Traditional finance exchanges split on crypto adoption, WFE survey reveals

TL;DR Breakdown

  • A recent survey by the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) reveals a divided stance among traditional finance exchanges on adopting crypto services, with 41% already offering such services and over a third having no plans to do so.
  • The WFE's research is part of a broader study to understand crypto market infrastructures, examining aspects like liquidity provision, price discovery, and regulatory concerns such as anti-money laundering and investor protection.
  • The survey indicates a cautious optimism among traditional finance exchanges about embracing crypto services, but also highlights prevailing concerns about regulatory uncertainties and market stability.

Traditional finance exchanges are divided on whether to embrace or shun crypto services, according to a recent survey by the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE). The survey, conducted between May and July 2022, involved 29 member exchanges. The study revealed that 41% of these exchanges already offer crypto-related products or services, while more than a third have no plans to venture into the crypto space.

The report reveals that retail demand for crypto-related products is generally higher than institutional demand, except for custody services.

Crypto engagement across jurisdictions

The WFE’s survey is part of a broader research project to understand the crypto market infrastructures and their potential implications for mainstream finance. The report offers a snapshot of crypto-trading platforms across different jurisdictions. It also delves into exchanges’ engagement with these developments and their views on the future opportunities or challenges posed by new technologies.

The study contrasts the models of centralized platforms (CEXs) with those of decentralized platforms (DEXs), stating that about 60% of crypto-trading platforms use Central Limit Order Books (CLOBs) to facilitate trading. 

These CLOBs are set up on centralized servers and off the blockchain to ensure efficiency and transparency. The study also stated that most decentralized platforms implement Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)-based Automated Market Making protocols to set prices. According to the WFE study, centralized exchanges offer better liquidity provision and price discovery due to using CLOBs. On the other hand, decentralized exchanges usually allow access only from self-custodial wallets, offering anonymity to their users but may lack in liquidity and price discovery.

Regulatory concerns and future prospects

The WFE’s research comes at a time when regulators worldwide are grappling with how to approach the burgeoning crypto market. Concerns about the lack of regulatory authorization, transparency, and the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies have led to questions about the quality and stability of these markets. 

The survey indicates that traditional finance exchanges are cautiously optimistic but remain divided on whether to embrace crypto services fully.

Among the respondents, seven exchanges indicated plans to offer crypto-related services in the future, suggesting a growing interest in integrating cryptocurrencies into traditional financial systems. However, the reluctance of over a third of the surveyed exchanges to venture into crypto services underscores the prevailing regulatory and stability concerns.

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Damilola Lawrence

Damilola is a crypto enthusiast, content writer, and journalist. When he is not writing, he spends most of his time reading and keeping tabs on exciting projects in the blockchain space. He also studies the ramifications of Web3 and blockchain development to have a stake in the future economy.