*Please note that Bithumb no longer accepts customers outside of South Korea.
South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb takes on American-Italian venture Bitfinex in this comparative analysis. Read on as we weigh up fees, trading experience, the sign-up process, and more. Which one comes out on top? Let the writing do the talking!
Compare Bithumb Global vs Bitfinex
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Bithumb Trading Fees in South Korea & Internationally
South Korea boasts a number of good exchanges, including Upbit *note that this exchange is temporarily unavailable*, Coinone, and Korbit, but rising above them all, in our humble opinion, is Bithumb.
- International makers and takers are charged a lifetime trading fee of 0.1% independent of your monthly trading volume.
- Korean users are charged 0.25% with 10 different 60-day coupons available to reduce those fees.
- Crypto withdrawals will incur a small fee.
Bitfinex Fee System
- Maker fees start at 0.1%.
- Taker fees start at 0.2%.
- Fees begin to drop once trading over $500,000 of crypto per month.
- Bitfinex has a native utility token called LEO which can unlock a 25% discount if enough are owned.
- Other fees can be found here.
Winner: Bithumb wins this round.
Sign Up & KYC Experience
Bithumb.pro for International Users
Visit Bithumb.pro to get started:
- Click the orange ‘Register’ button on the website homepage.
- Give your email address and password to get started, then click on the ‘send code’ button.
- Head to your email inbox and find an email from Bithumb, within which is a sign-up code.
- Type in the code where asked.
- Accept the Bithumb Global Agreement and click ‘Create Account.’
- You will be required to add 2-Factor Authentication via SMS, or the safer option, Google Authenticator.
International users do not need to do KYC checks to trade crypto on Bithumb and are offered a generous daily deposit and trading limit of 5 BTC. However, KYC checks are required for purchases and withdrawals of fiat currencies.
- To get your KYC certification, login, find ‘Profile’ in your user portal, and click ‘Lv.2’. Next, hit ‘Submit Information.’
- You will be asked for your name, date of birth, gender, ID type, and certificate number, as well as photo uploads of the front and back of your chosen ID.
- Next, provide a selfie holding a piece of paper, with ‘Bithumb Global’ and today’s date written on it.
- Wait for confirmation. This can take a few days.
Starting Your Bitfinex Journey
Take your first steps:
- Go to Bitfinex.com and click ‘Open Account.’
- Provide a username, email address, and a strong password to continue.
- Go to your email inbox and click the verification link from Bitfinex.
- In the new window, type your username and password to log in.
Like Bithumb, Bitfinex users are not required to get KYC verified to trade and deposit up to 10 BTC per day (LEO and USDT excluded). Identity verification is required for purchases and withdrawals of fiat currency.
- Each time you log in, you will see a prompt asking you to get verified. Click this prompt to continue.
- Provide your name, age, contact details, and address to satisfy the KYC level 1 check.
- Upload 2 forms of Government ID via mobile or webcam, a selfie holding one of those forms of ID, and proof of your residential address (bank statement preferred).
- Confirmation can take up to 3 days. In the meantime, set up 2-Factor Authentication on your account, and consider blocking withdrawals from a new IP address and adding a withdrawal confirmation phrase.
Winner: Aside from Bitfinex’s 10 BTC daily deposit limit and their proof of address requirement, things are more or less equal.
Ease of Use and Feel of Website/App
Bithumb’s Low BTC Dominance Is A Good Sign
- Founded in 2014.
- Sleek and intuitive app available on iOS and Android.
- Live chat feature in English.
- 296 digital currency trading pairs.
- 224 coins.
- Innovative BG learning platform.
- Features all of the major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano.
- It also offers crypto derivatives such as Bitcoin Gold.
- BTC dominance, the percentage of all trading which takes place in Bitcoin on a platform is around 12.8%, very low for this industry and a good indicator of altcoin liquidity.
Bitfinex Versatility & Longevity
- Founded in 2012.
- Better liquidity than Bithumb.
- One of the longest-serving mobile apps for both iOS and Android.
- One of the biggest Bitcoin wallet holdings in the world.
- Ideal for professionals and institutional traders, but still excellent for beginners.
- Offers a ‘Paper Trading Account,’ essentially a demo version of Bitfinex to play around with, using imaginary crypto-funds.
