Arcane crowns the exchange 2022’s winner

During a year plagued by crises such as the collapse of FTX and Celsius, data shows that crypto exchange Binance has emerged as the clear “winner” of 2022 according to Arcane Research.

A Jan. 3 report from Arcane highlighted that Binance saw its market dominance soar throughout 2022. As of Dec. 28 last year it had captured 92% of the Bitcoin (BTC) spot market and 61% of the BTC derivatives market by volume:

“There are no other evident ‘winners’ of 2022 other than Binance when it comes to the crypto market structure and market dominance. No matter how you look at it in terms of trading activity, Binance is the crypto market.”

Binance’s BTC spot market dominance was 45% at the start of 2022 meaning that it more than doubled, while its share of the BTC derivatives market increased by almost one third.

Real BTC daily volume vs Binance spot volume vs Binance market share. Source: Arcane Research.

The “spot trading volume” is an indicator that measures the total amount of Bitcoin being transacted on spot exchanges on any given day.

The report suggests the increase in Binance’s BTC spot market dominance predated the fallout of the second largest exchange by volume FTX, and began to surge after it removed fees for certain trading pairs on Jul. 7, 2022.

The exchange also made some notable acquisitions to boost its global coverage in 2022 such as the Japanese trading platform Sakura Exchange BitCoin and Indonesian digital currency brokerage firm Tokocrypto.

Binance has been one of the few exchanges to increase the number of staff it employs over the year while its peers such as Kraken and Coinbase have been forced to lay off staff during the current crypto winter.

Related: Tribulations and triumphs: The biggest surprises in crypto of 2022

Looking ahead to 2023, Arcane predicted in a Dec. 30 report that Binance would implement trading fees again in 2023 which would lead to a “normalization of the market dominance.”

As noted in a Jan. 3 report from digital asset data firm CryptoCompare, removing fees allows exchanges to attract customers but they “must be wary to remain profitable” and “cannot employ this strategy for long periods of time without hurting their bottom line.”

Binance could also be subject to increased regulatory scrutiny in 2023 — particularly relating to its native token BNB (BNB) — as following the fallout of the FTX empire there has been an increased focus on crypto regulations globally.

Analysis from Bitcoin advocate Nic Carter suggested while Binance’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, has been vocal about his support for exchanges providing proof-of-reserves (PoR), the PoR provided by Binance was incomplete as “it only covers Bitcoin, which only represents 16.5% of their client assets.”