Users Still Withdrawing BTC From Exchanges as New All-Time High Looks Imminent

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In Brief
  • The amount of BTC on exchanges is the lowest in over 3 years.

  • The last time this little BTC was held on spot exchanges was during the 2017 bull run.

  • Huobi's wallets have shrunk by 100,000 BTC.

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At the time of this writing, the price of bitcoin is just a few hundred dollars below its all-time high, yet it appears that crypto investors believe that it is not the end of the bull market.

The amount of bitcoin held on centralized exchanges has reached its lowest point in more than three years according to data from CryptoQuant. Currently, it stands at 2.3 million BTC, the last time this number was lower was in August 2018.

BTC: All Exchange Reserve

Despite the latest rally, investors continue to withdraw their assets from centralized exchanges, implying that they are not eager to sell them anytime soon. Before a major selloff, one expects the opposite behavior. Since not all crypto investors practice the mantra “not your keys, not your coins” on the daily basis, but instead choose to withdraw their assets to non-custodial wallets for better safe-keeping only when not planning to trade them in the near terms.

Spot exchanges BTC reserves are the lowest since 2017

Further segmenting these statistics and looking at spot exchanges alone, we notice that their bitcoin reserves are at their lowest since the 2017 bull run. This may indicate that non-sophisticated traders are even more bullish than the professionals, since derivative exchanges tend to attract more of the latter.

BTC: All Spot Exchanges Reserve

Also, not surprisingly, some exchanges have been impacted more than others by this trend. For instance, Huobi has experienced a major exodus since the crypto crackdown in China forced it to shut down its Beijing offices. Back in August, it held over 160,000 BTC, currently, only 65,000 BTC are left in its wallets. Although some of those bitcoins might have found their way to other exchanges, others may have been moved to personal wallets.

Huobi BTC Reserve

We should also keep in mind that regardless of which data aggregator we rely on for these figures, they are not completely precise as these providers have to rely on somewhat of a guessing game to identify exchange wallets and misattributions happen. Nonetheless, these figures are still generally indicative of global trends.

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Michael has taught Bitcoin & Blockchain courses at Pace University and the City University of New York; he holds an MBA from IE Business School and a master’s in Investment Management from Pace University. He has served as a mentor to Columbia University-IBM Blockchain Accelerator and he has advised a number of crypto startups. His publications have appeared at CryptoInsider, Cointelegraph, and CoinDesk.

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