Gatecoin is one of the longer standing cryptocurrency exchanges, having been formed in 2013 by former investment banker Aurelien Menant, and incorporated in Hong Kong.
It specializes in Bitcoin and Ethereum trading, and accepts the U.S. dollar, Euro and Hong Kong dollar as fiat currencies. Gatecoin is notable as being the first exchange to list Ethereum back in August 2015.
The exchange now offers Litecoin and Tezor in addition to Bitcoin and Ethereum, and is a leader in providing tokens of decentralized applications built on the Ethereum blockchain. It currently offers 37 ERC-20 tokens tied to dApps and was also one of the first exchanges to host Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and Token Generation Events (TGEs). During the early days of ICOs Gatecoin billed itself as “the NASDAQ for the blockchain era”, but now uses the catch-phrase “Your Gateway to Decentralized Applications”.
The Gatecoin Trading Platform
Gatecoin is an exchange that was developed to be used by both individual investors and institutions. The exchange follows globally accepted financial industry compliance and anti-money laundering regulations as set out by the Hong Kong Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance, which follows global standards in due diligence and transaction monitoring. It was one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges to offer segregated client accounts as well.
Since Gatecoin seems to be leading the way towards regulation, those favoring anonymity in cryptocurrencies aren’t going to find Gatecoin the best fit for their needs. However, it will appeal to more traditional investors, professional investors, and institutions looking to follow global financial best practices for cryptocurrencies and blockchains.
Gatecoin has seen its development fostered by partnerships with global corporations such as IBM and Tsinghua as well as the Hong Kong Sciences and Technology Parks Corp. In addition, the management team at Gatecoin are some of the founding members of The Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong.
Gatecoin is available to clients in most countries, barring those that have international sanctions. U.S. residents may open accounts at Gatecoin, but there are some states that are restricted from trading with Gatecoin.
Gatecoin Review: Deposit and Withdrawal Options
Gatecoin account can be funded with three different fiat currencies: U.S. dollars, Euro, and Hong Kong dollars, as well as Bitcoin or Ethereum. Fiat deposits and withdrawals can only be made via bank transfer as the exchange does not support credit cards, debit cards, or e-payment processors such as Paypal. Gatecoin has made the decision not to include these payment methods as the third party payment processing systems often have issues adhering to Hong Kong money laundering prevention practices.
The transfer of Bitcoin and Ethereum are handled by wallet transfers in the same way as any cryptocurrency transaction. Gatecoin advises clients in its FAQs that Bitcoin transfers will typically take up to an hour to receive the needed number of confirmations, while Ethereum transfer will take up to 12 minutes to clear.
Gatecoin Review: Fees and Charges
The deposit fees charged by Gatecoin will vary based on the fiat currency being transferred, as well as the transfer method (i.e. international, local Hong Kong, etc.). Fees are reasonable and none exceed the equivalent of $12. In the case of withdrawals there are no fees, with the exception of SEPA transfers, which are subject to a transfer fee of €5. The account holder may also find that their own bank charges a transfer fee in addition to the Gatecoin fee.
In the case of cryptocurrencies there are no deposit fees for Bitcoin or Ethereum. Withdrawals of cryptocurrencies are subject to a small fee. In the case of Bitcoin the fee is 0.0006 BTC and in the case of Ethereum the fee is 0.005 ETH. Fees for other tokens can vary and a complete list can be found here.
Just as you’ll find at most cryptocurrency exchanges, there are both maker and taker fees at Gatecoin. A “maker” is someone who is adding liquidity to the market by posting orders to the order book, while a taker is removing liquidity from the market by picking orders from the order book. Fees are on a sliding scale and decrease based on the trade volume of a client over a 31 day period. With a trading volume up to 50 BTC makers are charged a 0.25% fee and takers are charged a 0.35% fee. The fees drop as trading volume rises, reaching a low of 0.02% for makers and 0.1% for takers after volume exceeds 20,000 BTC.
