A report by the Blockchain Transparency Institute (BTI) reveals some interesting information about how top cryptocurrency exchanges are falsifying their trade volumes.
According to BTI researchers, the actual trade volumes of top 25 BTC trading pairs are under one percent of their reported turnover on CoinMarketCap. And only Binance and Bitfinex, out of the top 25 trading venues, are not wash trading their volume, proving that their figures were accurate as they could have easily faked it thanks to its high traffic.
The methodology used in making the study’s conclusions compared the exchanges’ order books with their web traffic data provided by third-party sites, including Google Analytics and Similarweb.
Wash trading is a form of market manipulation used to create misleading and artificial marketplace activity in order to draw in further investors. Although volume is arguably the most important metric for a cryptocurrency exchange, most enthusiasts are well aware that the prices on CoinMarketCap.com look skewed, and volumes are ‘relatively’ fabricated.
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CoinMarketCap inexplicitly admitted that a bit of wash trading and artificial volume inflation is to be expected in a thoroughly unregulated market. What it did not acknowledge though was the magnitude of the fraud.
Suspects include top exchanges
According to BTI’s recent report, the biggest offender among the crypto venues was found to be OKEx. The report alleges that all of its top 30 traded tokens are engaging in wash trading.
Other suspects include well-known exchanges. The report tells of how numbers within the stated daily trading volume are hugely exaggerated, alleging that Huobi and HitBTC show clear evidence of wash trading their top 25 pairs volume numbers, but to “a lesser degree than OKEx.”
“We checked into Bithumb after numerous reports and found a large amount of wash trading primarily with Monero, Dash, Bitcoin Gold, and ZCash. Top wash traded tokens on Bithumb appear to change depending on the month,” BTI’s December’s report states.
A previous report by the same non-profit organization revealed that over $6 billion in trading volume (over two-thirds of total daily volume) was all faked, and many of the CMC top crypto platforms aren’t even coming close to their reported figures.