Bitcoin statistics and trends: Global + Australia edition

Bitcoin statistics and trends: Global + Australia edition

Bitcoin price (and how is it determined?)

If you shop around, you will notice that there are multiple buy/sell prices for bitcoin available on different exchanges.

Within 24 hours, hundreds of price fluctuations in bitcoin take place, and this volatility is driven by demand and supply. This demand and supply are how the markets determine a price for bitcoin at any given time.

Cryptocurrency exchanges help facilitate the buying and selling of bitcoin and add their service fee on top of the market price of bitcoin.

For most of its first infancy, bitcoin had a price of less than a dollar. This is because no one was interested in trading bitcoin for US dollars.

The digital currency first hit a price of USD 1,000 on Mt. Gox in late November 27, 2014. Its run, however, was short-lived.

Figure 1: bitcoin price (USD) graphed against a twelve-month period (via Buy Bitcoin Worldwide).

It wasn’t until February 2013 that bitcoin began gathering mainstream interest, although according to Statistica, FOMO (fear of missing out) drove a lot of demand for bitcoin from 2016 through to 2017 (refer to the above graphic).

What happened to Bitcoin in 2015?

Figure 2: bitcoin price (USD) graphed against a twelve-month period (via Buy Bitcoin Worldwide).

The lowest price of BTC in 2015 was January 14, 2015(USD 177.28/AUD 217.22).

The highest price of BTC in 2015 was December 15, 2015, with a peak price of USD 465.50/AUD 646.58.

What happened to Bitcoin in 2016?

Figure 3: bitcoin price (AUD) graphed over a twelve-month period (via Independent Reserve).

The lowest price of BTC in 2015, AUD 525.05, occurred on February 16, 2016.

The highest price of BTC in 2015, AUD 1,369, occurred on December 28, 2016.

In June 2016, BTC experienced a mid-year rally, peaking at AUD 1,250.

What happened to Bitcoin in 2017?

Figure 4: bitcoin price AUD over against a twelve-month period (via Independent Reserve).

The price of Bitcoin was at its lowest, AUD 1,025, on January 12, 2017.

The price of Bitcoin reached its peak of AUD 26,932 on December 16, 2017.

What happened to Bitcoin in 2018?

Figure 5: bitcoin price AUD graphed over a twelve-month period (via Independent Reserve).

The price of Bitcoin was its highest at the beginning of the year, AUD 23,369, on January 6, 2018.

Throughout the year, the BTC price continued on a downward trend, finally bottoming out on December 15, 2018, at AUD 4,361.

If you had bought and held BTC at its peak price in 2015, you would have still been ahead had you sold your BTC at the lowest BTC price in 2018.

What happened to Bitcoin in 2019?

Figure 6: bitcoin price AUD graphed over a twelve-month period (via Independent Reserve).

As the chart above shows, BTC price rallied towards the end of April 2019 and reached its peak on June 26, 2019 with a price of AUD 19,809, a far cry from the lowest point on February 6, 2019, AUD 4,654.

As we approach the next bitcoin halving event, punters continue to speculate what this may mean for bitcoin.

What have been the biggest Bitcoin trading days in history?

The biggest day in bitcoin training was on Tuesday, 8, November 2022. A total of USD 119 billion worth of bitcoin was bought and sold on this day.

1Tuesday, 8 November 2022$ 118,992,465,607
2Wednesday, 9 November 2022$ 102,905,151,606
3Thursday, 10 November 2022$ 83,202,283,721
4Wednesday, 11 May 2022$ 70,388,855,818
5Monday, 13 June 2022$ 68,204,556,440
6Thursday, 12 May 2022$ 66,989,173,272
7Friday, 4 November 2022$ 64,072,727,950
8Monday, 9 May 2022$ 63,355,494,961
9Tuesday, 10 May 2022$ 59,811,038,817
10Wednesday, 26 October 2022$ 58,895,950,537

Figure 7: Ten of the highest bitcoin trading volume days expressed in USD (Source: Yahoo Finance).

All of the largest Bitcoin trading days were in 2022. This is based on publicly available data. If OTC (over-the-counter) trading desk data were available, those numbers would be higher.

