Bitcoin prices traded sharply to the upside Monday, overcoming a weekend sell-off that drove the cryptocurrency to multi-week lows.
BTC/USD Price Levels
Bitcoin reached session highs near $6,870 before consolidating around $6,350. The world’s most actively traded coin is up nearly 14% from the low on Sunday. Trading volumes over the past 24 hours exceeded $6.8 billion. That’s the highest turnover since mid-September when the market was reeling from China’s regulatory attack on cryptocurrency.
Current price levels give bitcoin a total market cap of $107.3 billion, which is well below last week’s all-time highs.
The bitcoin market has been in a state of disarray since the backers of Segwit2x cancelled their planned fork of the blockchain network. The announcement triggered an unprecedented surge in Bitcoin Cash (BCH) as investors poured capital into the new currency. The altcoin community was largely on the sidelines as investors took turns buying and selling bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
BCH was last seen trading at $1,432 for a market cap of $24.2 billion. That’s enough for third place on the global market cap chart.
South Korea Drives Volume
South Korea has emerged as a pivotal player in the global cryptocurrency market. As CCN reports, 61% of Bitcoin Cash exchanged between Nov. 11 and 13 occurred in South Korea. The nation’s crypto exchanges integrated Bitcoin Cash long before its most recent price surge.
Despite banning initial coin offerings (ICOs), South Korea continues to be one of the most favorable cryptocurrency jurisdictions on the planet. Cryptocurrency trading remains largely unregulated there, which may partly explain the no-fee policy used by the major exchanges. The major downside to this policy is the increased likelihood of price manipulation like we saw in China last year.
South Korea’s leadership pace is not just concentrated on bitcoin, but other cryptocurrencies as well. For example, the country remains a top jurisdiction for Ethereum and is witnessing greater adoption of Litecoin. To the latter point, cryptocurrency exchange Coinone recently added LTC trades to its platform. LTC transactions exceeded $3 billion within the first 24 hours.
BTC vs. BCH: A Healthy Competition?
The growing battle between bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash reflects the evolving mandate of the competing communities. Whereas bitcoin investors are mostly concerned with keeping the blockchain decentralized, backers of BCH want a more efficient payment system. The whole purpose of Bitcoin Cash is to create favorable conditions for more people to join the cryptocurrency sphere and to actually enable users to quickly pay for goods and services.
For backers of the recently aborted Segwit2x, this was one of the main priorities. By doubling bitcoin’s block size, the blockchain will be able to support a more streamlined transaction system. Although Segwit2x emerged earlier this year, it reflects years of dialogue about how to scale up the digital currency.
As Spencer Bogart of Forbes recently noted, backers of BTC and BCH also want what the other side has. Bitcoiners want quick and efficient payments, but not at the risk of decentralization. Proponents of Bitcoin Cash want to maintain a decentralized structure, but this isn’t as important as boosting adoption across a wider network.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.