How to Use, Trade and Sign Up to BitMEX Exchange
BitMEX is one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchanges. Today, BitMEX is best-known for its leveraged trading and futures markets. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about BitMEX.
- Easy crypto trading in an unregulated environment
- Trade crypto anonymously with just an email address
- Founded in 2014 by three former banks
- No trading limits for any accounts
- Easy crypto trading across multiple cryptocurrencies
- Access up-to 100x leverage
- Unregulated in any jurisdiction
- Only bitcoin deposits supported
BitMEX is a cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2014 by a company named HDR Global Trading Limited. That company was founded by three former bankers, including Arthur Hayes, Samuel Reed, and Ben Dello.
The name ‘BitMEX’ is short for Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange. The company is registered in Seychelles, although it’s not regulated in any jurisdiction.
As of 2020, BitMEX is one of the most highly traded cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. The exchange would regularly be the world’s biggest exchange by trading volume on Coinmarketcap but Coinmarketcap does not track derivatives markets, which means none of BitMEX’s volume actually ‘counts’. As of January 2020, however, BitMEX has a 24h trading volume of around $2.5 billion, making it the world’s biggest crypto exchange by trading volume.
However, because BitMEX doesn’t spot trade bitcoin, this trading volume is treated differently. BitMEX is exclusively a bitcoin derivatives platform. That means BitMEX trades products that are linked to bitcoin – like bitcoin futures contracts – but BitMEX does not trade bitcoin itself.
One of the first things you’ll notice about BitMEX is its complete lack of regulation: the exchange is not regulated in any jurisdiction. That means it’s technically illegal for users in certain countries to access the platform. However, BitMEX has a famously (infamously?) lax attitude towards proxies.
If you’re in the United States or any other banned countries, you should have little issue accessing BitMEX. However, if you’re in the United States and don’t have a proxy, then BitMEX will ban you from trading on the exchange.
Because BitMEX is unregulated, traders will find no KYC or AML requirements whatsoever. You can create an account with just an email address. You’ll also need to confirm that you’ve above 18 years of age (by checking a box). Once you’re registered, there are no trading limits: you can deposit bitcoin and start trading unlimited amounts of bitcoin instantly.
Another unique thing about BitMEX is that the exchange only accepts deposits through bitcoin. Once you’ve deposited bitcoin into your account, you can trade that bitcoin for virtually any other cryptocurrency. BitMEX also supports three different fiat currency pairs, including the US Dollar (USD), Japanese Yen (JPY), and Chinese Yuan (CNY), although you cannot directly deposit any of these currencies into BitMEX.
Traders also appreciate the multiple order types on BitMEX, including limit orders, market orders, stop-limit orders, stop market orders, trailing stop orders, take profit limit orders, and take profit market orders.
Overall, BitMEX is an easy-to-use cryptocurrency exchange that lets you quickly exchange your bitcoin for many different cryptocurrencies. You can access leverage while trading bitcoin derivatives – like bitcoin futures – on highly-liquid markets. If you’re looking for high-volume, anonymous crypto exchange, then BitMEX is one option available today.
Key features of BitMEX include:
TradingView: BitMEX gets its charting system through TradingView, giving traders an extensive range of charting tools and different ways to view markets.
Multiple Trading Types: Limit, market, stop limit, stop market, trailing stop, take profit limit, and take profit market orders are all available.
Perpetual Swaps: BitMEX was the first exchange to introduce perpetual swap crypto contracts, which are futures contracts that never expire.
Margin Trading: BitMEX offers leverage of up to 100x when trading XBT (and 5x to 50x leverage on other pairs), letting you maximize your potential gains. There are two types of margin trading, including isolated and cross-margin trading.
No Spot Trading: When you buy and sell currencies on BitMEX, you’re not trading real currencies. All BitMEX trading is done using derivatives, which means you’re just trading products that are linked to bitcoin. You’re not trading BTC, for example, you’re trading XBT. It’s a small but important difference, and it’s why BitMEX’s trading volume isn’t counted on Coinmarketcap.
Competitive Fees: BitMEX is one of the few exchanges that offer negative maker fees, which means market makers get paid to make trades on BitMEX. BitMEX’s trading fees are similarly cheap, ranging from 0.05 to 0.075%. BitMEX can charge these cheap fees because the market consists of bitcoin derivatives – not ‘physical’ bitcoin.
Bitcoin-Only Deposits and Withdrawals: BitMEX only supports deposits and withdrawals in bitcoin.
No Verification Required: BitMEX has no verification required. User verification isn’t even an option, and BitMEX has no advanced user verification system in place whatsoever.
No Trading Limits: BitMEX also has no trading limits. You can buy and sell an unlimited amount of currency via BitMEX with all accounts.
Anonymous Trading: BitMEX supports anonymous trading. You only need an email address to sign up.
No US Users: BitMEX no longer allows users from the United States to use the platform (due to fear of regulatory violations). However, many US users continue to access BitMEX through proxies.
