Worldcore International: Malta exchanges lead in volumes, but Russia is the most active in OTC transactions
Worldcore, an international fin-tech company, has conducted a large-scale global study in June-July 2018, and learned which countries are the leaders in the volumes of cryptocurrency trades. The results of the research are ambiguous — Malta, Belize and Seychelles cryptocurrency exchanges lead in trade volumes. The daily volume of trade in these regions exceeds $2600 million. Meanwhile, Russia is home to the most active users of over-the-counter (OTC) transactions. Weekly OTC transaction volume in Russia is over 2000 BTC, with the USA and China following suit.
In 2017, cryptocurrency capitalization has grown 35-fold (!), cryptocurrency trade became mainstream, and the daily trade volume is currently at the level of several dozen billion USD. It’s not surprising that both experienced traders and market newbies in all countries are dabbling in cryptocurrency trading. Worldcore, a European fin-tech company, which has launched its own cryptocurrency exchange worldcore.trade, has conducted research and systematized the data related to cryptocurrency trading and exchange geography (Fig.1).
Figure 1. Cryptocurrency market capitalization dynamics, billions USD
Previously, in April 2018, the major investment bank Morgan Stanley conducted its own research, evaluating the trading volumes of cryptocurrency exchanges legally registered in various countries. Meanwhile, exchange users are scattered throughout the world. The list is led by Malta (daily trading volume $1200 million), Belize ($700 million), Seychelles ($700 million). Russia holds the 13th position in this rating, with under $50 million in daily trades. It’s apparent that the first places in the rating are occupied by countries with either preferential taxation systems (Belize, Malta, Seychelles), or with a developed financial market and protected national laws (South Korea, USA, Hong Kong) (Fig.2).
Figure 2. Cryptocurrency trading volumes by country (Source: Morgan Stanley Research)
Worldcore analysts resolved to compare the exchange and OTC trading volumes, and analyzed one week (14.07.2018 – 21.07.2018) by country via the largest p2p-network of the OTC cryptocurrency exchange localbitcoins. The results were almost opposite to those obtained by MS. Russia leads in the OTC rating with weekly transaction volume of over 2000 bitcoins, the USA is second with just over 1000 bitcoins per week, with China and Nigeria following with approximately 600 bitcoins each, succeeded by Venezuela, Great Britain and the Eurozone countries (Fig. 3).
Figure 33. Distribution of bitcoin sale and purchase for local currency (Source: localbitcoins.com, coin.dance; processing and systematization: worldcore.eu)
As the head of the research group CEO Alexey Nasonov explains, the colossal divergence in relative trade volumes by country is caused by the following reasons: “Cryptocurrency exchanges are most frequently registered in countries with preferential taxation systems, and OTC transactions are conducted in countries with a low level of financial culture or a stringent taxation system.”
According to Worldcore analysts, direct exchange methods in Third-World countries (Russia, Nigeria, Columbia, Kenya) are used due to an underdeveloped system of non-cash exchange of cryptoassets for fiat money via payment systems and banks, as well as extremely harsh currency laws.
Summing up the research on the exchange and OTC circulation of cryptocurrency, it can be said that the move of cryptocurrencies towards preferential taxation jurisdictions will most certainly continue, and the turnovers are only bound to increase. According to Worldcore estimates, the average transaction volume, which currently constitutes approximately $20,000 for bitcoin, will increase to $100,000-200,000. The OTC market, on the contrary, will shrink following the simplification of cryptocurrency circulation through payment systems and establishment of cryptogates with Mastercard and Visa.