A collection of bitcoin, litecoin and ethereum tokens sit in this arranged photograph in Danbury, U.K. (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)

World’s Largest Crypto Exchange Eyes $1 Billion Profit Amid Rout

(Bloomberg) -- This year’s cryptocurrency crash has saddled bulls with billions of dollars in losses, but the world’s largest virtual currency exchange is still making money hand over fist.

Binance expects a net profit of $500 million to $1 billion in 2018, according to its chief executive officer. First half revenue was about $300 million, Changpeng Zhao said in an interview. Average daily turnover at his venue, which opened a year ago, is roughly $1.5 billion, and Binance now has 10 million users, he said.

World’s Largest Crypto Exchange Eyes $1 Billion Profit Amid Rout

Zhao’s figures illustrate how some cryptocurrency exchanges are thriving despite a rout in digital assets that’s seen Bitcoin lose 52 percent of its value this year as buyers pull back, venues are repeatedly hacked and regulators increase their scrutiny.

Binance, which has had run-ins with authorities in Japan and Hong Kong, plans to soon allow customers at venues in Uganda, Bermuda and Malta to convert their virtual tokens to fiat currencies including the euro, as it looks to build on its rapid growth.

Zhao has previously said that Binance had 2 million users at the start of the year. He started the venue in July 2017, opening 11 days after raising $15 million in an initial coin offering. As the crypto frenzy peaked late last year, the exchange was hosting as much as $11 billion of trades a day. Binance topped Coinmarketcap.com’s ranking of exchanges in the past 24 hours, with $1.3 billion worth of trading.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.