Safe or Scam: An Open Review on ExMarkets

Hegion

Based on the latest stats provided by leading cryptocurrency data aggregator site (CoinMarketCap), there are close to 350 exchanges to date. This year, as the market sees an immense potential in the realm of DeFi, we’re seeing a growing number of Centralised Spot and Derivatives exchanges (CEX), as well as Decentralised Exchanges, or DEX in short. With the rise of DEXes like Uniswap and Curve Finance, both achieving a daily volume exceeding $2 Billion USD, centralised counterparts are starting to see a shift in terms of the inclination towards a KYC-free and possibly, privacy-friendly ways to trade cryptocurrencies. Despite DEX’s popularity gained over the year thanks to DeFi hype, CEXes are not going anywhere soon. But as competition becomes stiffer, CEX will need to constantly innovate to outshine their decentralised rivals.

As a proponent for innovations that will contribute to mass adoption of cryptocurrencies and its underlying blockchain technology, we believed that CEX will continue to play its part in the onboarding process of new and future investors of cryptocurrencies. CEXes will play a pivotal role in the adoption of cryptocurrencies quicker.

In this Open Review, we’ll be discussing one of the lesser known CEXes which have caught our attention recently, and we’ve decided to give it a try in navigating through ExMarkets, a #125 spot CEX which has been active in the market since September 2018.

Like many of our reviews, we’ll be offering you our most honest feedback to better help you decide which projects you should consider, and which are the ones that you should completely avoid. No bullshit, just pure honesty right here.

Introduction

By now, many of us may have come across top-tiered CEXes like Binance, Kucoin, Kraken or Coinbase. Many first-timers are attracted to these top-tiered exchanges due to their ease of use, sleek interface, good users’ reputation as well as the option to trade on a beautifully-designed mobile app version of their exchanges.

ExMarkets, a #125 spot exchange listed on CoinMarketCap, is a 2-year old CEX which was incorporated in British Virgin Islands, registered under the entity known as Chain Framework Ltd. Unfortunately, we’ve been unable to track the legitimacy of the CEX as we could not find any relevant information about the BVI-registered company anywhere online. But, like many other cryptocurrency exchanges, operating as a BVI-listed company is not exactly that uncommon. So we’ll give a benefit of doubt for now, since it’s listed on CoinMarketCap.

Moreover, if shit hits the fan, ExMarkets actually reveals 2 physical locations which the company is supposedly based in — A. Goštauto st. 8 347-348 01108 Vilnius and Vytauto av. 23 3rd floor 44352 Kaunas. Yes, the team can be found in Lithuania if you’re wondering.

With some general knowledge that we’ve acquired about the company, let’s move on to the real action now — to test out on their exchange platform.

User Interface/Experience

In order to proceed with a ‘new user’ test, we’ve cleared our browser cache and perform the test like someone who just got to know about the exchange online. It took us about 10 seconds to load ExMarkets.com with our Macbook Pro 2019 version via the Chrome browser. The preloader screen of the ExMarket’s flashing logo doesn’t calm my soul during that 10 seconds.

Comparatively, Binance took about 3 seconds to load, with cleared browser cache. If you want a quick answer on the ideal loading time for online users, the Google recommended page load time is under two seconds: “Two seconds is the threshold for ecommerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half-second.”

Hence, it’s not really a pleasant wait for impatient users, but it’s fortunately decent enough for most users, since many Tier-2 exchanges and even the 2019’s CoinMarketCap website load awfully slow before. But we do believe that as a 2-year old CEX, the ExMarkets team will take note of that eventually.

However, once we did managed to access the frontend of the exchange platform, loading becomes generally smoother. As mischievous as we are, we tried to click around different pages on the website and found that we can get to any pages in split seconds. So we’ll forgive ExMarkets for the agonising first 10 seconds load as a first-time user to the platform.

While the frontend design isn’t exactly like Apple or Uber-esque standard, we do notice that fonts are readable even for a middle-aged, short-sighted person.

Accessibility

Next, we proceed with the registration page.

Welcome to trading without borders

One thing that #TeamHegion advocates is online data privacy, and the last thing that we want to see is to have our personal data stolen by unwanted entities like hackers, bad actors, and… regulators. This is the reason that we’re bought into the idea of decentralised technologies initially.

