Report: HitBTC, Huobi and OKEx have the most suspicious trading volumes

28 May, 2019 | Updated: 28 May, 2019
by Richard Allen
Report: HitBTC, Huobi and OKEx have the most suspicious trading volumes

Perhaps the most notable report to come from Bitwise Asset Management is the one which detailed that only 10 exchanges reported real trading volumes while the other 95% had been fudging their numbers. The latest report suggests three exchanges have “fake trading volume with real-world footprints.”

According to the report, the exchanges with the most suspicious trading volumes are HitBTC, Huobi and OKEx.

While Bitwise’s March report was addressed to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the firm notes that once it went public, many in the crypto space had questions. As such, the company has released a new report detailing the three exchanges with “meaningful volume.”

The report analyzes the trade volume percentage on an exchange, based on a trade size over a specific period. Bitwise states that OKEx’s trade size histogram is “notably suspicious,” making specific reference to the lack of “round-number spikes” and an “atypical rise” in volume between 1 and 6 BTC. Additionally, the exchange has an “unusual” tail of volume above 6 BTC.

“While there may be a smattering of real Bitcoin volume on OKEx, the charts are clear: the vast majority of Bitcoin volume here is entirely fake,” the report reads.

Source: Bitwise

It’s a similar story with HitBTC. Their trade size histogram shows an “eerily flat line” with almost no volume after 0.5 BTC. Additionally, HitBTC’s hourly volumes are “completely detached from the reference set of exchanges, with the majority of its trading volume happening between April 29-30.

The report states, “We believe HitBTC’s volume is predominantly wash trading, done in small trade sizes.”

Source: Bitwise

Regarding Huobi, the report notes that prior to the release of the March report Huobi’s trade size histogram had a "consistent pattern” but completely disappeared within three weeks. The report thus concludes that there’s a “reasonable chance” the exchange was engaging in wash trading but changed their trade size signatures to avoid detection.

“We also recognize that Huobi might have taken action to clean up wash trading on their platform within that time frame, but that view is challenged by the fact that Huobi’s reported Bitcoin trade volume did not meaningfully drop during that time,” the report notes.

Source: Bitwise

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