- US Customers are not permitted to trade.
- 144 coins.
- 273 currency pairs.
- Margin trading up to 10x enabled.
Winner: Both are excellent and quite similar in terms of ease of use and feel; plus, each exchange offers margin trading.
Bithumb is Closed to Deposits
Sorry readers, Bithumb’s deposit system for international users is cryptocurrency-only. Those who have fiat currency and want to use it should consider making an instant purchase*.
*Update: Turkish Lira and Russian Rubles are now being accepted, with a few market pairs popping up.
Bitfinex Big Limits
- The minimum limit for bank wire deposits is 10,000 USD, EUR, GBP, or 1m JPY.
- 0.1% charge + €0.60 per transaction.
- Bitfinex pushes you towards instant purchases and crypto deposits.
- Free crypto deposits.
Winner: Somehow, Bitfinex wins this category, despite their wire transfer limits that exclude most beginners.
Instant Buy Options (Buying with credit and debit card)
Purchasing On Bithumb
Verified Bithumb Global users can make instant purchases with these fiat currencies (and about 26 more):
- U.S. Dollar (USD)
- Euros (EUR)
- Australian Dollars (AUD)
- Canadian Dollars (CAD)
- British Pounds (GBP)
- Indian Rupee (INR)
- Japanese Yen (JPY)
- Korean Won (KRW)
- Russian Rubles (RUB)
- Turkish Lira (TRY)
More instant buy information
- Credit and debit cards accepted.
- Various payment provider partnerships mean variable payment charges.
- Around 20 cryptocurrencies for sale, depending on your payment method.
- Sales listings come with a live price, estimated arrival time, and expected purchase quantity.
The Bitfinex Brokerage
- Debit and credit cards accepted.
- Minimum purchase amount $25.
- Variable purchase charges are decided by an algorithm.
- Accepts GBP, EUR, USD, CNH, and JPY.
Cryptocurrencies for sale:
- Tether Gold
- Selected other ERC-20 altcoins
Winner: Bithumb offers a better brokerage service and more of the larger market cap cryptocurrencies for sale.
Trading On Bithumb
- No KYC checks required to trade.
- An excellent range of big market cap cryptocurrencies.
- Effortless and intuitive design.
- High liquidity for altcoins.
- Large daily trading volume.
- Some language issues on the platform, such as pages loading and emails arriving in South Korean.
- Around 1 million customers.
- Margin trading up to 10x enabled.
- More coins for direct purchase than Coinbase, Bitfinex, or Binance.
We mentioned BG learning before, here are the facts:
- It’s an education platform designed to help the community learn and support new projects in the crypto space.
- Taking courses rewards users with crypto and ‘votes.’
- Votes can be used to help a project reach 10,000 votes, at which point they get listed on the exchange.
- Community-based quality control.
- One of the longest surviving cryptocurrency exchanges.
- Many other exchange designs are based on the Bitfinex trading interface
- Simple, logical, yet very professional.
- Move seamlessly from your wallet to the trading form and select ‘Market Order’ to pay the current market price.
- Trading on the app is excellent, as it’s virtually a replica of the web version.
Winner: Bithumb’s investment in education wins this round.
Reputation and Security
Bithumb’s Triple Terror
Bithumb’s security reputation is down in the mud after 3 major hacks:
- July 2017: Hacked for $7m of Bitcoin and Ethereum, 30,000 sets of customer data, and made to pay $28m in government fines.
- June 2018: Hacked for $30m of Ripple by North Korea’s Lazarus hacking syndicate.
- March 2020: Hacked for $6m Ripple and $13.4m EOS.
Bitfinex’s Big Blunder
Bitfinex was hacked once back in 2016 — the second-largest theft in history — with 120,000 BTC stolen.
As a result, Bitfinex had to improve their defenses, and now has:
- 99.5% of reserves in cold storage.
- A new data structure.
- DDoS protection.
- Routine penetration testing.
Winner: Despite suffering the larger hack, Bitfinex’s reputation is ‘currently’ superior.
Bitfinex vs Bithumb: Who Wins the Comparison?
It’s close, closer than we expected. Still, we’ve picked Bithumb as our winner for a few good reasons: better purchase options for fiat currencies, a wonderful exchange education area, and a reputation as one of Asia’s finest trading platforms.