Gatecoin Review: Privacy and Security
Gatecoin suffered one of the largest hacks up to that date in 2016. The hackers were able to steal 185,000 Ethereum and 250 Bitcoin, which had a combined value at the time of $2.1 million. It was roughly 15% of all deposits for client trading accounts.
Gatecoin went offline for a total of three months following the security breach. When they returned it was with a completely new exchange platform, and an updated security infrastructure. The intent was obviously to avoid a repeat of the successful hacking attempt, and it worked. Gatecoin now works with the same security standards you can find at an major global financial exchange. The exchange is monitored 24/7 and audits are a routine procedure to ensure security at Gatecoin remains “at the forefront of global financial institutional security.
All client fiat funds are held in segregated accounts, which keeps them separate from the compay’s operating cash. Cryptocurrencies are kept in multi-signature offline cold storage, which means nearly all of the cryptocurrencies held by Gatecoin are offline and inaccessible. Only small operational amounts of cryptocurrency are held in online hot wallets. And all servers are held to “bank grade” security protocols.
Gatecoin Account Verification Requirements
Accounts at Gatecoin are either Tier 0 (unverified), Tier 1 (verified), or Tier 2 (certified). Each higher tier requires additional identification documents, and confers the ability to make larger trades, larger deposits, and larger withdrawals. In addition, regardless of Tier, Gatecoin will only accept transfers to and from bank accounts that have the same name as the one attached to the client’s Gatecoin account. Below is a breakdown of the verification levels at Gatecoin:
Tier 0 (Unverified)
Tier 0 accounts are not verified. This is simply the basic registration and email validation, without any additional documents submitted. You cannot deposit or withdraw cryptocurrencies or fiat currencies from an unverified account. Everyone begins at Tier 0 after registering and verifying their email.
Tier 1 (Verified)
Tier 1 accounts are permitted unlimited cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals. When it comes to fiat currency they are limited to deposits or withdrawals no greater than $50,000. Tier 1 approval requires clients to upload their government issued ID, proof of residence, and complete a questionnaire regarding the source of trading funds.
Tier 2 (Certified)
Tier 2 is the highest level of verification with Gatecoin. Once you reach certified account status you are able to make unlimited deposits and withdrawals of both cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies. In addition to the uploaded documents required for Tier 1 verification, you will also need to physically mail a copy of each to Gatecoin’s offices in Hong Kong. In addition, you are required to schedule and complete either a Skype call or in-person meeting with a Gatecoin compliance officer.
Your account screen has complete and clear instructions on the requirements for each Tier. Scans of documents can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or you are always welcome to visit the company’s physical location at 2F Bonham Centre, 79-85 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong SAR.
Gatecoin Review: Customer Support
Gatecoin is no different than many other cryptocurrency exchanges, with support handled via a support ticketing system. There is no phone number to contact the exchange, and they claim that the high volume of inquiries makes telephone support unmanageable. There is a fairly complete online help database to answer most basic questions, but I’m of the mind that this disregard for customer support (throughout the industry) must come to an end.
Gatecoin Review: Conclusion
Gatecoin is admittedly focused on Ethereum based ICO and TGE markets, as well as tokens of platforms offering dApps. While that’s great for those interested in this niche, it isn’t very useful for those that need an exchange with a broad offering. On the positive side, the compliance and security standards set by Gatecoin could make them useful for those only looking to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Tezos, and the limited number of ERC-20 tokens offered. And of course for those interested in ICOs and TGEs Gatecoin is the obvious choice.
While the 2016 security breach might give some people pause before using Gatecoin, I don’t think that’s necessary. For one thing, the exchange completely overhauled the platform and security infrastructure following the breach. And since then the company has continued making improvements to keep at the forefront of cryptocurrency exchange security. It isn’t likely they’ll suffer a similar breach.
Gatecoin is also not the exchange for cryptocurrency enthusiasts who value their privacy and anonymity. However, it will tick all the boxes for security, compliance and transparency for the more traditional, mainstream investor.
This is also not an exchange for individuals or other entities who value anonymity but, inversely, will tick the boxes on compliance and transparency that other more mainstream investors demand.