ByBit is a cryptocurrency derivative exchange that launched its services at the end of 2018.
The exchange gives traders the ability to trade Bitcoin and Ethereum perpetual contracts with up to 100:1 leverage. In their short time in operation, the exchange has managed to build up sizable liquidity.
However, can such a new exchange really be trusted?
In this ByBit review, we will give you everything you need to know about the exchange. We will dig into their security, fees, customer support, and trading platform. We will also give you some top tips when it comes to trading crypto futures.
ByBit is P2P cryptocurrency futures exchange that is based in Singapore. The exchange operates under Bybit Fintech Limited which is a company that is registered in the British Virgin Islands.
In their about us page, the exchange claims that they have a team which is comprised of experts in blockchain technology and finance. For example, their R&D team has experts that hail from BAT and their risk management team is comprised of Morgan Stanley alums.
The primary product offered on the exchange is perpetual futures products with 100:1 leverage. This means that they are trying to compete with established exchanges such as BitMEX and Deribit which have similar non-expiry futures products.
While there are many similarities between the exchanges, there are some unique features that ByBit have included that could make them attractive. We will touch on these features when we cover their trading technology.
The exchange is open to most traders around the world and the website has been translated into English, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. However, there are some jurisdictions that they do not operate in and these include the likes of the USA, Syria, and the Canadian province of Quebec.
Is ByBit Safe?
This is one of the most important questions that any exchange user will have. This is especially true when it comes to a new exchange with no established security track record to turn to.
As such, when we look into the safety of an exchange, we are interested in their security policies as it pertains to their coin management, user security tools and of course risk management.
To counter the threat posed by hackers, ByBit operates a secure cold storage solution. This means that they store the bulk of their crypto reserves, and all of the clients’ funds, in offline wallets that are stored in a secure “air-gapped” location.
There is only a small portion of their own coins that are kept in their “hot wallets” in order to service the needs of traders when it comes to withdrawals. Moreover, if they ever need to move funds from cold storage, they need to use a multi-signature address scheme.
Multi-signature means that the exchange will need more than one key in order to sign a transaction from one wallet to another. This prevents the risk posed by having a single individual manage all the funds on the exchange.
Go for Green with Padlock
In order to prevent the risk posed by online snoops and phishing attacks, the ByBit website has full SSL encryption. This means that all passwords and address information that you send them will be encrypted.
This is also helpful in order to spot a phishing site. If you are on a website that looks like it could be that of ByBit but it does not have a secure padlock in the browser, it is an immediate indication that you are on a phishing site and you should leave immediately.
In order to manage the risk posed by shortfalls in futures contract settlement, ByBit operates what they call their “insurance fund”.
Essentially, this fund will be used in the case that a trader gets liquidated at level that is below their “bankruptcy price”. The latter is the price at which the trader’s initial margin has been completely depleted.
Without the fund there would be a shortfall whereby the counterparty to the trade would not be made whole. It is essentially an insurance policy that will protect traders in the case that ByBit is not able to liquidate the position at bankruptcy price or better.
These funds are replenished with the initial margin that liquidated traders have at the outset of their trade. The difference between the price at which the trader is liquidated and the bankruptcy price is how much will be sent to, or taken from, the insurance fund.
Two Factor Authentication
While exchange side protection is one thing, in most cases the biggest threat to a trader’s security is themselves. That is why ByBit has included a number of tools that will help protect your account from a hacker with your password.
2FA with Google Authenticator Application
One of the most important tools that they have included is two factor authentication. This means that you will have to use your phone in order to authenticate into your account or send transactions. You have to enable google authenticator before you are allowed to withdraw any coins.
Given that ByBit is a leveraged exchange, it means that they allow crypto margin trades. Traders will only have put up a small percentage of the initial position as collateral for their trades.
This means that if you have a leverage of 100x you will be required to put up a margin of 1% of the initial notional amount of the trade. So, if the notional on a 10BTC contract is $36,000, you will have to put up $360 in initial margin. Another thing to note is that this leverage is freely adjustable, meaning that it can be changed even after opening a position, which is something that cannot be done on other exchanges.
What is surprising about the perpetual contracts on ByBit is their size. Each contract is only worth 1USD which is much smaller than the contracts on other exchanges. Below is all the other specifics of their BTCUSD contract.
BTCUSD Contract Specifics at ByBit
They have pretty much the same terms on their ETHUSD contracts and you can find more information about that here. This is different from other exchanges such as BitMEX as, contrary to Bybit, these do not propose a 100x leverage product for ETH yet.