We’ve to give it to ExMarkets for this one actually, because the signup process is surprisingly simple, especially for privacy advocates like us. If we don’t feel like surrendering our personal information to the exchange, that doesn’t stop us from using the platform to trade for our favorite BTC, altcoins or some other shitcoins.

It took us exactly 1 minute to successfully register a new account with ExMarkets. The Two-factor email authentication is also sent to our inbox, and not our spam folders. Good job on that, ExMarkets!

After we’ve successfully validated our user account, the page automatically redirect us to a landing page, with 2 blue buttons which could lead us to wherever we wish to proceed next on ExMarkets.

Some exchanges are focused on offering stunning UI/UX for users with shitty customer service and product, while other may focus more on the functionality and less on the design aspect of the platform. ExMarkets obviously belongs to the latter, and we do hope that something can be done about its design and user interface, if their goal is to attract investors who are new to the space.

Apart from that, we’re experiencing a smooth browsing experience on our laptop overall, thanks to blazing-fast loading speed to the platform as a logged in user.

Once we’re in, we’re shown 5 menus — Trading, Launchpad, For Traders, For Projects and Makes, a featured launchpad project that is available to users at the time of writing. As curious as we always are, we’ve decided to explore the Launchpad page first.

For those who’re not aware of Launchpad, it is an online service that was first introduced by Binance, which showcases different upcoming projects that are doing a token sale. It’s basically a professional-sounding version of IEO (Initial Exchange Offering), which is an improved version of the now-defunct ICO (Initial Coins Offering) in which projects raised funds through a customised fundraising platform. With Launchpad, the exchange offers the fundraising process for the project from start to finish. And the project’s token will subsequently be prioritised and added to the list of available tokens on the platform.

ExMarkets claimed to be one of the first exchanges after Binance, to offer a Launchpad service for projects. We saw that there’s about 30 projects which have successfully completed their token sale so far on the exchange’s Launchpad.

At the time of writing, there are 3 ongoing projects that are in the midst of fundraising. Something we do noticed and like about the Launchpad on ExMarkets is that users do not actually have to go through the KYC ordeal in order to participate in any of the token sale. We can find whatever that we may need to consider for the token sale right on the specific Launchpad listing page.

An improvement that could be made in the future on ExMarkets’s Launchpad, is the function for us to click on our Available BTC Balance, thereby auto-populate the maximum quantity of tokens that we can buy in the given field. In this case, users may have to manually input the quantity and calculate manually.

Automation and Ease of Use is pretty important at this point in time, especially for angsty investors like us.

Next up, we’ve navigated to their staking pools page. Seems like a page in development. Given our awesome experience with Pool-X by Kucoin exchange, we do have certain expectation on how exchange’s staking pools should be like. Unfortunately, there’s no way for us to view the full glory of ExMarket’s staking pools yet, except on our test on the Project (Demo), which is a demo of how the Staking Pool process will be in the future.

We’ll keep you posted in the near future once we’ve seen the Staking Pool in some real actions.

At this point, we figured that ExMarkets could be heading into the direction of offering a suite of popular services like IEOs and Staking Pools, as with other major exchanges. End-users will be delighted to see more options for us to choose from when we’ve decided to part our precious BTCs for a greater chance at achieving financial freedom. What if, we’ve decided that it’s time for us to come up with our own projects and are looking for an affordable exchange to do an IEO or token listing?

No worries, ExMarkets could offer just that for you. Unlike leading Chinese-led CEXes such as Binance, Huobi and Kucoin which currently charge a 6-figure USD amount (~10 BTC) listing package, the #125 exchange — ExMarkets, aimed to provide a great alternative for new projects to raise funds of list their tokens on a CEX for a fairly decent amount of BTCs.

For less than 2 BTC, project owners will be able to enjoy a variety of listing packages that will be friendly on your pockets. Although we do have accounts of leading CEXes, we just could not accept the fact that they’re still charging so much for exchange listing. Let’s not forget that such service do not guarantee a permanent listing of your tokens, as those leading exchanges periodically will delist tokens that they deemed as scam, or low-liquidity tokens, which may affect their reputation in the space. Paying 10 BTC to a leading exchange listing may sound like the right investment for you and your community. But sadly, it is most often NOT the case.

Additionally, let’s not forget about the ExMarkets Launchpad. With less than 1 BTC, you’ll be able to get your project listed on the exchange in no time, and kickstart your fundraising campaign with their thorough list of services that will give you an edge over your competitors who may be paying 10x more than you do, while possibly getting the same result at the end of the day.

