Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin utilize an unhackable and decentralized transaction ledger called blockchain. There is no bank or company or organization running everything behind the scenes, which is why trading Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies is considered safe from hackers.
Rather than having specific servers for cloud transactions, decentralized exchanges (DEXs) utilize blockchain. This way, any data they wright goes directly to the blockchain, making it impossible to hack, ensuring that DEXs are more secure than any kind of centralized banking system. A majority of cryptocurrencies also utilize peer-to-peer trading, which involves users making transactions directly from their personal wallet, so no funds are ever deposited.
For most users, their blockchain wallet address is their only ID, making it harder to hack someone’s personal information. Also, with no central authority, government intervention or regulation is far less likely to affect blockchain.
On the other hand, decentralized exchanges can be slow moving and difficult to use. For some, there is a small group of people offering support and services. However, most of the time, transactions are dependent upon miners to confirm those transactions, which often comes at a cost.
Of course, it’s hard to put a price on privacy and security when it comes to any type of currency. Thus, the positives of DEXs tend to outweigh the negatives. Moreover, the DEX model is still growing and developing, so it stands to reason that things will improve with time.
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the top DEXs in operation today.
Bancor allows you to exchange various ERC-20 tokens, utilizing message apps as part of the process. There’s no need to deposit funds, and there is a user-friendly interface that makes everything relatively easy. However, Bancor sets all the prices, and all you can really do on this DEX is swap tokens.
This is a rather odd DEX in that it has no dedicated interface. You simply log into your “Counterwallet.” The problem with Counterparty is that there’s no token filter, so it’s tough to tell if anything you see is a scam or not. While you can create tokens via the Bitcoin blockchain, the process is overly complicated, so you need to be a savvy crypto expert to get much done.
EtherDelta is a popular DEX. However, as its name implies, it only deals with Ethereum assets, as well as Ethereum derivatives. Through the use of smart contracts, EtherDelta comes as close as you can get to working directly with the blockchain. However, the interface can be confusing for those who are new to cryptocurrencies and the exchange process. In short, this is for experienced crypto investors.
ForkDelta has many similarities to EtherDelta, as it’s literally a fork of the latter. The newer version is more user-friendly than EtherDelta, making it easy and free for ICO assets to be added. However, the two are quite similar in many ways, although ultimately the two should become more distinct from one another.
Just like ForkDelta, IDEX revolves around Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens. But the big difference is that IDEX combines both centralized and decentralized trading. IDEX uses smart contracts but also has an “arbiter” that helps to speed up the trading process. Of course, this means third-party control, which is a deal-break for some users. The site also rewards users with its own proof-of-stake coin, the AURA.
Kyber has aspirations to be the next big thing, but right now it’s mainly used to exchange tokens. It’s good for allowing users to exchange tokens using their liquid assets and without having to make a deposit. Unfortunately, Kyber provides no information about making informed trades. Instead, it’s merely a giant token swap.
This is a site that tries to do it all, from Bitcoin to altcoins, and even fiat money. You can either choose a wallet that connects straight to your computer or a traditional account that’s a little less secure but can be accessed from anywhere. However, this latter option requires traditional deposits. OpenLedger also has some interface and usability issues that can turn off users.
Radar Relay distinguishes itself by being build using the 0x (ZRX) protocol. Doing so helps with speed and accessibility because only confirmed transactions are written on the ETH blockchain. There are no accounts to maintain or deposits to make, you’ll just need an ERC-20 compatible wallet. Of course, with 0x, there will be a secondary blockchain, meaning you must have faith in the third-party running the show.
Created by Stellar Lumens, this DEX only lists six coins: CNY, MOBI, REPO, RMT, SLT, and XLM. You also need to make a wallet deposit in order to trade. However, unlike most DEXs, StellarTerm offers a desktop client and is quite easy to use.
Waves DEX is a combination of centralized and decentralized trading. You can trade a variety of cryptocurrencies as well as fiat money, and the process is quite quick. However, because it’s build on the WAVES platform, using this DEX requires a WAVES wallet.
