The State of Web3 - Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Web3, crypto, NFTs, and DAOs are divisive issues.
Half the world seems to believe this is the future. The other half believe it’s little more than a scam.
I, obviously fall into the former camp.
But we’ll never be able to convince the detractors that Web3 is a legitimate development of the web and business unless we make it safer.
Especially because the vast majority of media coverage focuses on the negative news of scams, collapses, and hacks.
Our mission here at DeRev is to help people act with more confidence and with more safety in Web3.
To that end we’ve put this report assessing the growth, impact, and reach of the world’s best cryptocurrency exchanges.
Why? First, to identify who are the top performers in the space so you know who you’re better off…
- Partnering with
- Using as a service provider
- Trusting with your money and investments
And second, to understand how cryptocurrency exchanges are changing on a monthly and yearly basis in terms of growth, adoption, and usage. We’re zooming out to get a macro image of the industry to help you make more informed decisions and understand if the industry is growing or shrinking as a whole.
This is the state of Web3 report, cryptocurrency exchange edition.
Analysing cryptocurrency exchanges and their usage
We’ve pulled the stats from 58 of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges to get visibility into the top performers and understand how the general trends are changing in usage and reach.
The statistics are pulled from March 2020 through to April 2022 to identify yearly and monthly changes of these major platforms.
If you don’t have the time to read the full report, here’s a quick overview of the key learnings.
Overall online presence of cryptocurrency exchanges
The 12 month period ending April 2022 when compared to the prior 12 month period saw…
- Total traffic to crypto exchanges increased an average 363.47%.
- Unique visitor increased 479.70%.
- The percentage of unique visitors to total traffic increased by 131.98%.
- Pages per visit decreased from 4.75 to 3.22 - a decrease of 32.14%.
- Time on site also decreased from 21 minutes and 1 second to 16 minutes and 27 seconds, a decrease of 22%.
- In short, overall traffic is up, but engagement is down. However, increases massively outperform decreases ensuring overall positive growth.
Online presence of specific cryptocurrency exchanges
- Binance, Coinbase, eToro, Crypto.com, and Kraken have the highest levels of traffic and unique visitors.
- Despite wild traffic swings, these 5 exchanges maintain very stable return visitor percentages.
- Binance is the only exchange of these top 5 that maintains above-average engagement across all key metrics.
Overall trading volume growth of cryptocurrency exchanges
- Total 12-month trading volume increased 424.65% between the two time periods
- Trading volume bears a very close resemblance to the increase in unique visitor rate of 479.70%.
- Average trade volume per unique visitor decreased from $9125.08 to $8077.92, a loss of 11.48%.
Trading volume growth of specific cryptocurrency exchanges
- Binance, OKX, Huobi, Coinbase, Currency.com had the highest total trade volume for the 2021-2022 period of the analysed exchanges.
- Coinflex, crypto.com, FTX, Gate.io, WazirX were the fastest growing in terms of trading volume between 2020-2021 and 2021-2022.
- Coinflex’s growth was particularly notable as they experienced a 21217.14% increase on the former 12 month’s trading volume.
- Huobi, Bitmart, Currency.com, Changelly, Lbank had the highest trading volume to unique visitor ratio.
- Huobi takes the biscuit here with $73,145 in trading volume for every unique visitor.
Now let’s get into the full breakdown of cryptocurrency exchanges.
Presentation of key cryptocurrency exchange statistics
Overall Reach of Crypto Exchanges
Unsurprisingly, total reach of platforms has increased drastically between 2020-2021 and 2021-2022.
In fact, overall cryptocurrency exchanges saw an average 363.47% increase in overall traffic.
We see a similar number when looking at how many of the visitors were unique. The increase of unique visitors increased by 479.70% on average.
Unique visitor vs total visitors of cryptocurrency exchanges
However, what’s interesting to note is that the unique visitors outpaced the growth of the total visitors in this time period.
Not by much, but it could be the start of a trend.
This shows that there are more people visiting these sites yet not coming back for more than a single visit.
This is most likely thanks to the massive increase in publicity and interest Crypto received during 2021.
The higher occurrence of single visits is likely thanks to the steep learning curve with cryptocurrency exchanges and huge amounts of negative press that deter people from taking action.
Unique visitor benchmark for cryptocurrency exchanges
If we’re to look at the average overall percentage of unique visitors, it’s pretty interesting. If you’re growing any similar platform, this is the average rate of returning visitors I would aim for to ensure you’re hitting the industry benchmark.
In the 2020-2021 period, the average unique visitor rate was 24.85%.
In the 2021-2022 period it was slightly higher at 32.8%.
That’s an increase of 131.98%.
Let’s finally look at overall engagement on the site.
User engagement on cryptocurrency exchanges
To assess engagement we’re going to look at overall time on site and the number of pages a user visits when using the exchange.
By the nature of an exchange, these will be high. People don’t jump into one page and achieve all they want to.
They’ll have to find their wallet, check exchange rates, ensure they’ve input the right chain to transfer through and more.
