What Was Bitcoin’s (BTC) True All-time High? $21,200 in Korea, and Possibly as High as $26,000 on LocalBitcoins

By July 17, 2019 Bitcoin Business
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The price of Bitcoin (BTC) has skyrocketed in 2019, rising from the bear market low of $3,100 in December to as high as $13,880 near the end of June, which is an increase of 348%. This profit percentage is equivalent to the past 23 years of gains on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), but Bitcoin (BTC) has accomplished this in six months.

Now, the internet is full of hype that Bitcoin (BTC) will soon hit a new all-time high. Many people reference $20,000 as Bitcoin’s (BTC) all-time high, but the truth is that Bitcoin’s (BTC) all-time high varied significantly among exchanges and countries.

Perhaps one of the most reasonable estimates of Bitcoin’s (BTC) all-time high comes from CoinMarketCap since CoinMarketCap averages several major cryptocurrency exchanges to determine Bitcoin’s (BTC) price. According to CoinMarketCap, Bitcoin (BTC) reached an all-time high of $20,089 on Dec. 17, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.

However, to truly understand the all-time high, it is important to look at each major Bitcoin (BTC) exchange rather than averaging their respective prices. Bitstamp and Bitfinex are two of the biggest US Dollar (USD) to Bitcoin (BTC) exchanges in the world, and the price of Bitcoin (BTC) peaked on those exchanges at $19,666 and $19,891 respectively, short of the commonly referenced $20,000 all-time high. Coinbase, which is the biggest retail cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, peaked at $19,892. Gemini, a crypto exchange in the United States that focuses on institutional investors, peaked at $19,999.

On Binance, one of the top crypto-to-crypto exchanges, Bitcoin (BTC) peaked at $19,767. It should be noted that Binance uses Tether (USDT) in place of actual US dollars (USD), and Tether (USDT) fluctuates relative to the US dollar (USD), so this reading is not an exact measurement in terms of US dollars (USD).

The CME Bitcoin Futures exchange, which trades cash-backed Bitcoin futures contracts rather than using actual Bitcoins (BTC), had perhaps the highest Bitcoin (BTC) all-time high in the United States of $20,650. The CME Bitcoin Futures actually launched at this all-time high on December 17, after which point Bitcoin (BTC) sharply declined. Indeed, the CME Bitcoin Futures ended up causing the beginning of the bear market due to introducing massive short-selling pressure.

The all-time high for Bitcoin (BTC) also varied between countries. QuadrigaCX, which was one of the biggest Canadian crypto exchanges until it shut down this year, peaked at $25,029 Canadian dollars (CAD) equivalent to $19,772 at the time. Kraken, another top crypto exchange in Canada, peaked at $19,650. HitBTC, a leading crypto exchange in Europe peaked at $19,532. OKCoin, which is one of the top crypto exchanges in Asia, peaked at $20,312. A leading crypto exchange in Japan, bitFlyer, peaked at 2.2782 million Japanese Yen (JPY) equivalent to $20,160 at the time. BTCe, a now-defunct crypto exchange that was based in Russia, peaked at 1,181,440 Russian Rubles (RUB) roughly equivalent to $20,200.

Perhaps the highest recorded Bitcoin (BTC) all-time high occurred on the Korean crypto exchange Bithumb, which peaked at 22,884,000 Korean Won (KRW) equivalent to roughly $21,200. Korean crypto exchange Coinone simultaneously peaked at 22,864,500 Korean Won (KRW) equivalent to $21,170.

There are many more cryptocurrency exchanges than those listed in this article; however, this data is enough to make it clear that Bitcoin’s (BTC) all-time high was not simply $20,000. In the United States Bitcoin (BTC) actually did not reach $20,000, with an average all-time high of $19,862 out of the four major US dollar (USD) exchanges listed in this article. On the other hand, the price of Bitcoin (BTC) peaked near $20,200 in both Russia and Japan, with the peak crypto exchange spot price in the world of roughly $21,200 occurring in Korea.

Aside from this spot crypto exchange data, the exchange rate is usually 5% to 15% higher when obtaining Bitcoin (BTC) from a Bitcoin ATM. Therefore, Bitcoin ATM prices in the United States probably peaked between $20,850 and $22,850. Also, peer-to-peer Bitcoin (BTC) dealers like those on LocalBitcoins are known to charge anywhere from 5% to 30% above spot price, depending on the payment method, with 20% being common. So it’s reasonable to estimate that LocalBitcoins Bitcoin (BTC) probably peaked somewhere between $24,000 and $26,000.

Overall, this data reveals that the common perception that $20,000 is the all-time high for Bitcoin (BTC) is actually a misperception. Bitcoin (BTC) would have to exceed $21,200 on a major spot crypto exchange somewhere in the world before it can be declared that Bitcoin (BTC) is at a new all-time high.

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