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What are "grey" exchanges and why should they be avoided?

"Grey" exchanges in the cryptocurrency world allow traders to trade through accounts on other exchanges. They do not conduct operations themselves but act as intermediaries between users and other service providers. Exchanges may also provide access to services that are not available on a specific exchange, such as international transfers.

In the cryptocurrency world, such "grey" exchanges may have easier verification procedures and may not have proper anti-money laundering measures. Because of this, cybercriminals may use these exchanges to transfer money associated with money laundering, fraud, and other illegal activities.

Transactions on "grey" exchanges can be unsafe, and traders may face the risk of losing their assets. These exchanges provide fewer guarantees than centralized or decentralized exchanges and may lead to legal issues, especially if they fall under sanctions.

When working with an exchange, make sure it provides proper verification and anti-money laundering procedures. Processing information often takes several days. If the exchange allows you to trade almost instantly without restrictions, you should inquire about it. An exchange operating in accordance with the law does not conceal how transactions are conducted. You can easily see the source of funds in the blockchain explorer.


For secure buying and selling of cryptocurrency, it is essential to choose reliable exchanges. However, this may require undergoing verification and anti-money laundering procedures. For this reason, some users prefer to use exchanges that have minimal verification requirements during registration (or none at all) and provide instant access to trading. These can be both decentralized exchanges operating in compliance with the law and "grey" exchanges operating with stolen or "laundered" funds. However, using "grey" exchanges can entail risks. Such exchanges typically do not guarantee the safety of your funds and can be used for fraud and money laundering. To ensure the security of cryptocurrency, it is important to understand how "grey" exchanges work and how to identify them. When choosing an exchange, pay attention to its reputation, the presence of verification and anti-money laundering procedures, and compliance with regulations.

What Are Correspondent Relationships

Correspondent relationships refer to the practice of a financial service provider using an account at another financial institution to offer its own services. The account holder acts as a "bridge" and provides services to its clients through an account at another organization. This is possible for various reasons. For example, a situation where a bank in one country provides its own banking services and ecosystem to a bank in another country is called correspondent banking. Imagine a client wants to transfer money to a bank account in Australia. Perhaps their bank cannot execute the transaction, but it can use the services of a correspondent bank to transfer the client's funds. The client's bank processes the transfer request through a correspondent sub-account at the correspondent bank. The correspondent bank must conduct comprehensive due diligence on the bank with which the transaction is conducted. It mainly serves unknown clients, so it must trust the owner of the correspondent sub-account.

How "Grey" Cryptocurrency Exchanges Work

There are so-called "grey" cryptocurrency exchanges, which represent a simple scheme where a legal or natural person creates an account on a legitimate exchange and then uses it to provide services to third parties through their own external account. Such exchanges may be called instant exchangers and often have multiple accounts on different exchanges. "Grey" exchanges may request a full set of documents, sometimes only partially or not at all. This makes such exchanges popular among scammers, criminals, and extortionists. Some of them even allow buying and selling cryptocurrency for cash. However, to ensure the security of your funds, it is necessary to avoid such exchanges and prefer working with verified and reliable platforms.

Why It Is Dangerous to Use "Grey" Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Using "grey" cryptocurrency exchanges not only harms centralized exchanges but also poses risks to you and your funds for several reasons:

  • Guarantees for the listed funds are lower here than on an exchange that complies with regulatory requirements.

  • You may become involved in illegal activities that contribute to financing crime and terrorism.

  • Regulatory authorities may shut down the exchange, resulting in the loss of cryptocurrency or other funds.

  • You may face actions by law enforcement if you knowingly operate on an exchange involved in illegal activities.

The best way to avoid these problems is to refrain from using "grey" cryptocurrency exchanges. Detecting them can be difficult, as the signs are not always obvious, but with sufficient awareness, you can protect yourself from such pitfalls.

How to Identify a "Grey" Exchange

To identify a "grey" exchange and protect your funds, follow these tips:

  • "Grey" exchanges often do not conduct verification procedures and do not provide sufficient means to combat money laundering. Instant registration on an exchange without any restrictions can also be a sign of a problem.

  • A lack of information about where trading takes place may indicate that you are dealing with a "grey" exchange.

  • There are exchanges that do not execute trades on their platform. Reliable exchanges confirm that trades are conducted directly on their platform and not through third-party accounts.

  • If you see different exchange rates on an exchange, it may indicate that it uses multiple accounts on different exchanges.

  • If you suspect that you are dealing with a "grey" exchange, try to track your cryptocurrency on the blockchain using an explorer. You can see that it came from a wallet associated with another exchange.


It is safest to buy Bitcoin, BNB, and other digital currencies on a cryptocurrency exchange that operates in compliance with the law, such as Binance. It may take some time to register, but reliable verification and anti-money laundering procedures will allow you to protect yourself. You should treat the exchange as you would any other financial institution and conduct comprehensive due diligence before using it.

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