Gatecoin's interface

Founded in 2013, Gatecoin is a Hong Kong based cryptocurrency exchange that finds itself at #25 on BlockExplorer’s top 25 exchanges of 2017 list. Gatecoin offers a good number of trading pairs and an API for programmatic trading. Of the 90 trading pairs Gatecoin offers, there are both crypto/fiat and crypto/crypto offered, with the crypto/fiat pair’s fiat side being one of USD, EUR, or HKD.

Gatecoin has a respectable number of trading pairs and offers an API for programmatic trading. Which makes it a good choice for any traders located in Hong Kong, especially those looking to trade programmatically.

Gatecoin

gatecoin cryptoURL: gatecoin.com
Launched: 2013
Trading pairs: 60
Deposit Fees: Yes
Withdrawal Fees: Yes
Trading fees: Yes
Verification: Yes (Three levels)
Margin Trading: No

Fees and Limits

Fee wise, Gatecoin charges fees based on the trader’s volume over the last 31 days. Unlike some other exchanges, the 31 day period is a rolling one, meaning that you do not have to wait an entire period if you have significantly changed the volume of your trades. Fee levels are broken into the standard maker/taker distribution, where the taker pays a higher percentage than the maker. On the low end, 50BTC/31d, makers pay a fee of 0.25% and takers pay a fee of 0.35%. And on the high end, 20,000+BTC/31d, makers pay 0.02% and takers pay 0.1%. A complete breakdown of the trading fees charged can be found on Gatecoin’s fee page.

For deposit and withdrawal, Gatecoin only seems to charge fees for fiat. The fees paid depends on the transfer method, for example, there is a 1EUR deposit and 5EUR withdrawal fee for SEPA based deposits and withdrawals. The full list of fees can be found on Gatecoin’s transfer costs page.

Limit wise, accounts are limited based on their verification level. For crypto, you can transfer an unlimited amount as soon as you have completed tier 1 verification. And for fiat, tier 1 accounts are limited to $50,000USD or equivalent, which is upped to $100,000USD or equivalent for tier 2. There is no indicated timeframe for these limits.

Registration

Gatecoin’s registration method is a multi-step process that requires a decent amount of personal information. Registration cannot be completed without providing said information.

The first step is an email and password and is input from the normal registration form. Once you have completed the initial registration, you will be required to go through a further five steps on login. Each step requires some personal information from you. With the first step requiring your first and last name, your date of birth, and your current nationality. Following step 1, step 2 requires contact details, specifically, your address and phone number. Step three is simple and requires you to confirm an email address for your account. While step four is essentially verification for level 1, requiring a scanned copy of a photo ID and some proof of residence. And lastly, step five is a questionnaire asking for information regarding your source of funds.

Verification

Gatecoin has three verification tiers, where the first is no verification, the second is “verified”, and the third is “Certified”

Tier 2 verification requires a photo ID no older than ten years, and a proof of residence no older than three months, and a filled out ‘source of funds questionnaire’. Tier 2 is completed as a part of the initial account registration process.

“Certified” verification requires the same documents from Tier 2 to be mailed in as certified hard copies. Once the certified copies of the documents have been received, a video conference based verification takes place. During the Skype call, you will need to show your ID to prove that you are who you say you are. Alternatively, Hong Kong residents can have their documents certified at Gatecoin’s office.

Interface

Gatecoin’s interface is a bright white with two-toned blues for highlights, there is no dark mode offered. The bright background makes the interface difficult to use at night or in dark settings. The trading interface itself is well balanced, with a decent amount of information provided. As for the layout of the trading interface, it is split into four sections. The upper left section holds an order submission form. And on its right is the currently selected trading pair’s order book. On the lower half, there is a trade history on the left and a chart on the right. Along the top of the page is the pair selection dropdown, as well as a small overview of the current ask, bid, volume, high, low, and last trade for the currently selected pair.

Security

Account security wise, Gatecoin offers 2FA by means of Google Authenticator. Gatecoin offers a very granular account security configuration tool that allows you to specify what account actions will be logged via email, require confirmation via email, and require confirmation via 2FA. Granular controls are a welcome sight and make securing your account very easy. Gatecoin also states that all user funds are stored in per-user accounts on their side.

