Bitfinex is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges out there with a broad spectrum of crypto assets available to buy, sell, and trade.
It’s also one of the oldest exchanges, founded in early 2012 by Giancarlo Devasini and Raphael Nicolle.
Since its launch, Bitfinex has become a popular option for both beginners and advanced traders, currently sitting at the number six spot among the biggest exchanges by trading volume.
However, Bitfinex has a somewhat controversial past: hacks, fines, concerns of market manipulation, and other allegations such as misleading investors and customers are what drive potential investors off the exchange.
Note that Bitfinex is the parent company of Tether Limited —the issuer of the Tether (USDT) stablecoin.
Tether Limited also has a shady past, and it’s unclear the relationship between Tether and Bitfinex.
We’ll talk about this in another section.
Is Bitfinex Exchange Limited To Expert Traders?
Beginners might find Bitfinex’s overall site complex.
The exchange contains many advanced crypto products and services including derivatives trading with high leverage, crypto lending, staking, and more —so it’s best suited for advanced traders.
However, the exchange offers a demo account for beginners so they can experiment without using real money.
Once you feel confident, you can go ahead and fund your account via wire transfer or debit/credit card.
As always, keep in mind investments are risky —only invest what you can afford to lose.
Pros & Cons Of Bitfinex
Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of Bitfinex:
- Offers a wide range of crypto products and services
- Supports a decent amount of cryptocurrencies —more than 150
- Low fees
- Demo account
- Offers a help center
- Lack of transparency regarding their relationship with Tether Holdings
- Questionable practices, including misleading investors and customers and allegations of market manipulation
- Has been fined multiple times
- Has been hacked twice
- Not available for US customers
Our Take On Bitfinex
Bitfinex offers a vast table of crypto products and services for advanced users, while also offering help and guidance to new users.
It’s true that the exchange has ramped up its security protocols, yet its shady past and controversies surrounding the exchange do not make me feel comfortable about opening an account.
Plus, the exchange is not regulated by any financial regulatory agency.
For people who are starting in the trading and cryptocurrency world, I’d recommend a more beginner-friendly exchange, such as Gemini or Coinbase.
Despite its past, Bitfinex is one of the largest crypto exchanges by trading volume and a popular option for advanced traders.
So it’s up to you if you wish to proceed with this exchange.
Just like the majority of crypto exchanges, Bitfinex relies on the maker-taker model.
Market makers are users who provide liquidity for buy and sell orders and pay fewer fees, while market takers are the ones who execute those orders, and pay higher fees as they pull the liquidity off the order books.
For starters, Bitfinex charges 0.100% maker fees and 0.200% taker fees, and it applies to all types of trades, whether crypto, stablecoin, or fiat.
The exchange will charge different fees depending on your 30-day trading volume —the higher the volume, the fewer fees you’ll have to pay.
You can also get a discount on fees if you hold a certain amount of LEO, the token that powers the Bitfinex ecosystem.
You can calculate the fees on Bitfinex’s fees page.
Bitfinex charges deposit fees depending on the method you use. It charges a 0.1% fee for bank deposits, while cryptocurrency deposits are free of charge.
However, cryptocurrency withdrawal comes with a fee that varies depending on the crypto.
Is Bitfinex Safe?
Bitfinex features several security protocols to keep users safe.
Users are required to enable 2FA (two-factor authentication) as soon as they open an account, among other safety practices.
However, the exchange’s security is fairly questionable due to its past. In 2015, Bitfinex suffered its first hack when an attacker managed to breach the platform and stole 1500 Bitcoins.
The next year, it suffered a second hack, where 120,000 BTC were stolen.
The second hack was not only controversial due to the very nature of the incident, but also because the Bitfinex team decided to spread the losses among its clients —all of them taking a 36% “haircut” on their funds.
The exchange reimbursed affected users, a year later.
Bitfinex has a wide range of products and services.
It offers derivatives trading, including perpetual futures and margin trading with up to 10x leverage.
The exchange also features securities trading, but only two tokens are available: Exordium (EXO) and Blockstream Mining Note (BMN),
Bitfinex also offers an OTC (over-the-counter) desk.
Explained simply, OTC trading refers to the practice of buying or selling assets directly between two parties.
It’s also called off-exchange trading.
