Where are the Top 30 Crypto Exchanges Incorporated?
The top 30 centralized crypto exchanges* are incorporated across 15 different countries. 37%, or 11 out of the 30 exchanges are located in North America – specifically Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands (BVI) and the United States. The rest are equally split in countries across Europe, Asia and Africa, with 20% or 6 out of 30 crypto exchanges incorporated respectively.
Where Are Most Crypto Exchanges Based?
70% or 21 out of 30 centralized cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide are incorporated or based in offshore financial centers (OFCs), defined as territories that seek to attract financial activities from abroad, through flexible regulations and low or zero-taxation schemes. They typically also provide financial services to non-residents at a disproportionate scale beyond the size and scale of their domestic economies.
Some of the most popular OFCs where crypto exchanges are incorporated are Seychelles, Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands (BVI), also otherwise recognized as tax havens for corporations.
20% of Crypto Exchanges are Incorporated in Seychelles
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has become a hub for cryptocurrency exchanges with the highest number of centralized exchanges incorporated, among which include notable large exchanges OKX, KuCoin and MEXC Global.
The Financial Services Authority Seychelles (FSA Seychelles) currently disclaims licensing or supervision over crypto-related activities or companies. While crypto regulations are unavailable, the FSA Seychelles are working to develop one.
This study examines where each of the top 30 centralized cryptocurrency exchanges on CoinGecko are incorporated, ranked by Trust Score and trading volume.
The top 30 crypto exchanges are obtained by assessing average trading volume over a 90 day period, with a CoinGecko Trust Score of 7 and above. Each crypto exchange’s location of incorporation* is identified through news reports and/or through the companies’ disclosure on their website, and later verified on the respective country’s regulatory databases.
Binance, where information regarding its incorporation is unspecified, and has entities across multiple jurisdictions.
LATOKEN, where incorporation information is unverifiable; as such, we follow Forbes’ report stating Estonia.
CoinEx, where incorporation information is unverifiable, as such, we follow Crunchbase’s report stating Hong Kong.
Offshore financial centers (OFCs) identified in this study are based on the OFCs outlined in Uncovering Offshore Financial Centers: Conduits and Sinks in the Global Corporate Ownership Network (2017).
It is worth noting that this study anchors on where each exchange is incorporated, which differs from other terminologies such as ‘registered’, ‘headquartered’ or ‘based’.
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Curious to understand more about the crypto exchange landscape? Read this one we did on the Market Share of Cryptocurrency Exchanges, by trading volume.
Julia leads Growth at CoinGecko and is passionate about onboarding more women onto Web3. That said, she is generally poor at timing the market, so she DCAs for safety. Follow the author on Twitter @ngxinyajulia