BitMEX Cryptocurrency Exchange & Derivative Trading Platform Review

BitMEX, which stands for Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange, is a popular crypto-only trading platform for experienced margin traders. It was registered in Seychelles in 2014 as the product of several finance and web experts, Arthur Hayes, Samuel Reed, and Ben Delo (Britain’s youngest self-made billionaire). Being a margin trading platform (leverage), users aren’t really trading cryptocurrencies, but rather they are trading contracts that follow crypto price changes, and for that service, BitMEX is one of the best out there.

In this article, we will look at the positives, negatives, the available crypto assets, and share some information about fees. Let’s go!

The positives

  • Users can leverage trades up to 100x, with a lower margin and smaller minimum contract amount than competitors like Bitfinex and OKCoin
  • The platform offers:
    • Futures contracts
    • Perpetual contracts
    • Upside profit contracts
    • Downside profit contracts
  • Maker fees are set at -0.0250%, meaning they actually rebate the makers, whereas takers are charged a very low and competitive 0.0750%
  • BitMEX charges no fees on deposits or withdrawals, however, when withdrawing Bitcoin, the minimum Bitcoin Network fee is set based on blockchain load
  • Customer service is available by email ticket, which is standard, but what is quite interesting and unique is the ‘Trollbox’, a public chatroom for users to discuss all things crypto and potentially get support from other BitMEX traders
  • Their security is based on multi-signature cold storage as well as Amazon Web Services
  • As of November 2020, there have been no reported hacks on BitMEX

The negatives

  • Presents users the option to pursue a risky trading strategy that is quite volatile
  • Leveraged derivative trading is aimed at more experienced traders, and so BitMEX is not designed for novice crypto-investors
  • BitMEX is crypto-only, so no other derivatives or foreign currencies will be found. This also means you can’t purchase crypto directly with fiat currency
  • Values, deposits, and withdrawals must be done ONLY with Bitcoin, limiting the potential of the platform
  • BitMEX does not accept users from the USA (in theory but not in practice), Ontario and Québec in Canada, Seychelles (despite being registered there), Bermuda, Crimea, Sevastopol, Hong Kong, Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Sudan
  • In October 2020, all three founders and one former employee were criminally charged with failing to prevent money laundering activities on the platform. This allowed money launderers to act in the financial shadows because there were no AML procedures in place. Hayes and Reed stepped down from their positions in light of the criminal charges and Reed was arrested (posting a $5m bond), however Delo and Hayes are still at large. Within 24 hours of the news breaking, 37,000 Bitcoins worth around half a billion dollars left the platform, with investors looking to protect themselves. These are shaky times for BitMEX.

Which cryptocurrencies are available on BitMEX?

Some information about fees

The following information has come directly from BitMEX and is accurate as of November 5th, 2020:

Perpetual Contracts

Series Leverage Maker Fee Taker Fee Long Funding Short Funding Funding Interval
Bitcoin (XBT) 100x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0100% -0.0100% every 8 hours
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) 25x -0.0250% 0.0750% -0.1750% 0.1750% every 8 hours
Chainlink (LINK) 50x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0100% -0.0100% every 8 hours
Ethereum (ETH) 50x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0773% -0.0773% every 8 hours
Litecoin (LTC) 33.33x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0209% -0.0209% every 8 hours
Ripple (XRP) 50x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0100% -0.0100% every 8 hours

A negative fee means that the trader will receive a rebate. Funding rates change based on market lending rates. See below for details.

Traditional Futures

Series Leverage Maker Fee Taker Fee Settlement Fee
Bitcoin (XBT) 100x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0500%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) 20x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0000%
Cardano (ADA) 20x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0000%
EOS Token (EOS) 20x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0000%
Ethereum (ETH) 50x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0000%
Litecoin (LTC) 33.33x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0000%
Ripple (XRP) 20x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0000%
Tron (TRX) 20x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0000%

At the time of settlement any open position in contracts will attract the settlement fee.

Quanto Futures

Series Leverage Maker Fee Taker Fee Settlement Fee
Binance Coin (BNB) 33.33x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0000%
Cardano (ADA) 25x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0000%
Chainlink (LINK) 50x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0000%
EOS Token (EOS) 25x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0000%
Ethereum (ETH) 50x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0000%
Polkadot (DOT) 25x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0000%
Tezos (XTZ) 33.33x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0000%
yearn.finance (YFI) 25x -0.0250% 0.0750% 0.0000%

The final say

Experienced traders aren’t going to have an issue with BitMEX, but it’s the beginners that we think might find this platform too complicated. BitMEX is built by experts, for advanced traders, and so it’s not looking to compete with the simplicity of Coinbase or the aesthetics of Luno (read our reviews of Coinbase and Luno), but what it does want to compete on is data, contracts trading, and providing ultra-competitive fees (or even rebates). The end result is more of a niche platform that can boast superb quality and a great service for their users.

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