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Bitfinex is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges globally, notable for its low fees. It’s also closely associated with the Tether stablecoin, which has gotten the exchange into trouble with regulators. Bittfinex’s low fees are a plus, but its spotty history might be concerning for potential users.
- Pros & Cons
- Key Takeaways
Low trading fees
Margin trading, derivatives, and advanced order types supported
Paper trading and mobile app suitable for newer cryptocurrency traders
History of regulatory missteps and fines
Questionable involvement with the Tether currency
Not available in the United States
- Bitfinex is a popular exchange supporting over 170 different cryptocurrencies.
- Good for low fees and high liquidity when actively trading and investing.
- The exchange offers a mix of features suitable for newer and experienced traders.
- History of regulatory challenges and charges of misleading customers.
- Questionable activity related to the Tether stablecoin.
- Year Founded 2012
- Official Website bitfinex.com
- Cryptocurrencies Available 150
- Customer Support Help page, ticket
Unlike traditional brokerage firms, cryptocurrency exchanges are not members of the Securities Investor Protection Corp. (SIPC). Therefore, unless user terms specify otherwise, investors with cryptocurrency assets commingled on a custodial cryptocurrency exchange could potentially lose their funds as unsecured creditors.
- Low trading fees: Bitfinex offers relatively low trading fees compared to its competitors.
- Margin trading, derivatives, and advanced order types supported: Advanced trading and investment features available.
- Paper trading and mobile app suitable for newer cryptocurrency traders: New cryptocurrency users can test the platform risk-free with paper trading, and the mobile app is easy to use.
- History of regulatory missteps and fines: Past government fines for deceptive practices.
- Questionable involvement with the Tether currency: Bitfinex and Tether engaged in some suspicious transactions.
- Not available in the United States: Platform is blocked for U.S. citizens and residents.
Bitfinex is a large cryptocurrency exchange supporting a large ecosystem of cryptocurrency products and trading options, including spot trading, margin accounts, derivatives, paper trading, and more. With a mix of features suitable for both beginner and expert crypto users, Bitfinex likely offers everything you need to manage your cryptocurrency in one place.
However, before you get started, it’s important to know that Bitfinex has a history of regulatory challenges, including multiple fines from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The most severe charge, from the New York Attorney General’s Office, includes misleading investors. Bittfinex indicated that the Tether stablecoin was fully backed by reserves when that wasn’t the case. The exchange’s history and allegations of continued wrongdoing may be concerning for investors.
Investing in cryptocurrencies, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), and other Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) is highly risky and speculative, and the markets can be extremely volatile. Consult with a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. This article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies nor can the accuracy or timeliness of the information be guaranteed.
Bitfinex is one of the older cryptocurrency exchanges, founded in 2012. The exchange has remained a leader in cryptocurrency trading since its founding, currently holding the number nine spot among the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world by volume, according to CoinMarketCap.
Bitfinex offers relatively low trading fees, with most trades costing just 0.20% or less. But while it’s suitable for a wide range of users on the surface, this exchange has a shady past, including several fines and accusations of cryptocurrency market manipulation.
The New York Attorney General found that Bitfinex and Tether misled clients and the markets by overstating Tether reserves and hiding losses. Bitfinex has also faced past fines for operating an unlicensed exchange and facilitating illegal off-exchange transactions. That leaves serious questions regarding the integrity of this crypto exchange.
Bitfinex has been fined by U.S. federal and state government agencies several times for violations, including misleading customers.
Cryptocurrencies Available on Bitfinex
Bitfinex supports over 170 cryptocurrencies on its active trading platform, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Terra, Tether, Solana, Litecoin, Ripple, and many others. There are too many to list here, but overall, Bitfinex does an excellent job supporting in-demand currencies on its platform.
As discussed above, Bitfinex has a close relationship with the Tether stablecoin, which is always worth $1. However, past issues with dishonesty regarding reserves may make you rethink holding too much Tether in your account if you’re willing to hold it at all. Tether still claims that the currency is fully backed, but it’s up to you to decide if you believe it.
The trading experience at Bitfinex is user-friendly, and experienced traders will appreciate the features and options this platform offers. You can start with a free paper trading account, which gives you access to the Bitfinex platform with play money, similar to a stock market game, to test your strategy before investing real money.
Bitfinex’s active trading platform includes standard features like advanced charting tools, an order depth chart and order book view, and quick access to buy and sell supported currencies.