While ByBit does offer 100x leverage on their contracts, this is not constant. If you are a large trader and are entering sizable positions then they will bring down the leverage that you can achieve on your contract.
This protects the exchange from the risk posed by large positions. Below is the table of the BTCUSD risk limits. You can find the ETHUSD risk limits on this page.
|Position Value||Maintenance Margin||Initial Margin||Max Leverage|
As you can see, the maintenance margin is constant at 0.5% for all contract sizes. However, for larger positions, they will increase the minimum initial margin requirement such that there is a much greater shortfall between the liquidation level and the bankruptcy level.
Liquidation is what happens when you have nearly depleted your initial margin and the mark price hits the “liquidation price”. In this instance, the trader will be liquidated with the rest of their margin, if any, being sent the ByBit insurance fund.
While there are many traders who may be upset by a liquidation, it is an important risk management tool in a futures exchange. However, ByBit has a number of tools that will help traders avoid the risk of liquidation. These include the following:
- Dual Price Mechanism: In order to prevent the risk of market manipulation on the exchange, ByBit will use a dual price mechanism as the contract reference price. This is composed of the “Mark Price” which triggers liquidation and the “Last Traded Price” which is used to calculate the price at which the position is closed. The former is a global Bitcoin price whereas the latter is the current ByBit market price. Using external pricing inputs reduces singular exchange manipulation.
- Auto Margin Replenishment: If you want to make sure that your position will always have adequate levels of margin then you can set it to auto-replenish. This means that whenever your margin is close to being depleted, it will draw on your funds to keep your position open
- Stop Loss: This forms part of the order options that we talk about below. Having effective stop losses on your positions will ensure that it never gets down to the liquidation level.
Trading fees are an important criteria for us because of obvious reasons. This is especially true when it comes to a futures exchange where you are paying fees on positions that are much larger than your margin.
ByBit operates what is called a “maker-taker” fee model. This means that they will charge traders a fee if they take liquidity off their books and they will give them a rebate if they provide liquidity to the exchange.
So, in other words, if you place an order and it gets executed immediately you are taking liquidity off the books. However, if you place a limit order that is away from the current price you are making liquidity.
Below are the fees that you will pay for the BTC and the ETH futures contracts on the exchange. They are the same as BitMEX for BTC but slightly above for ETH (as they propose higher leverage for it) and are below other exchanges such as Huobi.
|Contract||Maker Rebate||Taker Fees||Funding Rate||Funding Rate Interval|
|BTCUSD||-0.0250%||0.0750%||0.0000%||every 8 hours|
|ETHUSD||-0.0250%||0.0750%||0.0000%||every 8 hours|
The other fees that you will see when you open the trade is the funding rate. This is analogous to an “overnight” rate and it is a financing charge. Given that margin trading is based on “borrowing” positions, you will either pay a financing charge or be receiving it. However, on the contrary of the transaction fees, these fees are directly exchanged between traders and not Bybit.
The funding rate is determined by market conditions and interest rates. This means that it is not fixed and will vary on a daily basis. You will be able to see the funding rate that will apply under the position details when you open your trade.
In terms of deposit/withdrawal fees, ByBit does not charge you anything on this. However, when you are withdrawing your coins you may incur a miner or “network” fee due to the blockchain mining. This is usually quite small though.
If you have decided that you would like to give ByBit a go then you will have to create an account. In order to do this, they will require either an email or phone number, and a password. If you have been given a referral code then you can use this (more on this below).
ByBit Registration Form
Once you have registered, ByBit will send you a confirmation code that you will need to use to confirm your email/phone number. This is only valid for 5 minutes so make sure that you do it right after creating the account.
Something that many traders may appreciate is the fact that ByBit is a fully anonymous exchange. They do not require you to complete KYC before you can trade. This is great for those privacy hawks who are worried about the risks of certain data breaches.
Deposit / Withdrawal
ByBit is as crypto only exchange. This means that you cannot fund your account in fiat currency. While this may be annoying for some, you can easily convert your fiat currency into Bitcoin on a number of exchanges such as Bitstamp or Kraken.
In order to deposit crypto you will need to generate a wallet address and initiate a transaction into the wallet. You can do this by heading over to your “Assets” section in the header. This will present your wallet balances where you will select “deposit” and it will bring up the BTC / ETH address.
