Consensus 2017: Future Bitcoin Exchanges

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Consensus 2017 has ended but the ramifications of what was highlighted and discussed on the future of bitcoin exchanges by many of the industry leaders, speakers and panelists lingers on.

Nope! Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it for this years Consensus 2017 event due to work commitments here. The 3rd annual Consensus by Coindesk, was held in New York city at the Marriott Marquis from 22-24th May, 2017.

I’ve been following up pretty closely with the news reports out of Coindesk and other media that covered the happenings there. One particular news-piece that really got me excited was a sharing session of some of the world’s top cryptocurrency exchange leaders, Adam White of Coinbase’s GDAX Exchange, Ola Doudin of BitOasis exchange, Tony Lyu, Zooko Wilcox and Erik Voorhees.

The news goes like this…

The panel host asked this question, “How would you build a bitcoin exchange if you had to start from scratch?”

According to Adam White, head of Coinbase’s GDAX exchange, the answer is you wouldn’t want to simply support bitcoin alone.

“We’d design our exchange to be able to support more assets more quickly. There was this theory that network effects would aggregate everyone into one asset. We see that’s not the case,” he remarked at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2017 conference.

White went on to tell attendees:

“There will be hundreds if not thousands of digital assets in the coming years.”

The remarks come amid growing enthusiasm for blockchain-based cryptographic assets that offer different value propositions than bitcoin. Overall, the market for all cryptocurrencies is up 400% this year, rising to $88m from $17.6m in January.

Amidst this diversification, Ola Doudin, CEO of Dubai-based bitcoin exchange and brokerage BitOasis, remarked on the rise in enthusiasm for alternative digital assets, noting how its customers in the Middle East are now twice as likely to buy ether than bitcoin.

Tony Lyu, CEO and founder of Korbit, also discussed the challenges in listing new cryptographic assets, given the variety of new opportunities and the short attention spans of a small set of early adopters.

“For every asset we list, there’s diminishing returns,” Lyu said. “If you go chasing to the next hot coin, by the time they launch it on the exchange, the fad has passed.”

Conversation later turned to the subject of how, exactly, tokens should be dispersed to users.

While the bitcoin software offered a mining network, enabling users to run computing power to gain a share of the bitcoins it created, entrepreneurs are now largely bucking this trend. Through a process called an initial coin offering (ICO), many projects are simply creating and selling tokens on existing blockchains to build a network effect and raise capital.

Here, opinions were split with some industry luminaries emphasizing the opportunity the new blockchain use case creates, and others offering more bearish insight.

“There was probably a time in the distant past where Silicon Valley startups were funded too much too soon, and I think the ICO market is in the similar space,” said Zooko Wilcox, founder of the Zcash Electric Coin Company, which manages the Zcash blockchain.

Erik Voorhees, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange startup ShapeShift, gave the most eloquent defense for the model onstage. His remarks showcase how the industry is defending the concept even while acknowledging that failures in the current environment are likely.

“You can have shares of a common endeavor that people would like to build, and to give immediate liquidity around that idea,” Voorhees said, adding:

“All sorts of ideas will happen. Not all will be good. That’s not really the point, the point is the friction of money and liquidity.”


There is going to be a lot of progress or should I say modifications taking place in most if not all of the top Bitcoin exchanges soon. The operators seemed to have realized that an exchange which can cater to the majority of all the top cryptos will at the end bag the biggest market share. 

What’s your take on this? Please tell me.

Parts of the content here was curated from Coindesk

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