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Cryptocurrency exchange

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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.[1][2] 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.[2]

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.[3] Most digital currency exchanges operate outside of Western countries,[4] 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.[5][6] They may accept credit card payments, wire transfers, postal money orders, cryptocurrency or other forms of payment in exchange for digital currencies.[7] 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.[5][6]

Some digital currencies are backed by real-world commodities such as gold.[8]

Creators of digital currencies are often independent of the DCEs that trade the currency.[6] 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.[3][9] Customers buy or sell digital currency from DCEs, who transfer the digital currency into or out of the customer's DCP account.[9] Some DCEs are subsidiaries of DCP, but many are legally independent businesses.[3] The denomination of funds kept in DCP accounts may be of a real or fictitious currency.[9]

Regulatory issues

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.[10]

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.[11] 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.[9] Customers provided limited identity documentation, and could transfer funds to anyone worldwide, with fees sometimes exceeding $100,000.[9] 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.[12]

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.[13] A few weeks later, E-Gold faced four indictments. Here is the DoJ release[14] and here is the rebuttal by Douglas Jackson, CEO.[15]

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.[16]

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".[17] 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.[18] 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."[19] Budovsky, a former U.S. citizen and naturalized Costa Rican, was convicted in connection with the 2006 Gold Age raid.[12][20] A U.S. indictment said the case "is believed to be the largest international money laundering prosecution in history."[20] More than $40 million in assets were placed under restraint pending forfeiture, and more than 30 Liberty Reserve exchanger domain names were seized.[19][21] The company was estimated to have laundered $6 billion in criminal proceeds.[19]

List of some notable digital currency exchanges

Title Country Fiat money Bitcoin Altcoins Commodity Trade Fee Decentralized  UK No Yes No No 0.5% No
CEX.IO  UK Yes Yes Yes Yes 0.2% - 7% No
BTCChina  China Yes Yes Yes No 0% No
Coincheck  Japan Yes Yes Yes No -0.05% - 0.15% No
Coinfloor  UK Yes Yes No No 0.08 - 0.55% No
Coinbase  USA Yes Yes Yes No 1% No
GDAX  USA Yes Yes Yes No 0.1% to 0.25%[22] No
Gemini  USA Yes Yes No No -0.15% (rebate) to 0.25%[23] No
HitBTC  UK No Yes Yes No -0.01% to 0.10% No
Kraken  USA Yes Yes Yes No 0.05 - 0.50% No
LocalBitcoins  Finland Yes Yes No No 1% Yes
Luno  South Africa Yes Yes No No 0% - 1% No
ANX  Hong Kong Yes Yes Yes No 0.3%-0.6% 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.[24] Today, many corporations or institutions employ individual traders or bitcoin-OTC trading desks to perform this task at moderate expenses.[25] Some representatives bitcoin-OTC trading desks could be, itBit, Coinfloor, Octagon Strategy Limited, LocalBitcoins, Bitstamp, BitX etc.[26]


The quotes given by OTC trading desks are generally in line with the main bitcoin trading desks, such as coindesk, localbitcoins, bitstamp, btcxindia, zebpay.[27]

Preserve Market Stability

Experienced OTC traders would fill large orders with multiple smaller orders outstanding in the public order book thus to avoid predatory pricing behaviours[28] in the bitcoin markets.[24]

List of some notable bitcoin OTC desks

Title Country Fiat money Bitcoin Altcoins Trade fee Settlement Min. Limit (no. of btc)[29]  Hong Kong No[30] Yes Yes 0.1 - 0.2% NA NA
itBit[31]  Singapore Yes Yes No 0.1% per transaction T+0 100
Coinfloor[32]  UK Yes Yes No 0.1 - 0.38% T+0 NA
Octagon Strategy[33]  Hong Kong Yes Yes Yes[34] 0.1-0.5% T+0 NA
LocalBitcoins Worldwide Yes Yes No 0.0001 - 0.0010 BTC per outgoing transfer[35] NA NA
BitX[36]  Singapore Yes Yes No 0.1% NA 250

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.[30] The exchange stopped accepting US customers as of 11 August 2017.[37]

