Updated · Jun 06, 2022
Best for: Experienced crypto traders
What Is BitMEX?
BitMEX is a cryptocurrency exchange that lets you trade crypto with leverage up to 100x.
The platform only accepts payments in Bitcoin. So, even if you’re buying and selling other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin, you have to start by depositing Bitcoin. Rather than trading currency directly, users trade contracts. This type is generally more volatile, and as such, BitMEX exchange is better suited to experienced traders.
The platform was founded in 2014 by former banking experts Arthur Hayes, Ben Delo, and Samuel Reed. It’s owned and operated by HDR Global Trading Limited.
The exchange experienced a rapid rise in popularity since then. It has grown to become one of the biggest platforms for trading digital currencies.
One of the founders - Ben Delo, is the UK’s first billionaire that made his fortune through Bitcoin.
In 2020, the CFTC (Commodity Future Trading Commission) charged BitMEX for operating an unregistered trading platform and violating some of their regulations.
So, is the platform worth checking out considering all the legal issues involved? And is it the place to be if you’re looking to trade crypto?
Let’s find answers in this BitMEX review.
BitMEX Leverage and Trading
BitMEX specializes in margin trading (the term is used interchangeably with leverage trading).
It allows you to borrow money against your current funds and use it to trade digital currencies. This means you can leverage the electronic money you already have by borrowing money from BitMEX.
The platform offers x100 leverage for some cryptocurrencies. So, for example, if you deposit 0.005 BTC, you can get up to 0.5 BTC to trade with.
This is one of its most prominent features. The company has included a slider in the sidebar to set the level of leverage you want for your position.
Leverage is a key point of the appeal for experienced traders who know what they’re doing. BitMEX’s goes as high as x100, so it is generally aimed at them. Beginners are discouraged from BitMEX leverage trading with anything more than 5x.
It’s important to note that maximum isn’t 100x for all products. It varies depending on the digital currency and contract you opt for.
Besides Bitcoin, BitMEX lets you trade many other digital currencies. For example, it offers Cardano - another decentralized public blockchain project. Other currencies available include Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, etc.
Many cryptocurrencies on the platform can be traded with leverage 20x. With Bitcoin, you can trade with 100x. The lowest leverage is on a cryptocurrency called Tezos, which only goes up to 2x.
There’s also an initial margin which represents the minimum amount of Bitcoin you have to deposit to open a position.
If you want to get a better idea of how BitMEX leverage works, you can enter the practice environment. It feels just like the real thing.
BitMEX offers four different derivative products:
- Traditional Contracts or Futures - A contract in which you promise to buy or sell a digital currency on a previously agreed date.
- Perpetual Contracts - No expiry or settlement like there is with traditional futures.
- BitMEX Upside Profit Contracts - This lets you take part in the potential upside of the underlying instrument.
- BitMEX Downside Profit Contracts - You can take part in the potential downside of the underlying instrument.
BitMEX Deposit and Withdrawals
Placing money on your account is entirely free. BitMEX withdrawals involve no fees as well.
However, you can’t deposit right after creating an account.
For safety reasons, BitMEX requires you to verify your identity before placing electronic money on your account.
When confirming your identity, you’ll have to pass the following levels of security:
- Identity (A photograph of your ID)
- Presence (A selfie or video)
- Location (By using your web browser or uploading a document)
- Funding (How you’ll fund your account)
Depositing at BitMEX is only available in Bitcoin. Users who use Litecoin, Tether, Dogecoin, and other digital currencies risk losing everything they’ve deposited.
The minimum amount you can put on your account is 0.0001 BTC (10,000 Satoshi).
BitMEX uses multi-signature cold wallet addresses, meaning that no machines connected to the internet will read your cryptocurrency wallet.
The BitMEX withdrawal process is relatively simple. You can use any Bitcoin wallet you want and choose the amount you want to take.
There’s a recommended minimum of 0.001 BTC.
BitMEX has highly competitive trading fees that depend on the currency you’re trading. At the moment, the fees on perpetual and some future swaps are -0.025% for makers and 0.075% for takers.
Here’s a table overview of all BitMEX fees for perpetual contracts you should be aware of.
|Currency||Leverage||Maker Fee||Taker Fee||Long Funding||Short Funding|
BitMEX Insurance Fund
When trading on a derivative platform like BitMEX, you’re not trading against it. Instead, it’s just a facilitator for the exchange between you and someone else.
With leverage that goes up to 100x, you can purchase contracts with a lot more cryptocurrency than you’ve deposited on your account.
Naturally, if you were to lose, you wouldn’t have enough margin to pay the winner.