Generating your wallet deposit address
Once you have the address, you can initiate the transaction. It will not be instantaneous as the transaction still has to be propagated through the network. You can monitor the progress on the blockchain.
Withdrawals are just as easy.
You will hit the withdrawal button on the applicable asset. It will ask for your wallet address as well as to confirm the transaction through 2FA. You will also be given information on the miner fee that will be applied to the transaction.
There are withdrawal limits at ByBit both on an individual account level and for the exchange in total. They are set to 10BTC or 200ETH at the account level and they are 100BTC or 10,000ETH at the exchange level. They have exchange-wide withdrawal limits to ensure that they have enough coins in the hot wallet.
ByBit Trading Platform
One of the most important things for the margin trader is to have an effective trading platform with advanced technology. This is especially true when you are trading with a great degree of leverage.
So, how does ByBit stack up?
The trading platform seems to be relatively well laid out and intuitive. At the top you can toggle between your wallets, and account management. You can also switch between the BTC and ETH futures markets.
Looking at the standard interface, you have the chart and market depth on the left (you can toggle between). Then in the middle you have the order book and the last trades. On the right you have the order forms as well as the contract details.
User Interface of the ByBit Trading Platform
Something that we really liked about their interface is that it is customizable and modular. You can detach some of the modules, resize them, and move them around such that they are in your chosen position.
For those night owls, Bybit also offers a night mode that makes reading everything much easier in a dark environment. This can be accessed at the bottom right of the exchange page, next to the languages.
For those seasoned traders among you, you will have noticed that ByBit uses tradingview charting technology. This third-party charting package is well known in the industry for having the most functionality and features.
With tradingview charts, the budding technical analysts among you can easily lay your studies and follow the important trendlines. It is also in use on a number of other platforms so it is relatively easy for you to adapt if you do move somewhere else.
Something that ByBit appears to be quite proud of is their order matching engine. They claim that this trading engine is able to execute a total of 100,000 transactions per second per contract. So for every new asset they will add, their matching engine will have a dedicated 100,000 transaction per second for that asset only.
ByBit appears to have pretty advanced order functionality on the platform. This is great as it allows you to not only customise your entry levels but it also allows you to manage your risk on the exit levels.
ByBit Order Functionality
When you are placing your order, you will see the following order form. At the top of the form you can switch between the order types. Below that you adjust the leverage, price and quantity. There is also information on the contract specifics.
There are three order types that you can place on the ByBit platform. These are outlined below:
- Market Order: This is an order that is placed at the prevailing market price. It will place the order at the “bid” if it is a sell or at the “ask” if it is a buy.
- Limit Order: This is an order that is placed at a chosen level that may be away from the market. The order is open for the order life which we cover below.
- Conditional Order: This is an order that will become either a market or limit order once certain price levels are reached. When placing the trade, you will define the trigger price along with the direction, quantity, and leverage.
As mentioned, with the Limit order and the Conditional limit order, the order will have a certain order life. This is for how long the order will remain open until it is “killed”. There are three order life options at ByBit:
- Good-Till-Cancelled (GTC): This is an order that will remain open until you decide to close it.
- Immediate-or-Cancel (IOC):: This order is designed to be filled immediately and at the best price. If there are any portions that are unfilled then this portion will be cancelled.
- Fill or Kill (FOK): This order is designed to be filled at the best price in entirety or not at all. This is the type of order that you would use if you do not want any partial orders.
For those traders that would like to try the platform out in demo mode, they can make use of the ByBit testnet. Demo accounts are a great way to get a sense of how the orders work before depositing funds.
You can access their testnet on testnet.bybit.com. In order to fund your account you will have to get coins from the testnet faucet. They have outlined exactly how this is done in this handy guide.
We must admit that we were quite surprised at the amount of work that was required in order to access these testnet funds. When you unlock these funds, you are only getting minor amounts of Bitcoin as the faucet has a release rate of 0.01BTC per hour.
Other platforms such as IQ Option provide demo funds the moment that you open the account. These come with no strings attached and give you a realistic balance to trade with ($10,000).
ByBit Customer Support
Given that ByBit is a new exchange, there is not that much in the way of previous trader experience with their customer support. However, we did try reach out to their customer support lines to get an idea of typical response times.
In terms of support options, you have a zendesk live chat function that is available on their platform. This is available 24/7 and is offered in all the languages that they have translated their website into.
Zendesk Live chat function
You can also reach out to them via email on email@example.com for customer support or firstname.lastname@example.org if your query is more technical in nature. Unfortunately, there is no phone support or direct telephone line into the exchange.
