A cryptocurrency exchange based in Hong Kong and founded in 2012, Bitfinex is one of the market’s largest and most liquid exchange services providers, has long attracted a clientele drawn by its offerings of leverage and more advanced trading tools.
An early market entrant, Bitfinex has experienced the bumps and bruises that accompany such distinctions. In August 2016, it lost 120,000 bitcoins (worth $72 million at the time) in a hack that resulted in user account balances being reduced.
In June of that year, it was further fined by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Still, Bitfinex battled back, issuing a cryptocurrency to users that represented their claims on crypto lost in the hack in an innovative first. (It would buy back all those tokens by April 2017).
As a result of its perseverance, Bitfinex has boasted some of the highest recorded trading activity, handling anywhere between $90-500 million a day. This makes the exchange highly liquid in addition to offering a sizeable collection of tradable crypto assets.
Today, you’ll either need to have some cryptocurrency ready to send to your new account from another major exchange such as Binance or Coinbase or be prepared for a large bank wire transfer in order to get the ball rolling.
Luckily for the more entry-level traders, Bitfinex recently removed it’s $10,000 equity minimum for account creation, so users can now gain access to the exchange no balance requirements at sign up.
Head over to the Bitfinex website and go through the signup process by fulfilling your basic information such as your name, email and desired password.
Run through the process of verifying your account with the email link provided and begin to familiarize yourself with the platform.
No ID verification was required upon initial sign-up and it is possible to send funds to the account but requires $10,000 USD in liquidity in order to use their platform, limiting it to large-scale investors.
The process of verification is simple however and requires any form of legal documentation with your current name and address as well as your driver’s license to confirm your identity.
Note: Verification can take up to 48-hours.
Once you have signed up and logged in you’ll want to set up your two-factor authentication (2-FA) which enables an additional layer of security by requesting a code from your smartphone upon every log in.
Locate the “Security” tab in the top right corner of your screen and then on the new screen find “Two-Factor Authentication” which will take you to the QR code that you’ll use to scan via the Google Authenticator application on your smart device.
After completing the process you will be sent an email link to verify and finalise your 2FA.
You’re now ready to stock up some funds for trading.
Click on the “Wallets” tab in the top-right corner of your screen, here you will see a list of two available assets to withdraw from or deposit into, as a new account we can only access bitcoin.
In our example, we decided to send a fraction of a bitcoin (BTC) to our wallet address which was located by clicking on the down arrow labeled underneath “deposits/withdrawals”.
You’ll be taken to a new screen that provides your unique wallet address which can be produced anytime you’re on this page.
Once you’ve sent over the funds to your account either from another exchange wallet or bank wire transfer, click on the desired asset on the left hand of your screen with a list to choose from.
Here’s a list of the USD pairings available for you to trade. If you’d like to buy BTC for example, click “BTC” and you will be directed trading interface.
On the trading page, you’ll see the asset’s price chart, order book, order buttons and a list of all other assets in the BTC markets to your left.
Choose the amount of bitcoin you’d like, in our case we selected “1” in the quantity field, chose “Market” from the drop-down menu and hit “Exchange Buy.” Presto, you’ve now purchased your first bitcoin at market price on the Bitfinex exchange!
There are quite a few different options to trade including setting a stop limit, which triggers an event sell/buy depending on price crossing a particular threshold.
A stop-limit order is a conditional trade over a set timeframe, let’s say an asset is currently trading at $15.00. You’d like to sell the asset if it reaches or goes below $14.00, but only if the security can be sold for $13.00 or more.
You can place a Stop-Limit order by setting the Stop Price to $29.00 and the Limit Price to $28.00. There’s also margin trading which allows you to borrow more than you currently own using your crypto as collateral, this is also known as leverage.
Trading on margin is borrowing money from a broker or exchange to purchase assets/stocks.
Margin trading attracts a higher profit potential than traditional trading but also greater risks.
The act of withdrawing your funds is simple.
Once you have decided to take profit or close your positions and you would like to transfer off the Bitfinex exchange, click on “Withdraw” in the top-right corner of your screen and select from the list of cryptocurrencies the one you’ve just traded on the platform with.
In our case, we were trading with bitcoin (BTC) and decided it was time to take a 2 percent profit.
We chose bitcoin amongst the list and entered another separate wallet address that we owned.
Sometimes the process can take up to a week if the exchange is going through difficulties such as recent events that have seen a 5-day limitation on fund withdrawals.
Which looks like this:
Tip: Litecoin and XRP offer quick speeds when transferring funds from the exchange to a separate wallet address.
Pros and Cons
- Established Exchange that generally features high trading volume
- A highly intuitive and easy-to-navigate platform that imitates a lot of other major exchanges in their user interface lessening the burden on usability.
- It offers leveraged trading which can be both a pro and con considering the risks involved.
- Requires a minimum $10,000 USD liquidity in your account in order to use the platform
- Recent events have increased skepticism among the crypto trading community throwing into question its authenticity and legitimacy.
- Sometimes trades at a premium to other exchanges such as bitcoin being $309 different in value when compared to prices on the Coinbase or Kraken exchanges.