Just like the buying support in the Bitcoin marketplace, Bitfinex support disappears in times of crises.
Consider this scenario, which actually happened to me a few days ago.
You are trading on margin at Bitfinex, and on the correct side of the direction of the market… the price is falling and you have a target price set to buy, and your order is on the books. Your target price has passed on all the tickers… except your account doesn’t update on your Bitfinex account information page, … at all. You have no idea if your order was filled, or what your current position is, because it hasn’t updated to any real time information, even upon refreshing the status page (numerous times), for minutes past your order, the account information is frozen.
Price continues to fall.. and the information on your account still says that you have your entire available margin to work with, even though your order should have been filled minutes ago, but now an even better target price is available, so you put in another buy order at the better price assuming your order wasn’t filled for whatever reason (this has happened in the past as well).
Two buy orders placed, accepted by the system, but no update on your status, even though that order should have been executed. You have no idea what your position is… and the price begins to plunge WAY below all other exchange prices, and suddenly your status does update, your margin is in DANGER! and you see your liquidation price fast approaching!!!
What do you do? You sell to protect your margin, right? That’s what I did, with the same result of no update to the account information page, at all, for 15 minutes! I had no idea what orders were executed, or when, or how that effected my position and/or profit loss. The market price on the account information page does not reflect the current price, so even placing a market order is a huge (completely BLIND) gamble… you don’t have accurate or real time information to work with.
I guess Bitfinex expects us all to use other sources of information for price and be able to do all the math in our heads when their servers become congested, because as I have discovered in my research over the past few days since this incident occurred, this isn’t an isolated or new occurrence. Here are just a few that I have found, dating back a few months on reddit, to just a couple days ago..
In my circumstance, the issue cost me about $400 on ill timed trades, and another $100 that should have been made were my account information and orders executed in a timely matter… and boy was I pissed! I immediately sent off an email to support describing the issue… what happened, and what it cost me.
I then sent a Linked-in IN-mail message to founder Raphael NICOLLE explaining that this issue could very well have attributed to the price crash on Bitfinex on the 18th, and is a serious issue needing to be addressed immediately. I am a CCNA and very familiar with server technologies, I knew what I was experiencing when it happened, and I described that in detail, including what the probable causes may be. Raphael, aka Uncle Scrooge, although stating on his profile that he is available by email and In-mail (with no email listed) has yet to even open the message…
I did receive a response from support, (see image below) two days ago…
which admitted the problem exactly as I described to them. I then forwarded all of these messages to Uncle Scrooge and now CEO Jean L. van der Velde private email addresses to be certain that the message and IMO the critical nature of the problem was being addressed…
I have received no response from any of the above described messages other than the message admitting the issue. The lack of response IS A RESPONSE, and the message is clear.. they don’t care. This platform has been in BETA for TWO YEARS, and obviously investment in the infrastructure to a KNOWN issue isn’t a priority (with a guesstimate revenue of about $200,000 month). They don’t care if we, the end users, who’s money is on the line, have real time and credible information to base our trades on.. and in crunch time, when the chips are falling.. just like the buyers in the BTC market of late, the support “disappears”.
Bitfinex is currently the #1 USD/BTC exchange by volume, and the Bear attack on price is being led from that exchange based on my observations. Price follows volume, almost always. If, when the Bears launch their attack, we Bulls can’t respond with current real time information, how are we to even BEGIN to recover…?
We can’t, and Bitfinex obviously does not care. In my opinion, they do not deserve to be the #1 USD/BTC exchange. The issue of server scalability is one that should have been FORESEEN, but is one they are obviously unconcerned with even addressing, along with their “Beta” platform for 2 years running that allows margins way above 3:3:1…and we, as a community, have the ability (and responsibility) to either change that, or hold them accountable. If we pull out, find alternative exchanges who actually give a damn about something other than the corporate bottom dollar, then I bet they begin to care 😀.
That is exactly what I am doing, and my advice to fellow traders is to not wait for this to happen to you! It is exactly when you need the real time account information most that the system fails you! In other words, the account page may state that all is well and good, while the price fluctuates 10% and your margin is called.. they will notify you in 10-15 minutes after the fact.. no problem, right? I am WARNING all traders, there is far more at risk trading on the Bitfinex exchange than the direction of the market price!
Fellow traders, like this and share so that all know the true risks, because until it happened to me, and I started doing a little digging, I had no idea. Lets help each other protect ourselves.. and maybe the fair market price as well while we’re at it.
By Joe Trader.
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