Trading

After looking through the Launchpad, IEO and Staking Pool pages, it’s only necessary for us to get to the lifeblood of any cryptocurrency exchange — Trading features.

Unlike KYC-compliant cryptocurrency exchanges, ExMarkets users are usually those who’ve certain experiences with cryptocurrency trading. This is evident by the lack of fiat-crypto on ramp feature which is created to onboard new investors into the cryptocurrency realm.

However, it seemed apparent that ExMarkets is eyeing the market share of existing investors and users whom already have acquired their BTC, ETH or USDT somewhere in the space. Therefore, the trading interface as shown on ExMarkets should be familiar to many seasoned users. While we’re not very much into Navy-blue color scheme (it’s reminiscent to a template-looking, white-labelled cryptocurrency exchange solution), it’s the straightforward user trading dashboard that get us interested to trying out further. As mentioned earlier, we’re not expecting much in terms of the design aspect from ExMarkets, but rather the functionality that really matters for exchanges like them.

The Quick Buy and Quick Sell feature located at the top of the trading dashboard is certainly perfect for angsty traders like us who’re looking for a quick fix in acquiring our alts, without going through the process of day-trading. But day-traders, fret not, as ExMarkets do offer the conventional feature for you right at the bottom of the trading dashboard.

We’ve mentioned previously that we dislike that navy-blue color theme as shown on ExMarkets, but if we’re to think in a day-trader’s perspective, such colors may be pleasing to the eye, especially if traders are to likely have their eyes glued onto the glaring screen for hours. High contrast colors (Black or White) doesn’t work in this case, and we finally appreciate the color, thanks to our attempts at trading over at their trading dashboard.

Remember that we mentioned the lack of auto-populated fields at the beginning of our review? We’ve encountered a similar issue here over at the trading dashboard. If you do use Binance and Kucoin by any chance, you should notice that it is possible that, at the click of the desired price, the price field will be auto-populated with the desired amount that you’d wish to trade immediately, and a corresponding quantity will be calculated for you prior to your buy order. Unfortunately, this feature is apparently missing on ExMarkets, which we seriously hope the ExMarkets developer team could look into in the near future.

Liquidity

If there’s one crucial thing that cryptocurrency traders always look for in an exchange, liquidity is definitely one of the most important components. An exchange with good liquidity will ensure that your trading experience will not be affected by the lack of liquidity movements or available funds to complete your trading requests.

In order for us to determine whether or not ExMarkets have sufficient liquidity, we’ve looked into a popular ETH/BTC trading pair. Of course, we’re not expecting ExMarkets to match billion-dollar liquidity like Binance or Kucoin, but what we do hope to see is that the exchange has enough to satisfy average retail traders on a daily trading basis. Fortunately, with 0.013 BTC, we’re able to successfully execute our ETH/BTC trade in less than a minute.

Perhaps it’s due to market makers, we do notice that there is a consistent range of ETH that is available in the orderbook, be it in the buy or sell order. But, it seemed obvious to us that if you’re looking to trade with a couple BTC worth of alts, you may have some trouble trading on ExMarkets. But the tradeoff for a non-KYC trading environment give us a fair deal over trading at the exchange.

Support

Finally, we’re wrapping up our review on ExMarkets by testing the efficiency and availability of its customer service support. Many times, cryptocurrency traders who use smaller-scaled cryptocurrency exchanges met with a lot of challenges when it comes to the exchange’s customer service.

In all fairness, while we do notice a lack of knowledge base or support forum on ExMarkets, we’ve tried to ask a question through their Live Chat widget, and we do get a friendly response in under 3 minutes. That sounds pretty reasonable if I’ve some issues faced while trading on the exchange, and I’m able to find a live support agent to guide me through the troubleshooting process within 5 minutes.

While the English support works like a charm for us twice in a row during our 30-minute test on their responsiveness, we did not managed to try out using a foreign language (e.g. Chinese,Bahasa Indonesia or Vietnamese). But as long as the primary language (English) support is available for users, it should work for us as well, for now.

Open Review Rating

User Interface : ★★★☆☆

Accessibility : ★★★☆☆

Liquidity : ★★★☆☆

Support : ★★★★☆

Wish to find out more about our reviews and researches on other projects in the space? Subscribe to us now for more OpenReviews from Hegion!

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