Market Wrap: Bitcoin Breaks $17.8K, Outperforming Ether in November So Far

Bitcoin is at price levels not seen since 2017, and it is outperforming ether in November.

AccessTimeIconNov 17, 2020 at 9:36 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:32 a.m. UTC
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Spot volumes and futures open interest pushed bitcoin’s price up Tuesday, beating ether’s performance so far this month.

  • Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $17,688 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). Gaining 5.3% over the previous 24 hours.
  • Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $16,560-$17,862
  • BTC above its 10-day and 50-day moving averages, a bullish signal for market technicians.
Bitcoin trading on Bitstamp since Nov. 15.
Bitcoin trading on Bitstamp since Nov. 15.

Bitcoin’s bull mode continued Tuesday after opening the week hitting highs not seen since early 2018. The world’s oldest cryptocurrency traded as high as $17,862 as of press time, according to CoinDesk 20 data. 

The last time bitcoin was at this level was back on Dec. 19, 2017, a volatile day that saw the price per 1 BTC range between $16,862 and $18,984.

Daily trading on Bitstamp since 2017.
Daily trading on Bitstamp since 2017.

Promising news Monday of a second possible coronavirus vaccine lifted most markets, and bitcoin simply continued its run with very positive trading fundamentals, noted Jason Lau, chief operating officer for San Francisco-based exchange OKCoin. “Bitcoin had already gained Monday prior to the vaccine news, reflecting its recent strength,” said Lau. “This rally versus 2017 is different because it is more institutional-driven.” 

Bitcoin futures open interest on institutional investor venue CME is at a record high Tuesday, hitting $976 million, according to data aggregator Skew.

All-time open interest on bitcoin futures via CME.
All-time open interest on bitcoin futures via CME.

“Bitcoin has continued to power on, but behind the raging bull there is a growing level of sophistication and capital allocation techniques,” said Denis Vinokourov, head of research for crypto brokerage Bequant.

“Bitcoin has gone parabolic, with traders piling in from all sides – retail, institutional, Main Street and Wall Street,” said Guy Hirsch, U.S. managing director for multi-asset brokerage eToro. “FOMO is back and it feels like 2017 again, only this time the market is backed by real fundamentals rather than the [initial coin offering] mania of three years ago.” 

Spot volumes on major USD/BTC exchanges were booming Tuesday, at over $1.1 billion daily volume as of press time and much higher than the $413 million daily average the past month. 

Bitcoin spot volumes on major USD/BTC exchanges the past month.
Bitcoin spot volumes on major USD/BTC exchanges the past month.

Aside from major trading platforms that exchange dollars for bitcoin, Hirsch also noted that many retail investors now have another venue in the form of PayPal (PYPL), which opened crypto purchases up to $20,000 for all U.S. residents this past week and could increase the potential for the price to hit new records.

“Given the increased exposure to mom and pop investors through platforms like PayPal, we may be at a crescendo, with bitcoin surging into entirely new territory as it potentially pushes past the all-time high,” said Hirsch. 

Another factor to consider: The slumping value of the U.S. dollar. The U.S. Dollar Index is down 0.25% Tuesday and continues to be in the doldrums versus a basket of other fiat currencies.

The US dollar index (DXY) in 2020.
The US dollar index (DXY) in 2020.

“Another big variable is the devaluing of the U.S. dollar,” noted Ilia Maksimenka, chief executive officer of decentralized finance startup PlasmaPay. “This causes people to be less confident in the dollar, so people rely on other investment vehicles.”

Ether lagging bitcoin in November

Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was up Tuesday trading around $482 and climbing 4.5% in 24 hours as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET).

Bitcoin’s price performance is actually beating ether in November as of press time, up 28% versus 24%.

Bitcoin versus ether performance in November.
Bitcoin versus ether performance in November.

However, ether is still killing it in 2020, up 270% versus bitcoin’s 146% year-to-date gain. 

Bitcoin versus ether performance in 2020.
Bitcoin versus ether performance in 2020.

Brian Mosoff, chief executive officer of investment firm Ether Capital, said that in this bull run bitcoin has name recognition that ether doesn’t – at least not yet. “It's easy to understand why bitcoin is leading the month in the digital asset space. To traditional investors it has by far the biggest brand,” Mosoff told CoinDesk. “That said, I believe both bitcoin and ether will perform well in the upcoming months and years. Ethereum's programmable flexibility is technically an order of magnitude improvement over [the Bitcoin blockchain] and has by far the largest and most diverse group of developers.”

Other markets

Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are mostly green Tuesday. Notable winners as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):

One notable loser:



  • Oil was down 0.13%. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $41.39.
  • Gold was in the red 0.35% and at $1,881 as of press time.


  • The 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield fell Tuesday, dipping to 0.872 and in the red 4%.


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