Margin System Updates and Enhancements

In our ongoing effort to deliver the very best in crytocurrency trading, Bitfinex is pleased to announce several changes and enhancements to our margin system that will pave the way for better risk management, product-based margin requirements, and future trading products. We have also decided to streamline some of the associated margin features, updating and harmonizing margin terminology

  1. We have decided to eliminate the “Choose your leverage” feature, i.e., 1:1, 2:1 & 2.5:1. Instead of this, we are implementing a “per-pair” leverage allowance. This will allow us to tailor the exposure based on the assets volatility. Virtually all users maximize this value, and since it is self-selected anyway, we have chosen to simplify our product by eliminating it.
  2. We are also changing the way that we calculate “Tradeable Balance”. Currently, we do not consider the nature of a traders collateral when trading swaps, but that has lead to a loophole that allows a trader to effectively achieve 3.5:1 leverage by using BTC as collateral for a long BTC swap (most common example). While we are not particularly concerned about the effective leverage per se (see #3 below), we do, nonetheless want to harmonize risk management by considering any other collateral besides the one indicated by the pair (USD in the case of BTCUSD) as part of the allowing leverage for that position.
  3. While we understand that #2 may impact some traders used to the “extra” leverage, we are counteracting its effects by increasing initial allowable leverage to 3.33:1. We are making this change in the context of making the following changes the margin terminology and parameters.
  1. We will be changing any mention of “Leverage” to “Initial Margin” and representing it as a percentage instead of a ratio, which means that leverage of 2.5:1 would be represented as 40%. The new leverage of 3.33:1 will be shown as an Initial Margin of 30%.
  2. Maintenance Margin will be increased slightly to 15% and will be fixed to be always be half of the Initial Margin for any giving swaps product.
  3. These changes will allow us to easily adjust the margin parameters for a given swap pair to reflect marketplace realities as well as give us the ability to introduce future products that, for example, may be substantially less volatile, requiring less margin to trade. For the time being, 30%/15% margin parameters will be the same for all swap products.

The net effect of trader behavior and existing positions will be negligible and we look forward to delivering on the possibilities and new opportunities created by these changes. These changes will go into effect on Monday, August 18, 2014 at 00:00 UTC.

Thank you for choosing Bitfinex. We take the trust you place in us seriously, and are always striving to provide the fairest, and most cutting-edge platform in order to enable our customers trading needs.

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