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- Rated 2.5 stars
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- TradesEditor: 47%
- FundingEditor: 51%
- ComplianceEditor: 45%
- PlatformEditor: 70%
- Help & SupportEditor: 58%
After being anticipated for more than a year Hong Kong-based Bitcoin exchange Gatecoin was finally launched in January 2015. The platform is said to have been built with a focus on reliability and efficiency.
Gatecoin offers trading in a limited number of currency pairs; Bitcoins can be traded against EUR, USD and HDK. One of the first things noticed is the low liquidity in each of these pairs. Despite launching in January 2015, the exchange seems to have failed to appeal to the public as the order book still looks thin. While examining the platform there even appeared to be times when there was no market in its native currency. Sampled over different moments in time the average bid-ask spreads for BTC/USD and BTC/KHD hovered around 50 basis points. For BTC/EUR spreads were consistently wide (several percentage points). One reason for at least the lack of liquidity in BTC/USD could be that the service is only available to non-US residents, but obviously this does not capture the complete picture.
The exchange has tried to attract more users with offers such as trading for free for a short period of time, but this does not change the fact that the normal fee schedule contains relatively high fees. Fees start at 35 basis point per trade, and may decrease depending on the traded amount per month. This level is comparable to Kraken, but Gatecoin offers a lot less trading tools. The exchange does not support many advanced features such as margin trading or advanced order types like stop loss orders.
One of the improvements Gatecoin tries to deliver concerns the costs of transferring funds to the exchange, which has been done by partnering with multiple financial institutions worldwide. This mainly benefits users in Hong Kong and the European Union (SEPA zone), where a transaction with an equivalent value of $1,000 is charged between 0 and 50 basis points in costs. International Wire transfers are not as cheap with a higher base cost and possible additional bank charges. On a $1,000 transaction this could easily translate to a charge of several percentage points on simply moving money in and out of the exchange. Especially transaction speeds could be improved, as the available methods are slow and may take one or several days to be processed. The exchange states it is still working on adding more funding options.
Gatecoin’s launch was long-awaited as the company had been active on Twitter since 2013. Still, it took until the start of 2015 for the company to actually go live. The exchange has since put a lot of emphasis on reliability. Gatecoin is a licensed Money Service Operator in Hong Kong, and says it provides safety through multisig cold storage and regular third-party audits. Although the latter sounds good, there is no transparency on the content and outcomes of these audits. Financial reports are not available, and the exchange also did not participate in a more common Proof of Reserves audit.
One advantage of not offering a broad package of trading options is that it becomes easier to design a platform that both looks neat and is easy to use. Gatecoin has succeeded in doing this by creating a responsive platform that is easy to navigate while containing minimal but all required information.
Help & Support
Gatecoin provides strong documentation that covers more than just all relevant aspects of the platform. The risks of getting involved in Bitcoin have been well covered, while the documentation also includes has some general educational value. Customer support is a bit limited compared to the previous. Remaining questions will be addressed via the platform’s ticket system. An option for real-time support in the form of a chat or support via telephone is not offered.
• Fiat funding is cheap for many areas
• Strong documentation and risk disclosure
• No advanced order types
• No margin trading/short selling
• Low liquidity/thin order book