EMX Review: Fees, Coins & Leverage (2020 Updated)

By

Last Updated on

Advertiser Disclosure

EMX is a derivatives exchange that stands out by enabling its users to trade traditional markets futures, like Gold or Crude Oil, by using cryptocurrency.

This is a major difference to competitors like BitMEX or Deribit, which only offer futures on cryptocurrencies.

This EMX review outlines the pros and cons of this margin exchange, it’s fee structure, leverage, and much more.

EMX in short

 EMX Exchange
emx exchange logo
Available contractsFutures and Spot
Trading Fees0.025% maker rebate, 0.05% taker fee
Available coins6 Coins, Equities, Forex, Commodities
KYC/AMLFull KYC Required
Excluded countriesUSA, Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea
Customer SupportEmail and Telegram. Decent Help Center.

What exactly is EMX?

emx exchange logoEMX is a new global derivatives exchange that gives price exposure to a wide array of assets, including crude oil, gold, stock indices and a variety of cryptocurrencies. EMX claims to be the world’s first crypto exchange that gives traders the opportunity to trade both cryptocurrency and traditional derivatives using digital assets.

PROS

  • Ability to trade futures in traditional markets
  • Up to 100x leverage for Forex
  • 0.05% taker fee
CONS

  • Lower liquidity than some competitors
  • Size of insurance fund is unknown

EMX is the first institutional-grade crypto derivatives exchange to bridge the gap with traditional derivatives.

As a commercial entity, EMX is a fintech software company that is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area in the US. The project was founded by Craig Austin and Jim Bai, two entrepreneurs with more than two decades of experience in handling hedge funds as well as futures and options books.

emx exchange platform

The company was originally founded in 2017 with the help of South Korean venture capital firm Hashed—this is the same company responsible for helping to fund some of the crypto industry’s major success stories, including Ethereum and EOS

The company is registered in Bulgaria, and is currently in currently working with regulators in Bulgaria and the United States to obtain licensing. 

Despite having a base of operations in Palo Alto, California, EMX does not allow individuals residing in the US to trade on the exchange, This restriction also extends to the citizens of the following countries; Cuba, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria. 

Since the platform was only launched in June 2019, it is difficult to compare it to major competitions including BitMEX, Deribit, and ByBit in terms of liquidity.

This is because it currently doesn’t report its trade volume to external trackers, such as CoinGecko. Regardless, the platform receives little to no complaints on this front, as most traders understand the platform is still growing. 

EMX contracts and leverage

Among cryptocurrency derivatives trading platforms, EMX can be considered somewhat of an oddity, since it also supports traditional derivatives, including stocks, commodities and currencies, and offers spot trading functionality. 

EMX exchange listed assets

As it stands, EMX offers 15 different derivatives contracts, nine of these are for cryptocurrencies, and there are two currency, equity and commodity contracts—the majority of these contracts are perpetual swaps. A full list of currently available markets is provided below;

Underlying Asset

Contract Name

Contract Type

Bitcoin

BTC-PERP

swap

Bitcoin

BTCZ19

future

Bitcoin

BTCH20

future

Ethereum

ETH-PERP

swap

Ethereum

ETH-BTC

spot

EMX Token

EMX-BTC

spot

Chainlink

LINK-PERP

swap

Tether

USDT-PERP 

swap

Tezos

XTZ-PERP

swap

Brazil 60 Equity Index

BRAZIL60-PERP

swap

EUR/USD

EUR-PERP

swap

Gold

GOLD-PERP

swap

US Equity Index

US500-PERP

swap

USD/BRL

USDBRL-PERP

swap

US Oil

USOIL-PERP

swap

 

Currently, EMX allows users to trade with a maximum leverage of 100x, depending on the contract. The maximum leverage for each contract is shown in its specification, but this is set to a maximum of 50x for cryptocurrency derivatives and 100x for currencies. This maximum of 50x leverage can be considered somewhat low for the industry, since other crypto derivatives exchanges can offer up to 101x leverage, e.g. FTX

EMX also enforces position size limits for each of its contracts, these are shown in the contract specification. For example, for BTC-PERP there is a position limit of 20 contracts at a contract size of 1 BTC, whereas this ETH-PERP has a maximum position size of 1,000 contracts at a 1 ETH contract size.

EMX Fees

In terms of trading fees, EMX is definitely on the lower end of the spectrum, especially as far as traditional contract trading goes. As it stands, traditional contracts, including equities, commodities and currencies can be traded with absolutely no maker and taker fees.