Bitcoin Volumes Finally Grow Again and Bitfinex/Tether Issues Spark Systemic Risks, New Diar Report Affirms
Diar has recently published its report of the crypto market for April. According to the company, Bitcoin volumes are finally growing again and the whole situation with Tether and Bitfinex showed the industry some of its systemic risks. DAI fee hikes and stablecoin projects were also highlighted in the report.
Bitcoin Goes Back To Growing Again
The main highlight of the month is, obviously, that Bitcoin is back on the action. After facing lows which started in 2018, the token has finally been able to effectively reverse the trends and have an actual price surge this month, going from less than $4,200 USD to over $5,200 USD during this short timeframe.
With this, the number of on-chain transactions has spiked for three months in a row, since prices started to get some of their value back in March and April. Now, transaction volumes are around their levels in June 2018 when the price of the asset was around $7,000 USD.
However, charts indicate that Bitcoin is yet to find more footing outside of speculative trading, so the bull market may not be as near as some think.
When looking at the volume of the whole quarters, Q1 2019 had lower volumes than Q4 2018, but Q2 2019 started considerably well.
Bitfinex and Tether Start Concerns of Systemic Risks
As you may have heard, Bitfinex was accused of using Tether funds to cover up its losses. According to Diar, there is a 26% shortfall of in-cash reserves to back Tether tokens (USDT). Tether loaned $850 million USD to Bitfinex to cover up losses and its general counsel Stuart Hoegner has affirmed that the company is operating with fewer reserves than the total market cap of the token.
This happened because Bitfinex had the $850 million USD “seized” by Crypto Capital, one of its payment processors. Unless Hoegner is lying, though, the company had the assets to back the stablecoin until recently.
While it is clear now that Tether simply does not have the money to back the funds, people simply keep buying the tokens. Now, instead of all cash, some shares of Bitfinex are being used to represent the rest of the value, which makes the stablecoin enter securities territory for the first time.
Curiously, the markets are all very tolerant now since the prices are still stable but the systemic risks are clear, especially if other companies are to follow Tether’s path.
DAI Hikes Fees Once More
Another situation highlighted by the reports is that DAI has decided to upgrade its stability fees once again as the community is desperately trying to make the prices of the so-called stablecoin go up again. DAI tokens are being sold for less than $1 USD, their official price, on secondary markets.
At the moment, the fees are 16.5%, after increasing three times in only one month. Before April, the fees were only 7.5%. This has resulted in a decrease of 4.9% in the circulation of DAI tokens.
Stablecoins Eye Wider Use Cases
Gemini and Harbor, a A16Z tokenized securities platform, have started a partnership in order to get more clients for the Harbor stablecoin. However, this was deemed “too soon” by Diar, as Harbor does not have any known token right now. The only one the company had was canceled.
TrustToken is also trying to get more stablecoins on its list, especially the ones that are not focused on USD, but on several other fiat currencies like HKD, CAD or GBP instead.
#DropGold Campaign to Hit Your TV, Here’s A Breakdown of the Underlying Bitcoin Message(s)
Grayscale, a leader in digital currency investing, launched an ad on Wednesday, May 1, telling investors that money should be contributed to Bitcoin holdings as opposed to gold. In a number of interviews, CEO of Grayscale’s parent company (Digital Currency Group), Barry Silbert and Managing Director of Grayscale, Michael Sonnenshein, have since expressed the underlying message of the ad.
The #DropGold Ad
According to news outlet, U Today, the ad starts off with a man holding gold bars in his arm, which he decides to drop. While doing so, a woman also does the same. Throughout the ad, people supposedly have their gold bars stacked in shopping carts, while “losing their gold coins.” Watching what’s about to unfold, the two individuals try to find their way out.
Advertising Bitcoin or Grayscale’s Services?
Despite being the one to have introduced this campaign, Silbert argues that it isn’t entirely about Grayscale services, but rather said services being a result of consumers’ decision. Yahoo Finance has since quoted the following comment made by Silbert himself:
“We do not see this as a Grayscale commercial. For us #DropGold is our ‘Got Milk’. This campaign is first and foremost focused on starting a conversation about bitcoin vs gold. If the ad makes people want to get into Bitcoin, we’re completely indifferent about how they go about doing it.”
