ICBIT is a trading website which runs a few markets. Both the Exchange (currency exchange, stocks and bonds trading) and Futures markets are live now, however the most active is the Futures market.
The ICBIT site acts as the central intermediary for trades in futures contracts. It does not act as a final guarantor for the clearing process itself, with the results of the clearing process still ultimately dependent upon the counterparty risk exposure to other traders. Thus, the exchange does not act as a counterparty.
In some cases, icbit may attempt to make up the difference using a margin call, but this is not guaranteed. The policy for this is explained on the ICBIT website.
For its currency exchange section ICBIT makes an accent on the following:
- Speed of trading. Bitcoin forum is full of anger against slowness of existing exchanges. ICBIT implements special high performance trading engine and uses high-performance "no SQL" database to eliminate the problem.
- No limits. Most of the existing exchanges put rather restrictive limitations and require users to prove their identity. ICBIT finds this totally unacceptable and does not put any limits at all.
Futures traded include:
Futures contracts on USD/BTC rate
- BUQ3 (expires August 15, 2013, settled in BTC)
- BUU3 (expires September 16, 2013, settled in BTC)
- BUV3 (expires October 14, 2013, settled in BTC)
- BUZ3 (expires December 16, 2013, settled in BTC)
Futures contract on Bitcoin difficulty
Futures contract on LTC/BTC rate
- LBU3 (expires September 17, 2013, settled in BTC)
Futures contract on S&P500 index
- ESU3 (expires September 16, 2013, settled in BTC)
- BUZ2 (Futures contract, expired December 15, 2012, settled in BTC)
- BUH3 (Futures contract, expired March 15, 2013, settled in BTC)
- CLG3 (Crude Oil Futures contract, expired February 14, 2013, settled and quoted in BTC)
- GDG3 (Gold Futures contract, expired February 14, 2013, settled and quoted in BTC)
Traded on the exchange are:
- BTC/RUB (Russian Ruble)
Bitcoin: There is no fee for Bitcoin deposits to the account's BTC EWallet. Funds are added to the account's wallet after six (6) confirmations. Transactions made by DeepBit mining pool are added instantly.
USD: There are no methods to add USD funds.
RUB: QIWI vouchers can be used to add funds to an account's Russian ruble EWallet.
BTC: There is no fee for Bitcoin withdrawals from the account's BTC EWallet.
USD: There are no USD withdrawal methods.
RUB: Funds can be withdrawn from the account's Russian ruble EWallet as QIWI vouchers.
Accounts can be protected where both login and any money withdrawal operation requires the one-time password (OTP) feature known as two-step authentication. A mobile smartphone with Google Authenticator is the most commonly used OTP device.
First mentions of ICBIT appeared in June and July 2011 in the Bitcoin Stock Exchange Security Standards thread at bitcointalk.org and Bitcoin futures market discussion . By that time a very first version of the trading engine was developed.
A more detailed thread specific to ICBIT futures market was started  in November, 2011. The first closed test of futures market was performed, and work on the new version of web trading client was started.
Finally in January, 2012 the currency exchange section went live 
− There have been complaints about several core practices at icbit.−
-The primary complaint involves contract price manipulations that allow larger traders, including the site owner, to make profits from smaller traders regardless of bitcoin price movements.
The first comprehensive post questioning various practices at icbit is https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=125376.0
Examples of contract manipulations, including screenshots, is included in some complaints, including https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=246845
Complaints directed to the owner of icbit, who also is the principle contributor to this wiki page, include https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=173928.0
−Any potential investor should thoroughly understand the issues raised in the complaints. If you are not sure please ask questions in a public forum like bitcointalk.org and do not invest until all questions are answered to your satisfaction.−   
ICBIT is a trading website which runs a few markets. Both the Exchange and Futures markets are live now.
ICBIT is not an exchange since it does not act as a central counterparty. According to their website users are totally exposed to counterparty risk from other traders whose identities are concealed from them; the exchange does not pledge its own assets to back the full extent of the other side of a customer's position -- it pledges only "as much to profiting traders as loosing traders lost (in total)". Traders are not allowed to conduct background or reputation checks of any kind on these anonymous counterparties. ICBIT recently modified the linked page and it now contains self-contradictory information, such as "we do pledge our own assets, it's not always the case" and "your profitable position will be closed" at whatever price the exchange deems convenient rather than value-at-maturity. Since the exchange pledges only "as much to profiting traders as loosing traders lost (in total)" it is, by definition, not the counterparty -- the "loosing [sic] traders" are the counterparty.
A third party's blogger's assessment of the situation is that "ICBIT it is not acting as a clearing house, nor is it the counterparty to the futures trades it brokers. There is no clearing house guarantee, and counterparty risk remains largely unknown." The aforementioned blog also contains a rebuttal from ICBIT.
This site is said[source?] to be founded by Fireball and DeepBit by combining best practices in high-performance trading and Bitcoin experience.
At one point in the past, somebody who goes by the identifier "Fireball" voluntarily took the took one "bad customers" debt. Fireball is believed to be the owner of icbit and the principle contributor to this wiki page. He is alleged to have a history of 'refunding' bitcoin when there is a threat that improper practices may be exposed. See http://trilema.com/2012/icbitse-the-bucket-shop/ and then note the post at https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=140484.0 which was apparently made after Fireball returned "~500 BTC".
- Bitcoin Stock Exchange Security Standards thread
- Fireball's statement about ongoing futures exchange work
- ICBIT derivatives market thread
- Bitcointalk announcement of a new exchange live testing
- Article by Mircea Popescu, proprietor of MPEx
- Bitcointalk "bucket shop" thread
- Bitcointalk "icbit warning" thread