- The 2017 crypto bull run was a bumper time for exchanges, with new entrants battling old timers for exposure
- A handful of crypto exchanges ruled the roost in 2017, especially in the alt coin arena
- Where are these exchanges now, and are they prepared for the next bull run?
2017 was a crazy year for crypto exchanges, with the likes of Binance and KuCoin launching and taking on Bittrex, Coinbase, Kraken and more for exposure to the rapidly growing market. Some exchanges ran the crypto wave better than others, but where are 2017’s top exchanges now, and how have they fared since the 2017 crypto bull run?
During the 2017 crypto bull run, Etherdelta was to alt coins what Uniswap is to DeFi coins today. The partially decentralized ERC-20 exchange would automatically list almost any ERC-20 token that had been launched into the market, meaning it was the perfect place for ‘gem’ hunters to go digging.
Just like Uniswap, Etherdelta coins could do multiples overnight before moving onto mainstream exchanges, with Etherdelta being the place where ICOs would first touch down, earning massive profits for those lucky enough to get into the most hyped up coins.
Etherdelta’s prominence took a severe hit at the peak of the 2017 crypto bull run when it suffered a hack that December which saw deposited funds diverted into the hackers’ wallets. Etherdelta needed time to regain trust, but this was exactly what it didn’t get – the crypto bubble burst just a few weeks later, and Etherdelta’s race was run.
Etherdelta is now something of a backwater exchange and is no longer the place to pick up low cap gems. Founder Zachary Coburn was fined $388,000 in November 2018 for operating an unlicensed securities exchange, and the platform has dwindled into obscurity ever since.
Binance has grown in size and scope beyond what anyone could have predicted when it launched in July 2017. It captured the growing alt market at the perfect time and rode it to massive success in the 2017 crypto bull run, offering a better level of service than any crypto exchange up to that point.
By the end of the 2017 crypto bull run it was the number one exchange by volume, and there it has remained, growing considerably to offer crypto saving, lending, futures, and margin trading among other facilities, as well as inventing the IEO in 2019.
With a 24-hour normalized volume of $1.85 billion dollars, Binance is the most used exchange by a factor of five, and it will take a supreme effort to dislodge it.
Arguably the best exchange to buy alts on until Binance and KuCoin came along, Bittrex saw its market share whipped away from it by these newer entrants during the latter part of the 2017 crypto bull run. It still managed to offer a select number of alts that these exchanges didn’t list throughout the 2017 crypto bull run, but this wasn’t enough to retain much of their customer base.
Bittrex has failed to innovate on the same level as Binance since its 2017 heyday, and currently sits outside the top 10 in terms of daily volume.
KuCoin was a fresh, exciting arrival when it launched in September of 2017, listing newly arrived alts that even Binance hadn’t gotten its hands on yet, often tapping Etherdelta gems in its search for the most sought after projects.
With a customer-friendly interface and a growing selection of exclusive alts, KuCoin became a very attractive option for alt coin traders, boosted by the mechanics of its KCS token, which gave a portion of the exchange’s trading fees to holders.
Since the 2017 crypto bull run ended, KuCoin has struggled to lead innovations in the space, often copying the bigger exchanges like Binance. They still have a selection of alts that other exchanges don’t have however, and should we get a replay of 2017, KuCoin will be well placed to profit once more from lesser known alts.
Currently, KuCoin is the fourth most-used exchange in the crypto space, showing that it is still a popular choice for many.
Coinbase is one of the oldest exchanges still active, alongside Kraken, and in many ways it wasn’t prepared for the 2017 crypto bull run. Coinbase already had a strong reputation in the space, and had it foreseen what was coming it could have leveraged this to be the top exchange during that crazy time, but it failed to adapt – it only added Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash throughout the whole of 2017.
What Coinbase did have in its locker however was an on-ramp facility, something that Binance, KuCoin and others didn’t have at the time, and it used this to great effect. This ensured that Coinbase saw plenty of action during the 2017 crypto bull run, and it has since sought to atone for its lacklustre performance in the alt arena, now serving up 35 alt coins on its platform.
Coinbase Pro is the second biggest exchange by normalized volume, taking in more than double its nearest competitor, Kraken.
2017 Crypto Bull Run Set for Repeat?
It’s clear that Binance, which was the big winner during the 2017 crypto bull run, is still leading the pack today, despite what you may think about its tactics. Coinbase has probably done the most to catch up on the competition, going alt coin crazy in the past three years, while KuCoin remains well placed to take advantage of another alt season.
The big losers since the 2017 crypto bull run have been Bittrex and particularly Etherdelta, which was a real flash in the pan that has already been consigned to crypto history.
What will the next crypto bull run bring? Will a new entrant emerge to take on Binance, or will one of the old guard pull a surprise? We can only wait and see.