However, EMX does charge a fee to trade its crypto futures and perpetual swaps, with its fee schedule being adjusted by 30-day trade volume.

emx crypto futures fees

As the highest end of the scale, anybody trading less than $250,000 in 30-day volume will incur a 0.05% taker fee, but this can be reduced to as low as 0.035% for customers trading in excess of $20 million per 30-day rolling window.

All users, regardless of trade volume will receive a 0.025% rebate for maker orders.

EMX also has a built-in spot exchange with its own volume-based fee schedule. At the highest end of the scale, EMX customers trading less than $250,000 per 30 days will be charged a 0.1% taker fee, but this can be reduced to a minimum of 0.07% for users exceeding $20 million in 30-day trade volume. Market makers will receive a 0.03% rebate on all orders. 

emx spot market fees

Beyond this, there are no deposit or withdrawal fees for using the EMX exchange, but there is a 0.25% liquidation fee. EMX also has a funding rate that pays out every 8 hours, this can be either positive or negative, and does not incur a fee of its own. When the funding rate is positive, the longs pay the shorts, whereas the opposite is true if the funding rate is negative.

This funding rate can be seen on the specification of each contract.

EMX token holders can receive as much as a 50% taker fee discount, reducing fees to a minimum of 0.03% for derivatives and 0.025% for spot markets. A full breakdown of the EMX discount can be seen in the EMX Token section. 

EMX security: Is it safe? 

From a security standpoint, EMX makes use of the Jumio NetVerify identity verification engine for verifying user identification documents, whereas ComplyAdvantage is used for user compliance checks. These are two highly reputable companies, so there should be no concerns when it comes to the safety of personal information when using EMX. 

As far as client security features go, EMX offers only a single option to increase account security, known as Multifactor Authentication (2FA). Enabling this option will require customers to use an OTP-app like Google’s Authenticator to generate an authorization key in order to login.

emx multifactor authentication

Without this key, users will be unable to login to the exchange or use any of its features. 

Beyond this, EMX also uses a manual withdrawal system, which sees withdrawals processed just once per day at 20:00 UTC. This minimizes the exposure of the exchange hot wallets, giving any would-be attackers much less room to work with than some other exchange platforms. 

Overall, EMX leaves much to be desired when it comes to client-side security features. The lack of IP whitelisting, email confirmations and withdrawal address locks inevitably make EMX less secure than some other platforms.

However, the exchange code is built up from scratch without using any third party white label software, and EMX does make use of BitGo’s custody solution for the majority of user funds, making a large-scale hack extraordinarily unlikely. 

EMX Testnet

EMX is one of the few exchanges to offer a trading testnet, which essentially allows customers to test-drive its trading features without the need to deposit any money or register for a full account. This is particularly useful, since EMX requires customers to complete KYC verification before they can trade on the exchange. 

emx testnet platform

In the context of a cryptocurrency trading platform, a testnet is a dummy trading market that is designed to allow users to interact with the market under simulated conditions. This essentially allows customers to test trading strategies, play around with exchange features and get to grips with the fundamentals of trading without incurring any risk. 

The EMX exchange testnet features all the order options, charting features and data presented on the full trading interface. Here, users are able open positions with test money, and see how they would perform against real, live data using 20 BTC in testnet funds supplied by the exchange. 

However, as it stands, the EMX testnet only supports four different markets: BTC-PERP, BTCZ19, ETH-BTC and GOLD-PERP. Customers looking to test out the platform using any other market found on the EMX mainnet will be unable to do so. 

EMX Insurance Fund

Like most popular cryptocurrency margin trading platforms, the EMX exchange maintains an insurance fund to help protect users against bankruptcy and ensuring trade winners receive their expected profits.

In the case of EMX, this insurance fund is funded by liquidation fees, which are charged when traders get forcefully liquidated after their position margin falls below the required threshold. This fee currently stands at 0.25% of the initial margin. 

Unlike its major competitors BitMEX and Deribit, EMX does not currently provide a way to check the current balance of the insurance fund. Though this is currently in the pipeline. 

Moreover, unlike BitMEX and ByBit which use automatic deleveraging to protect against forceful liquidations following sudden price movements, the EMX exchange uses the ‘Deferred Payment System to protect traders when its insurance fund is depleted.

This system essentially prevents winning traders from immediately realizing their profits, and instead gradually wipes this debt using future liquidation fees.

