Nocks Exchange Review: Dutch Fiat Exchange
In another edition of our exchange reviews, we decided to have a look at Nocks, an up and coming Dutch exchange with a fiat ramp and a user-friendly trading process.
But, what is the deal with Nocks? What do they offer to users and is it a safe exchange to use? In this review, we will dig deep into this exchange and give you all the answers. We took an in-depth look at the exchange by examining the team, security, fees, platform functionality, and asset coverage, among other metrics.
If you wish to skip to the summary to see the SWOT analysis, matrix score, and rating, click here.
Finally, if you find this review beneficial and wish to start trading on Nocks, please feel free to sign up and register on their website. Proof of Review will receive a small referral credit, which will help us to continue providing reviews like these.
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According to their website “Nocks offers real-time trading of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin at a low fixed-fee of 0.25% per trade. You can use any of your verified Euro bank accounts to deposit and start trading.”
What is Nocks?
Nocks is a digital asset exchange, originally starting out as a cryptocurrency payment service at its launch in 2015, then pivoting to become a broker in February 2016, and finally their crypto exchange was launched on October 3rd, 2017.
How long has Nocks been operating?
The exchange was launched in October of 2017 and has been operating successfully for over two years.
We award a score of two marks here, as there are no notable periods of downtime, no public hacks, or negative sentiment towards the exchange through mismanagement. Full marks are awarded to exchanges operating for more than 3 years, so Nocks is well on the way to achieving this.
How many users are there?
Like most exchanges, there are no public user numbers listed on the website and we were unable to find any public information on user numbers from the project’s blog or social media.
What incentives are there to register?
At the time of writing, there are no sign-up bonuses for users and this is an area the team can improve to increase the adoption on their platform, for volume and user numbers.
Overall we score one mark for the adoption of the exchange among traders. There is room for improvement here, especially with Nocks marketing its Euro fiat gateway and developing its brand awareness among its core target market.
Who is the company behind Nocks?
The company information is listed on the website here, along with the registered company number and trading address.
The exchange scores full marks on this section as we are highly impressed with the level of transparency shown around the company information and feel this should be the norm among all centralised cryptocurrency exchanges.
What coins are listed on the platform?
As a fiat focused exchange, there are only a handful of pairs listed including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Gulden, Get Protocol, Icury, and Nocks Utility (the exchange’s utility token). These are all tradeable against Euro and the team advised us that they aim to add 10 new pairs this year.
How often are new coins listed?
The last listing on the platform was in June 2019, and is an area in which exchange can improve. However, as stated above, the team are aware of this and are looking to add several new pairings this year.
There is no listing process outlined on the Nocks website and the team state that they review each coin individually when looking at new listings.
Does the exchange list any emerging or unique blockchains?
Currently, there are several emerging or unique blockchains listed on the exchange such as Icury. The team advising that they are currently in partnership with the Novo team. Novo is not currently listed for trading on the exchange, however, it is likely we will see the team add it later in the year once the initial Novo distribution phase is complete.
To score full marks here we would like to see Nocks add a minimum of one new coin with every trading quarter.
How does Nocks compare with its peers in the market?
The exchange has had no notable downtime in the period in the duration we spent reviewing the platform or in its history.
Nocks does not currently offer any signup bonuses for new customers, however, this is the norm among established or smaller or emerging Altcoin exchanges.
In this regard, when assessed as a fiat exchange, we can say Nocks compares well to its competitors with a flat fee of 0.25% per trade. For comparison, Bitstamp, a rival European exchange, which offers a tiered-fee structure, initially charging 0.5% per trade, which decreases with increased trading volume over a 30 day period.
There is no tiered fee schedule at Nocks, and this is a possible area of improvement for the team to address.
Who is the team behind Nocks?
As mentioned earlier, the company information is available on the website, but with very little team information visible. The two founders of the exchange are listed on the homepage.
We were also able to find a company profile for the team on LinkedIn.
How can Nocks improve transparency?
This is an area where Nocks does well but can always improve. We always recommend that team information be listed on the website, even if it is just basic information such as a name, photo, along with a LinkedIn page where users can gather more info, if necessary.
What is the experience of the Nocks team?
The co-founder, Roel Boer, has 10 years experience as a freelance web developer prior to launching Nocks. His fellow co-founder, Patrick Kivits, also has an extensive history in web development dating back to 2010.
