March 12th, 2020 Was a Historic Day

March 12th, 2020 Was a Historic Day

By: Jason Lau, COO

Thursday will be remembered for quite some time. The last time we had such a fluctuation in price was October of last year, when prices went up by almost 40%. Watching the markets free-fall in the past 48 hours, along with the broader financial markets, and amidst COVID-19 fears will be difficult to forget.

What Happened?

In short, crypto prices fluctuated dramatically and ended the day significantly lower – Bitcoin (BTC) ended down ~40% and even hit an almost 12 month low of $3,805, Ethereum (ETH) ended down ~40% and hit a low of $86. 

BTC/USD chart:

ETH/USD chart:

Meanwhile, volumes everywhere hit new records. Here’s BTC futures.

BTC Futures Aggregated Daily Volumes

And liquidations in derivative markets skyrocketed too.

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As a result, implications were felt throughout the crypto world. 

Record Activity

As a result of all the volatility and activity, OKCoin saw one of our most active days ever. OKCoin volumes hit new all-time highs with $33m traded, with BTC, ETH, and USDT most actively traded. Deposits and withdrawals were also up almost 60% over the previous day. 

Here’s a Coinmarketcap snapshot taken earlier yesterday (3/13 afternoon).

USDT/USD activity was also interesting as traders increasingly saw value in stablecoins, leading to some minor price fluctuations around par. Daily volume of ~$6m wasn’t a record, but way above normal. At one point, there was over $1 MM sitting on the offer.

Our Systems Worked Well 

We’re proud to report that our operations and trading engine performed just fine. We suffered no downtime and were fully able to handle the increased load.

We did suffer a few hiccups, though, and learned valuable lessons. Some ETH withdrawals got stuck as they were sent out into the network. And, a handful of our markets widened out as market makers had to deal with the increased load and difficulties rebalancing positions across exchanges.

For example, BTC/USD at times saw average spreads spiking to over 150bps ($90!) compared to a normal average of 4bps (around $2.50).

Going forward, we will take these lessons and improve. We will enhance communication when issues occur, and remain committed to providing a reliable fiat-to-crypto trading venue, especially during volatile periods.

Looking Ahead

While Thursday’s action was dramatic, it wasn’t unprecedented. Since 2013 (the year OKCoin was founded), there have been 8 days where BTC fell by over 20%.

Luckily, one day doesn’t change much; and price fluctuations certainly don’t change any fundamentals. Blocks continue to be mined, and the industry continues building. We didn’t stop back then, and we won’t stop now. 

Our team has been hard at work on some exciting feature releases, and we can’t wait to share those soon. In fact, we’ve recently announced our expansion into Singapore and our newly revamped Referral Program.

Note: daily data might be off slightly due to time zones. Data comes from OKCoin, Skew, CryptoDiffer, Investing.com, & Coinmarketcap.

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