Top 5 Best Alternatives To BitMEX in 2020

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Although BitMEX is a highly capable futures trading platform and derivatives exchange, a wide variety of promising alternatives have appeared in recent years that threaten to dethrone what many consider to be most liquid Bitcoin futures exchange.

While few platforms can compete with BitMEX in terms of raw volume, several of its alternatives are making great strides in terms of contract variety, unique order options and usability, which can make them more suitable for certain trader groups.

With that in mind, this guide will cover five of the most prominent BitMEX alternatives, highlighting the key features, differences and similarities of each to help you decide which best fits your needs.

Best BitMEX Alternatives

Bybit

bybit logoBybit (full review) is a popular cryptocurrency derivatives exchange and margin trading platform. The platform is extremely accessible to newer traders, while its robust tools and impressive liquidity makes it suitable for advanced traders looking to migrate from BitMEX.

PROS

  • Up to 100x leverage for BTC and 50x for altcoins
  • No overload errors
  • Liquidity comparable to BitMEX
CONS

  • Not available for US citizens
  • Smaller insurance fund than BitMEX

Being a fairly new platform, Bybit has a modern user interface that is designed to be beginner-friendly, while still offering the trading tools and order types that appeal to more advanced users. On the other hand, BitMEX is widely regarded as one of the more complex platforms around, featuring a dated and clunky user interface, making it best suited for experts.

When it comes to asset variety, Bybit clearly isn’t trying to please everyone, since the platform only features perpetual contracts for four different cryptocurrencies—BTC, ETH, EOS, and XRP. Unlike BitMEX, Bybit completely lacks traditional futures with a fixed expiry date.

bybit trading interface

However, because the platform only offers four different futures contracts, Bybit manages to achieve impressive trading volume for each of these, and the platform currently ranks as the 6th largest cryptocurrency derivatives exchange by 24-hour trade volume. As such, even its lowest volume contract (EOS/USD) still has impressive liquidity.

Compared to BitMEX, which typically handles customer support through an internal ticket system and third-party chat clients, Bybit opts to keep most communications on the platform—providing users with 24/7 customer support through a live chat feature, in addition to email for those not in a rush for a quick response.

Both futures platforms are similar in that neither platform charges a fee for deposits and withdrawals, though you will be expected to pay a standard network charge (mining fee) for any withdrawals. However, the platforms differ in the fact that BitMEX only processes withdrawals once per day, whereas Bybit processes withdrawals regularly throughout the day. Beyond this, trading commissions and fees are roughly the same on both platforms.

For those concerned with KYC registration, you’ll be pleased to hear that Bybit joins its big competitor in completely nixing KYC requirements. The platform also mirrors it’s contender’s strong security practices, keeping the majority of user funds in cold storage while providing multiple additional user-side security options.

Deribit

deribit logoDeribit (full review) stands out as one of the few derivatives exchanges to offer a wide variety of options contracts for both Bitcoin and Ethereum. The platform features a similar, albeit simpler user interface to BitMEX, and includes a strong range of trading tools.

PROS

  • Deep liquidity
  • Best BTC and ETH options offering in the market
  • Top customer support team
CONS

  • KYC required for some traders
  • Only BTC and ETH contracts

Although Deribit’s trading interface can seem somewhat complicated at first, by comparison, it is still simpler than the user interface presented by BitMEX. Traders have access to a good range of trading options, including several advanced order types that allow for highly specific and advanced trading strategies.

Both derivatives platforms claim to offer ultra-fast trade matching engines. However, BitMEX sometimes experiences overload due to excess volume, whereas Deribit doesn’t suffer from this issue.

deribit exchange interface

Although it only offers support for Ethereum and Bitcoin, Deribit does offer three different types of derivatives contracts for these: options, perpetual swaps, and futures. Unlike its contender, Deribit calculates the payouts of perpetual swaps continuously, making it easier to determine the current profit or loss of a position.

For perpetual contracts, the maker rebate is set at 0.025% whereas the taker fee is 0.075%. For futures, the maker rebate is set at 0.02% and the taker fee 0.05%. This is roughly equivalent to that seen at BitMEX. Neither platform charges a deposit fee, but Deribit does charge a fixed 0.0006 BTC withdrawals, which is slightly more than its competitor. However, this can be offset by the fact Deribit processes withdrawals regularly, unlike its competitor.

