Finance

Anomalies in OKEx trading time distributions

Distinct surges in time-of-trade graphs indicate potential scheduled trading bots activity to obfuscate privacy coin laundering. Wash trading can also be a good explanation for such trading patterns.

While many exchanges have recently started to delist privacy coins, OKEx’s Monero (XMR) and ZCash (ZEC) markets remain active with abnormal trading patterns. XMR’s time of trade distribution on OKEx noticeably falls out of the common flow of activity observed on Binance and Huobi.

Percent of executed XMR spot trades by seconds on OKEx, Binance, Huobi, 2020. Source: NTerminal

Percent of executed XMR spot trades by seconds on OKEx, Binance, Huobi, 2020. Source: NTerminal

Both XMR and ZEC second-of-trade graphs show abnormal distributions which indicate that the most active trading happens every 5 seconds. It is important to note that the observed sharp swings in trade volume by second were not caused by shortages in liquidity for these markets.

Percent of executed ZEC spot trades by seconds on OKEx, Binance, Huobi, 2020. Source: NTerminal

Percent of executed ZEC spot trades by seconds on OKEx, Binance, Huobi, 2020. Source: NTerminal

Privacy coins grabbed significant attention due to their anonymous ownership capabilities and subsequent use in darknet markets. The distinct surges in the above graphs may show not only dominant trends in trading bots but also potential trade patterns related to criminal activity. As a result, exchanges such as OKEx may be used as platforms to obfuscate illegal transactions. Wash trading can also be a good explanation for such trading patterns.

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