Having said this, the commercial is evidently portraying Grayscale as an option, as towards the end, one is told, “Go Digital. Go Grayscale.”
Silbert’s and Sonnenshein’s Arguments Regarding Gold’s Limitations
Silbert believes that this campaign works towards addressing the fact that Bitcoin can serve as an equal asset class as gold, if not better. In particular, he was quoted saying, “But now you have Bitcoin, which, in our opinion, provides all the same attributes as gold – it’s fungible and scarce and you can’t counterfeit it – but the big difference is that Bitcoin has utility. Gold doesn’t have much utility beyond jewelry.”
He further argued that the goal here isn’t to replace fiat currency for shopping purposes, but rather to show the world that Bitcoin does a better job at doing gold’s job and this will be evident in the long run. Although he has acknowledged Bitcoin’s volatility as being concerning, he is hopeful that it will one day serve as both an ideal utility token and store of value.
As for Sonnenshein’s viewpoint, he sees this ad as revealing the “absurdity” associated with gold. More specifically, he said:
“We’re going after a narrative around gold being where investors should go when markets turn south or as a hedge against inflation […] we’re highlighting the absurdity of gold.”
As per The Block Crypto, Grayscale also tries to convince investors that the return earned from redistributing 5% of gold to Bitcoin will be greater than 5% yearly.
What are your overall thoughts on this ad? Did it leave you asking yourself, “Why did you invest in gold? Are you living in the past?” Share your thoughts below!
Huobi Pro Bitcoin Exchange: Cryptocurrency Asset Trading Platform?
Huobi Pro Cryptocurrency Exchange
Founded in 2013, Huobi Pro allows for a myriad digital currencies to be exchanged, at a 0.2 percent trading commission. Loyal users point to the low fees and stellar service that make the exchange stand out above others.
Although pitched at dedicated cryptocurrency enthusiasts since the site doesn’t accept fiat currencies many who enter the realm on the back of fiat end up at Huobi Pro, largely due to its diverse offering and favorable fee structure.
Huobi Pro in A Nutshell
A victim of China’s clampdown on digital currencies, the company might be registered in the Seychelles, but was originally founded in Beijing. As testament to the broad appeal of the platform, after the Chinese regime effectively banned all things crypto at the beginning of 2018, trading volumes have only grown.
While at first very much a Chinese company looking at the home market, Huobi Pro has been forced to find a wider marketplace on the international scene. Indeed, even prior to the official cessation of altcoins and their trading, the company heard the rumblings in 2017 and took its cryptocurrency interests abroad.
Huobi now provides exchange services to users in over 130 countries. Company offices are located in the USA, Korea, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Although the Huobi Group also owns and manages the Huobi Autonomous Digital Asset Exchange (HADAX), Huobi Pro is more of a pure “login and trade” exchange.
Users can employ network tokens to cast votes on adding new altcoins on HADAX. On the Huobi Pro exchange, a simplified offer encompassing all of the mainstream altcoins greets visitors. Some more popular coins offered are Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), NEM (XEM), NEO (NEO), Qtum (QTUM) and Ripple (XRP).
That said, when one actually tallies the number of altcoins available for exchange, it becomes apparent why loyal followers value the site. A marriage of both simple ease of use and diversity in trading, the platform is largely welcomed by newcomers and experienced enthusiasts alike. In the current melee of regulation being contemplated, implemented and tweaked all the while, some users may be precluded from trading on the exchange based on their country of residence.
Huobi Pro accepts the funding of accounts only in digital currencies, and accepts deposits in any of its listed altcoins. Unlike other exchanges that have opted for a midway between crypto and fiat, Huobi Pro traders deal strictly in digital coins at every point of a transaction. Funds need to be withdrawn to a wallet, and fiat users looking to buy in will have to establish a wallet first in order to fund their Huobi Pro trading account.
Traders pay a maker or taker fee of just 0.02 percent using the exchange. There are more detailed offers, worth looking at for daily traders with volume.