Like BitMEX, Deribit is available in almost 200 countries but does not allow US citizens to use the website or hold any position on the exchange. However, the platforms differ in that the derivatives titan only accepts Bitcoin deposits, whereas Deribit users can deposit either BTC or ETH on the platform. Deribit will also be enforcing KYC for customers with high withdrawal requirements in the near future.

Deribit uses an internal ticket system and email to handle the majority of customer concerns and provides these services in several languages. Additionally, customers can contact the support team through social media channels, or the extensive help desk to resolve queries.

Whereas BitMEX does not have an official mobile application, Deribit counts this as one of its major selling points—offering a mobile trading app for both Android and iOS mobile systems. As such, Deribit is one of the Best BitMEX alternatives for mobile traders.

FTX

ftx logoFTX (full review) is a new cryptocurrency trading platform that offers a wide range of derivatives, including index futures. The platform is ideal for those that find BitMEX’s limited asset variety overly restrictive.

PROS

  • Extremely wide range of trading products
  • Highly configurable user interface
  • Up to 101x leverage available
CONS

  • KYC required for some users
  • Some trading pairs are not very liquid
  • Clunky user interface

In terms of contract variety, FTX blows practically every other platform out of the water—BitMEX included. In total, users can choose from over 60 futures contracts, spread across more than 30 different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), EOS, XRP, Tron (TRX), as well as a huge variety of lesser-known cryptocurrencies.

The vast majority of these contracts have great liquidity, though a small handful suffers from relatively low trade volume.

Beyond this, FTX also features Bitcoin options, as well as spot markets for ten different cryptocurrencies. As such, FTX can be considered both a derivatives exchange and spot trading platform. FTX offers high leverage for most of its products, offering as much as 101x leverage for its BTC perpetual contracts and futures.

ftx trading interface

Both trading platforms use the same TradingView powered charting interface, which means traders with experience using BitMEX will find FTX immediately familiar.

With that said, the overall trading interface between the two derivatives exchange platforms is somewhat different. FTX has a relatively basic user interface that should be easily accessible to most users. This interface is highly configurable, allowing users to arrange the different trading panels in whichever order they prefer, and has a variety of other layout options.

Beyond this, FTX features the lower fees of the two platforms, charging a base rate of 0.02% maker and 0.07% taker fees for all markets. These can be further reduced for high volume traders and can be reduced by up to 60% for traders holding its own exchange token, FTX Token (FTT). With that said, trading at above 50x leverage will incur an additional 0.02 to 0.03% maker and taker fee.

FTX can be considered a secure trading platform and has never been hacked. Like it’s big contestant, the platform stores user funds in multi-signature cold storage wallets and offers a variety of customer-side security options.

PrimeXBT

PrimeXBT Logo

PrimeXBT is a newly launched derivatives trading platform that gives users the opportunity to trade a wide variety of assets, including cryptocurrency futures, forex, and indices using Bitcoin. PrimeXBT is one of the best alternatives to BitMEX as far as asset variety is concerned.

PROS

  • Market-leading contract variety
  • No KYC needed
  • Extremely low fees
CONS

  • Some contracts have low liquidity
  • No market maker rebates
  • Only launched in 2018

In terms of contract variety, PrimeXBT keeps things simple and offers just nine different crypto contracts, including those for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, EOS and Ethereum. However, what makes it a great alternative to BitMEX and most other crypto trading platforms is the fact that it also offers a huge variety of other products, including indices, forex, and commodities—all of which can be traded using Bitcoin deposits.

Like BitMEX, PrimeXBT doesn’t enforce any KYC requirements making it one of the few easily accessible places to trade Bitcoin. Likewise, it also offers high leverage for most products, including up to 100x leverage on all its crypto assets, as well as up to 1,000x leverage on forex instruments.

primexbt trading interface

In terms of its user experience, PrimeXBT ranks with some of the simplest platforms out there, featuring arguably one of the cleanest, simplest user interfaces around. Despite its simplicity, users have access to a wide range of charting features, and enough order types to keep even the most advanced traders happy.