So the visits per session should be quite high.
The average pages per session are consistent with what we’ve seen so far. They’re slightly higher in the 2020-2021 period.
Likely because this period had more “serious” and experienced crypto people who were more interested in using these platforms.
The latter period will have had a lot of people heading to these platforms to “check things out” thanks to the increased press coverage.
However, many of these won’t have much experience or knowledge on what to do or how to use the platforms effectively.
The average time on site for these visitors seems to follow the same trend. Once again ToS is reduced when you get into 2021-2022’s time period.
We see 2022’s time period achieving only 78% of the ToS as the previous time period.
The overall visit duration to cryptocurrency exchange is still very high despite the drop.
one theory we have is that with the newer traders coming in, they may not spend as long comparing various assets and prices. In addition, they may not be using a good hardware wallet to store their assets. Anyone who has used a cold wallet will tell you that it slows down any transaction.
Basically, there are more new people who aren't as knowledgeable or as security conscious as longer term crypto investors.
Overall cryptocurrency exchange engagement and reach summary
All in all we see an obvious trend in cryptocurrency exchange’s reach and engagement.
There’s been a huge influx of new users to the crypto world, likely thanks to the huge press the industry received throughout 2021.
However, the engagement rate of these new users isn't as high as it once was.
This is likely because a good portion of this new traffic is less educated on crypto and are either trying to get into digital currencies or are simply checking out what’s available.
Do we think this trend will continue?
Do we think this is cause for concern?
On average, engagement has dropped by ~27%. However, traffic overall has increased by an astounding 363% on average.
There’s still a huge number of highly engaged people coming to cryptocurrency exchanges, and the trends all seem set to continue growing.
Let’s quickly look at the top performers in the reviewed crypto exchanges.
Overall cryptocurrency exchange trading volume
Reach is only half the equation when ranking cryptocurrency exchanges.
We also need to look at the trading volume of these exchanges to identify the best performing platforms and understand what changes to reach and engagement do to trading volume.
Overall trading volume increase of cryptocurrency exchanges
There has, obviously, been a huge increase in trading volume over the same time period.
What’s really interesting is how the increase is very similar to the increase we see in the increase in unique visitor rate.
Across all exchanges surveyed, there’s been an average 424.65% increase in trading volume.
Very similar to the 479.70% increase in unique visitors.
The traffic data seems to show an increase in overall traffic, but a decrease in return visitors and overall engagement.
Basically indicating more “newbie traders” who aren’t as serious about crypto as long time traders.
As such, I would have expected the trading volume to have experienced less growth than traffic and unique visitors.
However, the increases in unique visitors and trading volume really is quite close.
If we then compare the trading volume against unique users, the average trading value per unique visit is huge.
I say huge because I come from a software marketing background where average order value is much much lower.
If I were to pull the stats of recorded Binance users vs treading volume, it’s in the 10s of thousands per user.
This metric, because unique visitors won’t necessarily sign up to the service, is more conservative.
But on average, the average trading volume per unique visitor to cryptocurrency exchanges fell between the two time periods.
It was $9125.08 in the 2020-2021 time period.
That fell to $8077.92 in the following year.
A total loss of around 11.48%.
However, once again as the number of unique visitors increased so dramatically, the overall impact is a positive gain for the exchanges.
When comparing the trading volume with other metrics like pages per visit and time on-site, there’s no obvious correlation - at least none as strong as the unique visitors to trading volume.
I am surprised by this as I thought the exchanges with higher return traffic would be the ones to see higher trading volume.
Now let’s get into the specific exchanges and how they perform.
The top-performing cryptocurrency exchanges by reach
So we now have an overview of how the overall cryptocurrency exchange reach has grown. Let’s dig in to find the top performers.
There are few surprises here. If you’re already thinning one or two players are miles ahead of the pack, you’re right.
And when we say they’re ahead, they’re far ahead of the pack.
What I find most interesting here is that the big winners all seem to have very similar stats on one or two key metrics.
Metrics linked to engagement.
Returning users for cryptocurrency exchanges
Repeat visitors are a key element in assessing the overall user experience and value a service offers to a user.
If a site has a very high unique visitor rate, it often means that people check out the site one time and never return.
Which indicates the site isn’t solving the needs as people never come back.
When assessing the cryptocurrency exchanges, I noticed that there’s a key difference between the major players and smaller brands.
In particular, we see the same percentage of unique customers regardless of traffic month over month.
For example, if Binance has 100,000,000 users this month with a ~30% unique visitor rate, it means that 70% of their total traffic is visitors coming back more than once.
Next month, they might generate 200,000,000 users. However, they still maintain a similar ~30% unique visitor rate. Meaning that 70% of the extra 100,000,000 are users who come back more than once.
This is similar for all of the big exchanges.
You’ll see that traffic fluctuates wildly, but the % of unique visitors stays pretty consistent.
Basically, these sites have systems in place to ensure that when someone comes to their site, there’s something there to get them to come back multiple times within the same time month.
