The Ultimate Guide to Listing at Crypto Exchangesby@sergey-baloyan
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The Ultimate Guide to Listing at Crypto Exchanges

by Serge BaloyanJuly 28th, 2020
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There are currently more than 2500 cryptocurrencies and more than 300 exchanges where they are traded. New projects continue to emerge every month presenting their tokenized solutions for various industries. Getting listed on a new exchange means, among other things, entering new markets. People from the project community will be able to freely buy and sell the token, thereby giving the project and the token a chance to succeed. Getting listed makes it easier to find and negotiate partnerships with other players in your industry from these regions that will only enhance the effect of your listing.

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According to CoinMarketCap, there are currently more than 2500 cryptocurrencies and more than 300 exchanges (not counting countless small exchanges) where they are traded. However, new projects continue to emerge every month, presenting their tokenized solutions for various different industries. In the past, projects often finished their public fundraising stage before going to exchanges to get listed. Nowadays, many new projects want to go to an exchange without holding a token sale.

So, how should crypto projects go about getting listed on exchanges? How can you choose the first exchange for listing and avoid scams and frauds? How can you capture the most possible attention of the community for your token, and why is it important to keep expanding the list of exchanges on which it trades in the future? We will provide answers to all of these questions in our ultimate guide about how to get listed at the crypto exchange, so keep reading!

Why do projects need listing?

First, let's go through the main reasons why projects need to get listed on exchanges. Many projects do not fully understand what the listing should give, naming the main goal for themselves - just to have the token traded somewhere. Well, this is understandable, but a good quality listing includes several components:

Ability to trade, buy and sell a token

Yes, listing makes your token available for sale. People from the project community will be able to freely buy and sell the token, thereby giving the project and the token a chance to succeed.

Expansion into new markets and community growth

Each exchange is its own community, which is formed according to various principles, including geographical ones. Getting listed on a new exchange means, among other things, entering new markets. Some exchanges operate worldwide and have traders from around the world, but there are also exchanges that are more focused on local markets (e.g. Korea, Latin America, Eastern Europe). Listing on a new exchange is not only an opportunity to boost trade volume and liquidity, but also for the project to attract the attention of other exchange users and turn them into community members, establishing its presence in a particular region.

Token sales

Let's be honest, project founders are most commonly the largest holders of the project’s native token at launch. Tokens often lack the liquidity necessary to expand and develop, but organizing an ICO/IEO round is not always necessary or even possible. In some cases, with a successful listing and sufficient liquidity of the token, the project’s founders can act as traders who sell and buy the token as needed for project development, so long as it doesn’t contradict the financial model of the project, its WP, and obligations to the holders.

Partnerships in new markets

As we already mentioned, a new listing is often an entry into a new market. Along with the listing, other integrations into these markets are also possible. For example, you can look to establish partnerships with other players in your industry from these regions that will only enhance the effect of your listing. This also works in the opposite direction - getting listed makes it easier to find and negotiate partnerships.

Social proof

This is an indirect factor, but I think it is clear to everyone that the community is more interested in projects that are listed on good, solid exchanges than projects that are not represented anywhere.

What to pay attention to when choosing an exchange

Of course, every exchange claims to be the best. But what you need to know is that almost all exchanges have some amount of fake trading volume. And some of the exchanges sit in the top for years solely because of those fake volumes — they have almost no real traders or liquidity, but are able to sell expensive listings by pretending to have more activity, leading to disappointment and a waste of money for projects. We are sometimes approached by projects that have been deceived in this way with a request to support them. There are not many such exchanges, but there are some. Therefore, you have to be skeptical of ratings and trade volume reports, and you need to know and understand the market well to identify them. Listing agents, which we will discuss in the next sections, can help you to do this correctly. In the meantime, let's figure out what you need to pay attention to when choosing an exchange in principle.

Average daily volume

Despite the fact that this indicator may be inflated, it remains one of the most important when evaluating the exchange. There are two main sites that are most often referred to when evaluating volumes and the exchange as a whole:

As shown above, you can use these sites to look at trading volume of the last 24 hours in the Exchange's tabs. Both sites try to rate the top exchanges in addition to supplying basic information about them. And while in the past the rankings were compiled based on trade volumes alone, now the rankings are more nuanced by accounting for factors such as the number of unique visitors to the exchange website, the number of traded coins, and so on.

Average number of visits to the exchange's website per month

An indicator that can be roughly estimated using, for example, At the same time, look at the dynamics of growth or decline in visits compared to previous months. With this parameter by itself, it’s difficult to judge the quality of an exchange. But sometimes you can notice some anomalies that are more likely to indicate that the exchange isn’t really as active as they claim to be.

Quantity and quality of traded coins

There are some very low quality exchanges that have listed hundreds of unknown and useless coins with no volumes, movements, or liquidity for them. If there are too many such coins and the exchange does not delist them, this speaks for itself.

