How much are cryptocurrency volumes overstated?

Yin Wu
Yin Wu
Mar 26, 2019 · 3 min read
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A recent analysis by Bitwise shows that > 95% of Bitcoin’s reported trading volume is fake ( The report finds that widespread stats on sites like CoinMarketCap and other price trackers significantly overstate the true size of the cryptocurrency markets.

OpenMarketCap shows prices and volumes from only trusted exchanges

We built OpenMarketCap ( because we could not find an accurate source for cryptocurrency stats. OpenMarketCap calculates average price and total volume from data reported by the trusted exchanges identified in the Bitwise report.

Out of the 80+ exchanges on CoinMarketCap (CMC), Bitwise found ten exchanges with actual volume. By tracking data from these exchanges, OMC removes data from exchanges with fake volume and is the only price tracker that gives an accurate impression of trading volume and prices.

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Compared to other trackers, OMC shows a very different picture of the cryptocurrency market (data from 3/25/2019):

  1. Bitcoin trading volume is 95% lower
  2. Bitcoin volume dominates—Bitcoin has 6x not 2x the trading volume of ETH

Many smaller cap tokens have very low trading volume.

  1. Ethereum Classic trading volume drops by >97%, from $200M -> $5M
  2. NEO trading volume drops from $129M -> $11M
  3. Litecoin trading volume drops from $2B -> $48M

Visit our comparison tool to show how data changes when calculated from trusted exchanges:

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Does this undercount trading volume for some tokens?

Not all coins are equally represented on these trusted exchanges. Certain coins may have volumes under reported. For example, Monero is not heavily represented on the exchanges in this set. Counting Monero volume based on this methodology may not be indicative of Monero’s true trading volume.

Why is OMC’s total volume higher than the Bitwise report?

Bitwise calculates trading volume based on Bitcoin to USD / stable coin markets. OMC calculates trading volume that includes trades between cryptocurrencies pairs and as such show a higher volume count.

Why do exchanges report fake volumes?

Exchanges report false data for short term visibility gains at the cost of long term trust in the whole crypto space. CoinMarketCap is the most widely cited price tracker for cryptocurrency prices. Since CoinMarketCap ranks exchanges by trading volume, exchanges are incentivized to report false numbers to climb price tracker listings (and thus be featured more prominently to users).

As shown in the screenshot from CoinMarketCap, the higher the trading volume, the higher the rank.

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Why does this matter?

Even when factoring out wash trading, the daily trading volume for Bitcoin on trusted exchanges is large enough to sustain a healthy market. For most small cap coins, this is not the case. A 95% drop in trading volume means the market for most alts is extremely illiquid / non-existent.

Trading volume is critical for liquidity and the overinflation of stats on widely cited trackers gives a mistaken impression of the entire market. OpenMarketCap is the first tracker that removes the fake volume and gives users an accurate representation of the crypto markets.

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