Bitcoin Exchange Spreads Are Narrowing But Gaps Remain

As Bitfinex's banking challenges fade, the spread between prices observed on its order books and others internationally is falling.

AccessTimeIconMay 17, 2017 at 10:45 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:20 p.m. UTC
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Bitfinex's banking challenges seem to be slowly fading into the background.

As the exchange makes progress toward providing customers with the ability to make deposits and withdrawals, the spread between bitcoin prices on its order books and the various international exchanges has been on the decline.

While the differential between Bitfinex and itBit neared $100 roughly a month ago, this gap was close to $50 at roughly 19:00 UTC, according to CryptoCompare data. The spreads were also very similar between the exchange and its US counterparts GDAX and Gemini.

But while spreads were similar on the aforementioned exchanges, they varied quite a bit on other marketplaces. The price of bitcoin was very similar on Bitfinex and Poloniex, but it was roughly $30 lower on Kraken.

In a few instances, spreads were far higher, reaching approximately $80 on OKCoin and surpassing $100 on BTC-e.

Jacob Eliosoff, a cryptocurrency fund manager, spoke to the situation, affirming that it's largely due to continued withdrawal limitations at China-based exchanges, though he noted others like BTC-e are still lower due to banking issues.

He said:

"Until I hear otherwise, I presume it's because they still haven't re-enabled crypto withdrawals. That problem, and spread, is pretty much unchanged since [February]."

Still, compared to other exchanges, Bitfinex is showing signs its easing former concerns about its stability and solvency.

Bitfinex has been working to overcome its difficulties in this area for the last several months. The exchange announced in April that it was having problems involving outbound USD wires and incoming wire transfers.

Further, it continued to struggle with additional setbacks, announcing 20th April that it was encountering delays affecting its wire transfers.

But Bitfinex appears to be taking a proactive approach to addressing these challenges, announcing 12th May that "other channels have been slowly ramping up" in an effort to provide customers with greater ability to make deposits and withdrawals.

Nuts and bolts image via Shutterstock


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