This week in Bitcoin price: Nov 15-21

This week in Bitcoin price Nov 21

Bitcoin’s boom rolls into its sixth week with prices cracking $18,600. And it’s not alone: Ethereum breaks $500 for the first time since 2018. Get the info you need to make the most informed trades with our weekly dispatch from Coinbase researchers.

Published on November 21, 2020

The big picture

We’re now six weeks into Bitcoin’s biggest boom since late 2017, with prices climbing to $18,650 – tantalizingly close to never-before-breached territory. (Bitcoin’s all-time high of around $19,600, which you’ll often see crypto-experts abbreviate as “ATH” on Twitter and elsewhere, came in December of 2017.) Ethereum also saw major activity, breaking the $500 mark for the first time since July of 2018

Bitcoin’s market cap hit $346 billion (as crypto overall grew to $529 billion – an increase of 15 percent for the week). We continued to see the bull market reflected in strong exchange volumes. On November 17, for instance, Coinbase saw $1.488 billion in volume, which was our third-biggest day in two years. Bitcoin accounted for 46% of exchange volume this week (Ethereum came in at 14%). If you’re curious about how the two biggest cryptocurrencies stack up to the other assets offered on Coinbase, this graph breaks down the total exchange volume between November 14th and November 20th. 

Graph of total exchange volume between November 14th and 20th

Key points

As Bitcoin has continued to climb, one of the major drivers we’ve seen over the past several weeks has been increasing interest from Wall Street, tech firms and other industries (like Hollywood) that haven’t traditionally been as active in the space. This is one major reason that we see this cycle as different from the previous time Bitcoin’s price got this high – and if at some point in the coming weeks it returns to or exceeds it’s all-time level it won’t be a surprise. 

  • Grayscale Investments continues to break records with their massive Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) fund, which now holds around $10 billion worth of Bitcoin.

  • We’re also starting to see the impact of Paypal’s recent crypto debut. On average, $84 million more in U.S. dollars a week has been flowing into digital assets since October 21 (of which 80 to 90 percent went to Bitcoin), according to crypto analytics website Nomics.

  • Mexican businessman Ricardo Salinas Pliego – the nation’s third wealthiest person and chairman of a conglomerate with interests in telecom, media, financial services, and more – said that he now has 10 percent of his “liquid assets” in Bitcoin.

  • Investment-management giant Blackrock’s chief investment officer said this week that Bitcoin is “here to stay” and that it could eventually replace gold as a “durable” way to store wealth. 

  • It can be useful to look at the Bitcoin futures and options markets – in which investors can make bets on an asset’s price rising or falling in the future – to see where the market thinks prices are headed. No clear story emerged this week beyond there being a lot of action in both directions, with a lot of volatility in those markets.   

  • We did see institutional clients start taking some profits by selling some of their Bitcoin as prices climbed above $18,000. For the previous several weeks, the buy-to-sell ratio for Bitcoin had been hovering in the high 90 percent range, but that dipped this week to around 75 percent. (Meanwhile, institutional investors warmed to Ethereum as it cracked $500 for the first time since 2018.)

Bitcoin vs other assets

Bitcoin vs. other assets 

The stock market stumbled this week after being buoyed by positive COVID-19 vaccine news the week before. Gold remained close to flat, and crypto continued to soar – the divergence of the two traditionally correlated asset classes has been a big story of the fall and is one we hope to shed light on in future reports. But as one of our analysts put it, “while equity markets and gold stagnate, digital assets continue to run their own race.”

Social trends

One interesting note about Bitcoin’s rally is that, in recent weeks, it hasn’t been especially correlated with social or traditional media mentions – suggesting that it has been mainly of interest to people in the crypto community or buyers who don’t want to publicize their purchase yet. That trend finally seems to be changing, although not yet dramatically. 

  • The average number of Twitter users talking about Bitcoin at any given time over the last month just surpassed 8,000 – the highest figure in over two years.

  • Media mentions of Bitcoin also reached a new twelve-month high.

Graph of media mentions in mainstream media powered by TIE
  • But we’re still a long way from seeing the kind of attention Bitcoin received during its last peak in 2017. So this current run does remain, to some extent, a phenomenon mostly noted by people already in the crypto community. If prices continue to rise, it will be interesting to see what it will take to bring broad attention back to the space.

Graph of Google trends: "Bitcoin" and "Ethereum"