Scandals. Over 20% of the articles about crypto exchanges published in the 4-month period of 2020 had to do with various incidents: hacks, compliance issues, errors made when transferring large sums, etc. (there were much fewer stories of this type in 2018). For instance, there were police raids in the offices of Gate.io
were hacked; while Kraken
were involved in court proceedings or legal scandals.
Markets. Just like in 2018, crypto exchanges continue expanding into new regions: Bittrex
opened an office in Bermuda, Gemini
started offering services in the UK, while CEX.io
applied for a Singapore license. At the same time, some markets temporarily closed to certain exchanges. For example, Binance
was blocked in Russia.
Interviews. Exchange executives and representatives continued to give interviews and expert commentary to the crypto media. The CEO of Binance
, Changpeng Zhao, retains his leading position by the number of mentions in the media. The CEO of Kraken
also often talks to the media. Several interviews with the CEO of FTX
have also been published. By contrast, the Huobi CEO was hardly mentioned, unlike in 2018. The exchange executives who began to give more interviews and publish more articles in 2020 include the Huobi
Head of Investments, the СТО of Bitfinex
, the executive director of bitFlyer
and the CMO of Gate.io
Research. In 2020, exchanges continued to publish studies about the crypto market. For example, OKEx
presented an analysis of the Bitcoin market, BitFlyer
published a report on the demographics of crypto exchange users, while Kraken
offered a BTC price forecast.
Events. For obvious reasons, crypto exchanges organized and attended fewer events in 2020 than in 2018. In late August, Binance
hosted a 3-day training event, Huobi
organized contests in Turkey, while BitHumb
launched a learning platform. A representative of OKEx
was one of the keynote speakers at Blockchain Life, while the team of Bitkub
attended Money Expo 2020.
Expansion. Exchanges continued buying other business in 2020. FTX
acquired Blockfolio, Binance
made one $400m purchase and several smaller ones (the exact amounts have not been announced), while Huobi
considered buying Bitflyer and Bithumb. While this type of news does not have much of a PR impact, the media are willing to publish such stories, so exchanges can use this type of news to remind the audience about themselves.
Anti-PR. Sometimes the media publish negative news or critical exchange reviews, some of which may be paid for by their competitors. A suitable example is a recent comparison of eToro and Binance
(which constantly stresses the advantages of eToro), a statement by OKEx
accusing a Chinese website of having published wrong information about it, and a story about alleged token swap manipulations on Crypto.com
Partnerships. Working with well-known experts is a good PR move for an exchange, and still deservedly popular. For example, Alex Pack
started working with Huobi
as a corporate investment adviser. It wasn't just experts that crypto exchanges signed contracts in 2020, the popular hip hop artist
Akon listed his own cryptocurrency on Bittrex
, and the well-known YouTuber Andrei Jikh
invested in crypto on Gemini
Global events. The political and economic events of 2020 clearly influenced crypto exchanges. For example, Bithumb
had to close its Seoul office because of Covid-19. However, while 2020 provided many newsworthy subjects (from the pandemic to the US presidential elections to the protests in Belarus), few exchanges tried to benefit from them. Only Poloniex
launched a presidential election prediction contest, while the СЕО of FTX
donated several million dollars to Joe Biden's presidential campaign.