See also


  1. ^ "Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges: The Ultimate Guide". 24 April 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Digital Currency Exchanger (DCE) Definition". Investopedia Dictionary. Investopedia US, a division of ValueClick, Inc. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Working Group on Typologies (18 October 2010). "Draft Report on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing through New Payment Methods" (PDF). Paris: Financial Action Task Force. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "How To Buy Bitcoins Online". WeUseCoins Guide. We Use Coins. Retrieved 30 April 2016. 
  5. ^ a b "Substantiation – Money laundering in digital currencies (Unclassified)". Money Laundering in Digital Currencies. National Drug Intelligence Center, US Department of Justice. June 2008. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c Sood, Aditya K; Enbody, Richard J; Bansal, Rohit (2013). "Cybercrime: Dissecting the State of Underground Enterprise". IEEE Internet Computing (1). IEEE Computer Society. pp. 60–68. doi:10.1109/MIC.2012.61. 
  7. ^ "Cryptocurrency overzicht: meest populaire cryptovaluta". Cryptostart (in Dutch). Retrieved 2017-12-13. 
  8. ^ Byrnes, William H.; Munro, Robert J. (2 October 2013). Money Laundering, Asset Forfeiture and Recovery and Compliance – A Global Guide. LexisNexis. p. 2802. ISBN 978-0-327-17084-6.  (Page number assigned by Google Books.)
  9. ^ a b c d e Hesterman, Jennifer L (17 April 2013). The Terrorist-Criminal Nexus: An Alliance of International Drug Cartels, Organized Crime, and Terror Groups. CRC Press. p. 218. ISBN 978-1-4665-5761-1. 
  10. ^ "ASIC acts to shut down electronic currency trading websites" (Press release). Australian Securities & Investments Commission. 9 November 2004. Archived from the original on 23 March 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  11. ^ McCullagh, Declan (30 March 2001). "Secret service raids Gold-Age". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Boddiger, David; Arias, L (24 May 2013). "Millions of dollars in limbo after shuttering of digital currency site Liberty Reserve". The Tico Times. San José, Costa Rica. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  13. ^ " is offline". Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
  14. ^ "#07-301: 04-27-07 Digital Currency Business E-Gold Indicted for Money Laundering and Illegal Money Transmitting". 2007-04-24. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  15. ^ "e-gold® Founder Denies ..." Archived from the original on 4 June 2009. Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
  16. ^[dead link]
  17. ^ Grant Gross (2007-07-22). "IDG News Service Internet currency firm pleads guilty to money laundering". Archived from the original on 2009-04-14. 
  18. ^ Richet, Jean-Loup (June 2013). "Laundering Money Online: a review of cybercriminals methods". arXiv:1310.2368Freely accessible. 
  19. ^ a b c "Written testimony of U.S. Secret Service for a Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs hearing titled "Beyond Silk Road: Potential Risks, Threats, and Promises of Virtual Currencies"". United States Department of Homeland Security. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  20. ^ a b Matonis, Jon (28 May 2013). "U.S. Shuts Currency Exchange Allegedly Tied To $6B In Money Laundering". Forbes. LLC. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  21. ^ "Digital currency biz Liberty Reserve shut down, founder arrested | VentureBeat | Security | by Sean Ludwig". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  22. ^ "Fee Structure". Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  23. ^ "New Fee And Rebate Structure". Retrieved 1 April 2016. 
  24. ^ a b "How Bitcoin Brokers Trade Millions Without an Exchange". CoinDesk. 2014-09-05. Retrieved 2017-01-03. 
  25. ^ Willms, Jessie (2015-11-02). "New Data from OTC Trading Desks Reveals Millions of Dollars in Bitcoin Traded Off Public Markets". Bitcoin Magazine. Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  26. ^ "Bitcoin koers, informatie, wallets & bitcoins kopen". Cryptostart (in Dutch). Retrieved 2017-12-13. 
  27. ^ Limited, Unocoin Technologies Private. "Unocoin | Launching OTC Platform for high volume traders". Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  28. ^ Commission, Australian Competition and Consumer (2013-01-09). "Predatory pricing". Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  29. ^ "Announcements > Over The Counter (OTC) Trading Desk". Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  30. ^ a b "Announcements > Pausing Wire Deposits to Bitfinex". Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  31. ^ "Bitcoin OTC Trading | itBit". Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  32. ^ "OVER-THE-COUNTER MARKET". Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  33. ^ "octfinancial". octfinancial. Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  34. ^ "Octagon Strategy Ltd commences Ethereum trading (ETH)". Retrieved 2017-03-31. 
  35. ^ " Fastest and easiest way to buy and sell bitcoins". Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  36. ^ "Introducing: BitX Bitcoin OTC Desk". The BitX blog. 2016-06-07. Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  37. ^ "Service Changes for U.S. Customers (Amended as of August 12, 2017)". Retrieved 2017-11-21. 

External links