Report: March was a record-breaking month for crypto exchanges

Last month’s cataclysmic crypto market collapse made March a record-breaking month for several leading exchanges, with one exchange trading $11.8 million in a single minute.

Exchanges hit an all-time high daily volume of $75.9 billion on March 12-13, according to a report by cryptocurrency analytics firm CryptoCompare, published Saturday. Top tier exchanges such as Binance and BitMEX accounted for $21.6bn, or 28.5% of the total volume. 

The skyrocketing earnings show how exchanges, which make their money from transaction fees and are generally immune to downturns in price, benefit even when the markets are in freefall. 

Bitcoin’s crash in early March, which witnessed the entire cryptocurrency market wipe $25 billion from its total market cap, prompted a flurry of panicked trading. Whether the price went up or down, the exchanges reaped the rewards. 

Crypto exchange Bitfinex saw the highest volume throughout the first hour of the collapse. According to the report, between 10.40 am, and 11 am on March 12, Bitfinex accounted for 40% of all top tier exchange volume, trading a remarkable $11.8 million in a single minute. 

Binance meanwhile became the largest Top Tier exchange by volume in March, according to the report, trading $63.6 billion—an increase of 19.2%. 

Derivatives exchanges offering lucrative—albeit high-risk—incentives to traders also saw a significant uptick. Volumes on OKEx, BitMEX, Huobi, and Binance totaled $600 million, while Binance and FTX saw their volumes increase by 94 percent and 27 percent.

On futures trading exchange BitMEX, meanwhile, well over $750 million in Bitcoin long positions were liquidated in a single stroke, as a result of the “flash crash.” 

Crypto exchanges didn’t just benefit from higher volumes. Last month, as reported by Decrypt, several exchanges reported a considerable uptick in user sign-ups as well, with many citing the coronavirus outbreak as the probable cause. 

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