Bitfinex provides other notable features, including
- Margin Funding: This feature is basically lending funds to other users so they can carry out trade orders. You can set the terms of the loan, such as duration and interest rate. The borrower will pay you the interest until they return the funds to your account.
- Sentiment data for Bitcoin: analyze Bitcoin’s current market sentiment, which refers to the general feeling of investors toward a certain asset.
- Learning center: Bitfinex offers a comprehensive learning section where new users can learn everything about how the exchange works, such as how to place order options, how to deposit and withdraw, how to manage their accounts, and more.
- Trading education: learn more about how margin or derivatives trading works, and find useful trading tips,
- Market news: Bitfinex Pulse is a built-in news aggregator and social media platform where Bitfinex users can interact with each other and share the latest market news.
Banking At Bitfinex
Bitfinex allows verified users to top up their accounts via wire transfers, payment cards (debit/credit), or cryptocurrency deposits directly with their wallet addresses.
The exchange allows you to stake your crypto to earn rewards.
You can also lend your funds to earn interest on your crypto through Bitfinex’s lending products —however, this last feature is only available for users with fully verified accounts.
Bitfinex supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies, including the highest currencies by market capitalization, decentralized finance (DeFi) tokens, and stablecoins:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Polygon (MATIC)
- Tether (USDT)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Solana (SOL)
- Celsius Token
- Cardano (ADA)
- Chainlink (LINK)
Bitfinex App Experience
The Bitfinex mobile app is designed for both beginners and advanced traders, as they can switch between the light or pro version.
It’s easy to navigate and the speed is decent.
It can be found on the exchange’s official website and available for download through the app store or google play, depending on the device you’re using.
|Bitfinex Light version||Bitfinex Pro version|
As such, the mobile app has all the necessary tools to stay up-to-date with the latest market movements and trade on the go, whether simple buy or sell orders or more advanced options such as derivatives or leveraged trading.
It also provides several security measures for users so they can protect their accounts, including the ability to enable 2FA through Google Authenticator, PIN code, and Face ID for both iOS and Android devices.
On Account, you can contact customer support via live chat or submit a ticket specifying your issues or questions about your account.
There are other notable features, such as changing the theme color, and language, placing price alerts for specific assets, and customizing notifications.
Bitfinex Site Experience
Advanced traders will find the trading interface intuitive and well-organized.
You can quickly switch from spot trading to derivatives or securities on the Tickers section.
To place an order, simply click on the Exchange Buy or Exchange Sell buttons at the bottom left.
The trading interface is provided by TradingView, a charting platform that provides you with access to a wide range of tools and features to make the most out of your strategy.
You can use trend lines, and technical chart indicators, change the time frame, and more.
At the top bar, you can find available trading options, such as derivatives, funding, securities, and OTC.
To your right, you can toggle the wallet tab and check your balance or make a quick transfer, withdraw or deposit funds.
If you’re looking to keep up with the latest market action, simply click on the Bitfinex Pulse icon at the bottom or on the antenna icon at the top bar to your right.
There you can also check your account, and access third-party services or the help center.
Bitfinex has four levels of verifications for both individual and institutional accounts: Basic, Basic Plus, Intermediate and Full.
Each level provides different benefits to the customer, including broader access to different investment products.
This process is set to comply with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.
The Basic Level of verification only requires an email address and a password and you’ll be able to start depositing, withdrawing, or trading, but you won’t be able to access certain features.
Upgrading your account means providing further documentation. The Basic Plus level requires
- Photo ID
- Phone number
- All of the requirements from Basic Plus
- A second photo ID
- Proof of address
The Full level requires everything in the intermediate level and a bank statement.
Once your account is upgraded to Full, you’ll gain access to all of the Bitfinex products and services.
However, the exchange has a massive backlog of applications, so it might be a lengthy process that could take up to 5 to 10 days —or even more.
Bitfinex Global Restrictions
While Bitfinex is currently available for a wide range of countries, there are several regions where the exchange doesn’t offer its services, including
- The United States
Bitfinex has a comprehensive help center with a basic FAQ, and also offers live chat both on the desktop and mobile versions, which can be found in the Account section.
Like the majority of crypto exchanges, Bitfinex does not offer phone support.
Despite its problematic past, most of Bitfinex’s customers have left positive reviews on Trustpilot, something that not a lot of exchanges can accomplish.