Whilst we try to focus on the tech here at Tokenleak, our eyes have been irresistibly drawn to the markets at the close of this cryptocurrency week. The word on everyone’s lips is BULL.
Bitcoin surged passed the 3,700 US dollar (USD) mark on Friday and dragged the rest of the market with it. A whopping 10 billion USD was added to the collective value of cryptocurrency in a 24-hour period. Whilst the rush has ceased over the weekend, it’s doing nothing to temper excitement regarding the return of that fabled bull.
The volatility inherent in crypto trading is enough to deter a lot of traditional investors with even unexpected booms being met with suspicion. One of the main contradictions of cryptocurrency trading is its over-reliance on centralised exchanges. These exchanges in turn suffer from two huge issues which contribute to the overall instability of the market.
The first of these issues is liquidity, or the lack there of, as demonstrated by BlockEx over the past 10 days. The London-based digital assets trading platform was hit first by the bear market and then by a related slump in funding.
Rumours abound of staff going unpaid for months and imminent mass layoffs. Whilst BlockEx has insisted more funds are on the way, declined interviews and radio silence via social media suggest that all is not well for the once-promising enterprise. When asked for comment by the Fintech Times, the exchange offered the following;
“I’m afraid we have to decline your interview/Q&A at this stage … We had actually prepared responses to all of your questions, but we are in the middle of closing a new round of funding, so subject to confidentially clauses, and have been asked not to communicate anything publicly at this point. I’m sure you can appreciate the confidentiality of these things. Once again apologies as we would have liked to help you with your article and talk openly about where we are.”
This breakdown in communication is indicative of a second, and perhaps greater, issue facing crypto exchanges and that’s a serious lack of transparency.
The break-neck pace and dearth of regulatory oversight which have typified cryptocurrency’s development has led to major players exhibiting jaw-dropping levels of obfuscation. Case and point, QuadrigaCX. Canada’s biggest exchange was rocked a few weeks ago by the death of its founder, Gerald Cotten.
The tragic circumstances surrounding the entrepreneur’s untimely demise took a bizarre turn when it emerged that Cotten had sole access to all user funds held in cold storage. It’s thought that upwards of 190 million USD worth of coins could be rendered inaccessible permanently.
This cryptocurrency week has been a familiar tale, one of an exciting new innovation being hamstrung by the tertiary services which have sprung up around it. Bitcoin may “moon” in the coming years but it won’t reach its full potential unless the exchanges it’s traded on implement comprehensive reforms or are replaced entirely.