FTX has successfully established itself as a globally-recognized household name. That is a steep achievement for a cryptocurrency exchange, but the company has successfully grown its customer base. Moreover, strong partnerships give it mainstream attention, warranting a closer look at what this platform is all about.
The FTX Concept
As a Bahamas-based centralized cryptocurrency exchange, FTX has successfully become a global phenomenon of sorts. Although people wondered whether the world needed another centralized exchange, the exposure to various products – derivatives, options, leveraged assets, and more – has given it a certain appeal. Moreover, its growing support for different crypto assets ensures people can find trading pairs they are interested in.
As is always the case with centralized exchanges, users need to beware of the drawbacks. Using FTX means you are not controlling the private key to your funds. Every time you want to withdraw coins, you have to ask permission from FTX to do so, which is not always ideal. However, more people are fine with the idea of not controlling the private key in favor of convenience – and exposure to crypto investing through a centralized third party.
With its broad range of products – including NFT support, OTC trading, stocks trading, and prediction markets, FTX caters to both industry novices and experienced traders alike.
Market Types And Supported Currencies
There are many options to explore when one opens the FTX website and explores the markets section. Traders can engage in perpetual futures for all major currencies and altcoins, explore spot trading, take a risk with leveraged tokens, speculate on volatility contracts for Bitcoin, etc. A more exotic option is the prediction markets – tied to Bolsonaro and Trump 2024 – although they might not necessarily appeal to everyone. A further expansion of the prediction segment would be welcome.
The spot trading section on FTX is what most people will be interested in. Trading between different crypto assets or currencies tied to a fiat pair – such as USD – is what most traders care about. FTX supports all the major cryptocurrencies by market cap, most of which have USDT or USD pairs. Additional fiat trading pairs include BRZ, EUR, and TRYB. An excellent overall selection that caters to the needs of most users.
Popular markets on FTX for spot trading include:
User Experience Is Good
A crucial aspect of any [crypto] trading platform is whether the user interface is viable. FTX introduces no unnecessary bells and whistles, making the platform very user-friendly. More importantly, it has a native dark color scheme, removing the need to search for a “dark mode,” which is easier on the eyes.
It is equally essential for centralized companies to inform their users of everything they need to know. FTX does an adequate job on this front, stating terms clearly and being upfront about any fees users may need to cover. Moreover, the native staking functionality leaves no room for misinterpretation, creating a transparent approach for all users.
Every trading platform has an educational role to fulfill. While advanced users may know the jargon and the ins and outs of crypto trading, novices will require a different approach. For example, when a new trader goes into margin trading, they need to know how it works, what users are getting into, and when margin might come calling – and its consequences. It is good to see this educational approach, as any trading activity can incur losses, but some quicker than others.
What Fees To Expect
Like other centralized exchanges, companies like FTX make their money through trading fees and commissions. These fees may update over time, yet the screenshot below applies to the rates suers can expect today [February 26, 2022]. Make sure to keep an eye on the Fees page to make you aware of the current rates.
Commissions are another crucial aspect of the exchange making money. Commissions are charged in USD for futures contracts. Things are slightly different for spot trading: the maker fees are in the currency you receive (buying) or quote currency (selling). Taker fees are always in the quote currency, regardless of buying or selling.
One crucial aspect to consider is how holders of the FTT token – FTX’s native asset – can gain a discount on maker and taker fees. As the discounts are based on the USD value of $FTT holdings, users may fall in between tiers now and then when market volatility ensues.
Furthermore, FTT is, like other cryptocurrencies, subject to some exciting price swings, which can affect the overall discount on fees one achieves.
Platform users will also pay fees on borrowing funds, leveraged tokens (creation and redemption fees + daily management fees), withdrawal fees, and move contracts.
Futures settlement, lending, deposits, funds conversion, and OTC trading have no fees at this time.
Is FTX A Secure Platform?
There is never a 100% security guarantee when dealing with centralized exchanges. However, companies can take multiple precautions to keep funds as safe as possible. FTX checks many of the right boxes, including:
- Two-factor authentication (Use an authenticator app, rather than SMS codes)
- Optional 2FA for withdrawals
- Hot and cold wallet solutions which are custom-built for the exchange
- External backing of hot wallet funds in case of an incident
These features contribute to a good user experience and provide customers with peace of mind. However, users still need to set up 2FA properly and perhaps enable an extra layer for exchange withdrawals. Therefore, it is not necessarily convenient, but security must trump everything.
Creating An FTX Account Is Easy
Whether one wants to do it on desktop or mobile, setting up an FTX exchange account is very easy. All steps are well-detailed, ensuring users know what is expected from them.
The first step is using an email and unique password combination to set up your account. After that, it is not necessary to verify your identity to browse the platform, although users must complete a KYC procedure before trading crypto or depositing funds. Even so, having the “trial” option to see if FTX offers everything one needs is beneficial.
Additionally, there are multiple “tiers” to verifying oné’s identity. Semi-access can be obtained by sharing personal information, including date of birth, full name, and country. Keep in mind FTX.com is NOT accessible by residents in the United States. Instead, they have to use FTX.US.
The complete KYC procedure includes submitting documents to verify users are who they claim to be and a facial recognition procedure. In addition, a fully verified account has no deposit and withdrawal limits.
Customer Support Is Ticket Only
Most exchanges and trading platforms maintain live support accessible through a chat function or phone. Unfortunately, FTX does neither, as its support system relies on support tickets only. While that is not necessarily a bad thing – anyone can create a ticket with ease – one must wonder if there are no better alternative options available.
There is no official “deadline” for a support representative to get back to you. Although most users will reply reasonably quickly to their inquiries, it is not necessarily an ideal system.
Another option is to contact FTX via its public Telegram channels. However, these are not necessarily designed for customer support, making it awkward to share sensitive information. Although mileage may vary, using a support ticket is oné’s best option.
The lack of “proper” customer support is one of the weak points of FTX and one that explains the exchangé’s poor reception on specific review platforms. Unfortunately, that issue is a common trend in the broader financial space, as service providers are less intent on having customers contact them directly in this day and age.
There is much to like about the FTX platform, including its convenient user interface, “demo” account access, hundreds of trading markets, and exposure to many different vehicles, including leveraged tokens, stocks, etc. It has a solid appeal to novice and advanced users alike, and the mobile application – along with a solid desktop experience – makes trading on FTX a breeze.
From a security standpoint, the exchange checks many of the right boxes. Native 2FA and optional 2FA for withdrawals are a big step in the right direction.
Unfortunately, the customer support aspect leaves much to be desired. It is incomprehensible how any service provider – in 2022 and beyond – thinks it is sufficient to have a support ticket-only solution. Although it is an efficient way of handling things, most users might not be able to explain their issues right away. For example, going back-and-forth via email will rain resources, whereas a phone call or live chat support might have resolved the problem a lot quicker.
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