BitMEX and similar crypto exchanges cannot offer the same type of protection to the winning traders as the CME does.
That’s why, in theory, there may not always be enough funds within the systems for winners to get the money they’re owed.
The BitMEX insurance fund helps mitigate this issue and ensures all winners get exactly what they expect. Plus, it helps limit the downside liability for the other trader.
The way it works:
If your maintenance margin is too low, BitMEX automatically closes your position. In other words, it liquidates your position by selling the Bitcoin in it.
This results in contributions to the insurance fund, allowing it to grow at a steady pace.
According to data available on the official website, the company’s insurance fund had around 21,000 BTC in 2019. When you take into consideration its annual trading volume, this is more than CME has in its funds.
BitMEX Ease of Use and Interface
In order to give you a good BitMEX review, I spend hours using the platform and digging deep into the interface.
Good news - everything is straightforward.
The people at BitMEX have laid out information and settings in a logical way. You can find menus on the left side of the screen while trading data sits within windows.
Just bear in mind that a simple interface doesn’t mean BitMEX is beginner-friendly. As I already mentioned, the platform is generally aimed at semi-professional and professional traders.
Although easy to navigate, BitMEX isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as some other exchanges out there.
It feels like an average spreadsheet program you can run on your PC.
The platform lacks color, and a few extra props would definitely make it look better.
Nonetheless, it gets the job done. If you prefer things simple, you’ll probably love the layout of the entire website.
BitMEX Mobile App
Crypto trading is evolving at a rapid pace, and users demand more from exchanges. BitMEX customers have requested a mobile app for a while, and they finally got one in 2020. Before the BitMEX app arrived, there was an unofficial app, but the company advised clients to use the desktop version.
The app comes with various features and closely mirrors the desktop version. Below you’ll find the features BitMEX has included in their mobile app.
- Order builder
- Management of open positions
- Real-time data and candlestick charts
- Deposits and withdrawals
- Biometric authentication
Some features from the website are missing, but none of them are essential for the trading process. For instance, you can’t access the chat widget, also known as the “trollbox” from the app.
I tried the BitMEX Android app, and it’s good. Users have complete control over their accounts and can swipe between screens with ease.
Also, you can access the app from as many accounts as you wish and set price alerts according to your criteria. It even has some special settings to make trading on the go even more enjoyable. For example, the app arrives in a night mode that you can turn off during day time.
BitMEX iOS app is available on the Apple App Store, while you can find the Android version on Google Play Store. Another way to install it on your device is to get the APK file directly from the BitMEX website.
It’s available to users from over 140 countries across the world.
The exchange has announced that add more features and make the app available in more countries in the future.
All crypto traders know how important security is. So rest assured that BitMEX is as safe as it gets.
The company’s employees audit each withdrawal by hand at least twice before processing it. BitMEX also runs a unique multi-signature deposit and withdrawal scheme.
All of the company’s addresses are multi-signature and all storage is kept offline.
This is even more impressive when you take into account the daily volume BitMEX has racked up over the years.
In the platform’s 7-years-long history, there have been no reports about someone hacking the website. Also, when going through user-written BitMEX reviews, I found no comments made about data and virtual currency losses.
The company even has a bug bounty program on HackerOne where users can collect rewards for reporting security issues.
But that’s not all.
The platform has been designed using kdb+, the same type of code developers use for building trading applications for some of the biggest banks in the world.
It’s undoubtedly one of the safest cryptocurrency exchanges available.
Although the company has been involved in some controversies (as you’ll see later), none of them involve data breaches.
Therefore, it’s safe to say the data you provide is in good hands.
Is BitMEX Legit?
This is when we get to the tricky part of this BitMEX review. With a 24-hour trading volume of around $3 billion, BitMEX is one of the biggest crypto exchanges you’ll come across.
From that perspective, the platform is legit, and nothing should stop you from trading on it.
However, BitMEX has been plagued by scandals in the past few years.
First, in 2018, the company admitted to giving an unfair advantage to insiders and engaging in unprofitable trading to boost the volume of trading.
Next year, BitMEX accidentally leaked around 30,000 email addresses belonging to their customers. It intended to send a mass email but ended up including all addresses in the “to” field.
As if that wasn’t enough, hackers got their hands on the BitMEX Twitter account right after the leak.
Next came the lawsuit from the CFTC I mentioned at the beginning of this BitMEX review. In 2020, all three founders and their first employees were charged with failing to prevent money laundering. The charges were a result of a years-long effort by the US to crack down on the crypto market and start regulating it.