The CTO for the exchange is a software engineer who has experience of founding and exiting a web-based start-up in the Netherlands, however, his information is not available on LinkedIn, so we are unable to comment any further on his experience.
The co-founders have been involved in crypto since launching the first iteration of the Nocks platform in 2015.
Based on the experience of the co-founders, we award full marks in this section. A small area of improvement would be to include more information around the software team, including the CTO.
Development post-launch is often an indicator of the team’s focus and capabilities, and in this regard, we are impressed with how Nocks have progressed since launching.
What new developments are there?
As mentioned earlier, the Nocks exchange has grown into a fiat-based exchange from its initial launch. Over the years, Nocks has expanded the platform and has developed a smart way to keep the business lean and optimize revenue streams. Milestones include processing the first million Euros in transaction volume within the first year as a functioning exchange and annual growth in overall transaction volume of 6 million Euros in 2016, 24 million Euros in 2017 and 56 million Euros in 2018.
Nocks is the first Dutch cryptocurrency platform with an iDeal certificate and is currently working on obtaining licenses to expand its services in the European market.
A quick search on the Nocks Blog indicates a partnership with the Novo project, with Novo utilising the KYC processing service from the Nocks platform.
Funding / Expenditure / Revenue
How was the exchange platform funded?
There is no public information around funding for the exchange prior to launch. The team have issued the NCKS Utility token which was distributed as an IEO in the summer of 2019.
Are the financial records public?
Nocks do not produce any public financial records for its community and this is the norm among exchanges in this industry. As there is an IEO towards the funding of the project, we recommend the exchange make this information public, even if only restricted to NCKS token holders.
We score two marks in this section due to the exchanges relatively low trading volumes and the revenues generated as fees for Nocks. To score full marks, we would like to see higher volumes on the platform over a continuous 30 day period.
There is a public API available, free to use and documented in English. To score full marks here we would like to see the API documented in at least one more language to make it more user-friendly.
What order types are there on Nocks?
The trading platform allows Limit Order, Market Order, and Stop Order types and is one of the most user-friendly trading platforms we have come across in 7 years. Users can choose to trade either directly on the exchange or via an easy trade form as shown below. This process makes it much easier for novice/intermediate traders.
The funds are sent straight to the desired address once the trade is completed and users can see the available liquidity before entering any trade. There is also a confirmation outlining the overview of any trade and users need to confirm it before any trade is placed, minimising the risk for user error.
We award Nocks full marks here for their impressive order process. Many other exchanges could follow this model to allow for an easier trading experience for their users.
As mentioned earlier, there is a utility token associated with the exchange, NCKS token.
You can use NCKS Utility to pay for fees on the Nocks platform, including but not limited to:
- Trading & Broker fees (50% discount)
- Deposit / Withdrawal fees (50% discount)
- Holders can also send the token to their Contributor balance, to get rewarded a part of trading fees generated by the platform
- Unlock additional features such as Market Making
We award a mark of two here, to obtain full marks we would like to see a use for NCKS outside of the exchange.
What trading pairs are available?
Trading pairs on Nocks include a handful of established coins, along with several emerging ones. The noticeable feature when using the platform is that all pairs are traded against Euro only.
We award two marks here as users have the ability to purchase in Euros. To score full marks on this section, we would like to see another altcoin base-pairing available, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, or another Fiat base pair.
Nocks offers a standard flat fee rate for Maker and Taker fees shown below.
What are the trading fees?
Standard Maker and Taker fees are 0.25% across all trading pairs. There is currently no tiered fee discounts for users based on their volume traded.
In this regard, there is room for improvement for Nocks to become more competitive. We recommend implementing a sliding tier fee scale, incentivising market makers or larger traders to use the platform.
We take a look at the security metrics for Nocks. Although we aim to cover a range of metrics, no cryptocurrency exchange is 100% secure and users are encouraged to only store funds on exchanges when trading.
Is the website secure?
We run all the exchange websites through Mozilla’s Observatory-test. The score in this test is one of many indicators of the exchange’s security.
Nocks received an impressive score of B in this test. Upon reviewing their previous results, we can see they previously scored a B grade in Oct 2017, indicating an ongoing focus on website security.
As with any exchange website, users should always verify the SSL certificate on the site before registering. We can see that Nocks has a full SSL certificate issued by Cloudflare.
The current whitelisting options available on the Nocks exchange is for addresses only. The team also advise that following any changes to the user account there is a cool-down period of 24 hours before users can withdraw any funds. When making any changes to the account, users receive an email to advise of this activity on their Nocks account.
