South Korean Exchange Markets Review

  • August 20, 2020

There are 3 South Korean exchanges in the BTI top 10. Leading the pack is Bithumb the #3 exchange in the world through the first half of 2020, which has overtaken Upbit (#4) as the largest exchange by real daily trading volume in Korea. The race is still tight day to day as these exchanges will sometimes switch spots. Coinone, another clean volume exchange comes in at #9. In our review, we have found all 3 exchanges to have at least 90% clean volume.

 

As we are only using Public API data and applied data science to determine wash trading we can only give estimates within a range of 10-15% accuracy. This is why BTI began work on trade surveillance software last year which will use trade data tied to actual user accounts to flag accounts engaging in wash trading and other types of market manipulations such as spoofing and pump and dumps.

 

Bithumb is the first Korean exchange signed up to use this service to increase investor security and confidence in their markets. More information on this new software can be found at btiverified.com

 

Other South Korean exchanges include Korbit, GOPAX, and Probit. Korbit and GOPAX are lower volume exchanges averaging under $20mil daily, but check out relatively clean on most pairs. Largely all South Korean exchanges we have looked at have mostly clean volume, however we have found a large number of pairs being wash-traded on Probit.

 

A high volume of most of the pairs on Probit are trading between the spread. Many exchanges such as this offer token projects Market Making services in addition to their listing fee as an added bonus to listing. We were contacted by many token teams which stated Probit is using their faked volume to negotiate higher listing fees.

 

Throughout the exchange there are pair charts with very unnatural trading patterns such as this one. However, we found many pair markets having bots on them which are trained to make the wash trading look natural when viewing the chart. We’ve seen this across many exchanges programming their bots to act more natural.

Coingecko has flagged a number of pairs for order book liquidity not matching claimed volume on Probit. Yellow and red markers can be found on many pairs throughout the exchange, however we still found large amounts of wash trading on green marked pairs as well using our wash trade detection algorithms.


Any exchange that comes up fast with a lot of volume and social media hype should be a red flag to token projects. Not far behind will be exchange employees sending out emails and entering TG chats offering listings and flashing their high volumes and manipulated social media followers. We invite any project to ask us for exchange reviews when listing fees are involved and high volumes are being claimed.

 

Next week we will be releasing an in-depth report looking at the changes made in all the top data sites to more accurately reflect exchange volumes. We will also detail the ways exchanges have made a counter move to also manipulate these new ranking methods and stay in the top 50 rankings across CMC, Coingecko, and others.

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