Our initial team of five started building GO.Exchange late in the summer of 2018 with the goal of creating an exchange that earns its place within this crowded space. Throughout this time, we’ve seen countless new exchanges launch and achieve extraordinary amounts of volume in impossibly short periods of time. Many even exceeded billions of dollars in daily volume. This was confusing to us as this large amount of consumer demand seemed to materialize out of thin air. Over time, thanks to internal and external research, we learned that many of these exchanges heavily inflated their volume numbers.
Some exchanges are incentivized to report fake volume metrics for a few reasons:
- It allows exchanges to give the perception that there is large liquidity and user activity. These exchanges mislead project founders into believing that paying costly listing fees would be a worthy investment.
- Exchanges with revenue sharing tokens give users the false perception that owning these tokens would provide lucrative dividends.
- Because exchanges are ranked against each other by their reported volume, some inflate this metric to gain attention and referral traffic, outranking honest exchanges.
We believe this practice hurts the builders and project creators trying in earnest to create new technologies and paradigms through decentralization. It hurts users looking to understand and invest in honest and reputable projects. It hurts the crypto industry as a whole as outsiders looking in see deception as a norm.
Seeing this all unfold gave us even greater motivation to push forward. At the outset we had the simple goal of improving upon the user experience through creating an intuitive interface, treating our customers right with a world class support team, and engaging our community in novel ways. We found that these things were not enough. At a fundamental level, the relationship between a user and an exchange is defined by trust.
We believe that users can benefit from a push towards transparency and this is something we are committed to. Our team of now over 30 people (and still growing!) has been working tirelessly to build a platform used and trusted by people all around the world. We’re excited to announce that we’re opening signups today!
We welcome you to sign up for GO.Exchange here. If you’d like to read further on how we plan to become an exchange used and trusted by people all around the world, please continue reading. We will be discussing these main focus areas but please keep in mind that business strategy may change over time:
- Transparency and Trust
- Regulation and Compliance
- Community Burns
1. Transparency and Trust
Many exchanges have engaged in inflating volume. This practice was uncovered through insightful analysis released over the past year or so — such as from Blockchain Transparency Institute, Bitwise Asset Management, TIE, Nomics, and more. The Bitwise report states that about 95% of Bitcoin’s spot volume is questionable. Blockchain Transparency Institute found that 17 of the top 25 exchanges on CoinMarketCap inflated over 99% of their volume with some inflating more than 99.5% of volume. To put this into perspective, according to the Blockchain Transparency Institute’s research, certain exchanges that are reporting more than $1 billion of daily volume could be doing less than $5 million.
Misrepresenting volume is a short term strategy for exchanges to get an initial boost in attention, signups, and listing fees. However, over the long term, fake volume erodes the trust of users and teams within the crypto industry. We believe that with the increasing scrutiny on fake volume and the increasing regulation in the exchange industry, many of our dishonest competitors will be further exposed and fade away into obscurity. Transparency is increasingly important in this market. This is why we took the time to describe the details surrounding our volume and liquidity to our community in a post earlier this month.
Rather than simply committing to trust and transparency verbally, we feel it is important to demonstrate this through verifiable actions. We are in talks with data aggregators to report the required metrics to verify that we are being transparent. This means we will report accurate data through the use of an industry standard open API for all to check. You can view the documentation for the API here. This is just the beginning for our transparency initiative and we will share more about this in the future.
2. Regulation and Compliance
The regulatory framework in our industry has changed tremendously in just the last year. We hope regulation improves the “Wild West” image that crypto currently has from many outside observers and helps to further protect from outright scams. We believe the benefits of regulation can help drive further adoption of cryptocurrencies from both a retail and institutional perspective.
During our time building GO.Exchange, we have had to adjust due to evolving regulation and have thus experienced first hand the difficult act of balancing compliance with speed and effectiveness of execution. Although regulation can be a hindrance to moving as fast as possible, we value fostering strong relationships with jurisdictions so that we can run as stable of a business as possible to benefit our users’ experience. For example, we limit access to many states in the USA because each state within the U.S. has its own requirements if a license is needed or not to operate a cryptocurrency exchange.