We would recommend the ability to whitelist user IP addresses and approved devices alongside 2FA to further secure user accounts.
There is 2FA available on the exchange and it is not mandatory for users to set this up when first registering on the platform. The 2FA options available are Authy and Google Authenticator, which provides a range of options at different levels of security and convenience, depending on the preference of the user.
Nocks pride themselves as being a secure exchange with no history of theft, hacks, or data leaks. A quick google search confirms no recorded incidents of theft or hacks on the exchange.
We score a mark of one here with several areas that the team can improve the safety of users. These include prompting users regularly to change their password and implementing an emergency lock button for users via email anytime their account is logged into.
We cannot find any record of a public security audit of the Nocks Platform, which is not uncommon for exchanges.
The team advised us that there is an ongoing security program running and all withdrawals are audited before processing.
One area we are impressed with is the bug bounty offered by the exchange, ensuring that community members are incentivised to report any flaws or security risks to the Nocks team. We would like to see this as mandatory across all exchanges in the industry.
We award two marks for this section, with one of these marks for the innovation surrounding the bug bounty. For full marks, we would like to see more information on the website around their audit practices.
How are user funds stored on the exchange?
The team state that cryptocurrency is held mostly in cold storage, and it requires 3 team members to unlock any cold storage and send funds from them.
Cold storage should be mandatory among exchanges. If your favourite exchange does not follow these practices, it is a recipe for disaster.
Are withdrawals audited?
The team state that all withdrawals are audited prior to processing.
Is there a security guide for users?
There is no section or guide on the website dedicated to security. We look at Binance as the benchmark for this with its security guides and recommend Nocks provide a similar guide to ensure their users remain safe.
Are there any user guides in case of exchange hack and/or procedures in place should this occur?
We recommend that Nocks provide a user guide to highlight their plans in case users are unable to log in or the exchange is compromised.
We have never come across an exchange which tells its users what the procedures are in case of a hack. Aside from the theft of user funds, the risk of ID theft is a serious one and an area of concern for exchange users.
Do users maintain custody of their funds or private keys?
Since Nocks is a centralised exchange, users do not control their private keys, and as such, all funds deposited on the exchange are in the custody of Nocks until withdrawn by the user. We always recommend users only keep funds on centralised exchanges when trading and withdraw funds as soon as practical for their own safety and security.
We score a mark of two points for the fund custody management of Nocks.
We take a look at the legal metrics for the exchange; however, we remind all users to undertake their due diligence before registering, depositing, and trading at any exchange. Users have little or no legal recourse in the event funds are lost on exchanges through hacks or mismanagement.
Do I have to register for KYC?
KYC compliance is stated as mandatory for any user who wishes to deposit, trade or withdraw on the Nocks platform. The team state they all KYC is done internally without the use of any third party. To test this, we registered on the platform and we were forced to pass the KYC check as part of the initial registration process.
Is there any legal team or compliance policy?
There is a compliance officer but they are not named or displayed on the team’s LinkedIn profile. We recommend exchanges make this information public for transparency.
Is Nocks a regulated exchange?
Nocks is a Dutch-based exchange and the team state they are compliant with all current regulations in the Netherlands, however, there is nothing to indicate that they are formally regulated.
Overall, we award a score of 2 for this metric based on the fact that there is a designated compliance officer on the team. We feel that the KYC process could be improved with the transparency around the compliance/legal team who process the information.
What are the daily volumes like on the exchange?
The trading volumes are relatively low on the exchange, with an average of €5,000-10,000 per day over the last 30 days. This would indicate trading volumes on the platform are real and not spoofed.
Are the trading volumes verified?
There is no information available to verify the trading volumes listed on Nocks. We encourage exchanges to register with metrics sites such as Nomics so trading volumes can be independently verified.
Who can use Nocks?
Users are able to download trade history as a CSV file for all trade history for the duration of the account. We see this as beneficial for users, as they are able to use this information for accounting and tax return purposes.
Nocks scores full marks here, as all trades are denominated in a Euro value.
Are my funds on the exchange insured?
As with many cryptocurrency exchanges, Nocks is not a formally regulated exchange and as such, it is unlikely that any user funds stored there are insured in any manner.
Does Nocks have a Secure Asset Fund for Users?
