Running a major cryptocurrency exchange is turning out to be a lucrative business. Coinbase is reported to have made over $1 billion last year, and Binance is on course to pull in $850 million annually. Exchanges are making millions from the fees ICOs and altcoin developers must pay to have their token listed.
Most cryptocurrency exchanges don’t publicly advertise their listing fees, though these are known to run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the millions in some cases. The bigger the exchange, the higher the price that must be paid . Business Insider reports on ICO founders who claim to have been asked for between $50,000 and $1 million for having their token listed. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao questioned these numbers, and also defended listing fees, tweeting “most investment banks charge 7% for just underwriting an IPO deal”, by way of comparison.
One altcoin developer told news.Bitcoin.com that they were quoted a fee of $3.5 million for being integrated with a popular mobile wallet. They declined. Exchanges such as Bittrex and Bitfinex assert that they do not charge a listing fee, though some people question this. With exchanges requiring ICOs to sign highly restrictive NDAs before token listing can even be discussed, firm figures are hard to come by.
For many altcoins and ICOs, the cost of a ticket to the high liquidity league is simply too much, limiting these projects to smaller exchanges such as Gate.io and Tradesatoshi. Viacoin developer Romano wouldn’t confirm how much he paid to get VIA on Binance, but conceded that had it not been for a successful crypto trading career, he would have been unable to afford it.