Wex Exchange Review
Wex offers traders a cryptocurrency portfolio with a good selection of digital coins. It is one of a limited number of exchanges that is fiat-friendly, supporting EUR, RUR and USD trades for cryptocurrency. Interestingly, despite being registered in New Zealand and having a corresponding website domain, the platform in fact runs out of Singapore.
The new Wex platform was built in a month, employing many developers who built the original BTC-e site. Adding to suspicion that Wex is linked to BTC-e was the inclusion of the Russian ruble, despite there being any concrete evidence thereof. To date, Wex denies receiving financing from the seized and investigated BTC-e exchange which was shut down in June 2017 by U.S. agents, pursuing various cases of crypto-theft that even included trails from the Mt.Gox looting.
The owner of BTC-e, Russian citizen Alexander Vinnik, was subsequently arrested in Greece and now faces U.S. extradition to answer charges of fraud and money laundering. Interestingly, the U.S. authorities are also alleging that Vinnik gained in some way from the Mt.Gox hack.
While Vinnik denied all accusations including having anything to do with Wex, and statements from BTC-e supported his claims, it appears an open secret in the crypto-community that Wex is simply a replacement site for BTC-e – and an attempt by BTC-e to restore services to its former user base. Although both parties deny any mutual involvement, users point to the almost replica rendering of the original BTC-e design, functionality and trading options built into Wex.
What Is Wex In A Nutshell?
Extensively publicized through social media, the company rewarded early users with small digital payments. In an over-simplified offer, Wex allows a user to complete a basic registration and buy bitcoin and other altcoins with USD and other fiats.
A detailed account isn’t required for a user to trade, increasing the site’s susceptibility to fraud and money laundering. While there have been several promises from the company about complying with KNY and AML legislation, the reality is that none of that applies on this site – and, where it might, the company has completely ignored it.
Encryption and other tight protocols are allegedly in place to protect clients’ holdings, as is usual for a modern crypto exchange. Wex has many payment platforms to choose from when buying-in with fiat currencies. Most are decidedly Russian – not necessarily a bad thing – but the company does appear to have a definite Russian bias. This is at odds with both its country of inception and country of operation, and also wears denials about the BTC-e connection thin.
Wex charges a $100 minimum bank transfer fee when users withdraw funds – ridiculously high – and also a $20 deposit fee.
The exchange doesn’t accept credit card payments, however. Whether this is to aid their collection of transaction fees that can hide behind the term “bank transfer” or simply the product of some other essential protocol remains unclear. What is clear is that the absence of this service is an inconvenience to many users, adding to the growing list of concerns which prevent many people from using the site.
The Problems With Wex
While one might accept the company’s denial of any connection to the former BTC-e exchange, it did take over the entire listed user base from BTC-e in a cosy transaction that must have included hidden details.
Also to be noted is that there is little to no clear information on the site. Most worryingly for a fintech outfit, there is a huge amount of continent hopping and an alarming history taking place in the background. There is also no wallet facility, and although many exchanges operate similarly, fees are indistinct and not transparent on this site, being comparatively quite high.
If the above were not enough, there is an overall “substandard” feel to the online exchange – tabs that disappear, freeze frames that don’t scroll down and pages in Russian that don’t translate.
The BTC-e connection discourse has done more harm than good as it has been ineffectively addressed by the company. One can only imagine the company’s denials are in order to maintain the unregulated anonymity it is currently enjoying.
Traders should note that using an exchange that is an offshoot of an exchange that was previously shut down – and is in no way improved – carries the risk of U.S. authorities again targeting the company. There is bad press, where any company can address thorny issues and make their stance crystal clear. And then there is arrest and prosecution by the FBI, and no clear-headed investor would have anything to do with any company that has demonstrably broken faith.
Wex [wex.nz/exchange] makes lots of noise about registration and compliance, yet its moves show a company dodging identification. Presenting to any experienced surfer as a minimalist site with a threadbare build, bare-minimum facilities and these optimized to glean fees from users, Wex is either a niche gem or simply the minimum requirement for setting up a crypto scam. It remains to be seen what morality and accompanying UX emerges from the exchange’s existence.
Wex Users And The Future
The Wex exchange doesn’t cater for traders seeking leverage, nor does it offer much trading intel in comparison to other similar sites. Comments on forums like Reddit and Bitcointalk are particularly scathing, painting a picture of a company happy to cover itself legally while washing its hands of customers’ issues. With some users calling the company blatant fraudsters and thieves, response histories appear to depict an atrocious absence of manifested fiduciary responsibility from the company’s side.
Wex’s current status as a going concern hinges on its avoiding regulation while having inherited a client base from BTC-e. Although muttering about what a great, transparent company it is going to be, this too seems more of a prop to feign compliance while milking users for heavy transaction fees. Being an unregulated crypto exchange, perpetually swapping out of Russia, New Zealand and Singapore – all locales where the company is unregistered and/or unregulated – doesn’t look good.
Launched in 2017 and bearing a remarkable resemblance to the old BTC-e site, Wex appears to be operating in loopholes with countries and trading practices. If nothing else, it has been suggested that the lack of regulation and many facilities users might expect of such an exchange are missing due to the profit-hunger of the company. Demonstrably targeted to glean as much as possible from users’ participation, avoiding regulation might also be a cost-cutting exercise.
Under Singapore’s laws, cryptocurrencies are deemed securities and their minting and trading requires approval by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). In addition, anyone issuing digital currencies needs a license derived of the Singapore’s Securities and Futures Act (SFA).
In September 2017, Coindesk posted that Wex was indeed an offshoot of the old BTC-E. Possibly then the largest user group on the exchange is that of former clients who were loyal to BTC-e. Support responses confirm that although intimately involved in transactions as the exchange, if there is a legal closure to a matter they can claim, the company will grab at it. This flies in the face of modern service levels, so much more so in the fintech arena.
As there is zero margin for any spurious activity from fintech companies, whether legacy or crypto-centric, it cannot be recommended that any clear-thinking investor trade on the exchange. Onsite, the team also have a tab called “Bitcoin Betting” – an unwelcome label in the field of technically analyzed speculation.
Wex has its own native coin, released as the Wex coin, in essence a “bonus” token, and one that can be traded on the exchange. Possibly an outlet for those who fancy cavalier and possibly even cowboyish risk dalliance, for the average crypto trader, Wex is rated a high risk exchange, to be treated with due caution and avoided as far as possible