What is Bitfinex?

June 14, 2024 at 14:53 GMTModified date: June 14, 2024 at 14:53 GMT
June 14, 2024 at 14:53 GMT

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex was established in 2012 during the infancy of digital currencies. Over the past decade, it has maintained its position as a leading platform in crypto trading. It currently holds the 9th rank among top cryptocurrency exchanges, according to CoinMarketCap. The exchange boasts a diverse listing of nearly 200 tokens and 400 spot trading…

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex was established in 2012 during the infancy of digital currencies. Over the past decade, it has maintained its position as a leading platform in crypto trading. It currently holds the 9th rank among top cryptocurrency exchanges, according to CoinMarketCap. The exchange boasts a diverse listing of nearly 200 tokens and 400 spot trading pairs, alongside over 60 perpetual futures contracts. The platform offers a variety of trading options including margin accounts, paper trading, spot trading, derivatives, and more.

Bitfinex prides itself on offering some of the most competitive trading fees in the market, with maker fees at 0.10 percent and taker fees at 0.20 percent. Holding $LEO tokens, the utility token of Bitfinex, can significantly reduce these fees as well. The exchange offers discounts on various trades based on the amount of LEO held in the user’s account.

The exchange also enriches its users’ trading experience with a comprehensive suite of advanced features and charting tools. These include Exchange Trading, Margin Trading & Funding (peer-to-peer financing), Over the Counter (OTC) trading, Derivatives Trading, and a Peer-To-Peer Marketplace for an extensive selection of digital assets. To safeguard its users’ funds and accounts, the platform employs several security measures that are standard within the cryptocurrency industry. These include advanced APIs, two-factor authentication, withdrawal protections, and cold storage for digital assets. However, despite these precautions, Bitfinex has experienced breaches in the past, leading to financial losses and impacting its reputation.

Company overview

Registered in the British Virgin Islands, Bitfinex was founded by Raphael Nicolle in 2012 and has been under the leadership of JL van der Velde since 2013. The exchange suffered a significant setback in 2016 when it was the target of a major hack, resulting in the loss of nearly 120,000 Bitcoin ($BTC), valued at approximately $72 million at the time. This incident led to a temporary suspension of Bitcoin withdrawals and trading, causing a 20% drop in $BTC’s trading price. By early 2022, the value of the stolen funds had escalated to $4.5 billion, with the US Department of Justice recovering around $3.6 billion of the stolen $BTC.

Raphael Nicolle, a software developer with a background in system administration, stepped down from his role as CTO in 2015. JL van der Velde, with his extensive experience in high tech and international finance, has been pivotal in steering Bitfinex through its various phases as its CEO. Despite its pioneering status and competitive trading fees, Bitfinex has also faced scrutiny over its past, including fines and allegations of market manipulation. It is also important to note that the New York Attorney General accused Bitfinex and Tether of misleading clients by overstating reserves and concealing losses, raising concerns about the exchange’s integrity.

Core features

Exchange Trading

At the heart of Bitfinex’s offerings is its Exchange Trading feature, which facilitates the spot trading of digital tokens. This is where traders can buy or sell cryptocurrencies instantly based on current market prices without leveraging. The platform’s central limit order books are crucial for this process, as they match buy and sell orders from users based on price and quantity. This feature is designed to be intuitive, allowing traders of all levels to participate in the cryptocurrency market efficiently.

Margin Trading

Margin Trading on Bitfinex allows qualified users to trade with up to 10x leverage, amplifying their trading power. This feature enables traders to borrow funds to increase their trading position beyond what would be possible with their balance alone. The exchange supports this through its Margin Funding and peer-to-peer financing options, where users can either manually select their desired funding or let Bitfinex automatically match their margin trades with available funding at the prevailing market rate. It’s important to note that Margin Trading involves a higher level of risk and requires users to have at least an Intermediate level verification on Bitfinex, ensuring that only experienced traders engage in leveraged trading.

Margin Funding

The Peer-to-Peer Funding Market is another standout feature, allowing users to lend their digital assets or fiat currencies to other users who wish to trade with leverage. This creates a win-win situation: lenders earn interest on their lent assets, providing them with a passive income stream, while borrowers can access the funds they need to execute leveraged trades. Margin Funding is designed as a low-risk investment strategy for those who prefer to earn interest on their capital without engaging directly in trading activities.

Over the Counter (OTC) Market

For traders looking to execute large transactions without affecting the exchange’s market price, Bitfinex offers a private Over- the-Counter (OTC) Market. This service is particularly valuable for institutional investors or high-net-worth individuals who need to move large quantities of digital assets. The OTC Market ensures privacy and direct transactions between parties, facilitated by Bitfinex to ensure smooth execution and settlement.

Derivatives Trading

Bitfinex has expanded its offerings to include Derivatives Trading, allowing users with Intermediate Verification level and above to trade a variety of cryptocurrency derivatives. These financial instruments enable traders to speculate on the future price movements of cryptocurrencies without actually owning the underlying assets. With up to 100x leverage available, derivatives trading on Bitfinex can significantly amplify gains, though it also increases the risk of losses. This feature is provided by iFinex Financial Technologies Limited and is designed for experienced traders who understand the complexities of derivatives markets.

Paper Trading

Recognising the importance of strategy testing and education, Bitfinex offers a Paper Trading tool. This feature allows users to experiment with trading strategies in a simulated market environment using virtual funds. It’s an excellent way for beginners to learn the ropes of cryptocurrency trading without financial risk and for experienced traders to test new strategies before applying them in the live market. Paper Trading on Bitfinex is a risk-free way to gain trading experience and confidence. These core features collectively make Bitfinex a versatile platform catering to a wide range of needs, from novice traders making their first foray into cryptocurrencies to seasoned investors looking for sophisticated trading tools and investment opportunities.

Related Guides