OKCoin made company history today, when its international exchange became the world's most active bitcoin-to-dollar trading platform over a 24-hour period.
While OKCoin has been ahead of BTC-e for the past week, it is the first time the exchange has topped Bitstamp and Bitfinex, which are commonly regarded as the world's most popular.
OKCoin CTO Changpeng Zhao told CoinDesk the increase was surprising, given that the OKCoin’s international exchange only emerged from beta a week ago.
"Regarding the increase in volume, honestly, we don’t know exactly why. We focus on making a better product, and believe the users will follow. And the data tends to agree with us."
Yuan volumes always higher
The volumes are for the main USD exchange only, and do not include OKCoin's CNY volumes (around 69,469.14 BTC) or trades on its new futures platform.
China's 'Big Three' exchanges routinely post BTC trade volumes in CNY that are much higher than those of their overseas counterparts – often up to four or more times higher. This is often attributed to the fee-free trading model employed in that country, which attracts higher-frequency traders both from China and abroad.
Beijing-based OKCoin has been China's top exchange by volume for some time, but only launched its international USD market two months ago.
New 'maker-taker' system
China's large exchanges have been busy in recent months adding features that mirror those available on more established forex market platforms and are designed to attract more professional and international traders to their platforms.
These features are also playing a role in increased trade volumes.
OKCoin just last week launched a new 'maker-taker' model on its international exchange, which it hopes will increase liquidity by rewarding the 'market makers' who set prices on the order book.
Both buyers and sellers usually pay a fee to trade on OKCoin's BTC/USD market, but under the maker-taker system those who set prices will actually earn some of the fees paid by the 'takers' (those who trade at the current market price).
Market makers now earn 0.05% of a taker's fee for orders below the ticker price for buy orders, and above it for sell orders. In futures trading, makers will earn a lower 0.005% of the taker's fee.
Fees for market takers range from 0.20% for entry level accounts, to 0.10% for the highest-ranking 'gold level' accounts and 0.015% for futures traders.
Feature adds liquidity
Since no two orders can have the same time stamp, if two orders are placed simultaneously the first will be counted as 'maker' and the second as 'taker', encouraging faster orders and thus increased liquidity.
Zhao acknowledged the role this model, along with its associated marketing drive, might have played in OKCoin's new top-market status.
"This obviously attracts volume to OKCoin. But our volumes have been steadily increasing even before that."
"It's usually a combination of factors," he noted. "Like any new business, you need to get everything right to succeed. There is no one specific thing what will guarantee you success, at least, we haven’t found it yet."
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