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Only Binance and Bitfinex Do Not Wash Trade Their Volume, Report Finds

Crypto exchanges Binance and Bitfinex are the only two not found to be massively boasting their trading volume, according to a recent report released by Blockchain Transparency Institute.

As per the December report conducted by the institute, among the analyzed top 25 BTC trading pairs, only two of them are not grossly wash trading the trading volume, Binance and Bitfinex. It discovered that most of these pairs’ actual volume is under 1% of their reported volume on CoinMarketCap.


Wash trading is the practice of an individual or individuals repeatedly trading assets back and forth to simulate organic volume. It is done to make an exchange look more popular than it really is, and in traditional markets it is completely illegal.

The report also found almost all of the top 30 traded tokens on OKEx were engaged in wash trading, along with the majority of top 25 trading pairs on Huobi and HitBTC, to a lesser degree than OKEx.

An investigation on Bithumb found that the exchange has a large amount of wash trading involved with Monero, Dash, Bitcoin Gold and Zcash, and top wash-traded tokens on Bithumb appear to change depending on the month.

Based on the data – over 80% of the CoinMarketCap top 25 BTC pairs volume is wash traded, the report suggests these exchanges have benefited a lot from the CMC referral traffic and continue to use wash trading as a business model to steal money from aspiring token projects.

The institute included all these exchanges on its Exchange Advisory List, which comes with a warning for token projects to contact it before paying large listing fees to any of these exchanges.

As information it received from many tokens in the space showed that the average project spent over $50,000 this year in listing fees to these exchanges.

“This adds up to an estimated $100 million stolen in 2018 from the crypto ecosystem… and with over 50 exchanges wash trading over 95% of their volumes, this is a 500K a year scheme, with some exchanges making over one million dollars this year just from collecting these fees.”

Having unveiled the fake BTC trading volumes from some of the top-ranked exchanges, the institute also presented the actual top 10 BTC trading pairs it calculated. Binance, the most popular crypto trading platform, took the lead in BTC/USDT trading, followed by Bitfinex and then Coinbase Pro in BTC/USD trading. The fourth spot went to BitFlyer in BTC/JPY trading.


According to the top 10 BTC trading pairs, BTC-to-fiat trading, particularly to U.S. dollar, Japanese Yen and Korean Won, and BTC-to-USDT are the most popular pairs in the crypto space.


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