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Intro

mcxNOW is an old exchange that was run by the crypto community member RealSolid. It was the first exchange to offer the ability to buy into and sell out of a coin he created, SolidCoin, essentially becoming that coin's home and bringing with it a number of followers. The exchange was enhanced with multiple other coins, such as DOGE, DVC, and LTC, among a few others, but remained fairly small. Its overall selling point was that the exchange was based on extremely secure C++ code (rather than, for example, PHP or another scripting language) and offered a safe, secure place to trade crypto coins, along with a great speed enhancement since it was written in a more computer friendly language. The exchange worked very well while it was up, and in its lifetime brought about a decent following of crypto enthusiasts and traders. Eventually, it opened up to more than just trading cryptos, as well, including two new currencies that were only available on the mcxNOW platform: mcxBUX and mcxFEEs. Neither of these were tradable outside of this site, but both of them brought about new functionality for the exchange's users, which are covered below.

A Secure Exchange Built on C++

One of the biggest selling points of mcxNOW was that it is built using C++, giving it security and speed that just is not available anywhere else. It has been claimed that it can handle over 1 million concurrent users, which is huge, compared to other sites that were going through issues even with just a small fraction of this. I do not know of any way to prove whether or not any of these claims were true, however, so they are all based on what was stated by RS himself. With that said, the entire time his exchange was up and running, there were never issues with slow orders, lag, or anything else. Everything was rock solid. Could this have been due to having a smaller user base than most of the major exchanges at the time? Absolutely. Or it could simply be that the claims behind the setup were true. Only one thing is really certain: it worked and it worked well.

mcxBUX

mcxBUX was a new currency that was designed to allow traders to peg their BTC to USD values. While it in itself was not a USD denomination, there were some attempts to ensure that $1 in BTC would always be worth exactly 1.00 mcxBUX (or BUX, for short). To help facilitate this, a special chat bot was created that not only told how much the BUX were worth in BTC, but also automatically set up both buy and sell orders, using a spread. The spread was slightly above and slightly below the current value, such that the bot would make money if people traded into or bought from it. That said, this was not created to be the whole anchor between the rates, and was designed as more like a secondary system to help others know what they should be listing at. Overall, the goal behind it was to get the users to trade at the proper values with its help.

Due to a bug at one point in the bot's code, it was constantly offering more than BTC was worth at the time and selling for the right amount. In other words, you could buy 1 BTC worth of FEEs and then wait a little bit and sell them back for, say, 1.3 BTC. This went on for a while, as multiple traders started to take advantage of the bug for personal gain. Despite this happening, RealSolid himself stated at one point that he was not going to ban users for it and had no issues with what was happening (basically saying that the bug meant others were making money, but that he trusted in his platform enough to not let it bother him – he would make the money back eventually, right?). This sign of acceptance and near condoning from RS himself caused many others to jump on board that were not before due to fear of being penalized for doing so. Eventually, the bot sustained too many losses to continue, and it started working from a much smaller pool of funds (in that you could no longer dump all of your BUX into it, and instead would have to wait until others bought from it and then sell what you could based on whatever funds it had in it at the time). This system was a much more efficient one, regardless, but it pretty much removed the peg. Without the bot having constant funds coming in and out, it was unable to keep a steady stream of both buy and sell orders. The result is that the price of BUX became untethered to a great extent, and went its own way.

As for the uses of the BUX, there were multiple: one was to upgrade a user's account to get access to a special chat room and enhanced user options (like seeing the entire order book and being able to see much more of your trade history, along with the ability to set up more orders in the book). The other was more of a fun system, where users were able to ban each other at the cost of BUX. Each 1 BUX was enough to ban any user from chatting (aside from the moderators or administrator themselves) for 1 minute. While not a real game breaker (you could still trade, and many users started creating alt accounts if they were muted enough), it was a fun system that helped bring in some extra revenue. For some of the whales, it was not uncommon to see someone spend 50-100+ BUX in a short period of time doing this, which was great for the profit sharing side of the exchange.