Bitcoin Data in Australia

Unlike fiat currency that is printed and distributed by a government, no single country or government owns Bitcoin. This is what makes Bitcoin a decentralised digital currency.

Figure 8: the legal status of cryptocurrencies across the world (Source: Thomson Reuters 2022).

Due to its decentralised nature, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) does not classify Bitcoin as an official currency for taxation purposes. Specifically, as per its guidance paper published online here, the ATO views BTC as neither money nor foreign currency and as a result, is not subject to GST.

In Australia, Bitcoin may be used for both personal and business transactions. It is seen by the ATO as an asset for tax purposes, and there may be capital gains tax (CGT) consequences upon selling it or using it to buy goods or services.

In some instances, you can use Bitcoin as money, which means CGT may not be applied.

More commonly, Bitcoin is purchased as an investment, and capital gain tax will apply in these cases.

Australian businesses are free to accept Bitcoin as payment for goods or services. In doing so, the Australian dollar equivalent value received must be recorded as income. Similarly, the business must issue an invoice with the Australian dollar equivalent value. Normal GST rules apply.

In terms of trading Bitcoin, Australians are free to buy and sell Bitcoin through any exchange they want.

Australian digital currency exchange providers must apply to register with AUSTRAC, renew their registration every three years, and have an Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) program specifying how the exchange complies with AML/CTF.

Bitcoin mining is not profitable in Australia

The profitability of crypto mining comes down to the following factors:

  • The cost of hardware
  • Block difficulty
  • Power cost

Power in Australia is more expensive than in many other parts of the world. South Australia and New South Wales have the highest mean household electricity prices (37.62c/kWh and 27.56c/kWh, respectively). According to Canstar, the average electricity usage rate per kWh across Australia is more than 20 cents per kWh.

As unlocking Bitcoin blocks continue to gain difficulty, the financial reward halves every 210,000 blocks. Even if you could pick up cheaper second-hand hardware, you will be competing against major players who have dedicated mining centres filled with ASIC miners. Factoring in their cheaper electricity costs, mining bitcoin as an individual in Australia is no longer feasible.

The evolution of Bitcoin mining

Another key feature of the cryptocurrency is that the only way that new Bitcoin is produced is via a complex process called “mining”.

Bitcoin mining is a process of completing complex calculations known as hashes.

Each hash has a chance of yielding Bitcoin.

Therefore, the more hashes a miner performs, the greater the probability of earning Bitcoin and, thus, making a profit.

Bitcoin mining like many other cryptocurrency mining is legal in Australia.

Each Bitcoin block is around 1 megabyte in size. Verifying this block is the easy part. Being the first miner to arrive at the right answer (known as proof of work) is what makes Bitcoin mining increasingly difficult.

What makes Bitcoin unique as a digital currency is that there can only be 21 million bitcoins in existence. At the time of writing, over 18 million Bitcoin have been mined. Once the remaining 3 million Bitcoin are mined, no further bitcoin can be introduced into circulation.

We can only speculate what will happen once this happens.

Bitcoin mining has evolved a lot since 2009.

In the early days of Bitcoin, mining was predominantly done via a computer’s CPU. The amount of computing power necessary was relatively low, and only hobbyists and those with a personal interest in cryptocurrency were mining Bitcoin. This is because miners were rewarded 50 BTC per block they unlocked. Back in 2009, 50BTC had little to no monetary value.

According to this source, if you had a couple of decent-specced computers, you could have earned $5 per day.

Satoshi envisioned that Bitcoin would be mined on users’ CPUs. But once Bitcoin mining became mainstream, GPU mining quickly replaced CPUs. This was because GPUs are more efficient at executing repetitive instructions than CPUs. Expressed as numbers, a CPU core can execute 4 32-bit instructions per clock versus 3200 32-bit instructions per clock of a Radeon HD 5970 GPU. This difference of 800 is significant.

GPUs were so popular for cryptocurrency mining that from Q2 2017 there were reported stock shortages and price hikes. This wasn’t the first time GPU prices went up due to mining – the price of AMD Radeon cards were significantly inflated in 2013.

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