Which tells us that they’re very good at solving their user’s problem and ensuring they get the service they’re looking for.
Often you’ll see traffic spike with a lot of new users who never return. Not in these big brands’ case.
Binance maintains a relatively steady 30% state of unique visitors and is the largest by overall traffic.
Whereas Crypto.com has around 55% uniques. Meaning only 45% of their traffic is return visitors.
In short, this shows me that Binance is likely offering a better service than Crypto.com to their users as the majority of their traffic is from returning visitors.
Pages per visit for cryptocurrency exchanges
Pages per visit is also a good indicator of user experience, especially for cryptocurrency exchanges.
You’re very unlikely to find the currency you want to invest in and action the trade by visiting a single page.
You’re going to have to view multiple pages to find the right currency, fund your wallet, and make the exchange.
The average pages per visit for cryptocurrency exchanges across all those analysed for the year is 3.22 per visit.
Which is what you’d expect for the majority of people looking to buy a single currency like Bitcoin.
Getting that transaction done in 3 pages is normal.
Exchanges with higher than average pages per visit often have better navigation leading to people clicking through to more pages.
Exchanges with lower than average are often making it confusing for users to find what they need. They see higher bounce rates without the user achieving their goal.
Basically, more pages visited means that people have greater reasons to stay.
What’s interesting here is the brands at the very top of the rankings consistently achieve higher than average pages/visit.
As you drop down those rankings, we tend to see those brands achieve fewer pages per visit.
Making your site sticky is key to growth.
Time on site for cryptocurrency exchanges
Time on site is also a major indicator of user experience for crypto exchanges.
The nature of cryptocurrencies means investors are going to have to conduct research before taking any actions. As such, they’re likely going to be on a site for some time.
The average time on site across all cryptocurrency exchanges in the year 2021-2022 was 16 minutes and 22 seconds.
I took a look at the major exchanges and, again, the trend persists.
This time Binance and eToro are consistently above average. Kraken dips in and out month on month while Crypto.com and Coinbase are consistently lower than average.
Top-performing cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume
Let’s once again dig a little deeper and see if we can identify trends in trading volume to user engagement metrics. This time, we’ll do it by analysing the best performers to see what they do so well.
When looking at the trading volume by platform, I expected to see the same top 5 performers. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Binance is still far and away the leader. However, of Kraken, eToro, Crypto.com, and Coinbase, only Coinbase ranks in the top 5.
Crypto.com comes in in 9th places, Kraken at 11th, and eToro comes in at 32nd.
A huge difference to the overall traffic and reach.
Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 performers in a 12 month period by monthly trading volume.
The legend on the right-hand side goes in order of total trading volume over the 12 months. Meaning Binance is the top performer, OKX is #2, and so on.
Fastest growing cryptocurrency exchanges by trade volume
We pulled the trading volume of the 12 months ending in April 2022 and compared to the 12 months ending in April 2021 to see who’s experienced the most incredible growth.
What’s great here is we have some of the “smaller” brands massively outperforming when it comes to growth.
CoinFlex is the biggest winner here with a staggering growth of 21,217.14%. On their own site they mentioned daily trading volume was up almost 19,000% at the start of the year, so it looks like things are still moving in the right direction.
Crypto.com - often just short of a podium finish in terms of traffic and overall trade volume, is a surprising #2 with a very respectable 4468% growth rate.
As you’d expect, the larger brands like Binance and Coinbase experienced less growth as a %, but still dominate the top spots in terms of overall transactions.
Highest unique visitor to trading volume value cryptocurrency exchange
Finally, I want to examine, on a deeper level, the idea that unique visitors correlate very closely to overall trade volume.
Specifically, I want to know which platforms have the best unique visitor to trading volume ratio. This could help signify who has the best systems in place to turn visitors into customers time and time again.
Which is, again, a key indicator of good UX as they’re converting more people into users in a somewhat complicated space.
If we’re looking purely at the raw total numbers, there are few surprises in this report.
The big players are much further ahead when it comes to market penetration, reach, and impact with cryptocurrency investors.
However, there are a few surprises when we look at the up and coming brands.
A brand can only get to a certain size before growth starts to taper off and slow down.
Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken will likely be around for a long while to come. They’ve established themselves as the major players in the market.
But as these exchanges grow, they’ll find it difficult to quickly pivot and address emerging market desires with speed.
That’s where smaller, more agile brands like CoinFlex will see great success.
It might be safer to go with the industry standard brands like Binance, but if you’re looking to use services that are more aggressive with their rewards and will be more receptive to your feedback and ideas, it might be worth trying some of the fastest growing brands.
They’ve now established a foothold and will be looking to do whatever they can to solidify and continue growth.
While this report is an overview of our findings, the more detailed analysis for the basis of our rankings for the best cryptocurrency exchanges going forward.
If you want to stay abreast of the best platforms to use in Web3 to stay safe and get the best service, be sure to subscribe and follow.
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