Huobi Pro Membership Levels
VIP users get preferential platform trading fees if they buy the privilege with Huobi tokens. The Huobi Token (HT) was never an ICO token, but rather a system token that users only obtain by buying “Point Cards” on the Huobi Pro platform. Point Card is essentially a pre-paid Huobi card that keeps users liquid on service fees. One HT = 1 USD, therefore one “point” = 1 USD. The more points purchased, the more free points are added, although savings on 1000 points, for example, means only 10 HT for free.
Huobi Global minted a fixed total of 500 million tokens, with 300 million employed to facilitate the in-house VIP structure. A mark of the business group behind the platform is seen in their practice of buying back-sold tokens from the open market each quarter. Not only that, but those funds go towards the Huobi Investor Protection Fund (HIPF).
This is a planned fund that will compensate investors who suffer platform disruption and subsequent losses. It’s a tool that minimizes risk, smooths out the market overall and also goes towards protecting investor interests. This transparent and pleasing aspect of the platform is one reason traders have confidence in the exchange, and its popularity is rising worldwide.
By way of example, in order to glean a VIP status, a trader will pay 120 HT a month for First Level membership. This enables a 20 percent discount on trading fees. Running through toward the top end, a pricier option of 6,000 HT a month secures a 50 percent discount on fees. Overall, a diligent trader can optimize the system and come out with a substantial discount on the already low 0.02 percent base offer.
The company charges no fees to deposit funds, but there are withdrawal fees. Although there are reviews online listing withdrawal fees, it appears that, especially within the membership structure, users are advised to ascertain exact fees when establishing their account. Likewise, transfer limits need to established upfront to avoid disappointment later. There exist order size limits on the platform too, again becoming more malleable as one moves up the ranks of the VIPs.
Security And UX On Huobi Pro
All of the standard protocols including two-step Google Authenticator verification are at play on the platform. Unlike many other exchanges that offer a simple crypto-exclusive platform, Huobi Pro will need your personal details in the form of a passport copy and chat room comments are not devoid of complaints, although almost all of them take issue with the structure of the platform and its potential pitfalls. There are few allegations of lost funds or other negligence on behalf of the company. On the whole, Huobi Pro seems to be rubbing off its decidedly corporate ethos onto the exchange – good news for traders overall.
Another serious boon for the cryptosphere as a whole is that over 98 percent of holdings are stored in an offline cold wallet or vault. Imbued with a strict customer service ethic, the platform probably sports the best customer service to date for crypto exchanges. Available 24/7 365, there is a live chat option onsite.
The platform intel is sufficient although newbies might have to scratch to paint a clear picture of how exactly everything works. The FAQs are thoughtful and, again, testament to a polished offering. Huobi used to be one of the biggest Chinese crypto exchanges, based in Beijing. Started by entrepreneur Leon Li in 2013, since the move there has been mutual appreciation of its value. Worldwide users have taken to the exchange, as it too realized that it had global appeal.
Huobi Pro Conclusion
Huobi claims to have exceeded BTC 500,000 in daily trading approaching 2014. Although only in its fifth year, that’s a long time in cryptocurrency. Although frequently accused of embellishing trading volumes, these allegations have never been proven. In comparison to other digital exchanges that have suffered persistent user complaints and even been shut down due to criminal activity, Huobi Pro shines.
As an offering, it has low fees, great diversity and an unbeatable crypto-energy. No trader on the platform feels like they’re missing out on something else somewhere else, by most accounts. Possibly due to their prior involvement in the fintech world, the platform got it right first time around and user numbers prove it. The company Huobi also owns another trading platform, BitYes, more focused on USD/BTC and USD/LTC pairs trading. Great customer service and minimal technical glitches have made it appear positively top-tier, again in comparison to less polished outfits.
With a detailed offering, great client liaison – very unusual for most digital exchanges so far – and no legitimate proof of anything even vaguely dark hanging about them, the Huobi Pro project is recommended. Users are advised to always ascertain costs prior to trading – not hard with the customer support in this case – and sample a platform with small trades before trading greater amounts. To learn more, you can head to their official website: huobi.pro