Crypto markets data aggregator CoinMarketCap yesterday changed its methodology to rank exchanges on their web traffic by default — a metric that puts CoinMarketCap’s new owners Binance in the top spot.
But this stands in stark contrast to the words of CoinMarketCap’s Chief Strategy Officer and acting CEO Carylyne Chan, who said in a podcast interview late last year that web traffic was “not a good indicator.”
Introduced just six weeks after Binance bought CoinMarketCap for hundreds of millions of dollars, the new ranking methodology prioritizes web traffic over CMC’s painstakingly developed “liquidity metric,” which was only introduced in November and was due to become the default ranking.
When ranked by average liquidity, Binance lands in fourth place, following Bitfinex, Coinbase Pro, and Huobi Global respectively.
Indications are not good
On an episode of the podcast Blockchain Journeys recorded at the Capital Conference in Singapore in November, where the liquidity metric was introduced, Chan was asked specifically about using web traffic as a metric. She said:
“We’ve seen other people do things like you’ve said, web traffic as a way [to verify exchanges are legitimate] but people trade using API keys so that’s why web traffic is not a good indicator.”
But CoinMarketCap’s May 13 blog post makes a very different argument:
“With crypto being a retail-driven market, for an exchange to have high volumes, it needs to have a large number of retail traders (i.e. buyers and sellers). Instead of asking exchanges to submit their user numbers, a good intermediate proxy will be web traffic. As such, we have designed the Web Traffic Factor in this iteration.”
The Web Traffic Factor is a combination score that provides different weightings to: “pageviews, unique visitor count, bounce rate, time-on-site, relative ranking and keyword searches on major search engines”. This may address some of Chan’s earlier concerns.
One ranking to rule them all…