In keeping with this era of evolving technology and how digitally dependent most of society has become, money has transformed in numerous ways. Traditional physical cash is no longer the only method of transaction. Our assets and savings have taken on a more virtual form, becoming cryptocurrency.
Since their initial launch, cryptocurrencies have left a mark on the world of finance that is difficult not to notice. Originally infamous for acting as safe havens for criminals and money launderers, cryptocurrencies have completely changed their reputation, both from a technological perspective and their general popularity. In the media, various online forums, and even everyday conversations, digital currency has managed to sneak its way into the public consciousness. Even those who are not familiar with the mechanics of cryptocurrency are at least aware of what it is.
Having taken on a life of their own, so to speak, the creation of a marketplace for cryptocurrency seemed like a natural progression. With a wide variety of digital currencies for the masses to choose from, it only makes sense that they build their own market. A bazaar dedicated to the countless types of crypto; over 10,000 to be exact.
The big names in the crypto marketplace include Ethereum, Tether, Litecoin, and – the most popular of them all – Bitcoin. In this article, we will explore the Bitcoin market and explain how these innovative exchanges work.
A market turned digital
A Bitcoin exchange functions as a digital marketplace where traders can purchase and sell bitcoins using different altcoins or fiat currencies. A Bitcoin currency exchange is an online platform that takes on the role of an intermediary between the cryptocurrency’s buyers and sellers.
The purpose of a Bitcoin exchange platform is to match buyers with sellers. Similar to a conventional stock exchange, traders have the option to buy and sell bitcoin by inserting either a market order or limit order. As soon as a market order is chosen, the trader starts allowing the exchange to trade the coins for the best price available in the online market. With an established limit order, the trader instructs the exchange to trade coins for a price lower than the current ask or exceeding the current bid. This will ultimately depend on whether they are planning to buy or sell.
Transacting on a Bitcoin exchange requires that the user be registered with the exchange and undergo several verification processes to confirm their identity. Successful authentication will open an account for the user, who in turn can transfer funds into this account prior to buying any coins.
Every exchange has its own payment method that facilitates the deposit of funds. Some include direct bank transfers, bank wires, bank drafts, debit or credit cards, money orders, and gift cards. A trader looking to withdraw money from the account could do so with their exchange’s provided options. Some noteworthy examples of these options include cash delivery, check mailing, bank wire, or a transfer via PayPal, bank, or credit card.
Decentralization in markets
The introduction of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to the financial industry has effectively created more opportunities for decentralized markets to operate in.
The technology running a decentralized market allows investors to do business directly with each other as opposed to working from within a centralized exchange. An example of these types of markets is virtual markets that utilize decentralized currency (i.e., cryptocurrencies).
Decentralized bitcoin exchanges operate without the involvement of a central authority. These exchanges enable peer-to-peer digital currency trading without a need for an exchange authority figure to play a part in the transactions.
There are a variety of benefits that come from using decentralized exchanges. To start with, most cryptocurrency users see decentralized exchanges as being better matches to the decentralized structures of most digital currencies. Furthermore, many decentralized exchanges require less personal information from their participants than other exchanges. Another advantage is that if users directly transfer assets to other users, it will eliminate any need for transferring assets to the exchange. As a result, there is less risk of larceny from hacks and other fraudulent activities. The third benefit of decentralized exchanges is their capability of being less vulnerable to price manipulation and other forms of illegal trading.
With that in mind, decentralized exchanges – as is the case with all cryptocurrency exchanges – need to preserve a basic level of user interest, specifically in the form of trading volume and liquidity. Not every decentralized exchange has been successful in achieving these crucial baseline qualities. Moreover, decentralized exchange users may have less recourse should they fall victim to fraud than those who use exchanges that operate with centralized authorities.
For the most part, virtual markets are not regulated, which many of their supporters believe to be a good thing. A virtual marketplace’s mediums — including decentralized currency — and intrinsic technology provide investors with a strong sense of security and confidence when it comes to their transactions. However, with the growth of markets that utilize decentralized currencies for transactions, there has been a surge of discussions pertaining to potential regulations.
Every bitcoin exchange has transaction fees. These are typically applied to finalized buy and sell orders that have been executed within the exchange. The fee rate is determined by the volume of bitcoin transactions that have been conducted.
There is always a price that comes from making deposits and withdrawals, depending on the payment method used to transfer funds. If there is a high risk of a chargeback from a type of payment, the fee will also be higher. There is a lower risk of a chargeback in wiring money to an exchange or creating a bank draft in comparison to funding your account with PayPal or a credit/debit card.
On top of fees for transactions and fund transfers, traders will often find themselves being confronted with fees for currency conversions. However, this depends on the currencies the Bitcoin exchange accepts.
Despite cryptocurrencies continuing to provoke both indignation and admiration from the public, crypto marketplaces are thriving. With ongoing expansions and more digital currencies being created, it would be fallacious to assume that the Bitcoin marketplace will slow down anytime soon.