Founded in 2016, ACX is an Australian cryptocurrency exchange that offers 8 trading pairs. Of the 8 pairs ACX offers, 5 are against AUD and 3 are against BTC. ACX supports a daily volume of 471 BTC/d, making it a medium size exchange. That daily volume, along with the fact that it offers a full API for trading programmatically makes ACX a good choice for any Australian traders looking for a local exchange. Traders from other countries are encouraged to consider other exchanges closer to them for latency and fee reasons.

ACX currently finds itself at #24 on BlockExplorer’s list of the top 25 cryptocurrency exchanges of 2017.

ACX

acx cryptoURL: ACX.io
Launched: 2016
Trading pairs: 8
Deposit Fees: No
Withdrawal Fees: No
Trading fees: Yes
Verification: Yes
Margin Trading: No

Fees and Limits

ACX charges a flat fee of 0.2% on all trades for both makers and takers and does not charge any deposit or withdrawal fees.

Limit wise, ACX has a withdrawal limit of $10,000 AUD per day for individual accounts and $30,000 AUD per day for corporate accounts. Both account types have a $100 AUD minimum deposit. For cryptocurrency withdrawals, anything over $50,000 AUD equivalent must occur during ACX business hours for security reasons.

Registration

Registering an account on ACX is a simple process, which starts with providing an email and password, and ends with confirming said email, setting up 2FA, and the verification process. Note that all three final steps are required in order to trade.

Verification

Verification on ACX follows ‘normal’ Know Your Customer rules for verification. Meaning that a photo ID with at least 6 months of validity remaining, proof of residence, and a bank statement are required for verification. The bank statement must come from the bank you will be using to credit the account. For non-Australian traders, only a passport can be used to satisfy the ID requirement, while Australian traders may use their passport, drivers licence, or proof of age card.

Interface

ACX’s interface has a jarring mix of light and dark elements, with the homepage switching between the styles in bars as you scroll down. The trading interface continues this trend but to a lesser extent. At the top of the page is a bright white bar with some account information and a place to select trading pairs. The rest of the trading interface has a dark theme with muted colours for highlights.

Otherwise, the layout of the trading interface is well thought and takes advantage of the full width of your screen. Front and center is a pair of charts stacked on top of each other. Specifically, a price chart and a market depth chart. And on either side of the charts is both a market history list and a current order book, with a personal order book below the pair wide one. Trades can be input on the left of the page.

Security

ACX offers 2FA in a variety of ways, of which the recommended is Google Authenticator. Otherwise, ACX requires that all large crypto trades (over $50,000 AUD equivalent) occur during business hours.

Headquartered in Kiev, Liqui is a crypto-only cryptocurrency exchange with a 235 trading pairs. Liqui offers both a public and private API for programmatic trading and states a 24-hour volume of around 1250 BTC. Liqui’s numerous trading pairs are all against its three main currencies, BTC, ETH, and USDT, meaning that those looking to trade with fiat will want to find a different exchange or a method of converting their crypto after the fact. Overall, It is a good choice for small to medium traders, especially those looking for the ability to trade programmatically against a large number of cryptocurrencies.

Liqui finds itself at #23 on BlockExplorer’s list of the top 25 cryptocurrency exchanges of 2017.

Liqui

liqui cryptoURL: liqui.io
Launched: 2016
Trading pairs: 235
Deposit Fees: No
Withdrawal Fees: No
Trading fees: Yes
Verification: Yes
Margin Trading: No (coming soon)

Fees and Limits

Liqui lays out its fees in the usual maker/taker scheme, where makers pay a 0.10% fee and takers pay a 0.25% fee. All of Liqui’s trading pairs currently have the same fees applied to them. Fees are listed on Liqui’s Fees and Limits page, with the fees specifically only listed for the three ‘main’ cryptocurrencies you trade against; Bitcoin, Ethereum, and USD Tether.

Limit-wise, Liqui has three levels; New accounts are split into three 24 hour periods, where their withdrawal limit increases by 5,000 USDT or equivalent per day, starting at 5,000 USDT. Following the new account restrictions, an account receives the “Basic Account” withdrawal limits of 50,000 USDT or equivalent per day. And lastly, for “Enhanced Accounts”, the limit is 500,000 USDT or equivalent per day. Note that the Enhanced Account’s limit requires both verification and 2FA to be enabled on the account.

