Five Bitcoin (BTC) Records for 2019 and What they Mean

In 2019, BTC reached several markets signalling the network’s growing importance, despite price volatility.

Bitcoin (BTC) had its moments of fear and greed in 2019. But despite the doubts, BTC held several significant records in the past year, showing the value of the network, and the potential for future development.

Mining Peak: The Bitcoin network hashrate reached a peak in the third quarter. Despite price action slowing down, the hashrate kept up the pace. Mining activity peaked toward the end of October, and based on different reports, ranged between 114 and 120 EH/s. The high levels were brought by peaking competition between some of the largest mining pools. Toward the end of the year, Poolin came out as the largest pool, winning more than 17% of daily block rewards. One of the reasons for the mining rush is the halving coming up in May 2020, when pools will fight for a total of 900 BTC per day, instead of the current 1,800 in block rewards.

Transaction Value Peak: BTC saw one of the most spectacular shows of transaction capacity, when more than 1.2 million coins were moved in three blocks, carrying $8.9 billion in value. The transaction peak, most likely a move of cold wallets, was the biggest in the network’s history.

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The large-scale transactions are only a part of a trend where large-scale BTC movements have been observed in the past months. The increase of cold storage and holding onto the actual coins is one of the indicators for long-term expectations BTC will remain valuable, in the form of actual coins, not futures.

Series of Futures Records: BTC futures on various platforms picked up in 2019. BitMex exceeded $1 billion in open interest on several occasions during the summer rally. The CME futures volumes also kept their growth pace, peaking in June. Bakkt futures also expanded in the few months after their launch, setting a series of peak open interest and contracts traded.

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Even away from record levels, futures activity remains high. Toward the end of the year, CME saw a winding down of positions, but overall, futures markets peaking in 2019 signal at potentially even higher activity next year.

LocalBitcoins Increased Deals: LocalBitcoins saw salient peaks in activity in several countries. The need for OTC peer-to-peer trading reached records in countries facing a crisis. So it’s no wonder Argentina, Chile - and also Hong Kong saw peak LocalBitcoins volumes. After November, some of the hottest markets, including Venezuela, slowed down, as LocalBitcoins introduced more stringent KYC. But the peak in the past months showed BTC still had use at times of instability.

Peak in Large-Scale Wallets: The growth of wallets with 1,000 BTC or more peaked in 2019. Exchanges, large-scale holders, or other “whales” filling up for the long term boosted the case for long-term BTC growth.

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It is uncertain if all the wallets belong to different persons. In 2019, the drive to reach one-BTC holding status was also bandied about as an idea, to bet on a significant future appreciation.

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