It goes without saying that exchanges command significant influence over the cryptocurrency market, being the exclusive portals for fiat into the world of blockchain. Exchanges are also the most significant winners of the cryptocurrency craze, and bank billions by raking in fees and maintaining custody over sizeable crypto wallets comprised of their own funds but also those of the customers. In a largely unregulated environment, the latter idea comes with its own set of implications and risks.
Not every exchange uses its capital to reduce these risks adequately. Instead of reinvesting in a more secure custody service or establishing carefully administered audits, some exchanges may begin to act in their own financial interests. Traders keeping their coins in exchange wallets understand that the direct connection to the market and ability to trade into and out of fiat demands a steep price — and familiarity with this compromise is universal.
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