Headquartered in Singapore, Huobi Pro describes itself as a ‘digital asset exchange’, rather than simply a cryptocurrency exchange. The exchange supports ICO tokens as well as cryptocurrencies and believes that future development of the Blockchain economy will lead to new categories of digital assets appearing. The Huobi holding company behind the exchange was founded in Beijing in 2013 and forced to relocate to Singapore last year as the Chinese government banned Fiat to cryptocurrency trading and ICOs.
The exchange also has offices in Hong Kong, South Korea, the USA and soon expects to have a presence in Japan. At the moment these only constitute representative offices but the company’s expansion plans are aggressive and subject to feeling confident with the local regulatory pressures in these countries, local exchanges are expected to be opened over the course of 2018.
The pivot that forced Huobi Pro out of China and into an over-the-counter exchange model hasn’t slowed the exchange down and it is said to currently have over 3 million account holders. Around half of those are thought to be from mainland China. Huobi Pro has also launched its own cryptocurrency token, the HT, which runs on the Ethereum blockchain. However, the token wasn’t released through an ICO but has been given away as a loyalty scheme for account holders and can be used to pay for service-fee packages on the exchange or to vote for new tokens to be added to the alternative HADAX platform. $300 million worth of HT was also sold in the 14 days following its launch.
HADAX can be considered as something like the cryptocurrencies equivalent of the London Stock Exchange’s AIM exchange for smaller companies that aren’t able to meet the criteria required to list on the main stock exchange. It supports smaller cryptocurrencies and ICO tokens and users can vote using HT tokens for new altcoins and tokens to be added to it. Huobi’s founder and CEO Leo Li explain HADAX as:
“We can’t evaluate every new cryptocurrency because there are simply too many of them. HADAX gives investors the choice to vote for tokens they believe are worth trading.”
The exchange even has its own Blockchain incubator ‘Huobi Labs’ that invests in Pre-ICO Blockchain start-ups.
The Huobi.Pro exchange platform is an impressive piece of tech and is up there with the best trading platforms of traditional financial markets. Price feeds, charting, market depth data and even profiles describing individual cryptocurrencies are all nicely laid out within the trading interface. The alternative HADAX market that supports smaller alt coins and tokens also benefits from the same professional platform interface and functionalities.
Huobi Pro’s is one of the most impressive exchange platforms out there and manages to find the tricky balance of offering the functionality that experienced traders want while still remaining accessible to novices. The exchange platform is available across Windows, Mac, iOS and Android formats.
A particularly useful value-added functionality of the trading platform is the ‘Smartchain’ analysis and research service. It provides insights and research on different Blockchain assets and over 50 different indicators.
The breadth of choice in cryptocurrencies and tokens that are supported between Huobi Pro and the HADAX alternative exchange is impressive. Over 100 cryptocurrencies and tokens are listed on the main Huobi Pro exchange and while the alternative HADAX exchange is barely a month old it can be expected that it will soon support the trade of hundreds of small alt coins and tokens.
Unfortunately, Huobi Pro and HADAX don’t support Fiat currencies due to regulatory pressures from mainland China, where many of the exchange’s users are still from. Tether’s Fiat proxies are used to provide the price stability that Fiat currencies can provide.
Because deposits and withdrawals in and out of Huobi Pro accounts are made in cryptocurrencies, it used to support Fiat Yuan and USD withdrawals and deposits before the Chinese government crackdown, there are no fees attached. Trading fees are very reasonable and charged at a flat 0.2% taker and maker. This drops to as low as 0.1% on sliding scale depending on trading volumes. Overall. Huobi Pro’s fee structure can be considered very good value.
Security and Fairness
As would be expected of an exchange as large and well developed as Huobi Pro, cybersecurity measures in place to protect the exchange and its traders are significant. The exchange itself is built on an advanced distributed system architecture and 98% of assets are held in multi-signature cold storage wallets, which means they are not accessible from online. Over the four years the exchange has been in operation it hasn’t experienced any security breach and can be considered to match the highest standards of cryptocurrency and traditional financial markets exchanges.
Huobi Pro offers support in English and Mandarin and customer service agents can be reached via telephone, to one of its several country offices, as well as by email ticket and online chat. The exchange also maintains several social networks and messaging app communities that inquiries can also be made through. Typical response time to email tickets is said to be between 2 and 3 hours and the company’s customer service agents are reputed to be both polite and helpful.
Pros and Cons
- Impressive trading platform
- Over 100 cryptocurrencies and tokens supported on the main exchange
- Alternative HADAX exchange listing altcoins that are voted on
- High-level cybersecurity
- Strong customer support
- Fiat deposits and withdrawals not supported
- Lengthy account registration process
Huobi Pro is clearly and exchanges with big ambitions, signified by its current aggressive international expansion strategy. The exchange itself has few rivals in the cryptocurrency market as a trading platform and the breadth of variety in cryptocurrency coins and tokens supported is a real strength. The alternative HADAX market will also win over many fans and was a clever move by Huobi.
Right now, the registration process for traders who are not from China, Hong Kong or Singapore is a little more demanding than would be ideal but as local versions of the exchange open up in the USA and other Western markets hopefully that will improve.
There aren’t many criticisms that can be leveled at Huobi Pro and overcoming years we can expect this to become one of the dominant cryptocurrency exchanges internationally.
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