Bitcoin Soars to a Record – but What's the Price? And What Was the Old All-Time High?

From Coinbase to Reuters and CoinDesk, there's disagreement over BTC's price.

AccessTimeIconMar 5, 2024 at 6:11 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 10:40 p.m. UTC
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Bitcoin just set a record high.

But what the hell is it?

Amid all the excitement around bitcoin (BTC) setting a new all-time high Tuesday, there's oddness surrounding the auspicious event: little agreement on the new peak price bitcoin got to, or the prior pinnacle that got beat.

On Coinbase, the U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange popular with retail traders, bitcoin got to a new high of $69,325. But Bloomberg says the fresh record is $69,191.94, Reuters says $69,202 and the CoinDesk Bitcoin Index (XBX) says $69,208.79. CoinGecko reports that bitcoin only reached $68,912.84 on Tuesday, which is not a new record, according to its tally.

Unsurprisingly, they also don't agree on what the prior all-time high was back in November 2021, ranging from $68,990.90 on the low end from CoinDesk, to $69,044.77 on the high end from CoinGecko.

In the end, it probably doesn't really matter very much. Bitcoin is soaring, and whales and small-fry investors alike are getting rich.

And, yet, the disparity does underscore that the crypto market is a little rougher around the edges than the conventional financial system it seeks to replace.

Arguably, the Coinbase record is the purest of them all: $69,325 is unquestionably a price bitcoin just traded for on that large exchange. The Bloomberg, Reuters, CoinDesk and CoinGecko figures are a blend of data from multiple venues.

When the Dow Jones Industrial Average hits a record high, there's zero debate over what the new number is or what the old one was. Whereas one company calculates the Dow, there's no central authority in crypto collecting data and calculating The One True Number.

So, the chaos around sorting this important milestone does represent success, in a sense, of a core crypto goal: decentralizing money, markets and finance.

Edited by Stephen Alpher.


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Nick Baker

Nick Baker is CoinDesk’s deputy editor-in-chief and a Loeb Award winner. His crypto holdings are below CoinDesk's $1,000 disclosure threshold.

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