No Regulation: BitMEX is registered in Seychelles, although it is not regulated by any national agency. It’s an unregulated exchange, which is why users do not have to abide by any KYC/AML requirements whatsoever.
Three Fiat Currencies: BitMEX supports three fiat currency derivatives, including the US Dollar (XBT), Japanese Yen (XBJ), and Chinese Yuan (XBC).
Trading Technologies (TT) Support: BitMEX recently partnered with Trading Technologies, a high-performance trading software provider used by professional traders, brokers, and market-access providers. The software gives users an extensive range of trading tools and indicators.
BitMEX Insurance Fund: BitMEX has developed an insurance fund system. Thanks to this insurance system, users do not have to take a loss (i.e. a ‘haircut’) if BitMEX has to pay out winners on leveraged trades when one side doesn’t have the funds to do so.
24/7 Customer Support: BitMEX provides 24/7 customer support via email form. Support is available in English, Chinese, Russian, Korean, and Japanese.
Founded in 2014: BitMEX was founded back in 2014, although it has become popular in the last two to three years. In June 2019, BitMEX set a new record with a reported $11 billion of trading volume in a single 24 hour period. In January 2020, BitMEX’s 24h trading volume sits between $2 and $3 billion on average, making it one of the world’s most popular crypto exchanges.
BitMEX Currencies and Pairs
BitMEX supports all of the following currencies:
Fiat Currencies: US Dollar (XBT), Japanese Yen (XBJ), and Chinese Yuan (XBC).
Cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (XBT), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), ZCash (ZEC), Cardano (ADA), Tron (TRX), and EOS (EOS).
Leverage Options: 5x leverage (ZEC), 20x leverage (XRP, BCH, ADA, EOS, TRX), 25x leverage (XMR), 33x leverage (LTC), 50x leverage (ETH), and 100x leverage (XBT), and XBC).
BitMEX Supported Deposit and Withdrawal Methods
BitMEX’s deposits and withdrawals are simple: BitMEX only accepts deposits and withdrawals in bitcoin (BTC). There are no fees when depositing or withdrawing bitcoin, although you’ll pay standard bitcoin network fees. There’s a minimum deposit of 0.001 BTC. There’s no minim withdrawal limit.
BitMEX Registration and Login Process
BitMEX lets you register for the platform with just an email address.
BitMEX is an unregulated cryptocurrency exchange, which means there’s no verification required. The only real restriction is that US customers cannot sign up for the exchange (although many users avoid this requirement with a proxy).
BitMEX offers an extensive range of trading options, including all of the following:
Limit Order: Set a limit, and your trade will be executed when the price hits that limit.
Market Order: Buy or sell immediately at the best market rate.
Stop Limit Order: Like a stop order, but lets you set the price of the order once the stop price is triggered.
Stop Market Order: A stop order that does not enter the order book and remains unseen until the market hits the trigger.
Trailing Stop Order: Similar to the stop market order, but users setup a trailing value to place the market order.
Take Profit Limit Order: Lets you set a target price on a position similar to a stop order, but to secure gains instead of limit losses.
Take Profit Market Order: Same as a take profit limit order, but the order is triggered based on the market and not a specific limit.
Futures: BitMEX supports futures contracts trading, letting you buy or sell futures contracts. Each futures contract lets you buy or sell a certain asset at a certain price at a certain point in the future.
Perpetual Swaps: Perpetual swaps are similar to futures, except there is no expiry date for them and no settlement. Perpetual swaps also trade close to the underlying reference Index Price, while futures can diverge substantially from the Index Price.
Margin Trading and Leverage: BitMEX supports leveraged trading of up to 100x on certain contracts. There are two types of margin trading on BitMEX, including Isolated and Cross-Margin.
All trades are performed through a conventional exchange interface. BitMEX should be easy to use for anyone who has previously used a crypto exchange.
BitMEX has very reasonable fees compared to traditional spot trading exchanges (remember, you’re trading bitcoin derivatives, which means BitMEX’s costs are way lower).
Here are some of the notable fees on BitMEX:
- Perpetual Contract Maker Fee (XBT and ETH): -0.0250%
- Perpetual Contract Taker Fee (XBT and ETH): 0.0750%
- Futures Maker Fees: -0.050% (BCH, ADA, EOS, ETH, LTC, XRP, and TRX) or -0.025% (XBT)
- Futures Taker Fees: 0.250% (BCH, ADA, EOS, ETH, LTC, XRP, and TRX) or 0.0750% (XBT)
- Deposit Fee: Free
- Withdrawal Fee: Free
- Bitcoin (XBT) Long Funding Fees: -0.0198% (funding interval every 8 hours)
- Bitcoin (XBT) Short Funding Fees: 0.0198% (funding interval every 8 hours)
- Ethereum (ETH) Long Funding Fees: -0.0225% (funding interval every 8 hours)
- Ethereum (ETH) Short Funding Fees: 0.0225% (funding interval every 8 hours)
- Settlement Fee: Free (BCH, ADA, EOS, ETH, LTC, XRP, and TRX) or 0.050% (XBT)
- Upside / Downside Profit Contract Fees: Free (no maker, taker, or settlement fees)
Remember that BitMEX only accepts deposits and withdrawals in bitcoin. There are no fees for depositing or withdrawing bitcoin to or from BitMEX, although you’ll pay a standard bitcoin network fee.