From a user’s perspective, we believe that it is better to cooperate with jurisdictions so that users can enjoy an uninterrupted and stable (from a regulatory perspective) exchange. If we did not take these matters seriously, it could mean regulators shutting our business down and creating a stressful transition event for our users.
3. Community Burns
Other projects in the space have very vibrant communities due to their decentralized nature. As a centralized organization, we spent a great deal of time thinking about how to include our community in a meaningful way. We came up with an interesting mechanism that we call community burns, in which we allow our community to vote for which tokens they want us to burn with 50% of our transaction revenues. For those who may not know, burning cryptocurrencies refers to removing tokens from circulating supply forever.
Our first community burn will be OMG. For the first three months of launch, for our inaugural community burn, we will use 100% of our trading fees instead of 50% to burn OMG.
After the initial OMG token burn, the decision-making for the community burn tokens will involve our community. To conduct future community burns, we are introducing a reward token called GO.Exchange Token (GOT), to reward users for trading on GO.Exchange. GOT reward token is much like a loyalty point system on other platforms. GOT is obtained by transacting on GO.Exchange — the more volume a user contributes to the exchange by transacting, the more GOT that user will be rewarded. Although no votes will be held in the initial phase of our launch, early adopters can begin accumulating GOT from day 1. To be perfectly clear, we are not conducting an ICO or raising any funds through GOT.
Our community will be able to vote for tokens they would like to see burned by using GOT received as a reward token from transacting. We will set aside 50% of our transaction revenue to burn the top voted tokens voted by GOT holders. Although our opening community burn will be comprised of 100% of transaction revenue, burns thereafter will be 50% for the first year, 35% for the second year, and 25% for the third year and the years following. Through GOT, our community can vote to add a token burn mechanism to their favorite tokens listed on GO.Exchange. For instance, if the top voted tokens from GOT holders are BTC and ETH, then we would use 50% of our trading fees to burn these tokens. We are expecting to conduct future community burns once every two weeks or once every month. We believe this gives our community a very unique way to engage with their favorite tokens and with our exchange that is not done anywhere else.
It is important to know that we are capping the amount of GOT obtainable per day, per person to prevent mass concentration of GOT. Distribution of GOT will happen once daily for the previous day’s trades. Tokens held by the company and team members do not carry voting rights. Only our community members who hold GOT will be able to vote. We may employ different voting mechanisms such as quadratic voting should we find major issues with a normal flat voting mechanism. We will also consider other use cases for our reward token, GOT, so our community members holding GOT can contribute their voice in different ways. Ultimately, GOT exists to reward our community for using our exchange.
You can read more about GOT here. Further details on GOT will be released in the future.
We understand that it might seem obvious to use the OMG token as the main exchange token. As a general matter, any permanent new additional use for any token beyond the use case it was initially created for opens a new set of considerations from a legal, regulatory, and risk perspective and could risk triggering securities laws. As you may have seen with other projects, revenue share was ultimately not implemented because of securities law concerns. We also want to remind people that just because other exchanges share revenue does not mean that it is legal.
OmiseGO Network Synergies
Although GO.Exchange is a separate entity from OmiseGO, we are committed to using the OmiseGO Network when it is ready to be integrated with because we believe that it is a strong solution for improving user security.
We will also use the OMG token as a discount token for a three month period. Users who hold more than 500 OMG in their account will receive a 50% discount cash back on trading fees. This three month period will commence today, June 25th, 2019.
The cryptocurrency industry has come a long way since the summer of 2018 and so have we. It has been encouraging to see quality research continuing to come out and diligent teams throughout the industry continuing to innovate and build. We are committed to set an example by pushing the standards further for what a trusted exchange should be.
Thank you to all of our valued users and community members who have helped us test through our soft launch. To new users, we welcome you to GO.Exchange!
Feel free to follow our progress through these channels:
P.S. Our team is growing! Please view our open positions here. If no job posting fits your expertise, feel free to reach out to us as well through hiring [at] omise.co.
P.S.2. Our trading fees are now live. You can read here for more details.