Since EMX deals with far less volume than either BitMEX or Deribit, it is likely that the insurance fund current size of the insurance fund is much smaller also.

Similarly, because EMX pays out 10% of net insurance fund profits to EMX stakers, it is logical to assume that this fund is less effective at covering trader positions should a sharp adverse price movement occur. 

Customer Support

Like the vast majority of cryptocurrency exchange platforms, the first line of support at EMX is a relatively comprehensive help center that contains answers to a range of pre-defined queries.

emx exchange helpcenter

EMX reviews customer concerns regularly and provides frequent updates to the help center, making it comprehensive enough to answer most basic queries.

Those looking for bespoke customer assistance will also be able to submit a request through an email form within the EMX help center.

emx exchange contact form

This is the main point of contact between users and the EMX support team. Alternatively, customers can email support direct at support@emx.com, with a response time of around 24 hours to be expected.

Beyond this, EMX customers can also get assistance through the sizeable, albeit relatively inactive EMX Telegram community. Admins here tend to respond in a matter of minutes, but will only be capable of handling simple queries, whereas complicated issues will be directed to email support. 

The exchange also has a presence on several major social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, but these are almost exclusively used for posting updates, rather than responding to customer issues. Nonetheless, the CEO of platform—Jim Bai—can be reached on LinkedIn, should the need arise. 

EMX Token

Like several other prominent exchange platforms, EMX has its own native utility token, known simply as EMX. These tokens were originally minted and sold during the platform’s initial coin offering (ICO) which concluded in 2017 and can now be purchased on the open market on the exchange. 

The token was sold for a minimum price of $0.0325 during seed and private sale rounds, with the final price during the public sale listed as $0.13. As it stands, the token is now worth less than $0.01 and has very limited liquidity even on the EMX platform.

emx token

One of the main benefits of holding EMX token is a variable trading fee discount, which can be as little as 3%, or as high as 50%, depending on the USD value of EMX held. The full discount schedule can be seen here

emx token fee discounts

As of December 06, 2019, EMX holders can also stake their tokens to receive a share of any insurance fund payments, with 10% of these payments being shared between EMX stakers. 

EMX also promises that its native token will allow users to vote on new features and products on the exchange, while assuring users that EMX holders will (at some point), be able to access premium EMX exchange features, such as increased leverage.

With that said, the EMX team is less than forthcoming when it comes to providing a roadmap for when they expect the EMX token to offer the full utility that was promised during the ICO. Progress appears to be slow, given than most investors purchase their EMX well over a year ago. 

Does EMX require KYC?

EMX requires that all customers complete identity verification before they are able to begin trading on the platform. This is a relatively straightforward process, and is common among cryptocurrency trading platforms. 

emx first step kyc

To complete the know-your-customer (KYC) process on EMX, users will need to provide a clear image of their government-issued ID and upload a selfie.

emx exchange kyc second step

For residents from South Korea, China and Japan, passports are considered the only valid identity document. Once this has been submitted, it will likely be automatically validated by the Netverify system, but could be rejected or marked as pending EMX review. 

Although KYC verification is relatively commonplace for cryptocurrency exchanges, there are several EMX competitors that forgo this requirement. This essentially makes them more accessible to traders, by reducing one of the major barriers to entry. 

Some alternatives KYC-free alternatives to EMX include BitMEX, Deribit and ByBit—though it should be noted that these exchanges are solely for crypto assets, unlike EMX. 

What are some EMX alternatives?

If you are looking for a cryptocurrency margin exchange, then EMX isn’t your only option. Here are a few extremely popular EMX alternatives.

BitMEX

bitmex logoWith an average daily volume north of $5 Billion, BitMEX is not only the most liquid platform to trade Bitcoin and Ethereum, but also the largest derivatives exchange by volume. The exchange rose to popularity by offering up to 100x leverage and highly competitive maker fees, which makes it a great EMX alternative.

Deribit

deribit logoDeribit pioneered options in the cryptocurrency space. At the time of writing, the exchange offers Bitcoin and Ethereum options, in addition to perpetual swaps for both assets. While it’s true that the options offering makes it an interesting alternative to EMX, Deribit has mandatory KYC to withdraw over 1 BTC a day.

Bybit

bybit logoBybit is a cryptocurrency derivatives exchange offering perpetual swaps for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and EOS. Although it’s fee structure is comparable to other competitors, the exchange stands out for it’s robust trading engine, which ensures that your orders will go through even in times of very high volatility.

Leave a Comment