BitMex Review and Tutorial 2020
BitMex is one of the top online exchanges for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading. This review details the fees, the TestNet demo account, all mobile app info, plus leverage and margin levels available. Read on to find out the strengths and weaknesses of the Bitmex exchange.
HDR Global Trading Limited in 2014 founded BitMEX, and since then has had a meteoric rise to become one of the most significant Bitcoin trading platforms available worldwide.
HDR Global Trading Ltd was, in turn, founded by former banking experts Samuel Reed, Arthur Hayes and Ben Delo. Registered in Seychelles and operating globally, the company started strong by diversifying into derivative trading, and specifically margin trading.
Ben Delo, one of the founders of BitMEX, is reportedly the first billionaire in the UK to make their fortune from Bitcoin.
As of 2019, the company is currently under review by the CFTC (Commodity Future Trading Commission) as to whether BitMEX is undergoing illegal activity based on American trade requirements.
Currently, no verdict has been made based on these accusations, and the platform continues to trade as standard – however, the platform is not available to US-based traders.
BitMex Trading Platform
BitMEX offers a derivative trading platform to a global market. For those more used to trading cryptocurrency directly, their different method of trading may be quite confusing.
Instead of trading currency directly, traders instead trade contracts, which can be significantly more volatile than more traditional trading. As such, the platform is very much designed for users that know what they are doing, with very little hand-holding provided.
Signing up to BitMEX is relatively simple and straightforward, with no trading limits included once registration has been completed.
All that is required is an email address, being over 18 years old, and confirmation that the user is not in the US due to current legal issues.
The interface of the BitMEX trading platform is cluttered and a little outdated, but still functional, with several widgets available that can be freely changed based on the viewing preferences of the particular user.
Charting is included as standard, using TradingView to offer clear visibility that many other platforms can’t match.
Once trades have been made, these can be viewed through Active Orders, allowing for the quick and easy management and cancellation of ongoing orders.
The platform is solely designed for desktop use, which makes sense considering the complexity of the screens in front of you.
For those familiar with working in similar markets, BitMEX’s platform will be usable and intuitive to a degree, if not innovative or beginner-friendly.
Assets / Markets
BitMEX is a platform that deals exclusively with the trading of cryptocurrencies, in the form of derivative trading as mentioned above and specialised trading like margin trading.
While all deposits for trading must be in Bitcoin, the service does allow for the trading of a range of different cryptocurrencies against other, flat currencies like Japanese Yen, US Dollar and Chinese Yuan. Once Bitcoin has been deposited, it can then be used as a method to purchase other cryptocurrencies. These include:
- Bitcoin Cash
- Ethereum Classic
BitMEX focuses specifically on these areas of trade, in contrast to more comprehensive platforms that provide a wide range of different options, styles and assets to trade.
For those looking for a highly specific, niche platform that allows for leverage on trades, then this platform might be the ideal fit.
For those looking for greater variety, however, looking elsewhere may be a stronger bet.
Spreads & Commission
As a platform that sticks to one thing, BitMEX doesn’t offer a tremendous amount of variety in their spreads, commissions or fees.
Instead, they have a typical fee schedule for use with traditional future trading.
However, in addition to those standard fees, the platform also provides up to 100x leverage on some of their cryptocurrency trades, designed for professional investors and those more familiar with this kind of risky trading.
Fees for Bitcoin, for example, are 1% for the initial margin plus 0.5% for maintenance.
Beyond this, the maker, taker and settlement fees are at the same level for all cryptocurrencies, in order -0.25%, .075% and .05%. The only exception to these standard fees is a varying fee for both Tezos and Zcash, both of which have no maker fee but a more substantial .25% take and settlement fee.
It’s also worth noting that BitMEX also charges additional fees or ‘iceberg’ or hidden orders. In these cases, the taker fee is paid up until the point of execution.
At this point, the maker rebate will be applied as the order is transitioned into normal. In general, the fees charged by BitMEX are relatively standard – it’s the use of leverage that makes all the difference.
As specialists in margin trading and similar trading options, leverage is a vital point of the appeal for seasoned traders that have good experience with speculative trading – and are willing to take the risk.
BitMEX makes leverage a prominent feature in the design of their platform, including a leverage slider in the sidebar of their trading layout.
Leverage varies according to each form of cryptocurrency, with Bitcoin having the most favourable option with a maximum leverage of 1:100, which is also matched by Bitcoin Cash.
Traders can set the desired amount of leverage (from 1:1 to 1:100) based on their risk profile.
