Crypto’s Open Secret: Its Multibillion-Dollar Volume Is Suspect

Four months ago, BitForex was just one of many obscure exchanges offering users the ability to trade cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin…

Four months ago, BitForex was just one of many obscure exchanges offering users the ability to trade cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Today, the Singapore-based platform is regularly reporting daily transactions that exceed $5 billion — nearly matching turnover on London’s 217-year-old stock exchange.

How did BitForex — and other startups like it — expand so quickly despite tumbling digital-asset prices and slowing activity on more established venues?

Many market participants say they suspect these fast-growing exchanges are either offering incentives that encourage users to inflate volumes, or not doing enough to stop abuse on their platforms. One red flag at BitForex: Its reported volume is by far the biggest among 219 platforms tracked by CoinMarketCap.com, despite traffic on its website amounts to a tiny fraction of most peers.

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