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Coincheck Review: Asia’s Biggest Cryptocurrency Exchange

Coincheck is a Japanese-based cryptocurrency exchange that provides bitcoin storage services and several crypto exchange operations as of 2014. The multilingual exchange is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, and offers several trading instruments, including both popular and liquid tokens and a few altcoins. The platform also offers margin trading with a maximum leverage of 1:5, Bitcoin spot trading, crypto lending, and a crypto payment system that automatically converts cryptos to Japanese Yen. Coincheck has the highest Bitcoin trading volume in Japan, recording an average 24-hour trading volume of USD 200 million. This places it at position 90 on the list of the world’s exchanges with the highest 24-hour trading volumes. 

Coincheck is licensed and regulated by the Japan Blockchain Association to operate as a crypto exchange in Japan and internationally, excluding the USA. The platform is also a member of the Japan Virtual Currency Business Operator Association and General Association of FinTech with a ¥ 92 million capital reserve. In January 2018, Coincheck suffered a major hacking incident involving a loss of 500 NEM tokens ($530 million). Is Coincheck ideal for you even after the hacking incident? Here’s an in-depth review. 

About Coincheck

Coincheck is among the leading cryptocurrency exchange and Bitcoin wallet in Asia, boasting the largest volume of Bitcoin trading in Japan since 2017. The platform was founded in August 2014 by Koichiro Wada and Yusuke Otsuka through their startup ResuPress, Inc., which was founded in 2012. In April 2018, Monex Group acquired Coincheck for 3.6 billion yen, and it’s currently being operated by Coincheck, Inc. with Keisuke Wada as the CEO and Yusuke Otsuka as the COO. 

Besides providing crypto exchange service and Bitcoin storage service, Coincheck offers several other services as well including a crypto lending system with interest of up to 5% paid on deposits, a crypto payment system, a Bitcoin prepaid Visa debit card and has partnered with some power utility companies in Japan to provide electricity, allowing bills to be paid in Bitcoin

Coincheck Trading Platform

Coincheck has a technology-driven trading platform that allows users to seamlessly buy and sell cryptocurrencies for as low as 500 JPY 24/7 and instantly transfer & deposit funds. The trading view itself is well designed with intuitive usability to accommodate both experienced and inexperienced users. The platform also features a wallet hosting service available as an app (Android and iOS)  

In addition to Bitcoin, the platform supports other cryptocurrencies, including ETH, ETC, LSK, FCT, XNR, REP, XRP, ZEC, XEM, LTC, DASH, and BCH. 

Deposit Fees and Methods

Coincheck allows users to fund their accounts using several methods, including bank transfers or debit/credit card if funding an account using fiat currency. Yen bank transfer deposits aren’t charged a deposit fee, but deposits made in USD are charged a flat rate of $25 or ¥2500 from non-Japan bank accounts. Users can also make deposits using cryptos for cross-cryptocurrency purchases. Cryptocurrency deposits are free. 

Withdrawal Fees and Methods

Coincheck allows withdrawals to a bank account or credit card for fiat currency and wallets in the case of cryptocurrencies. USD withdrawals are charged ¥2500, while Yen withdrawals are charged ¥400. Cryptocurrency withdrawals are charged based on the crypto in question. For instance, BTC is charged 0.001 BTC while ETH, 0.01 ETH and LTC, 0.001. Find the complete information on the deposit fees and withdrawal fees here

Coincheck Trading Fees

Coincheck imposes zero fees for makers and thus zero fees for takers. This means that the platform doesn’t charge trading transaction fees; therefore, buying and selling cryptocurrencies on the platform is completely free. Compared to the average industry trading fees, which is around 0.25%, this gives the platform an edge over other exchanges. However, the platform is expected to charge trading fees at some point as this is perceived as a means of attracting more users following the 2018 hacking incident. 

Security and Privacy

Coincheck leverages three primary security features to keep wallets safe: two-factor authentication, cold wallet, and system security. Users’ funds are stored offline in secure hot storage, plus the platform carries out regular system security audits with multiple information security firms across the globe. Additionally, Coincheck requires users to perform two-factor authentication during login to secure their accounts from malicious third parties.

