Who is trading Bitcoin?

Darren Sinden

PayPal has experienced daily Bitcoin volume growth of 950% since the start of the year

bitcoin

Bitcoin is rarely out of the headlines at the moment thanks to a combination of increasing regulatory scrutiny and soaring performance.

The cryptocurrency is up by 79% over the last month alone, that’s despite currently trading well below its recent highs of more than $40,000 per coin.

Yet UK regulators seem intent on discouraging retail clients from trading in this and other digital assets, which they perceive as being far too risky for comfort.

One of the attractions of Bitcoin is it’s decentralised, anonymous and largely unregulated nature, though that latter status is finally being eroded as regulators and tax authorities set their sights on the assets. For example, the US IRS now specifically asks tax filers if they own digital assets on its online tax returns.

We will never really know the identity of Bitcoin traders, but due to the nature of the blockchain and that fact it records every Bitcoin transaction and movement, it is possible to highlight trends within Bitcoin trading that are related to certain groups.

It seems as though large Bitcoin holders and traders known as whales have been accumulating the coins on recent pullbacks in the price.

A whale is defined as a Bitcoin wallet or network of wallets that contain 1000 or more coins.

In Monday’s trade Bitcoin’s price fell back by more than 20% printing a low of $30,305 per coin in the session. Having previously traded as high as $41,962 at the weekend. Prices were driven lower by selling in the spot or cash markets. Some of which was attributed by analysts to Bitcoin miners selling down inventory following the latest price spike.

It seems that Bitcoin whales have been accumulating the coins on dips and that that the number of these accounts has been rising in recent weeks.

Growing by 200 over the last fortnight according to data from Bitcoin analysts Glassnode. Over a 12-month timescale, the number of wallets and accounts holding 1000 Bitcoins or more has risen by almost 25%.

The increasing interest in Bitcoin is not confined to large players, however, and overall the number of active addresses trading bitcoin and the total volume traded hit new highs in the last week.

With the turnover exceeding the previous volume peak seen in 2017s bull run. A recent record number of active addresses established on January the 8th was also broken. Which could suggest that retail interest in the cryptocurrency is still growing.

Though Glassnode data also shows that the smallest holders, that is accounts containing less than 0.01 Bitcoin declined in number during the previous seven days, falling by 10,000 accounts.

It’s not just cryptocurrency exchanges that are extremely active in Bitcoin at the moment. Global payments provider PayPal has also been breaking records and saw $242 million worth of Bitcoin change hands over its systems on Monday this week alone.

That was the latest in series of crypto-centric milestones for PayPal which has experienced daily Bitcoin volume growth of 950% since the start of the year.

Those volumes could increase further as PayPal rolls out Cryptocurrency payments to its estimated audience of 26 million merchants around the globe. Whatever the FCA might like to think it seems that Bitcoin isn’t going to go away anytime soon.

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