Registration

Registering an account on Liqui is simple, and requires a username, email, and password. A confirmation email will be sent to you once you have completed the registration form. And after following the confirmation link in said email, you can begin to trade. Note that new accounts have withdrawal limits that are explained above.

Verification

Liqui has one verification level, the requirements for which are not published. Getting verified begins with a support ticket at their support site. Assume that for verification, the usual information is required. Namely a photo ID and proof of residence.

Interface

Liqui has a soft feel to its interface, which by default is a cool white with blue highlights. Liqui’s interface also offers a dark mode, which can be toggled with the lamp icon at the top of the page. The dark mode maintains the same highlights but trades the light background and dark text for a dark background with light text. Almost all of the interface switches seamlessly, with charts requiring a refresh. Some users may find the dark mode difficult to read, as the contrast between the text and the background is not very high.

On Liquis main trading page, there is a chart and summary front and centre, with buy and sell dialogues below. Further below is an area to select trading pairs, the current order book, trade history, and your personal trade history.

Security

Liqui offers decent security measures, including 2FA. When logging in to your account, without having 2FA configured, you are emailed a security code for that login. The security code is a massive 64 character string, making it safe from brute forcing in the 5 minutes which it works. Two Factor Authentication is offered via Google Authenticator and is simple to set up, using the standard ‘scan this QR code’ approach.

Otherwise, Liqui offers a complete overview of account login activity. Specifically, you can see all active sessions, with the ability to close them, and you can see all login activity, successful or otherwise. Both account information sections have the date, time, and IP address of the occurrence listed.

Coinfloor is a London UK, based cryptocurrency exchange that was founded in 2012. It offers 8 trading pairs, all of which are crypto/fiat. Coinfloor finds itself at number 21 on BlockExplorer’s list of the top 25 cryptocurrency exchanges of 2017.

Coinfloor is a good choice for any UK based trader looking to trade in some of the more well-known cryptocurrencies. Specifically, Coinfloor provides trading pairs for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Ripple, and Litecoin. Coinfloor’s markets seem active, with XBT/EUR being the most active trading pair.

Coinfloor

coinfloor cryptoURL: coinfloor.co.uk
Launched: 2012
Trading pairs: 8
Deposit Fees: Yes, for fiat
Withdrawal Fees: Yes, for all
Trading fees: Yes
Verification: Yes, one level
Margin Trading: No

Registration

Registration on Coinfloor is broken up into three steps. Step one requires just an email address and password. Once you have completed step one, you must confirm your email via a link before proceeding to step two. Step two requires you to configure two-factor authentication, and step three requires you to go through Coinfloor’s verification system.

Verification

Coinfloor has a single verification level that is required to trade on the platform. Getting verified is a two-step process that requires a picture of your ID, your full name, your country of residence (including postal code). According to Coinfloor, the verification process should take about a minute for pre-verification in most cases.

Fees

Coinfloor’s trading fee system is broken up into three levels where each level is based on the amount you have traded over the past 30 days. On the low-end, the trading fee is 0.30% of your trading and applies for traders with less than $500,000 USD traded over 30 days. For mid-range, the fee is 0.20%, which applies for traders that have traded between $500,000 USD and $1,000,000 USD over the past 30 days. And on the high-end, for more than $1,000,000 USD traded, the fee applied is 0.10%.

Deposit and withdrawal wise, for cryptocurrencies, there is no deposit fee and there is a small withdrawal fee of 0.0050 of that currency, with a minimum deposit of 0.05 and a minimum withdrawal of 0.0005. Fiat wise, the fees are set per currency and can be seen on Coinfloor’s fee page. Minimum deposit and withdrawal for fiat are 5,000 and 2,000 respectively for every fiat currency that Coinfloor accepts.

Interface

Coinfloor’s trading interface leaves a bit to be desired, the entire site is built on a white and blue theme, with the occasional green accent. And unfortunately, there is no dark mode available, making late night trading sessions heavy on the eyes. The main trading interface has a market depth chart, but no other charts are offered. Below the chart on the left is an order book, with your personal orders filtered to the right. Directly to the right of the chart is an order submission form. And on top is a trading pair selection drop-down.