There is not currently a Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU) listed for Nocks. We recommend a SAFU to the Nocks team in case of exchange hacks/loss of customer funds, and they advised us it is something they will consider in the future.
There is also no information for any legal team, which should be mandatory for exchanges. However, the team have confirmed there is a compliance officer, so more transparency and clarity from Nocks around their legal team would be beneficial.
For the SAFU metric, we are going to award a score of one based on the transparency of the Nocks company information. We will revisit this in the future should a transparent SAFU fund be introduced.
We take a look at the community engagement for the exchange, often one of the most overlooked criteria when deciding on whether or not to use an exchange. Customer support is essential to users, along with regular communication on developments and new listings.
There are various methods of communication for the exchange, with the team acknowledging the importance of communication and engagement with its community.
What are the most active channels?
The majority of communication occurs in the Telegram channel, which is recommended, as it allows 2-way communication. We always recommend exchanges use Discord, as it offers particular advantages over Telegram such as private, support and voice channels.
The official Twitter account could be more active by tweeting more often, however, this is balanced with a good level of engagement per Tweet.
There is no official YouTube channel or official written user guides to educate users on how to use the platform. We highly recommend that Nocks make a series of official video or written user guides showing how to use the exchange.
Overall we award a score of two marks for the communication metric. To score full marks we would like to see the guides implemented as suggested above, regular updates or AMA with the team.
How well does Nocks engage with its community?
According to RivalIQ, the average Twitter engagement on the Nocks account is 14.3 per tweet, which is 0.3% of its total 4k followers.
At a rate of 14 engagement total per tweet, this is more than twice the average engagement rate across all industries. The engagement rate per tweet is 0.3% or more than 7 times the industry average.
Nocks has excellent engagement despite their lack of regular tweets, and we score two marks for this section.
The website is straightforward to navigate, with a clean design. It provides necessary information about Nocks, its products, policies, and features. Areas for improvement include adding more information about the team for transparency and adding user guides for information.
Is the website compliant?
The website is secured via HTTPS. However, it is not GDPR compliant for European users, and the domain details are not public. As a European based company and platform, GDPR should be mandatory and it strongly recommended.
Is the website multilingual?
The website and platform are multilingual in several languages, English and Dutch.
What channels of user support are there?
The main support channel is via email and the team state that they target a response within 24 hours but often aim to respond immediately. The support team currently consists of two staff, and support is available during regular office hours in the CET timezone.
Is there multilingual support?
The team have advised that support is multilingual, for both English and Dutch.
We score two marks for the Nocks support metric. One area of improvement we can recommend is a live user support option and guide for users in the case of account compromise or hack.
We take a look at the trading experience for the exchange, however, we remind all users to undertake their own due diligence before registering, depositing, and trading at any exchange. Users have little or no legal recourse in event of funds lost on exchanges through mismanagement.
Creating a Nocks Account
Getting set up with a Nocks account is really easy and takes less than a few minutes. We remind users that Nocks require a mandatory KYC check before allowing users to deposit, trade, or withdraw on their platform.
Nocks Sign Up
To register for a Nocks account, head over to the registration page here. When registering for an exchange, we always recommend using a dedicated email address and 2FA device, along with a unique password.
The final step of the signup process is to verify your identity for KYC and pass this step.
Using our review criteria, Nocks scored 64/100 based on our scoring matrix and we score the project at an impressive B- rating.
We have outlined our SWOT analysis below to provide you with a breakdown on the exchange. For a more detailed scoring breakdown on each metric, please scroll down to our matrix table.
Our scoring matrix below indicates areas of strengths and weaknesses and as part of the review, we sent Nocks our recommendations for improvements alongside suggestions for additional features. We will remain in touch with the team, and should our recommendations be implemented, we will update the review and score accordingly.
Overall the exchange has had an impressive start from its launch and with a few improvements such as increasing adoption, it is possible Nocks become a viable competitor in the relatively uncrowded Euro fiat exchange sector.
The content provided in this review is for educational and informative purposes only.
You should not construe any such information on this review as legal, tax, investment, or financial advice.
Nothing discussed on our website or social media channels constitutes a solicitation, recommendation, endorsement, or offer by Proof Of Review, its team, or any third party service provider to buy or sell any cryptocurrencies.
We use a combined rating score out of 100, covering all the listed metrics for project reviews. Each metric is rated out of 3 including a potential bonus point in every metric.
We also reserve the right to award a bonus point for outstanding achievement for a project. Our rating methodology is listed here.
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