Exchange Review: Huobi [Closing]

Huobi [Closing]
  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 1 stars
  • 20%

  • Huobi [Closing]
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: December 7, 2017
  • Trades
    Editor: 50%
  • Funding
    Editor: 84%
  • Platform
    Editor: 56%
  • Help & Support
    Editor: 56%
  • Legitimacy
    Editor: 1%

Huobi is one of China’s “Big Three” Bitcoin exchanges. The platform was founded in 2013 by Leon Li, and has been a great place to trade for Chinese traders ever since. At the same time Huobi struggles to appeal to international customers, and the platform is facing increasing scrutiny by Chinese regulators.

Trading

After being forced to abandon margin trading by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) in the first quarter of 2017 Huobi was left with regular BTC and LTC trading. These currencies could be exchanged for either CNY or USD (per May, 2017), giving traders limited pairs to trade in. Thanks to the presence of both limit and market order types, as well as the more advanced stop-limit order type, at least the most basic required toolset is available. It just doesn’t get any more spectacular than that. Along with other reasons (see next sections) this is probably why international customers cannot be bothered to use Huobi. This is based on the state of the USD spot market on the platform, which features a very thin order book with large spreads (several percentage points). The CNY spot market does look very liquid, with spreads being less than 1 basis point sometimes.

Huobi Trading Summary

ItemDetails
# Cryptocurrencies2 (BTC / LTC)
# Fiat currencies2 (CNY / USD )
Trade fees (trade size $1,000)0.20%
BTC/USD half bid-ask + impact (trade size $1,000)2%+
Minimum trade sizeNo
Margin tradingNot supported
DerivativesNot supported
Market ordersSupported
Advanced ordersSupported


Funding

If you’re an international customer looking to deposit USD in your Huobi trading then you’re not going to have a great time. Huobi doesn’t charge much for funding your account (although there’s a minimum fee of $20 on SWIFT deposits), but other service providers like OKPAY, Perfect Money and SWIFT will. Again, it’s a very different story for local users.

Huobi Funding Summary

ItemDetails
Cheapest funding method available inChina
Cheapest funding methodOKPay (international cust.)
Deposit fees (local)Free of charge
Withdrawal fees (local)Free of charge
Instant deposits possible?No
Bitcoin Deposit feesFree of charge
Bitcoin Withdrawal feesFree of charge


Platform

One the first things you’ll notice about Huobi is that, even though Huobi offers an English interface, it will frequently show untranslated Chinese characters. Most of the time this won’t bother the user, but if you want to submit a question and the question type is only shown in Chinese, then it becomes more annoying. If you’re browsing the website in multiple tabs you might also end up being confused by the tab names, which are frequently shown in Chinese. If you head out to the “about” page you’ll find that it’s not translated at all, and even the menu goes full Chinese. If you want to read up on how Huobi manages its security you’ll have to make use of Google translate as well. Even managing your security settings requires a translator. At this point it just becomes very uncomfortable, as being able to properly understand and set security measures are a basic user need. Altogether, it appears as if Huobi is struggling to find the appropriate skills to service international customers, or just doesn’t care at all.

Huobi has a long history of struggling with international customers too. In 2014 Huobi launched BitYes, a platform that specifically targeted international customers. The platform had a user interface that was completely in English, including user guides, but poor translations were all too common with sentences such as “if any problems in use process, contact us please”. Huobi abandoned the effort just one year later, integrating the platform completely with Huobi. It’s a shame to see that Huobi never managed to significantly improve on the interface it delivers to international customers.

The interface is suffering from some general issues too, as the website hasn’t been made responsive and therefore isn’t optimized for mobile use. For a site that requires a telephone number in order to be able to complete the registration process this is highly remarkable. Huobi does offer an app, largely compensating for the lack of website optimization. It must be added that the desktop version of the website looks fine. Especially the Chinese website looks very neat with several rich illustrations. It’s not hard to imagine how Huobi became one of the biggest exchanges in China. If only it were more user-friendly for non-Chinese users.

Help & Support

The platform’s support suffers from the same issues discussed under the previous section. The FAQ covers three questions in broken English, which is a laughable amount of content for a guide. Additional support may be received via the designated contact form, although it will be hard to fill this one out properly due question types only being shown in Chinese. If all else has failed it’s still possible to contact the supposedly bilingual customer service directly, but based on the previous users probably shouldn’t expect this to go smoothly.

Legitimacy

The company’s legitimacy has been evaluated  with the help of a Fraud Risk Assessment. A summary is provided below, and the full assessment can be found by following this link.

ItemNumber
Red flags5
Warnings0


A weighting factor of 40% is applied to legitimacy in calculating the final rating. A weighting factor of 25% is applied to both trading and funding, while a weighting factor of only 15% is applied to both platform and support. If the legitimacy score is 0% then the total rating is automatically set to the lowest possible result.

Pros

• Strong liquidity in local spot market (CNY)

Cons

• No margin trading/short selling
• Not very user-friendly for international customers

One Response

  1. Paul November 23, 2017

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