The Daily: Security Experts Rank Exchanges by Safety, Malta Dominates Trade Volume
In today’s edition of The Daily, we cover several different reports about the cryptocurrency ecosystem. The first was written by a cybersecurity firm that’s trying to identify the safest exchanges through which to trade. The second report offers a detailed breakdown of the market based on a host of different parameters, while another shows that corporations have abused the term “blockchain” so much that it has become poisonous.
And the Safest Exchange Is…
Group-IB, a Moscow-based cybersecurity firm, has developed a ranking system to grade cryptocurrency exchanges by the level of safety they offer clients. This is meant to provide insurers a way to decide what rates to offer clients that wish to insure their holdings on different exchanges.
“In the first place, we assess how crypto exchanges deal with crypto and fiat assets: what are the exchanges assets keys’ storage and management procedures,” a Group-IB spokesperson explained to TNW Hard Fork. “In some cases, with founders’ consent, the assessment includes penetration testing using social engineering methods aimed at the network compromise through the most vulnerable link at any organization — humans.”
According to the rankings, Okex, Huobi Pro, and Coincheck are among the least safe exchanges. Binance, Bitfinex, Bithumb, Bitmex, Localbitcoins, Myetherwallet and Poloniex rank above those exchanges, but Group-IB views Bittrex and Coinbase Pro as even safer. It ranks Kraken as the safest exchange.
The Current Industry Landscape
Bitmex Research has presented a report produced by Cryptocompare which offers a very detailed look at the exchange ecosystem. It reveals that Malta has been able to position itself as a global trading hub, as exchanges that are now legally based there produce the highest total daily trade volume, at just under $1.4 billion. The island nation is followed by South Korea, with about $840 million, and Hong Kong at approximately $560 million.
In terms of fiat pairs, the U.S. dollar represented 50 percent of BTC trading on average. The greenback was followed by the Japanese yen at 21 percent and the Korean won at 16 percent.
The report also shows that centralized exchanges continue to dominate trading. The combined average daily volume on the top five decentralized exchanges stands at just under $2.4 million, which is a mere 0.4 percent of total exchange volume.
Another interesting statistic from the report is that 11 percent of the top exchanges have been hacked in the past. And only one-third of the leading exchanges keep a majority of users’ funds in cold storage.
Blockchain Winter Is Coming
Blockchain hype has been a constant feature of mainstream financial media coverage of the cryptocurrency space for about two years now. Many big companies that have wanted free exposure but lacked any connection to cryptocurrency have simply repackaged old database products as private blockchains. Others have simply claimed to launch pilot programs to put everything from vegetables to shipping containers on blockchains.
But now a new report by advisory firm Forrester (Nasdaq: FORR) concludes that “continued hype and unrealistic promises drive risk of a looming Blockchain Winter.” In fact, the research shows that companies are already switching out the term in exchange for “distributed ledger technology.” Now it remains to be seen how long companies will be able to milk “DLT” as a buzzword before moving on to the next one.