Bitcoin Blog a1

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Is Poloniex is the next Mt. Gox?

Some people on the internet are saying Poloniex is the next Mt. Gox.  (As you probably know, Mt. Gox was the first big failed bitcoin exchange.) Well I don’t know if this is true, but if people think it is true, it may become true.

Cryptsy was an interesting example of unjustified fears becoming reality. Cryptsy had cryptocurrency stolen from them. This meant that if everyone withdrew their digital currency from Cryptsy, they wouldn’t have enough to cover all the deposits with them. (This meant they were operating similar to a traditional bank with fraction reserve banking.) Or in other words, they didn’t have the cash on hand to pay everyone that has deposited money (Cryptsy, however, was insolvent as well). They continued business as usual and did not announce the theft for fear of causing a scare. As Cryptsy made money, their capital was essentially restored. (In banking terms, Assets - Liabilities = Bank’s capital).  Once Cryptsy made enough money, they would no longer have to worry about a run on the “bank.”  An unrelated, unjustified rumor caused people to question Cryptsy. People simply questioning Cryptsy caused a mass panic which caused Cryptsy to fail and the stealing to come to light.

Now people are questioning Poloniex, just like they questioned Cryptsy in the past. Just the questioning of Poloniex could cause a scare, which could cause people to withdraw their Cryptocurrency. If enough people withdraw, it could bring to light other problems with Poloniex which could bring the exchange down. However, if there is no real issue, this might not affect them.

An additional reason Poloniex could be in trouble is that upward prices also increase credit risk. If a lender has traded cryptocurrency for fiat, the increase in price may make it difficult to repay a loan denominated in crypto. So if Poloniex has borrowed from his users, this may be an issue.

Lastly, it looks like many people are very delayed in when they can withdraw their money from Poloniex. This is a bad sign, and could be a sign of eventual shut down. Ultimately, I don’t think Poloniex will shut down right now, but only time will tell.

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