Trading fees at PrimeXBT are far lower than that at its competitor, with a flat 0.05% fee charged on all trades with the possibility of a further 50% discount available for higher-volume traders. That said, the platform doesn’t match up well against BitMEX in terms of trade volume—though it still achieves around $300-$400 million in daily trading volume.

Although the platform is relatively new, PrimeXBT employs the strictest security standards to protect user funds. This includes the use of multi-signature cold storage and a full risk check after every order placed. Customers can also enable two-factor authentication if desired.

The platform also offers prompt support via live chat and email support, ensuring users are always promptly attended should they have any concerns.

Binance Futures

binanceBinance is a spot exchange behemoth that recently began offering margin trading and cryptocurrency derivatives products. Despite launching just recently, the platform now offers far more contract options than BitMEX and as much as 125x leverage for some contracts.

PROS

  • Industry-leading 125x leverage for BTC and Ethereum Classic (ETC) futures
  • Huge variety of supported assets
  • Built-in spot exchange and fiat on-ramp
CONS

  • Binance was hacked in 2019 but reimbursed user funds
  • Relatively new
  • Limited customer support options

When it comes to variety, the Binance Futures exchange is one of the best platforms on the market, since users can trade futures for a total of 16 different assets here. Most of these assets can be traded with between 50-75x leverage, whereas several, including BTC futures, can be traded with a market-leading 125x leverage.

Despite only launching its futures trading platform in just September 2019, most contracts on the platform already have extreme liquidity—achieving well over $1 billion 24-hour trading volume. Although this is far less than that achieved by BitMEX, it is clear the platform is growing at an incredible pace.

binance futures exchange

With that said, Binance is better known for its spot crypto exchange trading, which features more than 600 different trading pairs and is one of the most popular on-ramps for those first getting involved with crypto trading.

Overall, the Binance trading interface is one of the simplest around, though the futures trading UI may be initially confusing to the very newest of derivatives traders. That being said, BitMEX’s trading interface is far more complicated and can be simply unmanageable for some novices.

Nonetheless, since Binance’s futures platform is relatively new, new features are being added regularly—including the recently added ‘OCO’ and ‘Post Only’ order options.

In terms of fees, Binance charges a 0.02% maker fee and a 0.04% taker fee for its futures, though these can be further reduced for higher volume traders and those holding Binance Coin (BNB). The platform charges a fixed, but fair withdrawal fee, and process these within minutes—unlike BitMEX.

Binance allows traders to deposit any of the supported cryptocurrencies and recently added the option to purchase BTC and a handful of other crypto assets using fiat. BitMEX, on the other hand, only supports BTC deposits and withdrawals.

Although BitMEX is considered a secure exchange, most cryptocurrency users regard Binance as one of the safest exchanges in the industry thanks to its SAFU fund—which is used to reimburse users should the platform ever suffer another breach.

Conclusion: What to keep in mind when looking for sites like BitMEX

Overall, while it is clear that few platforms can directly compete with BitMEX in terms of perpetual contract trade volume, several of these options have got the exchange edged in other key areas. Out of these, most platforms have resolved one of the biggest gripes about BitMEX—its complexity, whereas others offer features that the platform simply lacks.

With that said, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of each platform you are considering, since only you will know which alternative to BitMEX suits your personal needs best. After all, it’s one of the most popular margin trading platforms for several good reasons—like its impressive liquidity, robust trading tools, and powerful API.

Nonetheless, if you are looking to trade a diverse range of assets, you will likely want to focus your attention on FTX, PrimeXBT and the Binance Futures exchange, whereas Deribit is often the platform of choice for options traders. Conversely, if maximum leverage is your primary concern, then the 101x leverage offered by FTX and up to 125x leverage on the Binance Futures platform might be sufficient to compensate for their reduced liquidity.

Low fees are also one of the primary drivers behind most exchange choices. Because of this, those dealing with significant trade volume may want to consider FTX, PrimeXBT, and the Binance Future platform, since these offer volume-based fee discounts, in addition to their other aforementioned benefits and features.

pascal thellmann

Pascal Thellmann is an algorithmic trader mostly focused on market making. You can get in touch with Pascal on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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