Binance's overwhelming dominance of the cryptocurrency trading landscape has quietly sent another veteran Bitcoin exchange to the scrap heap.
C-CEX, an altcoin exchange which eventually grew to more than 160,000 users, has quietly closed down nearly every market it offered. Judging by the Twitter thread announcing the last round of market closures, many people lost their cryptocurrencies in the shuffling. C-CEX is unavailable for comment as their customer support and contact options simply say that the support queue is full.
From $400,000 to $83 In Less Than A Year
According to CoinMarketCap, the crypto exchange did just $83 in volume in the past twenty-four hours. But if you go there, you can still create a new account. Moments like these create an excellent opportunity for speculation. If users have long-forgotten balances, and the exchange disappears, we will conclude it was an exit scam.
What’s more telling is that C-CEX is not even the least liquid exchange with this number. Several exchanges tracked by CoinMarketCap have even less volume. Of 234, C-CEX currently ranks #228. (To be fair, one of these exchanges is Dex.top, a decentralized asset exchange that appeared active on last look.)
Historical data for each exchange is not immediately available. Nonetheless, if we look at Archive.org, just two years ago the exchange did hundreds of thousands of dollars a day.
It ranked #71 out of 146 at that point.
Just under a year ago, things were even better.
The First Wave of Exchanges Weren't Ready for Binance
The C-CEX exchange has always been a less-attractive place unless you had a specific altcoin to trade. They charged a fee for altcoins to list. Listings and de-listings were a regular occurrence, judging by their Twitter history.
To withdraw Bitcoin, you’d have to pay a fee of 0.002 BTC. In the bad old days that was a paltry 20 to 60 cents, but in more recent times it became a more significant sum.
High fees lead people to trade for coins with lower fees, like Litecoin, to preserve the value. This reporter recalls explicitly an instance of trading .26 BTC into LTC, then using ShapeShift.io to get it back into Bitcoin. It was a cheaper way to withdraw the funds. At the time, 0.002 BTC was well over $10.
Perhaps the most disturbing thing is that the C-CEX crypto exchange is still open at all. At this point, one would expect a notice to withdraw your or forfeit funds. People on Twitter are reporting the loss of coins left and right, with no real response from support other than to "e-mail technical support."
Thieves bring me back my 40,000 btcz coins. Thieves !!
— predrag (@predrag46135126) March 19, 2019
Whatever BTCZ is, this trader is upset about losing his.
According to CoinMarketCap, C-CEX is listing Bitcoin, Gridcoin, and BiblePay. Only one of those means anything in an immediate sense to 99% of the people reading this.
Gridcoin also appears legitimate, based on something called “proof of research.”
Dash and Ethereum Delisted, But BiblePay and Gridcoin Hang On?
But several of the coins delisted were also legitimate, like Ethereum and Dash. Legitimacy in cryptocurrency is purely a matter of demand and the ability to withstand attack. If Gridcoin and BiblePay are worthy of being listed at this exchange – which, again, has over 160,000 registered users – why would 90% of the top 10 cryptos be unlisted?
The only reasonable conclusion is that the exchange’s owner has large bags of Gridcoin and BiblePay to offload. Or he or she has found some arbitrage opportunity on these markets.
Any way you slice it, it’s a sign of Crypto Winter when zombies like this persist. C-CEX pops up in all kinds of web searches, especially when looking into certain altcoins. It’s likely people are still registering accounts in hopes of using the place.
A Glorified Fiat to Bitcoin Gateway?
For the record, this reporter used it just last fall.
Perhaps one aspect of the exchange’s status is its long-standing relationship with Payeer. If nothing else, C-CEX can provide (for a commission and a high withdrawal fee), a means for certain persons to acquire Bitcoin.
But all is indeed not well with C-CEX. For a few months now. So trader, beware.
It seems the age of the one-man shop crypto exchange is behind us now. Altcoin exchanges like Cryptsy and C-CEX are fast becoming a memory.
Binance and Poloniex largely control the market for a huge portion of the more than 1,000 cryptocurrencies in existence, and the effort required, combined with the low yield from trading fees, is discouraging if nothing else. Until decentralized exchanges are the rule of the day, exchange closures are a continuing existential risk for all traders.