Exchange Review: MintPal

Update October 17, 2014: The MintPal relaunch has failed and Moopay LTD has announced it is filing for bankruptcy protection taking MintPal with it.

MintPal was founded early 2014. The exchange is based in the United Kingdom, and has it’s headquarter in London.

Trades

MintPal offers a wide variety of cryptocurrencies to trade in. There are currently 68 cryptocurrencies available for trading. Fiat markets are, however, not included. MintPal is purely limited to being an altcoin exchange. As most cryptocurrency pairs will have to be traded through Bitcoins, the standard 0.15 percent trade fee is not as low as it may seem. Trading Dogecoins (DOGE) to Litecoins (LTC) would, for example, require a DOGE/BTC and BTC/LTC trade at 0.15 percent each. Even so, 0.30 percent would still be a relatively low trade fee. This is not the case for the bid-ask spreads, which is around one percent for the BTC/LTC pair indicating low liquidity. The most traded currency pair on the exchange, BTC/DRK, has a bid-ask spread of roughly 0.20 percent.

MintPal offers only limit orders, meaning market orders or advanced order types are not available. For each order, the default values for the buy or sell price are equal to the best available ask or bid respectively.

Funding

As fiat markets are not available on the exchange, fiat currency deposits or withdrawals are not present on MintPal’s platform either. It is only possible to deposit or withdraw in any of the available cryptocurrencies. Funding therefore gets the lowest possible score. Effectively, this should be seen as an extension of the compliance score, which will be explained under the respective header.

Compliance

Without a fiat market there is very little mandatory regulation that apply to MintPal. The exchange has not even bothered to provide a proof of reserves to the general public. The reason for this could be that the exchange was running on fractional reserves for at least their Proof of Stake (PoS) coins, as was insinuated following a successful hack of the exchange at the start of July. The hacker specifically targeted VeriCoin over Bitcoin. The former coin is a PoS coin, which has to be kept in a hot wallet in order to receive interest on the held amount. Keeping coins in a hot wallet is, however, not a good security practice because it is easier for a hacker to get a hold of them. Normally, most coins would be stored offline in cold storage.

Regardless of what actually happened, it is a fact that MintPal is not required to have a quality standard as high as other exchanges that do offer fiat markets. If the compliance quality is low, it should not come as a surprise if security quality is not great either. It was announced last week that Moopay LTD will acquire MintPal, which has also announced that it will tighten up the exchange’s security. Hence it is possible that the current compliance score may change in the near future.

Platform

With 68 cryptocurrencies, navigating between them can be a bit tedious. But other than the previous, there are very little remarks to be made on MintPal’s platform. Trade screens show the order book and recent trades, and placing an order is as simple as entering an amount to buy or sell and pressing a button. Account can be secured with two-factor authentication, and the website is also build responsive for easy use on mobile platforms. Further improvements could feature performance analysis tools or research amenities.

Help & Support

Strangely, no trading guides can be found on the platform. Even though MintPal has a support ticket system, there is no FAQ available either. MintPal can be contacted through either its ticket system or via email.

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