If you are new to active trading, you may be more comfortable starting with the mobile app. However, there are plenty of expert-level tools there as well, including support for detailed, advanced orders.
Additional options and features include automated algorithmic trading, a robust API for developers, historical pricing data through Bitfinex Terminal, margin trading, and derivatives trading.
Trading fees are another standout feature at Bitfinex. Most trades come with either a 0.10% maker fee or a 0.20% taker fee. That rate applies to crypto, stablecoin, and fiat trades.
Holding the LEO cryptocurrency in your account qualifies you for a discount on Bitfinex trading fees.
If you hold the LEO currency in your account, you can save on fees. With the equivalent of $1 in LEO in an account, you’ll get 15% off taker fees for crypto-to-crypto and crypto-to-stablecoin trades. With at least $5,000 in LEO, you’ll get 25% off taker fees for crypto and stablecoin trades and 10% off fiat trades. And with $10,000 or more in LEO, you can get a larger percentage discount, depending on your balance.
High-volume traders with more than $500,000 in monthly activity may qualify for lower fees as well.
|Payment Method||Bitfinex Fee|
|ACH Transfer||Not Available|
|Wire Transfer||0.100% (Min $60 fee)|
Bitfinex uses several standard cryptocurrency industry methods to keep user accounts and funds safe. These include two-factor authentication, advanced APIs for connecting third-party services, withdrawal protection features, and cold storage of customer assets.
That said, Bitfinex has not always done such a great job with security. In addition to the regulatory challenges listed above, the company has been hacked multiple times, losing customer funds and trust in the process.
Opening a Bitfinex Account
To get started with Bitfinex, you’ll go through an account signup process similar to other cryptocurrency exchanges. Notably, Bitfinex is not currently available to U.S. citizens or residents.
If you are located outside of the U.S., the account opening process starts with creating a username and password.
For anti-money laundering and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, Bitfinex requires personal contact information and two valid forms of government-issued identification to open and fully verify your account. You’ll need to share a selfie as well, confirming your identity matches your ID.
Like most cryptocurrency exchanges, your Bitfinex account is primarily self-service. The best way to get help is by searching the exchange’s FAQ and help sections to answer your questions.
Bitfinex also uses a support ticket system for help via email. There is no phone or live chat support available, so you won’t get instant help in the event of a problem.
Bitfinex earns mixed reviews from past customers and has a 3.3 out of five-star rating on Trustpilot.
Positive reviews focus on the platform and automated trading framework. Complaints point to slow customer service responses and delayed withdrawals. Bitfinex’s reviews are better than some competitors, but overall, most cryptocurrency companies don’t score well on customer review sites.
Users can manage their accounts through the Bitfinex website or mobile app. Virtually all customer account settings are self-managed, similar to online banking.
Bitfinex’s account dashboards and menus are easy to navigate and follow if you have experience with online financial accounts. Those with experience using active stock market trading platforms or forex trading apps should find Bitfinex intuitive and easy to navigate.
How Bitfinex Compares to Other Cryptocurrency Companies
Bitfinex is a key player in the crypto world, but if you’re interested in trading cryptocurrency, there are other major exchanges to consider too. Here’s a look at how Bitfinex compares to Coinbase, another popular trading platform for cryptocurrency investors.
- Coinbase is available to U.S. users, while Bitfinex is only open to users outside of the U.S.
- Standard trading fees are 0.10% to 0.20% at Bitfinex. Fees are 0.60% for most low-volume traders on the active Coinbase Pro platform.
- Coinbase offers basic, active, and mobile trading platforms. Bitfinex offers similar platforms for buying and selling cryptocurrency.
- Coinbase is closely affiliated with the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin, while Bitfinex is closely affiliated with Tether (USDT).
- Both Coinbase and Bitfinex have paid fines to the U.S. government.
For more information on Coinbase, read our full Coinbase review.
Overall, Bitfinex receives mixed feedback from users and its history of regulatory issues is concerning. If you’re in the United States, you can’t use it anyway, so you’re better off checking out our list of the best cryptocurrency exchanges. If you’re outside of the U.S., you have a decision to make balancing the good platform and low fees with a spotty history, including breaches of customer trust.
If you’re concerned about potential risks on Bitfinex, you may want to skip it due to its past hacks, fines, and violations. But if you’re willing to take a small gamble on the platform, you might find a good overall experience at Bitfinex.
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