EXMO is a centralized cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2013. The exchange is operated by EXMO FINANCE LLP with address 49 Station Road, Polegate, England. According to the information on its “About Us” page, the company has offices in London, Kyiv, Barcelona, and Moscow. The information on Exmo’s LinkedIn page suggests that the exchange has between 501 and 1000 employees. At the position of CEO is pointed Sergey Zhdanov, a Ukraine national with previous experience in EY’s Audit department and as a Financial controller at Noosphere Ventures. However, at the time of this writing, the exchange’s CEO has a relatively short experience prior to becoming head of EXMO.
The welcoming text on its website describes EXMO as “the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Eastern Europe.” At the time of this writing, the platform claims to have more than 40 000 active traders and 1.7 million registered. It goes even beyond that by claiming that it is “one of the world's largest global exchanges in volume and liquidity”, which at the time of this writing is not the case.
The EXMO’s homepage has an interesting widget that shows different facts about the exchange, such as “verification is not required for 90% of the exchange's tools”, “Exmo’s offices are in 4 countries – Russia (Moscow), Ukraine (Kyiv), England (London), and Turkey (Istanbul)”, “Our support is available 24/7 in four languages (Russian, English, Ukrainian, and Turkish). The average response rate is less than 15 minutes” and others.
At the time of this writing, EXMO’s online reputation is far from perfect. Trustpilot reviews reveal plenty of problems such as inability to withdraw money, missing funds (particularly in Euro currency), platform breakdowns, vanished deposits and so on. Some users even suggest that EXMO “does not have any support at all.” Further research in forums like Bitcointalk and Reddit do confirm that. Although the exchange highlights that the support is 24/7 and with an average response rate is less than 15 minutes, there are numerous users describing their struggles to get adequate support via either of the listed channels (ticket system, social media, email, etc.) and have their issues unresolved for months. According to exchanges’ clients, even the integrated web chat feature does not provide adequate and timely support.
On the topic of security, EXMO does not offer something too unusual or uncommon for other exchanges. It employs two-factor authentication, as well as the option for users to add a list of trusted IP addresses to access their account. The exchange also claims to keep users’ funds in cold wallets.
EXMO also has its own token, called EXMO COIN (EXM). It is issued by a specially designed business entity, called Finerta Business Inc. The company operates under the laws of the British Virgin Islands under registration number 1868617. As the main goal behind the launch of the utility token, the owners point out the optimization of user experience and the provision of access to the “countless benefits of the EXMO exchange.” According to the EXM’s whitepaper, the token grants its holders plenty of advantages, such as commission cuts up to 50%, copy trading (an option that copies trading strategies from other traders), preferential rates for margin trading, cloud mining (access to the mining network of EXM’s partners), etc. The token has a finite supply of 2 000 000 000, and the price is fixed at 1 EXM = 0.000001 BTC. According to information on the EXMO’s website, the funds raised through the token sale are allocated as follows: 40% for technical development, 40% for marketing, 10% for legal, and 10% for the insurance fund.
According to EXMO’s website, the exchange offers plenty of interesting features and functionalities. For example, there is a referral program, where clients can earn up to 25% of the trades of their referrals, as well as a cashback program that allows users to save up to 70% of the trading costs. Another feature is the OTC trading facility, which is basically a trading mode where a professional broker executes the trades. However, this feature is available for transactions that are larger than $100k. EXMO also offers a “VIP-Clients” feature. According to the details, provided on the webpage, the exchange serves various types of VIP clients, such as banks and exchange offices, FX and stockbrokers, mining companies, hedge and venture funds, etc. The benefits of the “VIP-Client” option are personal money management, individual trading cost terms, increased limits, and corporate accounts.
Regarding the background of the exchange and its history of hacker attacks or malicious activities, there are two things that need to be said. First of all, EXMO suffered a DDoS attack on December 28, 2017. Although no coins were stolen, the exchange’s security levels proved to be weak. Another major issue was the kidnapping of EXMO’s lead analyst Pavel Lerner on December 26, 2017, in Kyiv, Ukraine. Three days later, he was freed with no harm. EXMO was also on the receiving end of the largest fund transfer from one of the biggest hacks on cryptocurrency exchanges, the one of Bithumb.