The lowest leverage offered is on Tezos, which only goes up to a modest x2 in comparison.
Currently, BitMEX does not support any form of mobile use for their platform, instead preferring that users trade from a desktop.
This is in part because of the massive amount of information that is available on the screen, and in part, because this specialised form of trading best suits desktop use.
It’s worth noting that an unofficial Android app is available, but beyond that, the platform is not reactive for mobile and tablet use, and there is no iOS app available.
One of the significant benefits of choosing BitMEX is the fact it doesn’t charge fees for the deposit or withdrawing of Bitcoin.
This is especially advantageous as Bitcoin is the only form of payment the platform accepts. Therefore the only associated costs are based on the Network fee, calculated from the blockchain load.
The minimum amount that can be deposited into a trading account is 0.001 BTC, while there is no limit of withdrawing Bitcoin.
The process of receiving money is relatively straightforward, with a quick and easy interface. While deposits can also be made quickly and 24 hours a day, all withdrawals are processed in-person at a specific time, adding a level of security on to the process and allowing for the refusal and reduction of fraudulent requests.
Fiat currencies are currently unavailable for any form of payment, whether it’s depositing or withdrawing.
How To Trade At BitMex
The Place Order box is where you will trade on Bitmex. The ‘At Market’ tab allows you to trade at the current market prices. Limit and Stop options enable to you to buy or sell at levels that you decide – assuming the market reaches those levels.
‘Market’ trades are buying and selling at the live prices. There are three main things to keep an eye on initially:
- ‘Quantity’ is the amount in dollars that you want to invest. (The cost of the trade is also listed in XBT, beneath the trade buttons).
- ‘Order Value’ shows how much crypto currency the dollar amount you entered will buy. In this example, $1000 buys 0.1339 Bitcoins. The leverage level you use will affect this – more on this below.
- Click the Buy or Sell button, depending on which way you expect the market to go. (Buy if you think the value will go up, Sell if you think it will go down.
Below the place order section is the leverage gauge. This defaults to zero, which means if you buy $1000 of cryptocurrency and the price doubles, your holding will be worth $2000. If the value drops to zero, your holding will be worth zero.
Leverage however, increases the risks, and the rewards. Setting leverage to 10x will mean you effectively buy $10,000 worth of crypto. Small price movements will mean a larger swing in the value of your holding – if you have only deposited $1000 in your account, a smaller price move against you could wipe it out.
If you are unsure about the risks and benefits of leverage, it is best to leave it zero, or a very low level. A great way to learn about leverage is via a demo account, which brings us to…
TestNet Demo Account
BitMEX provides a complete demonstration version of its platform known at BitMEX Testnet that requires a separate registration to access.
This demo account is a ‘sandbox’ version of the platform, allowing users to try out the service without the additional risks associated with live trading.
Testnet uses a green version of the classic BitMEX logo so users can distinguish which version they are currently using.
Beyond that distinction, most of the platform has the same non-live functionalities at BitMEX Exchange, with the ability to virtually fund your account from different sources and test out trading before you attempt the real thing.
While we still wouldn’t recommend the platform to beginners because of the high level of risk, for more experienced traders looking to feel out new platforms, trying out BitMEX Testnet is highly beneficial.
Deals and Promotions
While BitMEX seems to prefer to leave users to their own devices when it comes to their education and understanding of the platform, the trading service also occasionally provides a range of different discounts and offers to potential users to entice them to sign up.
Typical promotions include a discount bonus of as much as 10%, which is certainly worthwhile for newcomers. Affiliate deals are also available through the BitMEX website besides.
Regulation and Licensing
BitMEX is a fully licensed company that’s wholly owned by founders HDR Global Trading Limited.
The company is licensed in the Republic of Seychelles as part of the International Business Companies Act of 1994. Their company number is 148707.
This means that BitMEX is a legitimate option for many traders around the world, though currently US traders are not accepted as per their terms of service.
Currently, BitMEX is under investigation both by UK Watchdogs and by the US CFTC for their practices, and whether they fall in line with legal requirements.
While this has lead to a reduction in trust for the brand, its easy access to margin trading makes it a top choice for a niche trading audience.
Beyond the typical offerings as an online trading platform, BitMEX has gone above and beyond to provide a range of different order types to appeal to a broader audience.
This includes iceberg orders, fill or kill, immediate or cancel and post-only orders. For traders looking for a high-risk, high-reward platform, BitMEX is a great fit.
