The Rise and Fall of Crypto Exchanges: A Past 13-Year Review I A Game of Thrones for Cryptocurrency Exchanges (Including the Winner List)

SuperEx
6 min readJun 6, 2023

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Cryptocurrency exchanges are places where you can buy, sell, and exchange different types of cryptocurrencies. Each exchange sets prices according to the popularity of cryptocurrencies and charges extra fees (i.e., transaction fees) for using this service.

With the technical expansion of the cryptocurrency industry, cryptocurrency exchanges have undoubtedly become the most profitable and fiercely contested business in the cryptocurrency industry.

From the birth of the first cryptocurrency exchange to today, the exchange industry has seen many ups and downs, with successes and failures happening in a flash.

Crypto exchange utilies coins, mining, exchange alliances have been refurbished. Hacker and security and compliance issues are lingering.

Almost every day, we can see negative news about exchanges. Unfortunately, many negative news turned out to be true. The world of cryptocurrency exchanges is full of casualties. Apart from the well-known Mt. Gox, flash-in-the-pan FCoin, and rapidly risen and fallen FTX, there are countless small exchanges that have gradually been forgotten by people.

Although Binance and Coinbase are leading the market and holding most of the market share, the layout of the exchange industry is still undetermined. To this day, the regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges has become the mainstream voice in society and the industry!

On May 29, Anatoly Aksakov, chairman of the Financial Market Committee of the Russian State Duma, revealed that Russia no longer pushes forward the plan to create a national cryptocurrency exchange. Instead, it will focus on formulating rules that agree with private companies establishing such exchanges.

The regulatory legislation of cryptocurrency exchanges has been put on the table again. The financial world and the government have always believed that it is very necessary for the compliance and regulatory implementation of cryptocurrency exchanges, whether it is for risk prevention and control for investors or for the healthy and sustainable development of the entire blockchain industry. The basic premise for cryptocurrency exchanges to mature is regulation.

The 13-year history of the rise and fall of cryptocurrency exchanges is enough to write a Game of Thrones for cryptocurrency exchanges.

This article will detail the development history of cryptocurrency exchanges, according to the symbolic events, milestones, or technological innovations, we will divide the history of exchanges into four stages:

· Prehistoric Stage — Conceptual Period

· Dark Stage — Incubation Period

· Development Stage — Growth Period

· Oligarch Stage — Maturity Period

The content of this issue mainly focuses on the description of the Prehistoric Stage — Conceptual Period. Subsequent weekly articles on the theme of cryptocurrency exchanges will detail the magnificent history of cryptocurrency exchanges over these 13 years.

Prehistoric Stage — Conceptual Period

Exchanges are not a new concept. The world’s first exchange, the “Amsterdam Stock Exchange”, was established in 1611, with a history of 412 years.

For 400 years, financial exchanges have developed very comprehensive and mature trading ecosystems, which have greatly helped the establishment and growth of crypto exchanges. It can be said that the advent of crypto trading stands on the shoulders of giants.

The first cryptocurrency exchange, BitcoinMarket, was established in 2010, and for the next three years, it was the era of BitcoinMarket.

·2010–2013·

After the birth of Bitcoin, there was no exchange for a long time, and people mainly traded Bitcoin on the Bitcoin Talk forum.

Bitcoin Talk

In October 2009, New Liberty Standard began to publish Bitcoin prices calculated based on power consumption. At that time, the daily quote model was used, which had a large amount of information lag.

In February 2010, Jed McCaleb, the founder of the P2P transfer network “eDonkey”, accidentally found an article about Bitcoin. The new technology mentioned in the article sparked Jed’s curiosity like a catalyst.

Out of curiosity, he decided to buy some Bitcoin for research, but found it very inconvenient to buy Bitcoin. Most transactions were done outside the exchange. He suddenly came up with a brilliant idea: to create a website where anyone can buy Bitcoin at any time — Mt. Gox.

On July 18, the first crypto exchange, Mt. Gox, went live.

Mt. Gox

On its first day, Mt.Gox traded 20 Bitcoins at a price of 5 cents each. Because of its 24-hour trading, fast trading speed, and attractive interface, Mt. Gox became the world’s largest Bitcoin trading platform within a month, accounting for 70% of the global Bitcoin trading volume.

In March 2011, Jed sold Mt.Gox to Mark Karples, a French developer living in Japan. From then on, the era of Mt. Gox entered Mark Karples.

With the first-mover advantage of Mt.Gox, Mark Karples became the leader of the Bitcoin trading website industry. By mid-May 2013, Mt.Gox traded 150,000 Bitcoins every day, accounting for 80% of the global Bitcoin trading volume, reaching its peak.

Along with the success of Mt.Gox, many crypto exchanges emerged, such as BTCC, Coinbase, and Bitstamp. The exchanges established during the conceptual phase once swept the global market, occupying 70% of the Bitcoin trading market for a period.

However, MtGox has fallen, and BTCC is no longer what it used to be. Coinbase and Bitstamp survived, and they have one common feature, a legal trading license. It can only be said that legality can last longer.

Mt.Gox holds a significant position in the history of crypto exchanges, just like a milestone, standing there for future generations to admire and caution.

The establishment of Mt.Gox signifies that the crypto industry has entered the era of exchanges, which is the second important milestone after the appearance of BTC. The bankruptcy of Mt.Gox, along with the first theft case in crypto history, also marks the second stage of crypto exchanges: Dark Phase — Gestation Period.

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