The last week of bitcoin trading was a crazy one, the digital currency hitting a new 15-month high above $500 and exhibiting one of the most violent price swings in recent memory.
Drowned out by all the price noise was the observation that the total amount traded was by far the highest ever, according to data reported by bitcoinity.org.
Before we go further, the disclaimer should be made that the vast majority of all bitcoin trading volume takes place on unregulated venues. There is no assurance as to whether trades ever happened, or if they were conducted by or on behalf of real people. Furthermore, a majority of the reported bitcoin trading volume comes out of China, where the figures reported by exchanges have been a subject of scrutiny.
This all said, there is likely something to the numbers when such extraordinary price action takes place.
- On October 30, a record 2.49 million bitcoins (worth roughly $800 million) were reportedly traded- more than one-sixth (16.8%) of total number of bitcoins in circulation. This occurred when bitcoin crossed into positive territory ($320) for the first time this year.
- Reported volume exceeded 2 million BTC on 4 straight days (Nov. 3-6), and has exceeded 1 million for 12 days in a row.
- The average reported daily volume during Nov. 1-7 was 2.06 million BTC- nearly double the 30-day average of 1.18 million, and 4.5x the reported 1-year average of 458,000 BTC.
- A reported total of 14.4 million BTC (worth roughly $5 billion) was traded during the week- nearly equal to the total number of bitcoins in circulation. This too is a record, and is more than double the next highest weekly totals during the volatile periods in January 2015 and November 2014. The highest reported weekly total during the November 2013 crypto craze was 2.2 million.
An overwhelming majority of the reported volume was from Chinese exchanges, which took 93% of the market on October 30 (the 6-month average is currently 79%). Combined with the high price premiums on Chinese exchanges, this further supports the theory that China was responsible for dragging the markets higher. It has been suggested that Chinese investors flocking to a Bitcoin-based Ponzi scheme caused a surge in demand.
Shares of Bitcoin Investment Trust (OTCMKTS:GBTC), which re-established their premium to the bitcoin price, also had a big week. They became a hot commodity once again, offering investors a regulated vehicle that doubled in value in just over a week. A record 71,700 shares were traded on Nov 3- more than 10x the 3-month average of 6,286.