User verification on the platform is achieved in two tiers. Depositing up to $500 or withdrawing up to $300 a day requires users to provide an email address and a valid phone number for verification. Users who wish to transact higher amounts must provide personal identification documents such as government-issued ID, proof of address, and a valid passport. Corporate registrations require similar specifications, and also users must submit a selfie of one of the executives holding an ID. 

Cold storage, 2-Factor Authentication, Secure Socket Layer client certificates, hashed passwords (Blowfish), and regular security audits make the exchange relatively secure. 

Customer Support 

Coincheck boasts of responsive customer support to attend to any user queries. The platform features multilingual support encompassing Japanese, English, Chinese and Indonesian. Additionally, it offers support in the form of a ‘Help Centre’ with FAQ. There is also an email-based ticketing system to resolve any arising issue. 

Other Products 

In addition to providing crypto exchange services and Bitcoin storage services, Coincheck offers other services, including:

Periodic Purchases– This product allows users to automatically purchase crypto each month and lower timing risk for their investments.  

Coincheck Lending– Users can loan their cryptocurrencies and earn interest in return. 

Coincheck Payment– Offers businesses and corporates with an infrastructure to accept crypto payments. 

Coincheck Denki– Allows users in Japan to pay their electricity bills with Bitcoin and earn cashback.

Coincheck Gas– Users in Japan can pay their gas bill with Bitcoin and earn cashback. 

Coincheck Surveys– Coincheck users can answer surveys and be rewarded with Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Ripple. 

2018 Hacking and Rebuilding Trust

In January 2018, Coincheck was hacked, and close to 500 million NEM tokens worth $530 million were stolen. The stolen amount was sent to a total of nineteen accounts, none of which were found to connect with the hacker. Coincheck was blamed for the hacking incident since the stolen NEM funds had been stored in a web-based hot wallet, making them more vulnerable to hacking. 

Following the hacking incident, Coincheck’s reputation in the crypto space was greatly ruined, leading to a drastic fall in user numbers. Japan’s Financial Services Agency implemented an administrative action and ordered Coincheck to enhance its security practices. However, it did not order the complete shutdown of the platform to avoid hurting its users. 

Coincheck announced that it would repay all 260,000 users who lost their NEM tokens in the hacking incident using its own capital to woo users back to the exchange. The platform also implemented a raft of measures to boost user confidence on the platform. These include: 

  • Massively enhanced security standards by enacting numerous multi-layer and third-party security measures, such as cold storage options.
  • Strictly following Japan’s cryptocurrency exchange regulations and conducting regular security audits. 
  • Committed to refund every stolen NEM token. Affected users will be refunded in Yen. 

Coincheck Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Excellent and intuitive trading view 
  • Fiat deposits are accepted. 
  • Credit/Debit Card purchases
  • Supports zero-fee trading 
  • Supports leveraged trading with leverage up to 5x 
  • Spot trading accepted 
  • Supports multiple altcoins 
  • Provides mobile app ( Android and iOS) as well as an API 

Cons

  • Still trying to rebuild trust in the crypto space following a record-breaking hack. 
  • International users undergo a complicated verification process. 
  • No chat-based or telephone customer support 
  • A limited number of supported cryptocurrencies 

Getting Started on Coincheck

Start using Coincheck using the below three easy steps: 

  1. Register– Register here by filling the online form with your email address, name then choose a secure password.
  2. Deposit Funds– Click on the “Deposit” tab to deposit funds either in fiat (bank transfer or debit/credit card payment) or cryptos(external wallet)  
  3. Start Trading– Navigate to the trading interface and start buying and selling coins as you prefer while enjoying zero fees. 

Closing Thoughts

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Coincheck is a leading Japan-based crypto exchange boasting of an intuitive trading interface, large trading volume, fiat currency support, and free-trading. The platform has made its team public plus it’s licensed and regulated by the Japanese Financial Services Agency. While it’s available internationally, supporting different languages, it’s not available for US users. The 2018 hacking incident considerably ruined Coincheck’s reputation leading to a drastic drop in users. However, the platform is trying to redeem itself by compensating affected individuals and implementing enhanced security measures, including 2-FA, security audits, and cold storage. All in all, Coincheck has the makings of a great exchange and is rebuilding its reputation by reaching new levels of security, funding insurance, and offering better services.   

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