Community and the quality of working with it

Go to the exchange's official chat rooms and their social networks. See how active their community is, what questions they ask, and how they are answered by the exchange's community managers, as well as anything the exchange does to keep their community engaged. It is also a good sign if there are local chats divided into countries and regions with high activity in addition to a main global chat group.

Geography of the exchange

Many exchanges clearly position their geography, indicating the main regions where most of their participants are from. Most often, this information (along with other general information) can be found in the “About us” section at the website of the exchange.

Reputation in the Internet

Yes, this does not always work perfectly and sometimes there’s “black PR". But often if an exchange is quite notorious (as was the case with IDAX), you can find the stories of many projects and avoid repeating their fate.

Listing cost

This factor is typically crucial. Each exchange takes a fee for listing, often a considerable one. In general, the approach is catered to each individual project, and the final price may be different depending on various factors. Still, you can get approximate prices in advance from listing agents, which will be discussed later.

How to apply for listing

There are two options to apply for listing: independently or through an agent.

The first option can involve a lot of work, but it’s not too complicated. Each exchange has a ‘Listing’ or ‘Apply to list’ button at the beginning or end of the website, which most often leads to submitting a listing request.

But there are several pitfalls:

  • You can make a poor choice of which exchange to apply for listing at.
  • The application can be considered for a long time without status updates. This is a common problem for large exchanges.
  • The Exchange manager will give general prices and you’ll have to negotiate yourself (in the case when you make a listing through an agent, the agent most often knows the maximum discounts that the exchange can give and can negotiate the best conditions for you)
  • If you have submitted an application yourself, then it will be extremely difficult to connect an agent to negotiations with this exchange, and it’s unlikely they’ll be able to get a discount for you
  • You may run into a scam. While it’s a very rare phenomenon to get scammed through the official form, it does happen. The more common pitfall, though, is to get caught by a phishing scam if you make a mistake when searching for an exchange site.

    Working with a listing Agency

    An Agency or agent is someone who is familiar with various exchanges and has been working with them for a while. They help projects to enter into negotiations with a particular exchange as quickly and beneficially for the projects as possible, and further guide them through the process if necessary. Let's look at the main reasons why projects should work with listing agencies:

    Assistance in choosing an exchange

    Agencies are well versed in the market, constantly monitor the situation and can advise which exchange is better suited to the budget and requirements of the project, and which exchanges are to be avoided.

    Assistance in getting a good price

    As we said earlier, agencies know what discounts exchanges can give and it is easier for them to negotiate a more attractive price for you.

    Less likely to run into a scam

    Agencies work directly with the management of the exchange, so there is no possibility of running into scams, phishing, or unscrupulous employees.

    Assistance in developing a post-listing activity plan

    A good agency can also help with developing and implementing a plan for a project after listing to maintain its token. This includes marketing / PR activities, market making, and attracting new community members.

    How to work with a listing Agency

    Different agencies have different conditions, but my general recommendation is that

    the agency should not take money from the project for consultation and negotiations with the exchange. If an agent asks you to pay for introducing you to the exchange, feel free to close the chat with them.

    Next, it is important to understand how agents earn. You see, they often take their “cut” by marking up the listing price of the exchange. I think this is wrong, because the agent is likely receiving a sales commission for the deal from the exchange itself.

    In our practice, we share this commission with the project, which gives the project an extra discount in addition to the one negotiated by the agency.

    However, there are agencies that try to sneak in markups at every step and still get a success fee from both the exchange and the project. This can be quite impactful for startups with lean budgets, so it’s worthwhile to find a more profitable agent who won’t charge you at every little opportunity they get. If you need help with this, just write to me and I will assist you.

    Life after the listing

    It is clear that everything does not end with getting listed on a crypto exchange. To the contrary, the listing is just the beginning. But that’s a subject for a separate article (or two or three). 

    In short, I will only say that it is better to think through a marketing plan, take care of market making, and have a plan for other important activities in advance in order to give your project a good chance to succeed.

    However, once you reach decent trading volume on the first exchange, you can start thinking about expanding the markets - the next listings on the next exchanges. Some projects are listed on several exchanges at once. In some cases, this is justified, while in others it’s unnecessary to expand so quickly — there is no universal recipe. This is why an agent and consultant are needed to evaluate the project's position and market situation and give the most effective recommendation and strategy. We will talk about this and much more in our next articles.


    Listing on the crypto exchange is one of the most important stages in the lifecycle of any crypto project. It should be verified and accurate and strengthen the project's position in the industry. However, as we have seen, there are a number of pitfalls that can make the listing ineffective and even cause the token to fail, which will be very difficult to recover from. The listing process should be approached as deliberately and strategically as possible. And always beware of scammers.

    If you have any questions or you are planning to list on the exchange, feel free to contact me. My team has been helping with exchange listings for about 4 years and we are partnered with almost all of the established exchanges, so we will be able to guide and support you in this process.

    If you have any questions or if you need help with your startup/crypto project — you can write me in Telegram (@baloyan) or LinkedIn .