Yesterday, December 4, turned out to be a very interesting day for Bitcoin as the network broke a new record and hit its biggest hourly USD transaction volume in all of Bitcoin’s existence. An increase in the volume of transactions on any network is usually regarded as a big deal because more often than not, it shows that there is some progress with adoption. However, this case is very different.
The news was made known in a tweet by Rafael Schultze-Kraft, the cofounder of on-chain market platform, Glassnode. According to Rafael’s tweet, a whopping $8.9 billion worth of Bitcoin was moved around all in the space of one hour, making it the “highest hourly USD transaction volume in Bitcoin’s history.”
It turns out that the whale movements was not a signal for adoption, but rather a transfer of funds by a crypto exchange. According to a tweet from Glassnode, Seattle-based Bittrex was responsible for moving about 1.18 million Bitcoin totaling about $8.7 billion. The fund movement took around 21 transactions with about 56,000 Bitcoin moved each time.
The transaction was also covered by Whale Alert, a Twitter account dedicated to posting whale crypto transactions. After a while however, Whale Alert tweeted that it had disabled further alerts for the transaction to avoid spamming its Twitter account and to also avoid “peeling” which is a process sometimes used to hide dirty funds. It usually involves multiple transfers with each one a little less than the next. Whale Alert specifically mentions that the “main amount is slowly being reduced by amounts between 10 and 100 BTC.
It might be interesting to note that each of the 21 transactions incurred a small fee of about 0.00008 BTC, approximately $0.60, meaning that the exchange only spent a little over $12 to transfer a total of $9 billion. The exchange has yet to put out any official word about the transfers but it’s been suggested in some quarters that Bittrex moved the funds to conduct an upgrade on its cold storage. Months ago in July, Binance did something similar, moving about $1 billion.
Normally, transactions like that – especially if they occurred naturally – would most likely have some effect on the price of Bitcoin. However, this was not the case as Bitcoin did move, but without any suggestion that whatever movement its saw was triggered by the Bittrex transactions. Bitcoin successfully rose by 8% yesterday and climbed over the $7,500 mark in just a few minutes. At this moment, however, Bitcoin has had an average 24-hour climb just a little above 2% and is currently trading at $7,464.
Yesterday, Bittrex also announced that on Thursday, December 5, the exchange would be offline to “perform scheduled maintenance.” In an official blog post, Bittrexx says that the downtime will begin at 19:00 UTC and would probably not be done until 20:00 UTC. During this period, users will not have access to the exchange’s APIs and will also not be able to log in as trading will be suspended. The exchange notes that all assets will, however, “remain secure” during the maintenance period.