Report: 51% of Bitcoin’s Trading Volume is Fake

Updated by Ryan James
In Brief
  • Forbes reported that Bitcoin’s transaction volume on June 14 was $128 billion not $262 billion.
  • Over 90% of Bitcoin liquidity is against Tether’s USDT or the US dollar itself.
  • Binance controls 27% of all Bitcoin trades.
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Bitcoin’s trading volume is significantly lower than what is reported, according to Forbes’ latest study of 157 exchanges.

According to the report, Bitcoin trading volume on June 14 was $128 billion, far lower than the total $262 billion reported by all exchanges.

This shows that around 51% of all Bitcoin trading activities were fake or non-economic.

Tether’s Role

According to Forbes, Tether plays a significant role in Spot Bitcoin trades as most of the trade comes from stablecoins. However, fiat currencies like the US dollar, Japanese Yen, and South Korean Won are also involved in a high percentage of trades.

Overall, over 90% of Bitcoin’s liquidity is against the USDT stablecoin or the US dollar itself. Also, there is also a huge non-dollar demand coming from Europe, Japan, South Korea, and Turkey.

It also discovered that most Bitcoin trades come from Bitcoin perpetual trading, followed by spot trading and futures trading.

Binance, FTX, and OKX Top Exchanges Trading Volume

The report grouped exchanges into three categories based on the differences in their self-reported volume versus their actual volume.

Per the report, the top three exchanges by trading volume are Binance, FTX, and OKX. Others include Bybit, Bitget, MEXC Global, KuCoin, BingX, Crypto.com, and Huobi Global.

Notably, only FTX, OKX, and Crypto.com are in Group 1, i.e., exchanges with differences of 0 – 25% between their real trading volume and reported Bitcoin trading activity. The rest come from Group 2, composed of exchanges with a volume discount of 26 – 79%. 

Group 3 consists of mostly small and unregulated exchanges, some of which claimed clearly bogus Bitcoin trading volume. For instance, BitCoke reported a trading volume of $14 billion when it has less than 10,000 monthly visitors, and more than half of them were from Argentina.

Figures From Exchanges With Minimal Regulatory Oversight Dubious

The report identified that one of the major problems with fake or non-economic trading volume comes from exchanges that operate with minimal regulatory oversight, affecting their figures’ credibility. 

These exchanges, which notably include Binance, Bybit, and MEXC Global, reported a trading volume of $217 billion but their actual volume was $89 billion.

Why These Exchanges Report False Figures

According to the Forbes report, some traders engage in wash trading to paint a false picture of demand and the rising popularity of their tokens.

The report stated that the exchanges benefit from these non-economic tradings as “it allows them to appear to have more volume than they actually do, potentially encouraging more legitimate trading.”

For Be[In]Crypto’s latest Bitcoin (BTC) analysis, click here.

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