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CoinDesk - Unknown

Feb 16 - coindesk-bpi-chart (1)

The bitcoin price had an action-packed end to the week, rising in three consecutive sessions to a high of $267.35 yesterday.

The price began its run-up four days earlier at a low of $217.62. Gains were modest for the day's trading, closing just over $2 from the opening price.

But the next two days would see significant gains. The price rose to a high of $240 on Friday before rising a further $20 to hit the following day's peak.

A further $7 would be gained before momentum slowed on Sunday, with trading ending in negative category. The price closed at $234.33, representing a 5% gain over Monday's open.

From peak to trough, the bitcoin price gained nearly $50 in four days of trading. This represented a 23% gain from Thursday's open, as the run-up began.

The price action was largely positive despite a week dominated by news of dodgy dealings at a bitcoin-linked investment platform.

The platform was a Hong Kong firm called MyCoin that claimed to operate an exchange and investment scheme. Headlines blared that some $387m was taken in a Ponzi run by the firm, although that initial estimate, supplied by the South China Morning Post article that broke the story, was slashed to $8.1m according to police estimates.

Exchange volumes decline

Even with a healthy price spike, however, trading volumes have fallen. The amount of bitcoin that changed hands in the last seven days was 20% less than the previous period, standing at 3.07m coins, according to data from Bitcoinity.

Volumes fell across nearly all exchanges tracked by Bitcoinity. The big Chinese exchanges showed drops of 19% and 24% at BTC China and OKCoin respectively.

Exchanges outside China showed smaller losses in trading volume. Bitstamp's volume fell just 1% week-on-week while Bitfinex showed a 14% decline in coins traded.

Bucking the trend was Coinbase, which makes an appearance on the volume leaderboard for the first time. The Coinbase exchange was launched on 26th January as the bitcoin services firm added a significant piece to its vertically-integrated business model.

Coinbase adds exchange piece to puzzle

With the exchange, Coinbase now handles a customer's coins from the time they enter its wallet service through to their being spent using its payment processing platform at a merchant's till. The exchange allows the firm to take care of the conversions between bitcoin and fiat that both merchants and their customers require.

The Coinbase exchange also means that it no longer has to pass on orders for others to fill, while taking a slice of the day-trading pie. It's moving to a maker-taker model starting in April, where liquidity 'takers' will be charged 0.25% of orders filled at the prevailing price.

This means large US dollar and euro exchanges – platforms like Bitfinex and Bitstamp – should theoretically face a slowdown in orders from Coinbase resulting in thinner order-books for themselves.

While Coinbase's volume is still some way off Bitstamp's – by about 50,000 BTC weekly – the former's position as a universal bitcoin services supplier means it should have more room to grow.

Market-watchers like Barry Silbert have already taken notice of Coinbase's rapid ascent up the trading volume charts.

Silbert tweeted:

— Barry Silbert (@barrysilbert) February 12, 2015

Featured image via Shutterstock


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