mcxFEEs

mcxFEEs were a large part of the mcxNOW exchange for a good reason: they allowed users to share in the site's income. Every trade made has a transaction fee, which is standard among any exchanges, and those that hold the FEEs get to share in a split pot of these. There were 100k FEEs created altogether, of which the generally held opinion is that 23k are held among the site's users (or are available to the public, in other words), while the other 77k are held by the owner. How exactly this split is done now nobody knows for certain, but it is really irrelevant when you consider that no more will ever be created, so there is no worry about any dilution. Each share is equal to 0.001% of the site's profit, and that is not going to change, even if all of the FEEs get brought on to the public market – the price would clearly be affected (it would likely drop, if they were dumped instead of being carefully placed), but their utility would remain unhindered. So for users that believe in the system, the number of shares that are available does not really matter, as there is no dilution that occurs, regardless.

Verifying the Fee Payouts

Because we are dealing with the crypto realm, it is normal for users to be skeptical as to whether or not a site owner is doing what they promised. In the case of the new exchange, this is no different. There have been multiple users (myself included) who have broken down the interest and fee payments to ensure they match what should actually be given, and so far everything looks to be spot on. Is it possible that at some time in the future the owner may turn around and alter things such that they will no longer match what we should be expecting? Sure. But as long as users keep doing their own transparency checks, I do not see this as being an issue. So until someone posts a notice that there is something awry, I would take the site’s word for it. And, of course, if you want to you can always do your own quick tests every week or month or what have you, that way the data you are collecting is coming from yourself, rather than having to trust a third party who may or may not be telling the truth.

Interest Payouts on All Coins

A cool feature of mcxNOW was that all coins deposited on the site earned interest. Now, you may be thinking “wait a minute… how can they keep paying interest if they do not know how much they are going to earn in any given day, week, month, year, etc.?” This would be a great question, and it is very, very easy to answer: the interest rate was essentially dynamic. 10k of the fees were taken to the site (or 10% of the site’s profit) and split among all deposits based on the number of each coin held. So if 1 BTC were taken in fees and you personally held 50% of all the BTC currently deposited, you would get 0.05 BTC in pure interest. It’s a simple calculation and it helps promote additional trading – the more coins go back and forth between traders, the more fees are generated, and the more fees that are generated means more interest payments. It is a win-win situation that helps all traders on the site. And the best part is that this also works in conjunction with the FEEs themselves, such that if you held FEEs, you would be getting dividends from that, plus you would also be earning interest on those earnings. Double dipping at its finest! Even on coins where they pay out in PoS for holding in your own personal wallet and staking, a lot of times holding on the exchange was resulting in much bigger payments. And while this may not seem like it has a large effect on the pricing of the coins, it does, because it means there is far less inflation. And inflation is what causes the coins to continually lose their value (among other scenarios, but inflation is a big one). A separate article will be written that helps explain how this works later on.

The Shutdown of mcxNOW

Ultimately, RealSolid ended up deciding to take down the mcxNOW exchange, citing issues with being able to keep up with customer support on his own, being able to trust others to help with account problems, and a general disdain for the current cryptocurrencies that were out at the time. During this period, new coin after new coin was created, with many being nothing but either pump and dump schemes or straight up scams. While these are all still fairly prevalent in today’s market as well, there are quite a few great coins that have changed the way people view cryptos, as well as greatly extended the ability of blockchains. Some have even been picked up by other major companies, like ETH and Microsoft, showing that they truly do have a lot of potential. Of course, the true reason behind mcxNOW’s shutdown is anyone’s guess. Only one person knows for sure, and that’s RS himself.

