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Things you should look for in a cryptocurrency exchange

“Let’s say you want to buy 1 Bitcoin, sign up on an exchange and wait for 3 days. A few days later you receive an e-mail saying ‘Our servers compromised… all funds stolen. We are sorry’. Now where to go? ,"
Recent volatility in cryptocurrency space has created a new customer base looking for profit and quick money, these customers are new investors or rookies can take part due to the open nature of cryptocurrency. It is important to choose with which exchange you are buying and selling cryptocurrency.
Many major exchanges have faced various potential threats in the past such as hacking, regulatory issues, bad business practices due to messy combination of poor management, neglect, and raw inexperience.
Attacks
Number of exchanges attacked and many million of dollars stolen, MtGox was the first one where a group of hackers compromised the servers due to the central nature of the service provider. It is easy to gain access and take control of private keys which controls your bitcoin, so you should always keep your private keys in your control. There are multiple ways to do that, such as hardware wallets, or keeping it in your laptop, mobile phone, etc.
Liquidity
Another problem with many exchanges are lack of liquidity, which means when one wants to withdraw a big chunk of bitcoin, for example,1000 BTC at current price is about $17 Million, exchanges don’t have that much cash available and ready to move, and therefore the entire BTC market can fluctuate in seconds.
Accessibility
There is no such thing as an instant in these exchanges as you have to first verify (KYC and AML) your account which can take 10 minutes to 3 days depending on your region. Only after such long waiting you can transfer real cash from your bank account, but that is also unlikely, because many local banks are not supporting these kinds of exchanges. The solution to this problem is to buy using an escrow mechanism and get crypto in the same region where one pays using local currency in the same region, such service provider being known as LocalBitcoins.
Support
Another approach to the above mentioned problem is to reduce the cost of switch for traders, so the users can convert token to token without leaving the wallet. It is only in decentralized exchanges which lacks support for a commodity, ease of use and overall lacks user support.
Due to financial transaction exchanges were always under scrutiny, Bittrex came under radar for an incident in which a handful of user documents merged into one support ticket and released in a public forum.
Once again, there is no support when you do not understand something of the website of the exchange or you need to know certain things about the fees. So, you will have to create the support ticket yourself and wait for the answer an hour depending on the volume of tickets. The support system of exchanges is dingy and the company like ‘Coinbase’ does not even have a live chat or a phone number where one can call and get help.
Manipulation
Cryptocurrencies are speculative and bound to manipulation - there have been many incidents on these central exchanges where “Spoofing” is seen. With ‘spoofing’, one puts large buy or sell orders driving traders in one direction and then cancels the order before execution. This implies that anyone who can gain access to trading with large amount of BTC can drive prices to go crazy.
As a precaution many exchanges are locking down a number of accounts if any suspicious activity seen, resulting in distress within the community and customers. Similar incidents reported by community, where whenever ‘Tether’ currency denomination released on Blockchain, there was a sudden surge in the value of the Bitcoin. ‘Tether’ is a cryptocurrency which backed by $1 and it is one of the subsidiary of ‘Bitfinex’. ‘Bitfinex’ banking relationship jeopardized due to a DDOS hack. This gives rise to the question: is Tether a cryptocurrency or just a scam. Newcomers to Blockchain may notice the irony — in an industry obsessed with decentralization, some of the biggest exchanges are centralized, trusted institutions.
Future
“Decentralized exchanges are the way of the future,” said Hugh Madden, technical director for ‘openANX’, a decentralized exchange infrastructure protocol. With the new model in decentralised exchanges you have no order book — buy and sell orders are matched peer-to-peer. There is no central authority where hackers can attack and drain money.
Exchanges have to address these problems in future:
  1. Accessible - faster KYC process , international banking support and integration.
  2. End-to-End Security – Exchanges need to scale , better security for customers to their own data centers.
  3. Cold Storage – Storing all bitcoins, cryptocurrency in cold storage reduces the risk of hacking coins.
  4. Technology Architecture – Right now the exchange architecture is straightforward and the insecure REST API exposed to the world. Using service such as Apache Kafka can reduce I/O throughput.
  5. Banking – The banks do not understand cryptocurrency, if the exchanges want to stay, they have to work together with the bank to provide full transparency within the system .
  6. Liquidity – Right now every exchange lacks liquidity,one of the solution to this problem could be the introducing of new services - for example, the user can spend coins from the exchange for some service or asset.
  7. Easy – It is easy to use.
These protocols are still in development phase, but as we continue to see the threats on centralised exchanges, it is imminent that decentralised exchanges will take over. The answer lies in technology development and complete use of tokens.
In conclusion, as a crypto user one has to be very careful what exchanges they are dealing with and make sure the exchange has a valid banking setup or relationship, verification process and resolution mechanism and meets all the terms and conditions; make sure also, that in case of hack or solvency, you will get your money back or at least a part of it .
Do your own research before engaging in the cryptocurrency space.
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