Here Comes Thanksgiving, Bitcoin’s Biggest Volatility Event


By: Spencer Israel

Thanksgiving weekend 2017 is a seminal moment in bitcoin history. That was the weekend bitcoin, presumably after being the talk of Thanksgiving tables around America, hit $9,000 for the first time.

We all know what happened next. From Nov. 24-Dec. 17 (the day the CME launched bitcoin futures), bitcoin rose roughly 140% to $19,700, an all-time high that still stands. This period also saw precipitous spikes in several other cryptocurrencies, as the Great Crypto Craze Of 2017 took hold. By the end of the year, bitcoin had risen roughly 2,000% year-to-date.

Was this holiday season bull run a coincidence? Some research suggests not. Truthfully, FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out) probably did play a role, though it’s impossible to say with any certainty how much. What we do know for sure, is what happened next. Fast forward a year, and bitcoin again caught some added volatility—though this time in the other direction.

Perhaps as a reaction to the previous year’s action (though, again, who can say), the price of bitcoin fell hard the week of Thanksgiving. On Nov. 19, the Monday after the holiday, bitcoin fell below $5,000, undoing all the gains made since October 2017. The drop put an exclamation mark on what had been a dramatic fall in 2018, as the crypto closed the year down 80% from its Dec. 2017 highs.

This brings us to 2019. The price of bitcoin, as measured by the CME futures, sits squarely in the $8,400 range. And though it’s down roughly 40% from its 2019 high of nearly $14,000 in June, bitcoin enthusiasts will note that since Nov. 23, 2018—the day after Thanksgiving—it has risen nearly 90%.

The obvious question then, is what will Thanksgiving and the subsequent holiday season have in store for bitcoin this year? Adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology has become even more mainstream in 2019. The creation of the CME’s bitcoin futures has made it a more liquid asset, while companies from Facebook to legacy financial institutions are building out blockchain-based solutions or attempting to do so.

Regardless of what happens, bitcoin traders will likely be ready for a move in either direction. Move over football and turkey: we just might have to make Thanksgiving the official holiday of bitcoin—or at the very least, bitcoin volatility.

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The author has no positions in any of the securities mentioned.

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