Scam Accusations in Regards to FEEs

The number of people claiming they were scammed by RS are not too large, but there are enough to make it worth looking at. So what happened here is that RS took part in some FEE manipulation. Upon first launching FEEs for sale, he shortly after shut down the site temporarily. This caused the price of these to fall drastically, from 1 BTC+ each down to less than 0.5 BTC. The site was then brought back up, and he sold a lot more at 0.4. From this point forward, he manipulated prices downward and snagged a lot of them, and after doing this for about a week, he took the site offline again. Prior to this, however, there was a notice in the chat, so many large holders dumped their FEEs, going down as low as 0.01 and below. Of course, at that time, nobody knew for sure if the exchange was ever going to return, so the question was whether they wanted to hold their FEEs and hope for the best or dump them for almost nothing and walk out with at least a little BTC. Some of us determined that the risk of holding was worth the reward of seeing what happened – after all, dumping for almost free meant you lost regardless. At least by holding, we could possibly be able to get something back later.

This is essentially the whole story behind the “scam” accusations that have been thrown towards the exchange. Was there obvious price manipulation and insider trading? Absolutely. But nobody was forced to sell their FEEs, therefore anyone could have held on to theirs. A lack of trust in a site does not make it a scam; everyone’s actions were of their own doing. As such, no scamming actually occurred.

There are another group of people who claim there was a scam for a different reason, which is even more ridiculous than the first. Before the exchange shut down the second time (and it was stated that it would come up but that no time line was available), there were a couple of weeks for all users to withdraw any remaining funds they had left on their accounts. Along with this, he took things a step further, and even after all of this was said and done, and even weeks after the site went offline, he was still doing manual withdrawals for users in the IRC channel. Despite plenty of warnings and plenty of time for people to move their coins out of the exchange, many still did not (though I do believe the vast majority of the coins were successfully moved), and now they outlash against the exchange, calling it a “scam.” They had more than enough time and chances to get everything they had and chose not to, so it is hard to fault the exchange or RS for what happened there. After all, in the crypto world, exchanges and other sites are always evolving, and removing coins and swapping them out for new ones is just part of the business. While it is not exactly the same in this case, the end result is the same. In essence, it is a pretty costly lesson for some, but an important one nonetheless: always keep up with your investments and know what is happening with the sites that hold your funds at all times. The only time you fully own your crypto coins is when you hold the private key. In any other scenario, you should always be on top of those that do hold it. In this case, the exchanges.

The Hiatus

Shortly after the exchange had shut down, I started following the development a little. I figured the worst case was that it would never return, but was hoping that RS would follow through with his word and work on getting it back up and alive like – or better than – it used to be. From IRC chat, it didn’t appear like there was a lot going on. There were some random updates thrown up on Twitter, but even those were pretty few and far between, leading to the idea that nothing was really happening at all. But still, the question remained… if it was going nowhere and he had no plans to return, why would he still update people and not just disappear altogether? It was clear that maybe there was more to it that just was not in the public view. So despite feelings, I continued to follow yet longer. Eventually, something new did pop up: a revival of a new alt coin he was wanting to create, called Micro Cash. Forums came up for it and development looked like it was underway, in an attempt to bring this to life and get RS’s vision out to the world. Of course, this is something we knew about even when his old exchange was still alive, so the question was… is it actually going to go somewhere this time?

At this point, I have to admit that while I think maybe he could make his new coin work, I am extremely skeptical of new coins that make promises. The vast majority have fallen very short of their promises, leading to a situation where it just feels like the better they look, the better they are at just scamming people. As a result of this, I do follow many coins, but I do not get involved until they have already proven themselves to be legitimate and have shown that they are going to do whatever it is they said they would. This does come at a cost of getting in a bit later and the prices usually being somewhat higher, but at the same time, it has saved a lot over the vast number of constant scams that are released. While I harbor no ill feelings towards RS or what he says he can do, his shutting down of mcxNOW in the past with active FEE shares was a clear statement that he wasn’t looking out for what was best for his investors. As such, it only made it harder to really take his new coin seriously. After all, was he going to follow through, or was he going to come up with some reason or reasons (whether legitimate or not) as to why he could not, after having sold them off through an ICO or something? It simply was not worth the risk.