Initially, only one of the owners, Reed, was arrested. Delo has eventually surrendered to US authorities as well, and Hayes claims he’ll do the same.
In the meantime, BitMEX has partnered with Eventus Systems, a regulatory technology company that can help it improve its anti-money laundering compliance. The company plans to become an industry leader when it comes to crypto-asset compliance.
Another issue with the platform is that it’s unavailable to US citizens. BitMEX US customers were available to use it until mid-2017, when cryptocurrencies came below the regulatory spotlight.
Although the platform is generally considered to be genuine, you might want to keep these controversies in mind.
BitMEX Customer Support
BitMEX delivers when it comes to customer support.
You can contact the customer support team through email via a ticketing system, which is pretty much the industry standard. You can fill out the ticket on their website, and you’ll receive a response to your email address.
I reached out to the customer support agents with several questions using this system, and they sent me a detailed response just a few hours later.
Based on my own experience and user-written BitMEX reviews online, I’m of the opinion that the ticketing system works flawlessly.
You can get support in English, Chinese, Russian, Korean, and Japanese.
In case you’re looking for a different channel to contact the folks at BitMEX, you can try their social media pages. They’re on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and several other places.
Depending on the type of information you’re looking for, you may even be able to get away without talking to the agents. There are handy FAQ and Knowledge Base pages on the site you can check out before shooting a message or email.
The references section also includes BitMEX margin trading guides. You’ll find them helpful whether you’re a seasoned trader or you’re new to the world of digital currency.
BitMEX vs Bybit
BitMEX and Bybit are relatively similar exchanges. Both don’t accept customers from the US, and their liquidation processes are similar.
The trading fees on both platforms include a 0.075% take fee and a -0.025 maker fee. When it comes to withdrawing cryptocurrency, Bybit does things more swiftly. It processes withdrawals all around the clock. BitMEX does so every 24 hours.
Both platforms are safe to use, and neither has been hacked into since their launch. Just keep in mind that BitMEX has been around much longer than Bybit and its security is more battle-tested.
Judging by BitMEX user reviews, seasoned traders prefer BitMEX, while Bybit is more beginner-friendly.
Overall, both platforms are highly capable and you can’t go wrong no matter which of the two you opt for. It all comes down to personal preference and how much experience you have.
BitMEX vs Binance
So, how are the both arguably most popular cryptocurrency exchanges similar?
They both let you trade various digital currencies in one place, meaning that you don’t need multiple crypto wallets for each currency you’re trading.
BitMEX and Binance structure fees differently, however, and comparing them isn’t as easy as it seems. Binance offers one of the most competitive fees in the sector. As you can see in our Binance review, all trades are subject to a 0.1% trading fee. At BitMEX, the fees aren’t as straightforward as they deal in futures, and fees vary depending on the currency you’re trading.
Binance is quicker when it comes to withdrawing crypto as it processes withdrawals every 30 minutes.
One of the differences between these two platforms is that Binance has a platform for the US (binance.us), which is available in 41 states in the US, while BitMEX USA users aren’t allowed to make any trades.
Binance isn’t as beginner-friendly as Bybit, but it’s still a better option for new traders than BitMEX.
Although these two platforms are similar, Binance seems to be better all around. Most user reviews praise its modern and easy-to-use interface. Also, there are initiative programs to keep the community involved, which isn’t something BitMEX pays a lot of attention to.
BitMEX Review - Verdict
After doing thorough research, I can say that BitMEX is a very good crypto exchange. Its daily trading volume of $3 billion suggests the same.
The folks at BitMEX are very focused on security. Another thing to keep in mind is that after some scandals, BitMEX is moving towards regulating money laundering as much as possible.
BitMEX trading is a very good option for seasoned traders, as you have to be familiar with the process to use their interface. If you’re a beginner, though, you might want to look elsewhere.
Is BitMEX safe?
BitMEX is one of the safest options. Although they’re facing some legal issues, none of them have anything to do with security. Your info and token money are safe.
Can I use BitMEX in the US?
Unfortunately, the platform is not available to users from the US. Although they were able to trade on it before, the government came up with new regulations regarding cryptocurrency in 2017. BitMEX hasn't allowed US customers ever since.
Does BitMEX have an app?
Yes, BitMEX has its own app for both Android and iOS. The app comes with all key features that are available in the desktop version.
Dejan is a techie at heart who always dreamed of turning his fascination with gaming into a career. He finds working for TechJury a perfect opportunity to express his views of all kinds of different software. Being an avid reader, particularly of fantasy and sci-fi, Dejan pursued a degree in English Language and Literature. When not at his computer, he’s watching sports or playing tabletop games.
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