Although they got in early, the most popular cryptoasset exchanges face costly technology upgrades or ugly meltdowns as trading volumes surge.
Someday soon, crypto-enthusiasts think big financial firms will buy and sell bitcoin like any other asset: stocks, bonds, gold, whatever. But trading on this scale involves volumes and scrutiny that the most popular cryptoasset exchanges today may not be prepared to handle. Although they got in on the action early, these exchanges face costly technology upgrades or ugly meltdowns as activity increases and major exchange operators muscle in on the market.
The homegrown technology used by many cryptocurrency exchanges is coming under strain, and not for the first time. The major platform in bitcoin’s early days, Mt. Gox, was originally designed for trading “Magic: The Gathering” cards. It led the way until hackers stole from its customers, helping drive the exchange into bankruptcy.
Now, some bitcoin platforms are reaching their limits amid the cryptocurrency euphoria, according to an industry expert who has examined the venues. While declining to single out a particular exchange, the person said the venues generally haven’t been stress tested. Although systems upgrades are underway, best practices in the field are far from standardized.