Wash trading has been plaguing the cryptocurrency market ever since cryptocurrencies became a popular trading asset. There has been a rise in the number of exchanges and the numbers keep moving in an upward direction. Most of these new exchanges often tend to generate fake volume by wash trading, giving the impression that there is a lot of demand than there actually is.
According to a Forbes report, CoinMarketCap (CMC) shows $6 billion per day in bitcoin trading volume, but in reality, only 4.5% of the reported amount is actually traded. While crypto enthusiasts flock to CMC for market data, most of the trading volume reported on the website is fake.
To tackle this situation, the Blockchain Transparency Institute (BTI) verified program was launched to verify and provide accurate information about the volumes of the cryptocurrency exchanges that are currently operating in the market. According to the latest report from BTI, since January 2019, the global wash trading rate has dropped by 35.7% within the top 40 popularly used exchanges.
Coinbase, Binance, Gemini among the cleanest
As per reports, the cleanest among the lot are Kraken, Poloniex, Coinbase, and Upbit. On the other hand, exchanges like OKEx, Bibox, Bit-Z, Coinbene, have the highest percentage of fake volume which exceeds 75% and rises up to 99%.
The most recent exchanges that got verified by BTI include Binance, Gemini, Bitflyer and Indodax. Binance has been reported to have less than 10% wash trading volume closely followed by Gemini which has around 12-15% wash trading volume.
The report also sheds light upon the fact that the cleanest exchanges belong to the United States and Japan, courtesy of the strict regulatory norms in these countries. This, however, is not the case for every exchange. South Korea has one of the well-monitored regulatory systems, but there have been reports of wash trading tokens like Monero and Dash with over 90% of fake volume.
Coinmaketcap listing scam exchanges
The report also mentions that Coinmarketcap (CMC), has a lot of scam exchanges on their top 10 list of exchanges. The list includes exchanges like LBank, BW.com, Bit-Z, OEX, which per the BIT report shows wash trading rates of up to 99.7%. CMC ranks the exchanges based on their volume without any in-depth inspection, this has resulted in 73 of the Top-100 exchanges on CMC to have over 90% of wash trading volume.
Wash trading isn’t limited just to altcoins
Wash trading isn’t limited to just altcoins, considering data from the ‘real’ Top-40 exchanges it has been found that Bitcoin is being wash traded by 50%, Ethereum by 75%, XRP at 55% and Litecoin at 74%. Most of this wash trading is accredited to OKEx, Bibox, and Huobi. The least wash traded coins are Maker Dao, Binance Coin, and LEO with fewer than 25% each.
One of the most shocking revelations was that USDT, the most popular dollar backed stable coin, has the highest wash trading volume within the Top 40 exchanges with over 67% fake volume.
Wash trading often misleads investors by manipulating the market and this causes harm both to individuals and the organizations behind the projects as well. Proper research is very important before choosing an exchange to trade upon. With projects like BTI, the situation is like to improve until there are strict regulations regarding cryptocurrency trading all around the globe.