Report: 80% of CoinMarketCap's top 25 bitcoin pair volumes are wash traded

Blockchain Transparency Institute, a team of blockchain data researchers, released a report analyzing cryptocurrency exchange data collected from CoinMarketCap's top 25 bitcoin trading pairs. Specifically, they took a deep dive into trading pairs on exchanges which show evidence of wash trading. Wash trading is a practice — illegal in some jurisdictions — in which traders simultaneous buy and sell their own orders, creating the appearance of higher trading volumes for an asset. Here are the findings from the Blockchain Transparency Institute's report:

  • There are at least four different bot strategies used to inflate exchange volume numbers
  • Most trading pair volume is under 1% of their reported volume on CoinMarketCap
  • Only 2 out of the top 25 pairs do not appear to be "grossly wash" trading their volume. They are Binance and Bitfinex
  • All 30 of OKEx's top traded tokens appear to be engaged in wash trading
  • Over 80% of the CoinMarketCap top 25 bitcoin pairs volume is wash traded
  • The average blockchain project spent over $50,000 this year on exchange listing fees  

About Author

Steven Zheng is a researcher for The Block. He joined The Block in August 2018. Steven graduated from St. John’s University with a degree in economics. Previously, he covered blockchain and crypto at Radicle, a startup analytics firm. He also had brief stints at Cheddar, a media startup, and Bowery Capital, a venture capital firm. He owns bitcoin. Follow Steven on Twitter at: @Dogetoshi

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