It’s also important to note that the taker fees of 0.075% get multiplied with the leverage, which means you’ll pay 0.75% fees when using 10x leverage (10 x 0.075%).
BitMEX Security Issues and Downtime
BitMEX hasn’t suffered any major, publicly-disclosed hacks. The only major security incident in BitMEX history was in November 2019 when BitMEX’s Twitter was briefly hacked. Hackers used the account to send a tweet stating they were “hacked” and that users should “take your BTC and run” because today was the “last day for withdrawals”. The hacked tweets were quickly removed, and BitMEX suffered no major repercussions.
In terms of security, BitMEX uses multi-signature deposit and withdrawal schemes to secure its crypto holdings. BitMEX also uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its servers, and all servers are protected with text messages, hardware tokens, and other 2FA systems.
BitMEX is also unique in that the trading interface is written in kdb+, which is a database and toolset used by major banks in high-frequency trading applications. Traders generally praise BitMEX for its speed and stability.
BitMEX Ease of Use
BitMEX isn’t the most user-friendly crypto trading platform for newbies. Leveraged trading (especially with 100x leverage) is extremely risky for inexperienced traders.
The interface, however, is straightforward for those who have used other forex or crypto exchanges. You have a graph and order book displayed on the main page of BitMEX, making it easy to execute a trade in any of the supported cryptocurrencies or fiat currencies.
BitMEX Trust and Privacy
BitMEX is more trusted than the average unregulated exchange. We know the names of the founding team, including Arthur Hayes (co-founder and CEO), Ben Delo (co-founder), and Samuel Reed (co-founder and CTO). Arthur Hayes is a well-known, public figure in the crypto community. We also know BitMEX is registered in Seychelles. Other basic biographical data can be found at the BitMEX about us page here.
Overall, however, there’s little reason to trust BitMEX. Like other unregulated exchanges, BitMEX could get shut down any day.
BitMEX Customer Service
BitMEX provides customer support 24/7 via an email contact form. Customer support is available in English, Chinese, Russian, Korean, and Japanese.
BitMEX User Guide: How to Setup and Use BitMEX
BitMEX accepts users from all over the world (although US users cannot trade on the platform). Here’s how to register for BitMEX and trade for the first time:
1. Sign Up
Visit BitMEX.com and click ‘Register’ in the top-right corner of the screen.
Please note that BitMEX registration is not officially available to US residents, although many US users continue to easily access BitMEX using a proxy. US customers can still create an account on BitMEX, although you won’t be able to trade without a proxy. BitMEX’s terms of service do not allow US users to use a proxy, although the site takes no action to prevent you from using a proxy.
Enter your email address, password, and country. You can enter your first and last name, although it’s not required. Then, click ‘Register’.
BitMEX will send an email to your account. Click ‘Verify My Email’.
That’s all you need to do to verify your email on BitMEX. You are now ready to deposit bitcoin and make a trade.
3. Two Factor Authentication
BitMEX supports two-factor authentication (2FA), although it’s not required.
All 2FA settings are managed in the BitMEX Security Centre. You can enable 2FA via Google Authenticator or Yubikey.
4. Deposit Method
BitMEX only accepts deposits and withdrawals in bitcoin (denominated as XBT on BitMEX). To make a deposit, click on ‘Account’ and then click the green ‘Deposit’ button. BitMEX will generate a deposit address for your account. Send bitcoin from your wallet to this wallet.
5. Trading Cryptocurrency
BitMEX has a standard trading interface that will be familiar to anyone who has used other crypto trading platforms. You can select your desired currencies along the left-hand side, choose your order type, and view current market details.
You can also setup leverage trading along the left-hand side, choosing from 5x to 100x leverage, depending on which pair you’re trading.
To withdraw money from BitMEX, go to ‘Account’ from the top menu, then click the blue ‘Withdraw’ button and enter your bitcoin address.
Ultimately, BitMEX has grown to become one of the world’s highest-volume cryptocurrency exchanges. As of January 2020, BitMEX’s 24h trading volume of $2.5 billion would place it #1 on the Coinmarketcap charts if CMC tracked bitcoin derivatives.
There are a lot of reasons why traders like BitMEX. Many traders appreciate the lack of regulation, for example (you can sign up from anywhere in the world with just an email address). You can also access leverage of up to 100x or access unique trading products like perpetual swaps. No matter what your bitcoin price prediction is, or what the BTC halving will do to the crypto market, BitMEX is a global leader and force to be reckoned with inside the blockchain finance industry.
For all of these reasons and more, BitMEX remains one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchanges – although its complete lack of regulation will turn some traders away.
I'm Aziz, a seasoned cryptocurrency trader who's really passionate about 2 things; #1) the awesome-revolutionary blockchain technology underlying crypto and #2) helping make bitcoin great ‘again'!