Phemex is a relatively young cryptocurrency exchange that seeks to disrupt the exchange market with zero-fee trading based on memberships. It was founded in 2019 and registered as a company in Singapore, operating under the jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands. The exchange is led by 8 former employees of Morgan Stanley, with Jack Tao as their CEO.
Since then, Phemex has experienced enormous growth. According to Alexa, Phemex has grown to become one of the 40,000 most visited websites worldwide. CoinMarketCap ranks it as the sixth largest exchange for perpetual BTC/USD contracts. In spot trading, Phemex currently records a daily trading volume of just under $300 million across six markets.
Pros of trading cryptocurrency on Phemex
- Sixth largest exchange for BTC-Futures
- Zero-fee spot trading for premium users
- Negative Maker fee on Futures contracts
- Welcome and referral bonuses
Cons of trading cryptocurrency on Phemex
- Not regulated and restricted for some jurisdictions
- Withdrawal restrictions for non-premium users
- Spot trading requires premium membership
Instead of charging trading fees, Phemex seeks to generate revenue through the sale of membership packages. For this purpose, they offer three different membership tiers. The free standard membership grants access to the Futures trading platform. Withdrawals are only processed three times a day, with a daily withdrawal limit of 2 BTC.
The price for premium membership packages ranges from $9.99 for a 30-day membership to an annual membership for $69.99. Premium membership grants access to the spot markets with zero percent trading fees and removes the withdrawal limit. Premium withdrawals are processed on an hourly basis.
Additionally, premium members can gift a 30-day trial membership to their friends. Trial memberships offer the same features as the premium membership, only without conditional orders on spot markets and with some withdrawal restrictions.
Wallets and Spot Markets
Phemex users have access to seven custodial wallets (BTC, ETH, XRP, LINK, and USDT). These comprise the 4 spot trading pairs, which are all settled in USDT. For security, Phemex has implemented a Hierarchical Deterministic Cold Wallet System, assigning deposit addresses to all users and storing the funds in a multisignature cold wallet.
In addition to the spot exchange, Phemex lists perpetual contracts for six cryptocurrencies (BTC, ETH, XRP, LINK, XTZ, and LTC) and another perpetual contract for gold. Altcoin and gold contracts are quoted and settled in USD, while the Bitcoin contract is settled in BTC. BTC and gold Futures can be traded with a leverage of up to 100x, while all other contracts have a maximum leverage of 20x.
All spot and derivatives markets can be traded on a simulated testnet, which gives users the option to test out their trading strategies before applying them with real money.
Welcome Bonus and Referral Program
Phemex offers three tiers of welcome bonuses. The first tier worth $2 is credited instantly upon account activation. Users who follow Phemex on Twitter and retweet their pinned Tweet receive an additional $10. Finally, funding their Phemex account with either 0.2 BTC or $1500 nets users an additional welcome bonus of $60.
Influencers can earn a commission of 50% from all users that sign up using their Referral code through the exclusive Phemex All-Star Program. In addition, they receive a commission of 10% for the referral of other All-Star participants. Users who do not partake in the All-Star Program can earn other referral bonuses, such as free premium membership.
All of the Phemex software systems are hosted on the AWS Cloud, using firewalls and whitelists to separate different trading systems, to minimize the risk, and to mitigate the damage from potential security breaches.
User accounts are protected by two-factor authentication for all critical operations. Additionally, Phemex uses bank-level double-entry bookkeeping to prevent third-party tampering of records and to detect breaches.
User funds are stored in cold wallets, minimizing the potential damage from hacks. All withdrawals are checked for malicious activities before being approved. The Phemex trading engines allow for fast and error-free settlement of trades. Phemex operates a multilingual 24/7 customer support.
Withdrawal fees from wallets are reasonable and generally in the same range as other exchanges. For example, Phemex charges 0.0005 BTC for Bitcoin withdrawals, or 1 USDT for Tether withdrawals. Withdrawals from USD or BTC trading accounts are free of charge.
The Taker fee on the Futures platform is 0.075% for all markets. Phemex incentivizes users who provide liquidity to their order books with a negative Maker fee of -0.025%.
For the spot markets, all transactions carried out through the Phemex website or mobile app are free of charge. For automated traders, there is an option for API-based trading, with a fee of 0.1%.
In comparison, Binance charges a base fee of 0.1% for spot trades. This means that traders with an annual volume of more than $70,000 can find a cheaper alternative in Phemex. Also, market makers and traders who prefer limit orders over market orders can profit from the negative Maker fee.
Is Phemex a safe Exchange to use?
Since Phemex is one of the youngest high-profile cryptocurrency exchanges, they have yet to stand the test of time. Nevertheless, Phemex is operated by a team of high-frequency trading technology professionals with multiple years of experience as Morgan Stanley executives.
Their handwriting and experience in development and cybersecurity is clearly recognizable in their security concepts. User funds are generally stored in multisignature cold wallets with 2FA and additional security checks upon withdrawal.
Phemex Review Verdict
Phemex is a relatively new cryptocurrency exchange, which has however shown enormous growth in the past year. The exchange promises high liquidity and leverage of up to 100x on Bitcoin and gold Futures.
The fee structure and premium membership makes Phemex an interesting alternative, especially for high-volume spot traders and limit order traders.
- Phemex is the fastest growing cryptocurrency Futures and spot exchange in 2020.
- Rather than relying on trading fees, Phemex offers zero-fee spot trading for premium members.
- Perpetual contracts can be traded with up to 100x and altcoins with up to 20x leverage.