In Comes Rawx.io

With all of this going on, an interesting piece of news came to light: mcxNOW had now become a new exchange, by the name of Rawx.io, and would be run by a separate entity altogether, named Julian (username “enlightened”). Again, remaining skeptical, I followed the news as it slowly came out. First was the general announcement of the change and the fact that FEE owners would be introduced to the next change before anyone else so they could test it. And this came with a great piece of news for those holders: their FEEs were still active and on their account. On top of this, they would continue working the same way as before, across all coins, and would just come with a new name (to help match the name of the new exchange), rawxFEEs.

A Solid Beta Test

A lot of people who took part in the beta test for Rawx were very cautious before getting into it. From deposits to trades, everything was pieced apart with a microscope by potential traders to ensure that nothing fishy seemed to be going on. During this period, a lot of requests were also sent to the new owner, Julian, and to my surprise, he did a great job at enacting everything that was asked for and made sense. From small changes to big ones, across different devices, and squashing bugs, he has shown himself to be a capable developer and to care about the community that he is trying to build back up. Compared to the number of other exchanges that simply do not care, this is a great breath of fresh air. He is responsive via email and in chat, and is more than open to discussing things, something that is not seen elsewhere. As the exchange grows and the population keeps expanding, we will see what happens, but hopefully he will be able to keep this steam going long into the future, turning the new exchange into a formidable powerhouse for trading.

Multiple Coins Added to Exchange

As of this writing, there are 11 total coins (including FEEs and BUX) available on the exchange. Everything except for FEEs pay out dividends and interest, and the number of coins appears to be growing. The last one to be added as of yet is START, which is a bit confusing due to STRAT also being available, and multiple others have already been talked about, though I do not believe there is any confirmation as to which ones will actually be added yet. That said, he does take suggestions very well, so new ones can be pushed his way to decide whether or not they would be a good fit within the exchange’s criteria.

The important thing to note here for normal users is that the number of coins added to an exchange have both pros and cons. On the good side, it means there are more trades, traders that can be housed, and the volume goes up as a result. While this is all great from the outside, the number of coins also determines how much time and effort needs to be done on maintenance, as well as the security side of things. Each additional coin makes both of these even more important, and for an exchange that is currently run by only one person, it can cause complications. That said, if the community remains on top of the coins and he helps alleviate any potential problems ahead of time, this is certainly doable. And due to his current show of skill and knowledge in this area, it is assumed that he would not take on more than he can handle alone.

mcxNOW and the DOGE Situation

Now is a good time to bring up a situation that happened back when mcxNOW was still running, under RealSolid. At one point, there was a hard fork within the coin’s blockchain. It is hard to know exactly what happened, but RS makes it seem as if nobody ever notified him about the situation, and therefore he never updated the wallet. Whether this is true or not is anyone’s guess, but the damage that ensued was somewhat catastrophic for the coin (at least on the exchange itself), leading to a question of what to do to make the book balance match again, since there were some users still sending old coins to the exchange and then converting and withdrawing them as the new, hard forked ones. Some of the whales ultimately decided to help curb what was going to be a haircut for all users, giving up some of their DOGE for the sake of helping the site’s community as a whole. Was it an attempt to get rid of a guilty conscience or was it simply their way of trying to make things right? We will never know. But in any case, their offer to do so was a noble effort, and showed that the community was strong and willing to band together to help take care of any issues that happened to arise. Even if these few traders were ultimately responsible for what happened and the losses that ensued, the simple fact is that they could have just as easily kept quiet, allowing everyone to take a haircut.

This situation in and of itself hurt RS’s reputation within the crypto community, though it is worth noting that a lot of the exchange’s users still remained loyal and still are to this day. People make mistakes, and it looks like this was one of them. And missing out on a hard fork because you are not notified is fairly easy – the more coins you have, the harder it becomes to keep up with everything that is happening with each one of them, unless you are being fed information by the developers or other members of the community. And in the case of this DOGE hard fork, neither of those appeared to happen. As such, I personally do not harbor any hostility for him, despite what happened. Just like many others, I also lost coins, but cryptos in general are still a fairly new thing and are going through their own alpha stages still. Learning from these situations is what makes us stronger, and that is what I try to do. Could I be naïve in this situation? Definitely. But at the end of the day, there is no conclusive evidence one way or the other, so it is impossible to make a definitive judgment.

