Bitcoin’s (BTC) riding high once again as the third week of April rolls to a close. BTC values are rising to approach the all-time highs seen in early March before all the China troubles, the Securities and Exchange Commission denial double whammy and fears of a hard fork.
The upward movement of BTC in April has been relatively steady nonetheless, boosted by adoption news out of Japan. However, prices spiked during Thursday (April 20) afternoon trading. At the time of writing, one bitcoin was worth $1,249.19, up 1.81 percent from Wednesday’s (April 19) close.
The estimated market cap of bitcoin was pegged at just over $20.4 billion, according to Coin Desk, with a total BTC supply of about 16.28 million.
While the rising value would seem to signal a positive change in the ecosystem, the past week in bitcoin has passed with more than its fair share of challenges.
Hong Kong–based exchange Bitfinex has seen its wire transfer issues worsen.
The exchange had initially reported outgoing wire transfer disruptions earlier this month, subsequently filed suit and an injunction against Wells Fargo. A few days later, Bitfinex dropped the suit, but the problem has remained.
Earlier this week, wire transfer issues with correspondent banks spread to a full-on moratorium on incoming wire transfers across fiat currencies, as well as a hold on outgoing transfers on Swiss francs and the Hong Kong dollar.
While the exchange has yet to state the exact cause of the issue with its corresponding banks, on Thursday (April 20), Bitfinex issued an announcement to quell brewing fears of a Mt. Gox–type situation.
“We want to be absolutely clear here that Bitfinex is solvent. We have assets that exceed all user balances,” the exchange wrote. “We also want to emphasize that digital token trading is not affected on Bitfinex.”
Between this and the withdrawal pause as mainland Chinese exchanges sort out their differences with the People’s Bank of China, that’s a lot of freezes for the ecosystem to handle.
For Bitfinex, domestic transfers and both incoming and outgoing as well as digital currency transfers have not been affected by disruption issues. However, some analysts have pointed out some could leverage the withdrawal freeze on fiat currencies as an opportunity for arbitrage.
While it’s unclear whether arbitrage is on buyers and sellers’ minds, the situation at Bitfinex has in fact led to a notable widening in exchange spreads.
On Thursday at 2:20 p.m. EST, bitcoin had traded for $1,299.00 on Bitfinex compared to $1230.76 on digital currency exchange GDAX and $1,230.63 on Bitstamp — roughly a 5 percent difference.
Bitfinex isn’t the only exchange in the region experiencing disruptions. Chinese exchange OKCoin also recently reported it was experiencing issues with intermediary banks. The exchange reported it is unable to accept deposits in U.S. dollars.
At the time of the above data, exchanges on OKCoin ran around 1BTC:$1,257 — just over a 2 percent difference.
Still, for now, traders can rest at least somewhat assured that this isn’t going to turn into a Mt. Gox 2.0. By the numbers, Mt. Gox traded between 10 to 26 percent higher than its competitors in its final days.