Crypto price tracker and exchange rankings site CoinMarketCap.com (CMC) is making major changes to its exchange listings method in light of concerns over skewed trade volume data, according to an official announcement July 19.
As of July 16, the site has now removed the minimum volume requirements that it had been using to limit the number of exchanges listed on the site.
According to CMC, this represents the first measure among others that will be phased in to address widespread concerns about the integrity of trade volume figures on exchanges.
Although CMC says it transparently aggregates volume data based on access to the exchanges’ APIs, it acknowledges that several factors are emerging that may compromise its accuracy.
These include a new “transaction fee mining” model, recently adopted by some exchanges, that reimburses transaction fees in the form of native exchange tokens. As CMC notes, this can pump volumes by making it profitable for users to simply trade back and forth to accrue more tokens, a phenomena compounded if bots are used to automate the action.
CMC also mentions the extremely low fee models that are used to incentivize trading, noting that they often fluctuate and can be tiered by account type and transaction volume — a variable that remains opaque to both CMC and the users who consult its data.
Lastly, the site notes that artificial volumes and so-called “wash trading” remain pervasive on certain exchanges, which often rely on “market making services or bots” to trade native exchange tokens purely to maintain a minimum level of volume.
Acknowledging the “complexity” of the problem, CMC has begun to introduce more ways for users to filter volume data and take variations in fee models or other parameters into account. The site will soon introduce new metrics, such as 7-day and 30-day listings, to allow for better evaluation of volume consistency.
CMC closely eyes debates and controversies in the crypto space, most recently acting to remove a Bitcoin.com link from its Bitcoin page amid heated allegations that the site was misleading customers into buying Bitcoin Cash (BCH) instead of Bitcoin (BTC).
In January, the site controversially opted to remove South Korean exchanges from its listings at a time when the Korean “crypto frenzy” was causing a notable price premium on certain coins, skewing the site’s average figures.
The recently rebranded five-year old CMC has seen stratospheric growth, reporting over 60 million unique visits this year through May.