A New, Revamped UI

Part of what Rawx brings to the table is a brand new UI that is clean, concise, and gets all of the needed information right out there in front of you so you do not spend all your time just trying to find different pieces of data. As part of this, it brings about something that most sites do not have: the ability to customize the UI exactly how you want. It has drag and drop modules so you can design it like you need, with the information that you personally want right there, and anything you do not want hidden. Along with this, the UI works by connecting to the exchange’s API, so users are able to create their very own custom UIs as well, even outside of the normal site itself. All of this brings about customization that is unseen prior, and really works to push Rawx to the next level. As of this writing, the API is largely undocumented, but it has been stated that you can analyze the calls going between your browser and the site to figure out what all there is and how it works. Not being a great developer myself, this is a bit above my head, but many have already been able to get some great things made, such as chat bots.

As more requests go towards the owner, he has shown interest in helping expand the site as needed. New calls can be pitched, for example, and while they may not end up being implemented, he will at least respond as to whether or not it is doable, already there, etc. So from the perspective of potential developers, it looks like the door is wide open for coming up with the next great thing to add!

Transparency

While it is not apparent at first what this is, the site has an “imprint.” From first look, I assumed this was just a bootstrap theme or something, so I did not bother clicking it. However, when you visit it, what it is is an imprint of the owner’s information, helping add transparency as to his identity. This is done so it is not being run by an anonymous person (like mcxNOW was), and helps give that extra confidence to potential users, knowing there is a real, verifiable person behind the site. Does it mean for certain that the site will not be hacked, he will not run off with funds, etc.? Definitely not. After situations like Mt Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitfinex, among others, anything is possible in this realm, and being public should be a sign of good faith, but not necessarily one of being completely bullet proof.

Another great transparency related feature is that you can quickly and easily see exactly how many of each supported coin are on the site. This tallies up everyone’s account balances and makes them public as a whole, such that you can verify, for example, where the exchange stands in terms of deposits. On top of this, it adds some transparency to things like the FEEs and BUX, where you can see if any new ones were created. It also helps see some patterns, such as users making deposits and withdrawals from the site, so you can see if any coins are about to blow up in popularity and trading or may just be dying off. As a side feature for this area of the site, you are also able to see how much is in the fee bank to be split among users during the next pay out session (so 6 hours or less). This, mixed with the 24 hour volumes, help see the general health of each coin and what you should be expecting. And the fee payout itself can be easily calculated by just multiplying your own percentage of FEEs with the amount each coin is paying. Do this right before a payout and what you will see is that they match up (minus a decimal here and there due to rounding).

Now With More Decimal Points!

This has been a confusing part of the exchange for a lot of people, because Rawx uses more decimal points than most sites. For example, DOGE is currently at 39 satoshi as I write this. But actually, on the site it is at 39.50 satoshi (so instead of 8 decimal points, there are 10). It has been said that there are more decimal points than that, even, so your balances that are seen on the site are even more precise than they might look at first glance. And these extra decimals keep being taken into account, so you can see, for example, a lot of 0.00 payments from fees and interest in BUX, and then finally add up to 0.01. For some people, this is a bit overkill, going into such great detail with balances. For others, like myself, it is nice knowing that it is as perfect as possible, and there is no skimming of extra decimals that is happening in the background. While it would not be a huge deal if this were happening with one person, when there are hundreds or thousands, it adds up quickly. It is also very nice to know that even when you are only getting a fraction of something in interest or fees, you will still get credited, even if it is so small it is pretty much nonexistent.

