Founded in January 2014, Poloniex is a US-based cryptocurrency exchange with its headquarters in Delaware. In February 2018, it was acquired by Circle, a US financial institution with $140 million in venture capital financing from internet companies such as Baidu and Goldman Sachs, among other prominent investors. Circle Internet Financial was the first company to receive a BitLicense in New York in 2015, and in the United Kingdom, Circle UK Trading Limited is authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority.
As part of Circle, Poloniex offers nearly one hundred cryptocurrency pairs, including 67 priced in bitcoin (BTC), 12 priced in ether (ETH), eight priced in monero (XMR) and 12 priced in tether (USDT). These are available on its web-based platform.
Commissions & Fees
The fee for trading at Poloniex generally ranges from 0.10% to 0.20%, although it can go as low as 0% for high-volume traders who surpass 7.5 million as market makers or 0.02% for taking liquidity.
As of May 2018, Poloniex implemented a tier-commission fee structure based on volumes and whether traders are making or taking liquidity. For example, a user placing a stop-limit order to enter the market above or below the current price would be a “maker” if their order isn’t immediately matched, as they are making liquidity available for another trader to “take” or get matched with.
Overall, Poloniex offers highly competitive commissions and fees for trading cryptocurrency, in addition to competitive rates on its lending and margin trading.
Poloniex offers a hosted wallet solution whereby users can enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) as well as the generation of two-step security codes to access the platform and wallet functionality.
The broker also includes email verification when carrying out basic operations such as logging in and transfers to help increase security, provided that a user’s own credentials have not been compromised externally (i.e. a hacked Gmail account, phone or other ways in which a user’s login credentials could be compromised will make any broker’s security methods ineffective, and thus users must always exercise great caution in protecting their personal information).
In addition, Poloniex’s parent company, Circle, uses air-gapped machines in cold storage to keep private keys, a practice that aims to reduce the risks of private key thefts by storing them offline.
Platform & Tools
Poloniex offers a responsive, web-based app with basic trading functionality that spans two main order types, market and limit orders. The market orders are available for buys and sells, and the limit orders, known as stop-limit orders, can also be used for either long or short positions.
Charts come with eight zoom levels and six candlestick timeframes. One feature that wasn’t immediately clear is the ability to drag the zoom button to reveal greater history detail, for example, after selecting one-day candles over a one-month period. Once you figure out how to do this, it enhances the charting user experience.
With three moving averages, Bollinger bands and Fibonacci levels, charting on the Poloniex platform comes with five studies and a default moving average convergence divergence (MACD) at the bottom of each chart. The chart window is not detachable because it is fixed within the platform interface. It cannot be resized either, unless you are resizing the entire browser window.
Placing an order is seamless on the Poloniex platform, as any available balance in the respective currencies in the pair you are trading is shown, and you click on it to prepopulate the entry field for either a market or pending order.
A small but noteworthy feature for periods of high volatility or increased price action is that users can select rates that are throttled from one up to five seconds, making it easier to visually decipher price updates with less noise.
Furthermore, the order books can be grouped by decimal places, providing either greater or less detail, depending on the trader’s preference.
The Market Depth chart was otherwise unimpressive as it didn’t offer any configurations. What I liked about Poloniex’s web platform is the ability to switch in the watchlist from BTC-priced pairs to ETH-priced pairs and adding favorites by clicking on the star button, as well as the ability to show your balance value in each pair.
However, I was pleased with the charting experience, although this is an area in which there is considerable room for improvement in terms of adding drawing tools and additional indicators.
Overall, the experience using the Poloniex web platform was smooth whether it involved analyzing charts, placing orders, or transferring crypto using the integrated wallet feature.
It is important to note that while Poloniex’s parent company does offer its Circle mobile app where trading functionality is available, no standalone Poloniex mobile app is available yet for cryptocurrency trading (either as beta or in any official app store). Nonetheless, users can access the Circle mobile app, which also supports crypto-to-fiat trading, helping to fill the gap in the Poloniex web app.
In addition to trading the underlying, users at Poloniex can choose to use the broker’s margin trading feature, which provides additional leverage and include added costs-of-carry in the form of interest paid for the borrowed collateral. Conversely, users can also use their crypto to lend out to other borrowers and earn interest.
It is also worth noting that Poloniex does not offer any research or news content related to crypto assets, other than updates on how any changes in a crypto asset’s functionality could affect its services, such as potential upcoming hardforks or when coins are delisted for compliance or because of lack of support from the underlying team behind the cryptocurrency project. That said, a welcomed feature would be fundamental news introduced or any form of technical or fundamental analysis to help traders access information when analyzing which crypto assets to trade.
For institutional traders Circle offers an over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk where the minimum order size is $250k.
Finally, Poloniex offers very robust reporting and account statements – a feature investors will appreciate for tax-reporting purposes. It even provides a feature that analyzes historical trades to compute values such as average entry price and break-even points, which was a nice finish to the comprehensive reporting tools.
As part of Circle, Poloniex is backed by one of the few companies with a BitLicense in New York, and its services are available in many US states, in addition to being offered in the UK and other parts of the world.
We expect that Poloniex will roll out a mobile app, as its parent company, Circle, has a flagship app of its own for crypto investors. While the lack of a mobile app and fiat pairs weigh down on its offering slightly, this is counterbalanced in part from Circle’s own innovative app, which provides a very smooth user experience and sleek design.
Given the company’s long history as an early pioneer offering cryptocurrency trading, Poloniex has a head start against many new market entrants, making it a viable option as a crypto broker.
To learn more about digital assets such as bitcoin and ethereum, see our guide on how to trade cryptocurrency.
Crypto Risk Disclaimer
"There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to margin-based foreign exchange trading, off-exchange derivatives, and cryptocurrencies, there is considerable exposure to risk, including but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or related instrument. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable, or that they will not result in losses." Learn more.
Reviewed by Steven Hatzakis Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 19 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.