We tested out the live chat function and we were able to get a support agent almost immediately. Email support took a bit longer but was similarly helpful.
Of course, if your question is more routine in nature and not specific to your account then you can always make use of their extensive help section. This includes their FAQ resources as well as other helpful guides that could help your trading.
Those developers among you will be happy to know that ByBit has a pretty robust API. This will allow you to code algorithms and bots in order to manage the trading programmatically.
You can get all of the technical documents about how to interact with the API from their GitHub. If you would like to make use of the API then you will have to generate an API key. This can be done in the “API management” section of the exchange.
Generating the ByBit API Key
Here, you can generate a new key that will be used to access the API. You will also have to decide what permissions you want to give the API (read, write or withdraw). Read allows you to monitor prices, write allows you to place trades and withdraw will allow your bot to process a withdrawal (not advisable).
You may also want to bind the API to your IP address. This will prevent anyone from placing trades in your account should your API key be compromised. Either way, you will want be very careful when dealing with your API key.
For example, we would advise against the use of third-party trading bots. Many of this have questionable returns and when they have access to your API keys they can manipulate markets to their own advantage.
Something that we were quite intrigued by was the promotion that ByBit has advertised. Essentially, this is a chance for you to win some free BTC to trade with when you sign up. An email or phone registration gives you $5 as Trading Bonus.
They also have another chance for you to get $50 as Trading Bonus if you deposit initially at least 0.2 BTC in your BTC wallet. Be mindful that this is only available for BTC and not ETH though.
The ByBit “Free Spin” Promotion
This could be a great way for you to augment your initial capital when placing your trades. If you are going to be registering an account anyway you may as well have a free spin “on the house”.
Of course, there are “house rules” that come with this bonus. For example, you cannot withdraw these funds and they can only be used as margin in your account. Moreover, when you withdraw these profits you forfeit your bonus. We encourage you to read their bonus terms and conditions for more information.
ByBit Referral Program
If you have been using ByBit and have been relatively impressed with the product then you can always refer others to the platform. If you have done this and they have deposited at least 0.2BTC then ByBit will give you a $10 Trading Bonus.
If you want to take part in the referral program then you will need to get your code. You can either do this as a unique code that your referrals will use on signup or you can give them your referral link. You can share this link online or on your social media channels.
Getting Your ByBit Referral Link
This can be relatively attractive if you can refer friends making a small amount of one time deposits but if you are looking to refer many more traders who usually do large trading volumes then you are perhaps better suited to signup for the ByBit affiliate program. This will reward you with a percentage of trading profits that are generated by your traders.
You cannot take part in both the referral program and the affiliate program so you have to choose wisely amoung the two.
Areas for Improvement
While we were generally impressed with ByBit, there are a few things that we think warrant improvement and deserve mention.
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, they have a limited offer when it comes to cryptocurrency assets. While they plan to release more assets like XRP and EOS in the coming months, currently you can only trade BTC and ETH contracts which could make it hard for them to compete with some of the CFD brokers with their extensive asset range.
Secondly, there is no mobile application or PC trading client. The lack of a mobile app could be frustrating for those clients who can not be behind their PC the whole day. While they will release a mobile version of the exchange in the coming month, this will still be located in a browser and is far from efficient.
We also think it would be more beneficial to the trader if they were slightly more generous with their testnet funds. The faucet funds that are released are too small to get a proper sense of the trading parameters.
Lastly, the exchange is still quite new and as such, does not have an established track record. Of course, this is the same challenge faced by many new exchanges and as long as the exchange continues operating at current levels, they should be able to build up that reputation.
We have found ByBit to be user friendly exchange with strong technology, reasonable fees and a relatively intuitive user interface. We are also glad to see that they have also developed an insurance fund to manage market risk.
They are well positioned to offer an alternative to the status quo in the crypto derivatives market. In fact, the order book liquidity on ByBit has recently exceeded that of Deribit.
While there were things that we thought warranted improvement, these are relatively easy to implement. The exchange is still new and there is no doubt many improvements are in their pipeline.
So, should you use ByBit?
We encourage you to do your own research but on the face of it, ByBit appears to be an attractive exchange that ticks most of our boxes.
Featured Image via ByBit
- Attractive Fees
- Advanced Technology
- Anonymous Accounts
- Free Spin Promotion
- Limited Asset Coverage
- No Mobile App
- Still New Exchange