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Exchange Dominance Shifts In Regulatory Shakeup
Binance's market share is dropping - but a much bigger shake-up is on the cards with the entrance of institutional platforms.
As the US continues its assault on the crypto sector, with particular emphasis on exchanges, the landscape has started to move. While there is no sign of a "flippening" in sight, Binance is losing market dominance, and DEXs are seeing renewed interest.
Blockchain data and research firm Kaiko recently published research suggesting that Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange, has experienced a slight decline in its market share over the past year.
The drop to a one-year low comes at a time of heightened regulatory scrutiny for US-based exchanges, and especially Binance.US, with the SEC recently filing a lawsuit against the company for alleged violations of multiple federal securities laws.
Data indicates that Binance's market share has decreased to below 54%, its lowest point since August 2023. The squeeze is partly due to enforcement and a consequent loss of confidence in the exchange by the crypto community, but also due to the discontinuation of Binance's zero-fee promotion in March 2023.
All things considered, though, Binance is weathering the storm well. Coinbase has seen its market share drop after being sued by the SEC, from 7.6% earlier this year to 6.8% in June—a far larger proportional decline. Binance remains the king of centralized exchanges, and of crypto exchanges in general.
Will Decentralized Exchanges Gain?
There are few good alternatives to Binance, since (like so much else in the crypto and tech space), network effect is strong and traders are reluctant to jump ship for a platform with worse liquidity and functionality.
Still, DEXs have seen an uptick in volumes since the lows at the end of 2022, as action by the SEC pushes traders away from platforms that risk their crypto being effectively confiscated due to enforcement activity.
Unfortunately, DEXs have some way to go before they replace CEXs, not least because Web 2.0 platforms are typically more user-friendly.
The entry of new trading platforms into the crypto space strongly indicates that the exchange landscape will evolve further in the coming months. If the SEC approves one or more ETFs, then the influx of institutional and retail money will mean that trading volumes for these regulated products will immediately flippen those for the first generation of crypto exchanges.
Similarly, the launch of new compliant platforms (such as EDX, which separates exchange functionality from broker-dealer operations) will pull in a percentage of trading volumes.
Thus the regulatory actions by the SEC and CFTC, coupled with increasing interest from traditional finance players, are likely to take market share away from even the most reputable of existing exchanges. For now, though, Binance's market dominance, extensive reserves, and reputation for providing high liquidity and market depth still position it as a leading player in the cryptocurrency space.
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