Bitcoin Sets New All-Time High—But What's the Actual Record Price?



The crypto industry rejoiced today on news that Bitcoin had broken its previous record for all-time highest (ATH) price. But whether the coin actually broke that record—and what the number to beat even was in the first place—depends on who you ask.

Decrypt, for example, reported the news Tuesday morning based on American crypto exchange Coinbase showing a high price above $69,324 following numerous close calls since Monday. Coinbase’s previous all-time high was listed under the $69,000 mark.

Ro Shirole, Chief Commercial Officer at Saxet, a Bitcoin mining company, told Decrypt that he tracked Bitcoin’s price today by using the CoinDesk Bitcoin Index (XBX), which leverages prices from multiple exchanges and weighs them with a proprietary algorithm. 

According to XBX, the price to beat today was $68,991, reached in November 2021. And per the same source, BTC briefly climbed to $69,209 today before subsequently crashing to below $61,000. But a victory is a victory nonetheless, and this one seemed pretty unambiguous, no?

Not so fast. Per CoinGecko, another leading cryptocurrency price tracker, BTC actually reached $69,044 way back in 2021. And today, according to CoinGecko’s own algorithm-driven price aggregation across multiple tracked exchanges, the coin only climbed as high as $68,912 before crashing.

So, if GoinGecko is your source of truth: No ATH for you. 

How can such a discrepancy exist between meticulously crafted price-tracking algorithms, which solely exist to agree on a single number? It comes down to how these different proprietary equations choose to determine Bitcoin’s price at any given moment—and there’s not necessarily one right answer. 

“The ATH quote is not necessarily the absolute highest single trade price,” Messari Research previously told Decrypt. “Due to the nature of the historical data we analyze, we are not always able to look at every trade for an asset. For some assets, the ATH quoted may refer to the all-time highest daily average, or a price sample on the day the all-time high [occurred].”

Due to little more than the human desire for simplicity, many crypto traders and media outlets apparently chose a clean $69,000 as the bar Bitcoin needed to surpass today to reach a new all-time high. 

On many exchanges, including Binance and Coinbase, that feat was accomplished. On others, it wasn’t. But perception is everything in crypto, and BTC’s unceremonious crash following the short-lived ATH jubilee indicates the market observed the event as having taken place. 

But what’s really in a number like Bitcoin’s all-time high? Beyond the ceremonial significance, does the absolute truth of whether that figure was surpassed or not truly matter?

“I do not put much value in the particular number,” Saxet’s Shirole said of Bitcoin’s all-time high price.

Instead, he’s concerned about more practical matters—like what people believe it to be, and how they react to events like today.

“When it retracts, [I look at] where the perceived support seems to be on the lower end,” he added.

Edited by Andrew Hayward

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed by the author are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice.



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