Cryptocurrency trading volumes are going bananas right now


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  • Bitcoin soared to an all-time high of $16,623 per coin
    on Thursday, according to data from Markets
    Insider. 
  • But pricing of bitcoin was all over the place, with
    some exchanges listing the coin thousands of dollars apart from
    each other. 
  • At the same time, 24-hour trading volumes skyrocketed
    to an all-time high above $28 billion, according to
    CoinMarketCap. 

Bitcoin,
the scorching-hot cryptocurrency, had a wild morning Thursday,
but it’s not just its price that broke records.

Bitcoin was all over the place Thursday. It reached an all-time
high above $19,500 on Coinbase’s GDAX exchange, whereas data from
Markets Insider showed a record print of $16,623. It’s price on
GDAX shed more than $4,000 in less than an hour at one point
during the day. At the time of writing, bitcoin was trading at
$17,299 on GDAX. 

That eye-popping volatility appears to have translated into
record volumes for the cryptocurrency market, according to data
from CoinMarketCap, a leader
in crypto-market data. 

24-hour trading volumes, according to CoinMarketCap, reached
above $28 billion for the first time on Thursday. At last check
they were at $28.7 billion, up from $5.5 billion at the same time
last month. To put that in context, the New York Stock Exchange
sees $50 billion worth of shares change hands on its venue during
an average trading day. 

Of the major cryptocurrencies, bitcoin was clearly the main
driver behind the record volumes, reaching an all-time high of
$17.6 billion. Volumes for rival ether were not in record
territory, but still high at a little more than $2 billion.
Bitcoin cash, a clone of bitcoin, was far off from its record of
$11 billion at around $1.3 billion. 

Record volumes have been putting pressure on crypto exchanges,
which lack the industrial infrastructure of traditional exchanges
such as the NYSE. Coinbase, for instance,
said Thursday its site was down for some users because of the
record-high traffic


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The record volumes for bitcoin come ahead of the
launch of bitcoin futures contracts by two major US
exchanges
. Cboe Global Markets, the Chicago-based options and
derivatives exchange, is rolling out its bitcoin futures product
Sunday. Its rival, CME Group, is launching later in December.
Bitcoin futures, which will
allow investors to bet on the future price of the digital coin,
are a sign of the eight-year-old coin’s maturation.

Futures could help dampen the coin’s spine-tingling price swings,
according to Craig Pirrong, a business professor at the
University of Houston.

“Having this instrument that makes it easier to short might keep
the bitcoin price a little closer to reality,” he told Bloomberg’s Matt Levine.

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