American Traders Lead on Bitcoin Rally, While Asian Traders Are Not So Bullish

By Justin Cai


This year’s Bitcoin bull market is marked by a distinct geographical split. American traders are much more bullish than their Asian counterparts. At least, that’s what our data suggests.


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In the graph above, we plot the 10-day moving average of daily percentage price gains during day time in different time zones. It is very clear that, except for a brief window in April when the Bitcoin price spiked during Asian trading hours, the bull market saw Asian trading significantly lag behind American trading. 


In particular, since late June when Bitcoin saw its price peak at $13,000, Asian trading has mostly only seen prices falling, while all of the major bounce-backs occurred during American trading. 


In fact, when we take the average of daily percentage price gains in different time zones, we see that Bitcoin on average has barely bulged at all during Asian trading hours, and almost all of its price gains took place during American trading hours.


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There is further evidence that American buying has been driving this Bitcoin rally. In the graph below, we plot the Bitcoin price premium between Coinbase and OKCoin — i.e., how much more it costs to buy a Bitcoin on Coinbase than on OKCoin.


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We observe two things from this graph. First, the price premium remains positive the majority of the time, except for two very brief periods in late April and in late May. Bitcoin almost always costs more on Coinbase. Second, the two biggest bull runs this year, one in early May and one in late June, coincided with major spikes in the Coinbase price premium. This signals that this Bitcoin bull rally has been propelled by American buyers.


The lesson we learn here is that even though Bitcoin is a global asset, its pricing mechanism is far more segmented by geography than we previously thought. Anecdotally, it seems that many Asian traders were expecting more of a slow recovery and thus have watched this rally from the sidelines, while American traders were much quicker to (literally) buy in. 


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