The largest and busiest category of bitcoin companies Venture Scanner is tracking is by far bitcoin exchanges (152 companies out of a total of 549). This makes sense, since the first thing bitcoin needs to do in order to get market acceptance is to make it easy for people to buy bitcoin.
What isn’t necessarily as obvious, however, are which bitcoin exchanges are the most popular. Here they are, according to the most recent 24-hour volume metrics (source: bitcoincharts.com)
1.) Return of the King: BTC China
BTC China made a large splash a while back as the first Chinese-based bitcoin company to receive serious VC funding. Then big brother (the Chinese governemnt) put the hammer down, unleashing a torrent of uncertainty around bitcoin’s future in the world’s most populous country. After taking some big hits, BTC China released some additional products and is now back on top of the heap.
2.) The Old Hand: BitStamp
BitStamp is based out of the United Kingdom, and their $10M in known capital raised makes them the largest bitcoin exchange in the European Union. Their product is very consumer friendly, and includes a lot of educational links, which makes them a natural solution for the “Average Joe” to use. Founded in early 2011, they are also one of the older Bitcoin companies out there.
3.) The Unknown: btc-e
One of the most intriguing facts about btc-e is that, despite being around since 2011 and consistently being one of the largest exchanges by volume, their headquarter location is still not officially known (they claim to be covered under Cyprus law, but the Google description says they’re in Bulgaria). This secrecy is also reflected in their relatively simplistic web interface.
4.) The Little Brother That Could: LakeBTC.com
Another Chinese-based exchange, LakeBTC is a more recent entrant onto the scene. As you can see in the chart above, they’re dealing in U.S. Dollars, which makes it likely they are more-or-less cornering the market for Chinese-domiciled USD-denominated exchanges.
5.) The Professional: itBit
itBit started their life in early 2012 as a simple exchange out of Asia. They then moved their headquarters to the financial capital of the world, New York City, to better target users looking to seriously trade bitcoin. The pivot seems to have payed off, as they round out the top 5 of our highest-volume bitcoin exchange list.