Gate.io Exchange Review | Is It Safe?
Gate.io is a lesser known but long-standing cryptocurrency exchange. Gate.io was started in China and has been in operation since 2013. It has a wide range of cryptocurrencies and features on offer, as well as margin trading. The exchange prides itself on its security practices. While these practices are stronger than many of the more famous exchanges, there are still some concerns.
In this review, we are going to cover the following:
- Key Information
- How It Works
- Trading Fees
- Available Crypto Assets
- Margin Trading
- Transfer Limits
- Company Trust & Reputation
- Security Measures
- Customer Support
- Useful Resources
Gate.io is a subsidiary of Gate Technology, Inc. Traders can either use the web version or mobile version, which is available for IOS and Android. It currently ranks 35th in volume against all other exchanges according to data from CoinMarketCap.
There are currently four markets available: Tether, Bitcoin, Ether and a stable coin conversion for different countries. This last option is a portfolio of several different stable coins that is displayed in the local currency of whatever country the user is operating from. All other coins trade against one of these four markets.
The exchange caters mainly to Asian and English speaking customers in terms of their available languages. It is available to users from any country except Canada, USA, and Japan, along with some other smaller nations. These exclusions exist mainly because of regulatory hurdles.
How It Works
The exchange interface is quite similar to other exchanges like Binance, with a reasonably sophisticated charting feature, order books, and trading history tabs.
Users can place limit orders, price condition orders or time condition orders. The limit order functions just like on any other exchange. You enter the price that you are willing to pay for the coin, the order enters the order book immediately, and if the price reaches your chosen level, then your order will be filled. Price condition orders allow you to set an order that only enters the order book if your chosen price condition is met. Time condition orders enter the order book based on your chosen time interval. This means that you can have orders enter the book at set time intervals if you wanted to split your purchase across several hours.
Surprisingly, there is no market order option, with users having to match the market price themselves via a limit order. This is certainly a limitation.
Fees are quite straightforward. There are currently zero deposit fees. Trading fees for all pairs except USDT/CNYX have a fixed rate of 0.2 percent. Other than this, the only other fee is for withdrawals. These differ according to the trading pair. However, they are fixed rather than percentage based and so do not change in response to the amount of the coin you are withdrawing.
There is also a minimum order size of $10.00 value in the trading pair that you need to consider.
Available Crypto Assets
The diversity and range of trading pairs are certainly impressive. They currently have 266 coins and 356 distinct trading pairs on offer. Of those pairs, the top three are EOS/USDT, ETH/USDT, and BTC/USDT.
Unlike most other exchanges, Gate.io now offers margin trading. Something they recently introduced. Right now it is only available for 24 coins. The maximum leverage traders can use is a factor of three. So, if you were to deposit 10 BTC into your margin account, you could borrow a further 20 BTC, giving you a margin account of 30 BTC.
This is a very useful service, although the leverage is far lower than some other exchanges like Bitmex. Traders choose from 10, 20 or 30-day terms for their margin. Gate.io will liquidate your position if your losses breach levels where you can no longer pay for them. At this point, the exchange will settle all debts from your account and shut down any open positions. Trading fees are the same for margin positions as they are for spot positions.
Withdrawal limits fluctuate according to the coin. For standard accounts, users can withdraw up to 100 BTC, 3000 ETH or 100,000 USDT per day. Though, it is possible to raise these limits upon submitting KYC documents. Importantly, unlike other KYC approval procedures on other exchanges, it does not automatically result in higher withdrawal limits across the board. Instead, you have to email support and ask for a higher limit for a specific coin. There is currently no information regarding daily deposit limits, unfortunately.
Company Trust & Reputation
One of the controversies surrounding Gate.io has been activities by US users on the platform. The management team has made it clear it does not support American users, nor has any plans to change this due to the lack of clarity from the SEC, among other factors.
There is no mention or proof of Gate.io being regulated or authorized by national regulators from any country. This is likely in large part because they do not handle fiat currencies and bank transfers. However, this lack of regulatory approval may undermine the trustworthiness of the exchange for more conservative users.
When you are considering the security of any exchange, there are two vulnerabilities that you as the user need to think about. One is the login and user identity protection mechanisms and the other is the storage mechanism of funds by the exchange.
Fortunately, Gate.io offers very strong account protection. Users must set separate and distinct account and fund passwords and can use two-factor authentication, something we always recommend. Account passwords are used for logging in, while the fund password is reserved exclusively for depositing and withdrawing funds.
On the fund security side, based on the information available, practices do seem rigorous. Though the limited amount of information is somewhat troubling. It is, of course, possible that is because they do not want to expose their security setup. Gate.io says that they practice offline cold storage for the majority of funds. However, they do use hot wallets to store enough to fund daily transactions.
Gate.io had a notable history for robust security and had managed to avoid hacks. However, recently there was a scare, following a disclosure by malware researchers that hackers were targeting users transferring funds in and out of the exchange. Importantly, Gate.io has said that no users suffered losses, and that they have suspended their relationship with the third-party service that had been compromised.
A recent report by ICORating, analyzed the security of the top 100 exchanges as measured by 24-hour volume. Gate.io, unfortunately, ranked 53rd. While it scored well for the user and domain security, it had very poor web security. Their score was certainly disappointing. However, it actually scored better than some other, highly renowned exchanges such as Bitfinex, Gemini and Bitstamp.
There is a reasonable level of customer service available to users. Once you have logged in, you can either speak to a support member in live chat or submit a ticket for a delayed response.
There is also extensive customer support and a comprehensive FAQ page.
Gate.io is a good exchange for users who want exposure to a wide range of coins, are likely to make use of margin trading and who do not want to go through extensive KYC to open a basic account. They have been around for several years, having only suffered one security scare, which did not result in any funds being lost. However, it is clear, while its security is superior to many established and premium exchanges, further upgrades need to be made. Of course, you will only be able to use the exchange if you are from an approved country.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ben is a crypto asset analyst, writer & investor who has been involved in the crypto market since April 2017. He currently writes a free biweekly newsletter at https://www.stateofthecrypto.com/ where he discusses technological and financial trends in the industry. He is also building his own cryptocurrency focused company. Ben specialises in writing about privacy & scalability developments, macroeconomic events, and valuation models for crypto assets. He is sceptical of much of the ICO & ‘new generation platform’ space, preferring the ‘hard money’ coins above all else.