People are using crypto exchanges because they want to send their bitcoin as quickly as possible and as cheaply as possible to buy goods or services. The exchanges will also look to pay a lot of regulation in order to keep the regulatory pressure off them, and to make it harder for customers to switch to another exchange without giving them an unfavourable market to go to. To keep a number of third parties happy will also mean that the technology developed by the exchanges doesn’t make a lot of money in order to operate – only a limited amount of profit will be generated in order to maintain the network, and that’s likely to be used for development and other such investments.
It’s a complex situation which doesn’t solve the original problem of payment. And whilst in theory it can be accomplished in a more direct way, the problem remains, in all three cases, that we still need third parties to take a percentage of the revenue. You still need to use a payment processor to deposit funds into any one of the new casinos that do indeed accept crytocurrencies, for instance.
The various exchanges have different revenue models, the fees being different depending on the quality of service and the amount of transactions they can handle. They also all charge different commission fees on the sale of bitcoin, which is highly regulated (this is money which the customer has paid to the exchange, which the exchange keeps) and which it charges to the customer for every transaction. The person selling bitcoin is likely to pay a different percentage than the person who is buying bitcoin. For example, let’s say a customer wants to sell 1 BTC for EUR 1,000. This could either happen through a wholesale exchange – by way of the ‘channel access code’ – or through a retail brokerage – by way of a ‘customer to customer’ transaction. If the wholesale exchange is less than 5% profit, the retail brokerage will be around 1-2% profit, and the wholesale brokerage will be in the 5% range, though not necessarily less. If the customer wants to buy 1 BTC for EUR 1,000, then the wholesale exchange will need to receive the channel access code, a commission fee, and an exchange fee, but with a ‘substantial’ margin as well – between 0.5% and 1.5%.
These companies trade in anything from large quantities of bitcoin (large quantities being defined as 1 BTC) to small quantities. Some of these companies work as payment processors, some buy and sell BTC directly and some have the capability to store it for you. To give a flavour of the businesses and how they will work, here are a few examples of wholesale exchanges.
This is a fairly established business, with a considerable customer base. There are clients throughout the EU. They are very successful. However, the exchange does not actually sell anything but can put your bitcoin up for sale on other exchanges if you’d like. This is likely to be the least profitable business in terms of revenue per transaction, but on the other hand, their client base is very, very large.