Cryptocurrency exchanges are used by cryptocurrency holders to store their crypto assets or to trade cryptocurrencies. There are hundreds of exchanges available today, and it can be difficult for cryptocurrency holders to choose which exchange best suits their needs. In fact, most traders use more than one exchange — both to hedge risk and to minimize benefits. How do traders make their decisions? Below, you’ll find some interesting and even surprising insights.
How was this survey conducted?
In this survey, the BDCenter digital agency teamed up with the sociology department of the Belarus State University, publishing the report in October, 2019. More than 800 traders from 75 countries were asked 30 questions. Researchers were looking for answers to the following four groups of questions:
- What makes a crypto exchange attractive: Is its low fees, a large number of available pairs, fast withdrawals or something else?
- Do Forex traders often switch to crypto trading?
- What do users expect from a trading platform?
- Does trading behavior vary from one demographic or regional group to the other?
Traders value simplicity
One of the most interesting takeaways from this survey is that traders look for simplicity — and most cryptocurrency exchange fails to deliver. 80% of participants admitted to having entered the market less than three years ago and understandably sought tools for beginners. 71% of participants make demo accounts, with tutorials also being among the key factors of choosing an exchange. 37% of exchanges have an intuitive, easy-to-use interface, while the rest are overloaded with features and diagrams.
What are the qualities of a perfect exchange?
Apart from being beginner-friendly, a good exchange must be fast and avoid charging customers for anything but the trading itself. Just over half of the respondents said that deposit and withdrawal speed is a crucial factor (54%), as well as the size of the commissions (53%). The majority (65%) found that transaction fees are fine — but only 36% think that a fee on withdrawing crypto is acceptable. When it comes to fiat withdrawals, the level of approval is even lower (29%).
Surprisingly, safety concerns aren't so high on traders’ list: only 37% named it among their priorities — just above the liquidity (34%). Traders seem to trust exchanges with their money: 32.5% said they store all their crypto assets there. This is an interesting fact considering that exchanges’ losses from hacks in 2019 exceeded $292 million worth of cryptocurrency. Still, almost 70% of participants said that they will consider switching to another platform if their current exchange gets hacked.
One exchange is never enough
It seems that no exchange quite fits the ideal profile. 40% of the participants stated they use three or more exchanges on a regular basis — and only 19% use just one.
This can be partly due to the issue of currency pair availability. Unlike Forex platforms, which offer more or less the same set of pairs, crypto exchanges differ wildly in this regard. Some feature hundreds of pairs, some less than a dozen, some allow withdrawals in fiat, some don't. The variety of trading pairs is a priority for 44.5% of traders.
It's also worth pointing out that exchanges' efforts to engage their audience through competitions, affiliate programs, etc. are largely unsuccessful. While 57% took part in at least one exchange airdrop, contests and other activities have attracted only 10% and 13% of clients, respectively. Just 11.6% prefer exchanges that have a referral program.
Asia traders prefer more than two exchanges
Among Asian traders, the majority (59%) uses three exchanges or more and prioritize the size of trading fees when choosing a platform (59%). Interestingly, the number of available trading pairs is far less important (22%). 65% admitted having lost assets due to fraud — more than exchanges getting hacked (45%). 75% visit crypto exchange sites daily — the highest percentage among all the regions under study.
European traders care more about security
European users, in particular, tend to prioritize low fees and the deposit and withdrawal speed (both 56.6%). They are also security-sensitive: Only 20% admitted storing all their crypto on exchanges, and 85% said they've never lost assets to hackers. 90% said they would leave a platform if it gets hacked. The vast majority (77%) uses browser interfaces to trade.
Americans love decentralized exchanges
The most interesting insight about United States traders is that 59% use decentralized exchanges — more than in any other region. Surprisingly, none of the respondents claimed to use scalping. Instead, 50% rely on impulse trading. For the latest news, American users tend to go to specialized crypto sites (68%). The popularity of Telegram is at 50%, while Instagram is comparatively high on the list of info sources (23%).
Russian traders don't like OTC services
More than in any other region, Russian traders tend to rely on just one exchange (27%). Few use decentralized platforms (23%). The choice of exchange is driven by the variety of currency pairs (60%) and the size of fees (52%). Russians are more prone to trade in altcoins than their colleagues in other regions (64%), but the percentage of over-the-counter service users among them is the lowest (17%). This is also the region with the highest incidence of female traders (12%).
Desktop-only trading vs. smartphone-only trading
The availability of a mobile application seems more important for traders who prefer to trade using smartphones than those who use only desktop versions. Yet, there is a difference in the answers regarding the use of a friendly interface: This parameter is not important for traders who prefer to trade via smartphones as for desktop users. The reason for this is that the mobile version is more compact and enables us to see the working place at another location, unlike the desktop version, that is sometimes complicated.
Unlike the traders who use desktop versions, 83% of traders who use smartphones to trade are interested in the rating of the exchange. 42% of users trading via mobile devices are from 35 to 44 years old. Advanced traders prefer desktop versions. Only 11% of respondents trading via mobile devices have more than three years of experience.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Oluwatobi Joel is a U.S.-based freelance copywriter, community manager, blockchain expert and serial entrepreneur. He has worked with various blockchain startups as a marketing strategist.