Withdrawal Fees

A cool aspect of the exchange is that it has very low withdrawal fees. An even cooler one is that you can transfer anything on the site to another player with zero fees. And an even MORE cool thing is that fees are added to the fee pool, so that they get paid out to exchange fee holders and as interest. In essence, while fees are taken from withdrawals, the site itself is not getting all of that money. Just by holding FEEs, you are essentially getting a rebate on all of these, both from yourself and from others. So in a way, it’s like getting completely free withdrawals, and paying out to exchange users rather than a site. It is a great feeling to see something like this, and the cheap cost already makes it a pretty painless ordeal to face. Knowing you benefit from it directly does not hurt, either!

A Solid Community

The community within Rawx has shown itself to be solid. Existing users have returned, and a lot of new ones have also joined. With the transparency on the front page of the site, you can quickly and easily see stats that help prove this, such as how many accounts there are total, how many active accounts there are (which are those that were logged in at least once over the past couple of weeks), how many visitors there are on the site at this exact second, and how many users are actually logged in. These stats are updated in real time, so you can actually watch the fluctuations in population over a period of time. It is worth noting, however, that the “troll box” (also known as its chat) is often just frequented by a few people. For the most part, traders do not seem too interested in chatting on the site, likely because they would rather be doing what they came for – trading.

Finding Value in FEEs

Buying into something like FEEs is a lot like buying part of a company on a stock market, with a couple differences: the first is that they’re anonymous (through account settings, you can ensure only you and the exchange owner know about the ownership) and the second is that they are not equity. They are a type of profit sharing mechanism, but at the end of the day, there is nothing tying them to the exchange, such that if it were ever to be sold off, there is no guarantee that the FEEs would remain active, nor is there anything to promise any of the proceeds from the sale to any of the owners. It is very important to keep both of these things in mind if you plan to look at buying into it, as they bring on their own risks, and that needs to be accounted for. As I am not your legal advisor or stock broker, I can not give advice on what you should do. All I can do is share factual information.

On the current pricing of these, which is about 0.06 BTC each, they are approximately 13% of their IPO value. This is largely because of the past of mcxNOW and not due to the new exchange, and they have actually gone up in value from around 0.04-0.05 since the exchange was launched into its beta phase. Due to it still being somewhat fresh and still adding new coins, the amount of fees collected is still somewhat small. If the exchange grows, however, it could become quite lucrative. To a large degree, then, these can be seen as a pretty speculative investment. But what is cool is that you are getting a part of each coin’s fees every 6 hours, whether you visit the exchange or not. So if you find that as being worth the risk and cost, go for it. Otherwise, you can still get at least some free coin by just depositing (even if you have no plans at all of taking part in any trading).

RealSolid’s Involvement

At this point, it is time to bring up RS. Many think he is actually the person behind the new exchange, while he says he is not. On top of this, Julian states that he is a separate entity. I am inclined to believe both of them, and both RS and Julian do a decent amount of chatting on the new platform. According to their statements, they have known each other a long time, and Julian is an experienced exchange runner (having run one in the past as a hobby, of which he states that it was never hacked and he let it go due to time constraints). RS then reached out to Julian to give him the current source for the exchange that was being worked on, and Julian took over. In return, Julian owns all of the exchange’s fees (those that RS previously held, not any that users owned). Whether or not this is true is not of real importance; what is, however, is how the exchange does in the long run. Despite what a lot of people think about RS and mcxNOW in general, a lot of it is misdirected anger and has no real bearing on either of the exchanges. As far as a lot of us are concerned, this is a completely new start, and we are giving it a chance. Considering the past never resulted in any losses or hacks, there is no reason to think anything different at this point in time. And with the change of ownership, things look to be on the right track as of yet.

Looking to the Future

For traders that actually utilized mcxNOW, it was a great exchange. Being able to get free interest and fee shares was only an added bonus on top of that. With Rawx taking its place, there is finally another trustable exchange. It absolutely has some more work to do and quite a bit of growth that needs to take place, but based on the past, it is in pretty good hands right now.

Exchanges


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