Cryptocurrency exchanges or digital currency exchanges (DCE) are businesses that allow customers to trade cryptocurrencies or digital currencies for other assets, such as conventional fiat money, or different digital currencies. They can be market makers that typically take the bid/ask spreads as transaction commissions for their services or simply charge fees as a matching platform.
DCEs may be brick-and-mortar businesses, exchanging traditional payment methods and digital currencies, or strictly online businesses, exchanging electronically transferred money and digital currencies. Most digital currency exchanges operate outside of Western countries, avoiding regulatory oversight and complicating prosecutions, but DCEs often handle Western fiat currencies, sometimes maintaining bank accounts in several countries to facilitate deposits in various national currencies. They may accept credit card payments, wire transfers, postal money orders, cryptocurrency or other forms of payment in exchange for digital currencies. They can send cryptocurrency to your personal cryptocurrency wallet. Many can convert digital currency balances into anonymous prepaid cards which can be used to withdraw funds from ATMs worldwide.
Some digital currencies are backed by real-world commodities such as gold.
Creators of digital currencies are often independent of the DCEs that trade the currency. In one type of system, digital currency providers (DCP), are businesses that keep and administer accounts for their customers, but generally do not issue digital currency to those customers directly. Customers buy or sell digital currency from DCEs, who transfer the digital currency into or out of the customer's DCP account. Some DCEs are subsidiaries of DCP, but many are legally independent businesses. The denomination of funds kept in DCP accounts may be of a real or fictitious currency.
In 2004 three Australian–based digital currency exchange businesses voluntarily shut down following an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The ASIC viewed the services offered as legally requiring an Australian Financial Services License, which the companies lacked.
In 2006, US-based digital currency exchange business GoldAge Inc., a New York state business, was shut down by the US Secret Service after operating since 2002. Business operators Arthur Budovsky and Vladimir Kats were indicted "on charges of operating an illegal digital currency exchange and money transmittal business" from their apartments, transmitting more than $30 million to digital currency accounts. Customers provided limited identity documentation, and could transfer funds to anyone worldwide, with fees sometimes exceeding $100,000. Budovsky and Kats were sentenced in 2007 to five years in prison "for engaging in the business of transmitting money without a license, a felony violation of state banking law", ultimately receiving sentences of five years probation.
In April 2007, the US government ordered E-gold administration to lock/block approximately 58 E-Gold accounts owned and used by The Bullion Exchange, AnyGoldNow, IceGold, GitGold, The Denver Gold Exchange, GoldPouch Express, 1MDC (a Digital Gold Currency, based on e-gold) and others, forcing G&SR (owner of OmniPay) to liquidate the seized assets. A few weeks later, E-Gold faced four indictments. Here is the DoJ release and here is the rebuttal by Douglas Jackson, CEO.
In July 2008, Webmoney changed its rules, affecting many exchanges. Since that time it became prohibited[by whom?] to exchange Webmoney to most popular e-currencies like E-gold, Liberty Reserve and others.
Also in July 2008 E-gold's three directors accepted a bargain with the prosecutors and plead guilty to one count of "conspiracy to engage in money laundering" and one count of the "operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business". E-gold ceased operations in 2009.
In 2013, Jean-Loup Richet, a research fellow at ESSEC ISIS, surveyed new money laundering techniques that cybercriminals were using in a report written for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. A common approach to cyber money laundering was to use a digital currency exchanger service which converted dollars into Liberty Reserve and could be sent and received anonymously. The receiver could convert the Liberty Reserve currency back into cash for a small fee. In May 2013, digital currency exchanger Liberty Reserve was shut down after the alleged founder, Arthur Budovsky Belanchuk, and four others were arrested in Costa Rica, Spain, and New York "under charges for conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy and operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business." Budovsky, a former U.S. citizen and naturalized Costa Rican, was convicted in connection with the 2006 Gold Age raid. A U.S. indictment said the case "is believed to be the largest international money laundering prosecution in history." More than $40 million in assets were placed under restraint pending forfeiture, and more than 30 Liberty Reserve exchanger domain names were seized. The company was estimated to have laundered $6 billion in criminal proceeds.
List of some notable digital currency exchanges
|Title||Country||Fiat money||Bitcoin||Altcoins||Commodity||Trade Fee||Decentralized|
|CEX.IO||UK||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||0.2% - 7%||No|
|Coincheck||Japan||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||-0.05% - 0.15%||No|
|Coinfloor||UK||Yes||Yes||No||No||0.08 - 0.55%||No|
|GDAX||USA||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||0.1% to 0.25%||No|
|Gemini||USA||Yes||Yes||No||No||-0.15% (rebate) to 0.25%||No|
|HitBTC||UK||No||Yes||Yes||No||-0.01% to 0.10%||No|
|Kraken||USA||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||0.05 - 0.50%||No|
|Luno||South Africa||Yes||Yes||No||No||0% - 1%||No|
Over the counter trading (OTC)
Over-the-counter or off-the-exchange trading of bitcoins is a more flexible and convenient way of trading bitcoins comparing to traditional exchanges.
OTC trading has kept growing since 2014 in various financial markets as more institutions taking the trades off the exchange. Today, many corporations or institutions employ individual traders or bitcoin-OTC trading desks to perform this task at moderate expenses. Some representatives bitcoin-OTC trading desks could be Bitfinex.com, itBit, Coinfloor, Octagon Strategy Limited, LocalBitcoins, Bitstamp, BitX etc.
Preserve Market Stability
List of some notable bitcoin OTC desks
|Title||Country||Fiat money||Bitcoin||Altcoins||Trade fee||Settlement||Min. Limit (no. of btc)|
|Bitfinex.com||Hong Kong||No||Yes||Yes||0.1 - 0.2%||NA||NA|
|itBit||Singapore||Yes||Yes||No||0.1% per transaction||T+0||100|
|Coinfloor||UK||Yes||Yes||No||0.1 - 0.38%||T+0||NA|
|Octagon Strategy||Hong Kong||Yes||Yes||Yes||0.1-0.5%||T+0||NA|
|LocalBitcoins||Worldwide||Yes||Yes||No||0.0001 - 0.0010 BTC per outgoing transfer||NA||NA|
Note that: Beginning 18 April 2017 BitFinex stopped accepting FIAT deposits, and even though the exchange interface still shows USD trading pairs, they are actually USDT trading pairs. The exchange stopped accepting US customers as of 11 August 2017.
- Digital currency
- Digital gold currency
- Bureau de Change
- Gold as an investment
- List of Bitcoin companies
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