Another of the best additional features on the platform is the ability to use leverage immediately following the creation of an account.
For traders interested in this feature, its free availability and easy access from the trading page – using the leverage slider – is a fantastic bonus to the platform. However, for beginners, the pushing of leverage can be a problem and should be avoided.
BitMEX is a company that’s big on support, and it honours this commitment by packing its website full of useful information, guides and general practical knowledge to support traders using their platform for the first time.
This includes a well-designed support centre, as well as live updates on the platform concerning issues or information about updates. The ability to interact with other traders via chat in the platform is also a useful tool.
In contrast to similar trading platforms on the market, BitMEX only hosts one type of account for its users.
This means there are no bonuses, advantages or discounts available to traders over a certain level.
However, this also means that newcomers to the platform are on an equal footing to those trading for longer, allowing for a fairer playing field in comparison to some of the more account level-focused platforms out there.
For traders considering BitMEX, these are just some of the positives that can be said about this unique trading platform:
- A platform solely designed for cryptocurrency makes it far more streamlined and intuitive than a platform that does it all
- Access to a considerable amount of information directly from BitMEX themselves, freely available on their website
- Global trading and the opportunity to talk to traders from all over the world using the inbuilt chat functionality
- Exceptional levels of security, ensuring that trading on this platform is safe 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- Great customisability using widgets within the desktop platform, making it easier to see exactly what you want on opening the service
- An ultimately niche service in addition to general trading attracts a more focused audience than many other platforms out there
- A range of different cryptocurrencies available for trading
Despite the many positive benefits of BitMEX, there are several drawbacks to this platform, including:
- No app or mobile reactive version of the platform, making it solely accessible in a desktop format
- A minimum deposit amount for all traders
- Only Bitcoin is accepted for both withdrawal and deposit on the platform
- Withdrawals are only carried out at a set time of day
- The platform is not entirely as new, stylish or innovative as other options on the market
- focused on a non-beginner audience, with little guidance to suggest that those new to trading shouldn’t use the freely available leverage slider
- Current investigations in the UK and US may set some customers on edge about using this platform
BitMex Trading Hours
BitMEX is a 24/7 trading platform, and as such, is accessible whenever traders would like to access the service. For perpetual contracts, a funding rate occurs every eight hours.
Beyond this, there are no requirements on how or when traders can use the platform, making it the ideal choice for those that prefer continual access to the service of their choice.
Contact Details / Customer Support
In addition to the wealth of information and guidance that BitMEX provides, as stated in our additional features section, the platform offers a standard customer service you’d expect for the industry – support provided through email via a ticketing system. Live channels are also available on Weibo, Wechat, Telegram and more.
Beyond this, the service is also active on social media platforms such as twitter. This allows for relatively speedy responses to problems and issues, and the company seems to focus on keeping bugs and platform problems to a minimum by managing issues in-house.
Reddit also has a reasonably active community for those looking for advice and help from a wider audience.
The contact details for BitMEX are not freely available online, but a form is available on the website for general queries and information.
Safety and Security
BitMEX is a platform that takes the security of their customers seriously, something that is seen from their use of in-house hand-checked withdrawal management through to their use of stringent security practices for deposits.
The platform uses Amazon Web Services to ensure servers are well-protected with two-factor authentication, and a range of functionalities are included such as trading engine security to shut down the system should a deposit address and key not match.
The platform is also created using kdb+, a type of code frequently used for the creation of trading applications for some of the world’s biggest banks.
In terms of past breaches, there is no suggested that BitMEX has ever been hacked, and the use of such stringent security requirements ensures traders will be safe on the service for the long term.
Is BitMEX worth investigating for those interested in branching out with their trading platforms? In our opinion, that really depends.
For more experienced traders that have a good understanding of leverage and the risks involved, BitMEX can be the ideal, niche choice to make margin trading easy.
But for beginners to the world of trading, or those looking for a little more hand-holding along the way, this platform may not be the best fit.
For a global trading platform with a particular goal, BitMEX does all it says it will, and provides all the information and tools needed for successful trades to be made.
But the lack of mobile-friendly design is a real downside for many modern traders, resulting in a platform that’s only useable to an increasingly reducing market.
Overall, BitMEX does precisely what it says on the tin – and what it does do; it does well. If you’re looking for a platform that meets particular requirements, then this one might be the ideal fit. But for other traders, looking elsewhere will provide you with the highest chance of success.
BitMex accepts traders from Australia, Thailand, Canada, United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Qatar and most other countries.