BitMEX is the largest derivatives trading platform for cryptocurrencies. You can currently trade Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Cardano, Ripple & Tron with up to 100x leverage. You are unable to deposit fiat on BitMEX and must use Bitcoin to buy and sell contracts.
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BitMEX stands for Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange. It was started in 2014 and is currently the largest Bitcoin based trading platform in the world and 2nd largest cryptocurrency exchange. BitMEX has executed more than $30 billion in Bitcoin trades since its inception. BitMEX was a pioneer in leveraged Bitcoin trading and has only recently seen significant competition in that regard. But they remain the industry leader with margins up to 100x. BitMEX is registered in the Seychelles, is currently unregulated and is not allowed to operate in the US, China and several other nations.
Before you can begin trading on BitMEX you must first open an account. To do so, go to the site and provide a verifiable email address, your country of residence and your first and last name. After submitting this information, you will be sent a confirmation email with a link inside that you click to confirm your account setup. Once your account is confirmed, simply hit “trade” and begin trading.
Keep in mind that because BitMEX is illegal in the US, Americans wishing to open accounts will be denied by BitMEX security protocols, which check the IP address of all visitors. Some may try to get around this by using a VPN. But doing so is only likely to lead to all manner of complications for them down the road.Trading on BitMEX
BitMEX is unique among cryptocurrency exchanges in that they only allow deposits and withdrawals in Bitcoin. Once you have deposited your Bitcoin with the exchange, however, you are allowed to trade against Dollars, Yen and Chinese Yuan. You can also execute trades in a wide variety of cryptocurrencies including:
- Bitcoin (XBT)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Dash (DASH)
- EOS Token (EOS)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Monero (XMR)
- Ripple Token (XRP)
- Tezos (XTZ)
- Tron (TRX)
- Zcash (ZEC)
If there’s a downside to the BitMEX exchange, it’s the user interface that looks a bit like a refugee from 2005. It’s neither particularly attractive nor particularly intuitive, and getting used to it presents a fairly formidable obstacle to the uninitiated. You would think that an exchange that has topped more than $1 billion in daily trades on numerous occasions would be able to afford a GUI upgrade. But it seems that’s asking a bit too much.
Once you have clicked on a particular trading instrument, the order book, recent trades graphic and order slip are automatically opened. The order book has three columns that display the quantity of the order, the value of the asset underlying the order and the total value of all orders in USD.
Traders have a fair amount of control over the appearance of the platform. But to be sure mastering changes to the various widgets will take time and may not be worth the hassle. There is also a feature called TradingView charting that provides various methods of charting trades which many find quite helpful.
Initial margin fees range from 1% for Bitcoin up to 50% for Tezos. Maker fees, taker fees and settlement fees also vary pretty significantly depending on the cryptocurrency involved. As alluded to briefly in the opening, leveraging up to 100x is allowed on Bitcoin. Though this type of margin trading can be very volatile and should not be attempted by novices.
BitMEX does not charge deposit or withdrawal fees like most other crypto exchanges. However, there is a cryptocurrency network fee involved in withdrawing Bitcoin that is based on the blockchain load at the time. In addition, since BitMEX only allows deposits in Bitcoin, that currency serves as collateral on all trades.
Much to its credit, BitMEX is one of the few major exchanges that has never been hacked. Its security is widely considered to be among the best in the industry, with the platform using multi-signature deposit and withdrawal protocols. The BitMEX site also uses Amazon Web Services to safeguard their servers along with a variety of hardware tokens.
BitMEX also uses a sophisticated system to check for systemic risk in real time. If these risk checks are not satisfied at any time, all trading on the system is immediately halted. In addition, every withdrawal is checked by a staff member before being approved and each deposit is externally verified.
The Bottom Line
The safety and effectiveness of the BitMEX trading platform would seem to be beyond reproach. The one caveat being that the muddled user interface doesn’t make things particularly easy on novices. And perhaps that’s just as well. Since novices really shouldn’t be meddling in cryptocurrency trades with 100x margins.