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How exchange listings affect cryptocurrency prices

As with IPOs in the equity markets, a token getting a listing on a major crypto-exchange and the hype building up to it can generate a lot of interest as well as value in an asset. Here we'll look at how some of the main exchanges affect prices of their assets listed and delisted.

In 2017, hundreds of new digital tokens emerged onto the scene thanks to a booming ICO market. However, many of these new digital tokens and currencies never get in front of crypto investors or near the public eye because they fail to get listed on the major digital asset exchanges.

Without the support of major exchanges, buying and selling a digital asset becomes more challenging. Hence, there is a clear correlation between the success of a cryptocurrency and the number and quality of exchange listings it secures.

The effect of exchange listings and delistings on prices

The positive effect of being listed on a popular exchange has been quite substantial for altcoins and newly-issued ICO tokens as it not only provides the digital asset with a certain level of industry approval but it also allows a much larger investor base to invest in it. Naturally, a listing on a major international digital currency exchange usually results in a price boost for the token.

Aside from being listed on international cryptocurrency exchanges, a listing on a popular regional exchange can also have a profound impact as it allows local investors to invest and withdraw profits using their own local fiat currency.

An excellent example of this would be when the Lisk (LSK) token was listed on the Japanese exchange bitFlyer in late January, at which point the price of the token jumped by over 65 percent in less than an hour. After strong volatility, LSK managed to close the day around 25 percent higher despite an overall downward trend in cryptocurrencies in that time period.


The same thing also happened when Litecoin (LTC) was listed on the largest South Korean digital currency exchange BitHumb. Following the news, the price of the altcoin jumped by 15 percent within 24 hours.

Having said that, a listing on a new exchange does not always result in a price boost. The contrary can also be true. This is especially true for ICO tokens as a subset of large investors who buy tokens at a discount in pre-sale regularly sell them for an immediate profit when they list on an exchange.

Furthermore, ICO investors regularly get caught up in the media hype surrounding a token sale, which can even lead to severely overvalued pre-listing IOU token prices (a type of futures contract) ahead of the actual listing as was the case with TenX (PAY) for example. However, once the new token starts to trade the market shows investors what their token is actually worth. In the case of TenX, it was 97 percent less than the pre-market IOU tokens that were trading on HitBTC.

While new exchange listings are more often than not price-positive for altcoins, the reverse occurs — especially for small-cap altcoins — when they are delisted from major exchanges. For example, when Bittrexannounced on January 13 that it will be delisting the trading pairs BTC/MYST and ETH/MYST, the Mysterium token (MYST) lost almost half its value within 24 hours and saw its price drop from $3.11 down to $1.60. This drop was exasperated by the fact that, at the time, over 90 percent of MYST token trades were happening on Bittrex.

Other altcoins that have recently been delisted from Bittrex and suffered the same fate include Startcoin (START), GCRcoin (GCR), and the Rise (RISE) token, which all lost around half their value within 24 hours of their delisting announcements.

While a new exchange listing can mean a price jump or a price drop, it is almost always the case that the prices of small-cap altcoins drop substantially when they are delisted from a popular altcoin exchange, especially one that holds a substantial amount of their overall trading volume.

The "Coinbase effect"

Perhaps the biggest "listing effect" on a cryptocurrency’s price can be witnessed whenever the popular digital currency exchange Coinbase announces support for a new coin.

For example, in May 2017, Coinbase added support for bitcoin’s “little brother” Litecoin (LTC). When Coinbase announced that it would add Litecoin, the digital currency’s price jumped by 25 percent.

Even the rumor of being listed on Coinbase can cause substantial price jumps as we have witnessed with Ripple (XRP). The rumor was started in late 2017 but spread on social media platforms again in 2018. Shortly after major news publications covering the digital currency space caught on and fed the rumor mill. The price of Ripple surged back over the $1 mark as the rumors re-emerged early March.

Conversely, when Coinbase refuted the rumor that they will add Ripple as their next digital asset, the price of XRP dropped by over 50 percent from its March highs of $1.07 to close at $0.51 at month-end.

Generally speaking, the more access the general public receives to a cryptocurrency the better its future value. As Coinbase has emerged as the go-to digital currency exchange for first-time buyers, it should come as no surprise that the prices of Ether (ETH) and Litecoin (ETH) rallied substantially after they were listed on the exchange. This effect will likely continue with future listings.

The same goes for listings in large regional exchanges in markets such as South Korea and Japan when they enable their users to purchase a new cryptocurrency using fiat that they previously have not had access to.

For crypto investors who actively trade altcoins it is, therefore, important to keep an eye on major exchange listing and delisting announcements as these can dictate where prices are going next.

Follow @AlexLielacher


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