Trader Accuses Indian Cryptocurrency Exchange BitBns of Inflating Trading Volumes

Cryptocurrency trader Karthik Varma has recently accused popular Indian cryptocurrency exchange Bitbns of inflating trading volumes on its platform, presumably in a bid to attract users.

Varma, according to a post, found it strange Bitbns’ trading volumes dropped during the bear market for only a short period of time. Earlier this year, the exchange was accused of faking its trading volumes, but claimed a bug affected its systems.

Using the exchange’s APIs and a program he created using MySQL, Varma decided to investigate whether the exchange’s publicly displayed trading volumes matched its order books.

Claiming he “didn’t miss any data,” after running the program for 24 hours, Varma found Bitbns inflated its BTC and XRP trading volumes. He reportedly found that in 24 hours the exchange traded 62,365 XRP ($29,600) and 2.638 BTC ($17,180).

 A screenshot he shared showed the exchange claimed to have traded 20.266 BTC and over 375,000 XRP in said period. His post reads:

BitBns is reporting a manipulated 24 hour holumes [sic]. It reported 501% more incase of XRP and 668% incase of BTC than the original volumes.

According to Varmas, the cryptocurrency exchange allegedly faked its trading volume in an attempt to grab traders’ attention, as markets with higher liquidity are more visible on data aggregator, and more attractive. Some traders, per his words, often check data aggregators before choosing a platform.

Curiously, although his research found the exchange was allegedly inflating its bitcoin and XRP trading volumes, its dash volumes added up. To Varma, the exchange didn’t need to inflate its DASH/INR pair as it had an ongoing trading contest.

Notably, Bitbns started standing out after offering former Zebpay users help by paying their transaction fees if they moved their funds to its platform. As CryptoGlobe covered, Zebpay was a prominent cryptocurrency exchange that was forced to shut down over a banking freeze.

Its downfall came shortly after India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), issued a banking embargo on cryptocurrencies in April, which prohibits financial institutions from offering their services to crypto-related businesses. It had over 3 million users and 22 trading pairs on its platform.

At press time, Bitbns’ trading volume is of about $900,000 according to available data, with $431,000 coming from its XRP/INR trading pair. Reacting to the traders’ findings, the exchange’s CEO agreed to share data to confirm whether the code he used to obtain the data was flawed.

BBC: Facebook Planning to Launch ‘GlobalCoin’ in Q1 2020

Siamak Masnavi

Social networking giant Facebook is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency (internally dubbed "GlobalCoin") and crypto-powered global payments network (internally called "Project Libra") worldwide by Q1 2020, according to a report published earlier today by BBC News, the world's largest broadcast news organization.

Project Libra's Origin Story

  • 8 May 2018: In a post on Facebook, David Marcus, the former head of Messenger, who was at that time also a board member (since December 2017) of crypto exchange Coinbase, revealed that he was leaving that role to set up a new group focused on exploring applications of blockchain technology across the whole of Facebook.
  • 13 December 2018: Cheddar reported that Facebook’s blockchain group is planning to "potentially disrupt the entire payments industry":

"At a private dinner Facebook hosted during a recent crypto conference, one attendee told Cheddar that Facebook employees pitched the idea of creating a decentralized digital currency for the social network’s 2 billion users."

  • 21 December 2018: Bloomberg reported that Facebook was creating its own cryptocurrency (a stablecoin) for money transfers within its highly popular messaging app WhatsApp.
  • 28 February 2019: The New York Times confirmed Bloomberg's earlier story, and said that, according to its sources, this project was "far enough along that the social networking giant has held conversations with cryptocurrency exchanges about selling the Facebook coin to consumers."
  • 8 April 2019: Nathaniel Popper, one of the two journalists who wrote the report in the New York Times, provided this update (on Twitter) about Facebook's cryptocurrency project:
  • 2 May 2019: The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook was "recruiting dozens of financial firms and online merchants to help launch a cryptocurrency-based payments system," and that the core part of this initiative (code-named "Project Libra") is "a digital coin that its users could send to each other and use to make purchases both on Facebook and across the internet." Furthermore, this report said that, according to people familiar, Facebook was talking to "financial institutions including Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc. and payment processor First Data Corp." about investing in this project.
  • 17 May 2019: A report by Reuters said that FinTech company Libra Network was registered in the Republic and Canton of Geneva on May 2. Looking at the entry for Libra Networks, which was published on May 7 in the Swiss Official Gazettte of Commerce (SOGC), tells us:
    • Libra Networks LLC (registration number: CHE193533388) has its registered office in Geneva.
    • According to the English translation, the stated purpose of this company is "provision of services in the fields of finance and technology, as well as the development and production of related software and infrastructure, particularly in connection with investment activities, the payment operation, the financing, identity management, data analysis, big data, blockchain and other technologies."
    • The share capital is CHF 20,000 (100 shares, each with a nominal value of CHF 200); all of the shares are owned by Facebook Global Holdings II, LLC.

Facebook's Stablecoin: GlobalCoin

Here is what we have learnt from the BBC News report:

  • Facebook "is planning to set up a digital payments system in about a dozen countries by the first quarter of 2020."
  • The plan is to start testing the new cryptocurrency (some kind of stablecoin), GlobalCoin, by the end of 2019.
  • Facebook has been getting "advice on operational and regulatory issues" from the UK's central bank governor Mark Carney (whom Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly met in April) and from U.S. Treasury officials.
  • Facebook is also in talks with global remittance firms such as Western Union "as it looks for cheaper and faster ways for people without a bank account to send and receive money."

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