days?), you pay 0%.
Depositing crypto is free. A USD deposit (or EUR) costs .1% ($20 minimum).
**NOTE** Withdrawals - The fees aren’t nearly as extortionate as some competitors.
Bank Wire: .1% ($20 min).
Express Bank Wire (24 hours): 1% ($20 min)
Bitfinex Verification | What Are Trading Limits for Unverified Customers?
Another major plus for this platform is that users can trade cryptocurrency without verification. You won’t be given full functionality and there will be some limits, but you can generally trade crypto anonymously.
If you want to trade USD or other fiat, you need to be verified.
Verification requirements include:
Once you are verified, there are no limits to what you can trade. Be warned, verification can take over 5 weeks.
How to Use Bitfinex | Signup, Deposit, Trading, etc.
Signup is easy, but verification can be a bit of a headache. I’ll cover how to trade on Bitfinex (crypto only) here.
1. Sign Up and Verify Your Email
Go to Bitfinex.com and click Sign Up in the top right corner.
Click the link in the email that they send you.
2. Add 2FA
Two-factor authentication will help secure your account. When you enable it, a code will be sent to your phone to verify that it’s you.
3. Deposit Crypto
Bitfinex currencies include BTC, ETH, Ripple, Dash, NEO, and other altcoins. Deposit your favorite and let’s get trading.
Click the deposit tab in the top right corner and fund your account from your crypto wallet (you must already have crypto). Then click the Trading tab in the top left.
WARNING: You cannot use the platform without at least $10,000 USD in equity.
If you do have $10,000 in equity (want to send me some?), you’ll be taken to the futuristic trading screen. There you can really have some fun. Click Exchange on the left hand side and choose the amount you want to buy or sell.
Margin Trading: When you buy on the margin, you are borrowing money from the broker (or other users) to increase your leverage. This is essentially borrowing money using your assets as collateral to buy more crypto than you could without the loan.
Is Bitfinex legit? Will I lose all of my Bitcoin from a hack?
These were the most common concerns found during our research. It’s understandable, the hack is still a major factor in everyone’s mind.
But for a company that was the victim of the 2nd-largest hack in BTC history, the community generally likes them. Experienced traders love the lack of limits, low fees, and advanced tools. Also, the fact that they made good on consumer losses and doubled down on security has really helped.
The two major negatives against the company in 2018 are its verification headaches and its ties to Tether. There are questions as to whether Tether actually has the reserves to pay for all of its tokens. The federal government is even getting involved. As of now though, everything is functioning as normal.
Verdict: Yes, Bitfinex is safe.
Alternatives to Bitfinex
Since most traders don’t have $10,000 laying around to trade with, here are some alternatives where you can start trading crypto with a lower barrier to entry.
Binance is one of the youngest and most liquid exchanges on the market. If you want to speculate on dozens of rare coins and enter to win a Maserati while doing it, you’ve found the right place. It’s crypto-only, but has every coin imaginable.
LocalBitcoins is like the Craigslist of Bitcoin. This peer-to-peer network is 100% anonymous and allows you trade BTC for anything of value. If you’ve got a gift card, you can get Bitcoin. It links you to other users looking to buy or sell and you two come to your own terms. Just beware of scams.
CEX.io is a smaller alternative to Bitfinex, but is much easier to use. It doesn’t intimidate beginners at all. The interface is simple and smooth, and verification is a lot easier. BONUS: you don’t need thousands in equity to start trading.
Q: How Secure is the Bitfinex Wallet?
A: The site is much more secure now. But you should never leave more than you need for trading on ANY exchange. Period.
Q: Can I view my Bitfinex Trade History?
A: Go to Accounts -> Reports and select what you’d like to see.
Q: How Long Does Verification Take?
A: Get comfortable. It can take up to 8 weeks.
Q: How Long do Withdrawals Take?
A: They should be processed within 12 hours.
Q: Do They Accept Credit Cards?
Q: What Are the Limits on Trades?
A: Functionally unlimited.
ACH and crypto deposit methods are free. Bank wires cost $10.
Not Beginner Friendly
Long Wait Times for Verification
Large and Liquid Market
High Barrier to Entry - Minimum $10,000
No US Customers
Bitfinex is one the largest and most advanced platforms on the market. It’s a great place for experienced traders to exchange fiat for a range of coins using a variety of trade orders and tools. But its long wait times, checkered past, and high barriers to entry make it not worth it for low-volume traders.