Crypto Exchanges Saw Record Trading Volumes in 2018–Not So in 2019


According to a new report from research firm Diar, cryptocurrency exchanges are closing out 2018 with “record transacting volumes.”

The report, which was published on January 14, noted that the number of trades and the trade volume were much higher in 2018 than in 2017.

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Among the strongest examples cited of this cited by the report were the combined trade volume of several major exchanges:  Coinbase saw a 21 percent increase year-over-year from 2017 to 2018; Bitfinex’ combined trade volume increased 50 percent over the same period; Kraken’s combined trade volume increased a whopping 192 percent.

Notably, Coinbase also saw a 14.1 percent increase in the number of trades executed on its platform, from 82.7 million in 2017 to 94.4 million in 2018.

Up, Up, Up, and…Down

However, the report predicted that the upward trend wouldn’t continue.

Diar predicts that 2019 will bring even lower numbers than 2017 for spot markets in spite of the fact that cryptocurrency trading options and platforms will likely be more ubiquitous than ever before.

Additionally, the report predicts that mining revenues will continue to decline. According to Diar, BTC miner revenues were over $5.8 billion in 2018, with $1.2 billion in earnings in January alone.

By December, however, monthly earnings had shrunk to just $210 million.

Diar Reports that Mining on the Bitcoin Network is Far Less Decentralized

Throughout this decline in revenue, Diar reports that there was also a major reorganization of “hash power,” or the computational power used in the process of mining.

In January of last year, Bitmain and its mining pools along with the ViaBTC mining pool (which Bitmain had holdings in) controlled over 53 percent of the hash power on the BTC network.

Now, these companies control just 39 percent of Bitcoin’s hash power. That missing 14 percent has reportedly been redistributed across a number of smaller mining pools–a factor that actually makes the Bitcoin network far more decentralized, and thus more secure as a whole.

Indeed, “unknown miners closed December having solved a whopping 22 percent of the total blocks up from 6 percent at the start of last year,” the report read.

“The Bitcoin network is currently less likely to experience an attack given the fact the controlled pools have lost dominance over the network.”

Diar has researched and tracked a number of other important shifts in the cryptocurrency markets throughout 2018. In December, Finance Magnates reported that Diar found a 97.5 percent in ICO revenue throughout 2018.

Previously, in October, Diar reported that 70 percent of ICO-backed companies were worth less than when their ICOs were completed.

“And with tokens having no equity representation, markets have shrugged off cash-on-hand as part of an enterprise valuation,” the report said. At the time, TokenData founder Ricky Tan told Diar that recovery was unlikely anytime soon.

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