Bitfinex is today one of the most famous cryptocurrency trading platforms -Exchange platform- in the world.
The story about his birth is curious. Everything began in 2012, when the young French Raphael Nicolle (who is the current founder), a great “internet-researcher”, found in a public and free way the source code on which he built the first version of Bitfinex.
Immediately on 2013, Giancarlo Devasini (current CFO of Bitfinex) proposed himself for a collaboration with the project creating the real cryptocurrency trading company and obtaining the 40% of the company shares.
Today, Bitfinex is controlled by iFinex Inc., a company incorporated into British Virgin Island with offices in Taiwan.
Bitfinex has the reputation of being one of the largest and most advanced cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Advanced trading features, deep liquidity and access to several different altcoins make Bitfinex a contender for serious professionals who want all the options at their fingertips to help them earn money from the cryptocurrency.
In addition to being widely recognized as the largest bitcoin exchange in the world, Bitfinex offers a customizable interface that allows users to personalize the workstation. The platform is fully equipped with margin trading and ten different types that give users the possibility to trade the market without limitations.
On its website there is available a detailed beginners guide.
Compared to other exchanges, Bitfinex offers these kind of fees:
- Free deposit fees, except on bank transfers (or wire transfer) method where fees are between 0.1% of deposit amount and $20.
- Trading fees range from 0% to 0.2%, depending on the trading cap over the last 30 days.
- Withdrawal fees depend on the currency taken or the method chosen.
Complete customer service support, via email 24/24h., FAQ section and an active forum where users can ask questions.
On August 2016, Bitfinex was hacked suffering a theft of 120,000 bitcoins, which means $ 72,000,000 at that time.
Without reaching the infamous Mt.Gox attack level (which we remember having suffered a theft of 744,408 bitcoins at the beginning of 2014, worth $ 350 million) even at that time, there was an impact on the price of BTC, lowering 25%, with the difference that the management of Bitfinex has held its record in terms of security, instead of closing the business as happened for Mt.Gox.
Immediately after the attack, Bitfinex had to suspend the withdrawals and reason on the best solution to take.
The reaction was to issue tokens equivalent to the number of lost bitcoins and distribute them to users, (1 BFX = $ 1) with the promise of repurchasing them at bitcoin prices over time.
Bitfinex has repurchased all tokens in less than a year, fully compensating the affected customers and showing its deep liquidity and dedication to customers in the process.
Another issue about Bitfinex that has given rise to some controversy is its closely affiliation with the Tether Limited company, making wide use of their cryptocurrency as USDT (Tethers). USDT is a stable-coin anchored to the value of the US dollar and almost always worth exactly $ 1.
When users make US dollar deposits on Bitfinex, it will often be credited to their accounts in USDT form.
The controversy arises from the moment in which the Tether Limited company interrupted its relationship with the auditors who were verifying the accuracy of the company’s claims, that is about of owning currency reserves to backup all the USDTs in circulation.
As Bitfinex gets a lot of its liquidity from Tether, this sort of uncertainty about the sustainability of the platform has occurred.
Among the many observations on that topic, stands out the analysis of Alberto De Luigi in his article: “ la verità su Tether e Bitfinex: davvero una truffa colossale?” (translated: the truth about Tether and Bitfinex: is it a real colossal scam?”
Essentially, the use of USDT against USD allows the entry of the “fiat currency” concept in the world of cryptocurrencies, benefiting mainly from 3 factors:
1. Tax returns: being the cryptocurrencies legislation is still in a gray area of regulations;
2. The exchange is not forced to follow the Know Your Customer and Anti Money Laundering (KYC / AML) policies as it is not holding any fiat currency on behalf of users
3. USDT can be sent as all cryptocoins with a simple click, in particular its public ledger is registered on the blockchain of Bitcoin.
Thanks to these benefits, other Exchange companies have also begun to use USDT, so that they don’t have to own any license to operate as traditional financial intermediaries, or in any case have a bank support, for their cryptocurrency trading mission, albeit using a stable-coin.
As the centralized USDT crypto-coins issued by the Tether Limited company, in order to sell them in USD, it is necessary to follow the procedure (account verification and KYC / AML confirmation) of the Taiwanese bank which supports the Tether company.
And here we are with the bureaucratic complication and the beginning of the controversy. The main Taiwanese banks on which Tether Limited operates have been blocked by the corresponding US banks, including Wells Fargo, starting a sort of investigation about the company’s reserves.
From this mismatch, even Bitfinex followed by closing withdrawals for US citizens. In particular, since August 2017, Bitfinex has suspended the service for US citizens stating that “an incredibly small percentage of its revenues comes from US verified accounts, while a drastically disproportionate amount of resources is spent for these users between support requests, regulations and legal fees”.
In the global Exchange scenario, Bitfinex is ranked fourth in terms of business volume (see on coinmarketcap page)
It boasts deep liquidity, advanced trading features and order types, popularity like Bitcoin Exchange, offer competitive rates, a wide range of cryptocurrencies and the ability to use it through supported mobile Apps.