Security

While Coinfloor does enforce 2FA, there are unfortunately only two supported 2FA methods, and Google Authenticator isn’t one of them. The two choices you do have are Authy and YubiKey, with YubiKey being the star of the two, as it’s a hardware-based second factor. Otherwise, Coinfloor will email you on every login to your account.

On the corporate side, Coinfloor states that it maintains all of its client’s currency in multi-signature cold wallets. Also stated is that its entire system is regularly tested by penetration testers, though it does not state exactly who, aside from ‘a highly regarded penetration testing firm’.

Blockchain

“The authorities in EOS just instructed the block producers to censor transactions from 27 accounts with no reasons given.” – @ferdousbhai on twitter

On the 22nd of June, the EOS Core Arbitration Forum, ‘An Arbitration Forum for and by the EOS Community’ ordered EOS block producers to refuse transactions from specific addresses “indefinitely”. ECAF’s order further went on to state “The logic and reasoning for this Order will be posted at a later date”, followed by a handwritten, dated signature.

Following the first order, on the 24th, an additional order was released that retroactively revokes all tokens in 5 accounts from the time of the original order.

After the initial order, one of the EOS Block Producers made a steemit post, in which, as part of an update, the reasoning behind the order was disclosed. Apparently, each account had currency stolen from it.

What happened to trustless systems?

One of the core ideas behind (most) cryptocurrencies is that the system is trustless. Meaning that no matter what, no trust is required to use the cryptocurrency. With EOS, it would seem that you are required to trust that ECAF will not decide to freeze or revoke your assets, with or without reason, much in the same way that you trust a bank with your fiat currency.

What happens if you speak out against ECAF? What is in place to prevent someone in power from freezing or outright revoking your assets? Said hypothetical person of power would not even have to come up with a convincing reason for the action. To quote the above orders: “The logic and reasoning for this Order will be posted at a later date”.

According to a post on ECAF’s forums, when freezing assets, those responsible are required to open a case against themselves regarding the decision, and if found to be in error, are liable for the results of the freeze. The liability is reactionary, there does not seem to be anything directly preventing someone from freezing or revoking assets.

Even if ECAF does what it believes is right, why do they get to decide? What gives them the right? Why are they better at deciding than anyone else? Why should anyone trust them? How is it any different from a government, or the leadership of a company? How can those that DO trust them be sure that there are no ulterior motives in play?

The only way to be sure is for the system to be trustless.

What happened to decentralized systems?

Another core idea behind cryptocurrencies is that they are decentralized. There is no central target to attack. No single group of people that can make changes to the blockchain. With EOS, there are ‘Block Producers’ who are responsible for adding blocks to the blockchain. Block Producers follow orders from ECAF. This communication line is a single point of failure (or a large attack surface, depending on your view).

What happened to immutable systems?

Immutability, meaning the inability to change, is a word often used to describe blockchains. The idea is that once something is on the blockchain (a transaction, for instance), it cannot be changed or undone. For PoW coins like bitcoin, this works by means of cryptographic hashes, a block contains its parent’s hash. Therefore, in order to change something behind a block, you must change every block after it. The immutability of a blockchain is one of its strengths. For transactions, immutability means that you cannot undo a transaction, or change how much currency was sent within it. Thus removing the need for trust between parties.

EOS has shown its ability (and intent) to rewrite history ‘when necessary’, which ruins immutability and tears apart the trustless nature of its blockchain. How can you trust what you see on the blockchain if you know that what you see can be changed at will?

In the case that prompted this article, the reasons for the change are to prevent losses accounts that may have been compromised. A familiar tale for anyone who knows about the origins of Ethereum Classic.

Hypothetically, assuming that an account is compromised, and is used to transfer currency in the form of payment for services to another account, what happens to the service provider? Do they get the short end of the stick and lose what they earned? Or does the service provider get to keep what they earned, while the compromised account is also re-credited with currency? The former seems unfair, and the latter seems insane. If you can simply create currency out of thin air, what is to stop someone in power from making themselves rich?

The only solution here, while maintaining a trustless system, is for the blockchain to be immutable.

What is left for EOS?

From my perspective, the only thing left with EOS is the tech behind it and the hope that there are no malicious actors within its ranks. I feel that EOS has walked away from what cryptocurrencies are, and towards what they were created to fight against.

Trustless. Decentralized. Immutable.