2015 Canadian Bitcoin Index Year in Review

Bitcoin rises 64% against the Canadian Dollar on record exchange volume.

2015 saw increasing competition for your Canadian Dollar (CAD) when buying Bitcoin. Led by Quadriga CX, it was a tumultuous year where we saw exchanges come (Taurus, Coinsquare), go (Vault of Satoshi) and established non-Canadian domiciled exchanges expand into the Canadian Dollar market (Kraken, Coinbase) as well as Vancouver-based Cointrader finally opening a CAD orderbook. And then there was Cavitex… announcing it’s closure in February only to reopen following a Coinsetter acquisition.

Exchanges listed on the Canadian Bitcoin Index combined for a record volume of $75.6 million on 210,400 BTC, an increase of 23% over 2014 and ensured that Canadian Dollar volume has increased year-on-year since the first CAD trade logged in 2011.


Price

Whilst the price of Bitcoin ended the year up 64% at $601.34 the year was not without its ups and downs. Upon opening the year at $366.72 the Index soon saw it’s yearly lows on 14th January where it bottomed at $207.07. A fourth quarter rally saw the index leap from the $300 range in early October to a peak of $646.63 on 19th December (a rise of some 212% from the prior January lows).

The best day for the Index was on January 15th where there was a gain of 20.11%. The worst day saw a similar move in the other direction with a -21.88% slide on 13th January.

The Canadian Dollar price of Bitcoin was clearly buoyed by the weak performance of the currency against the US Dollar. The CAD started the year at 1.1604 ended at 1.3895 which accounts for a 19.7% move in the price.

Bitcoin greatly outperformed other traditional asset classes such as the TSX (-10%) and Gold (+7.3% in CAD terms).

At its year-ending price the market capitalization of Bitcoin now exceeds $9 billion.


Exchanges

Quadriga CX was clearly the standout performer in 2015 with half of all dollars traded on their platform (some $37.4 million).

There has however been a pronounced shift in the latter part of the year away from previous market-leading Cavirtex, extending the Quadriga CX advantage and also bolstering newcomers Coinbase, Taurus and Coinsquare, all of whom have shown increasing volumes per quarter. Kraken and Cointrader struggled for traction in the fourth quarter making up less than 1% of the market combined.

The monthly chart clearly displays the second-half strength in exchange volume.

The following chart displays trade volume for the day of the week with Wednesday producing the busiest trading days with volume tapering off at the weekends.

The largest volume day of 2015 was on 11th January where some $12.23 million were traded for 2935.68 BTC. Just two days (both in January) exceeded a daily $10 million trading volume whilst the average daily volume was $207,000 or 578 BTC.


Volatility

The Canadian Bitcoin Volatility Index (CBVIX) tracks the annualized realised volatility of Bitcoin over the prior 30 days. Whilst the CBVIX peaked in January at a value of 155.47% 2015 was notable for it’s relative lack of volatility which saw a historic low in the CBVIX of just 21.81%.

On average during 2015 the CBVIX was 61.34% which whilst this is still much higher than more traditional asset classes (TSX was 12.8% and Gold 13.55%) the trend over previous years is noticeably reduced volatility.


Summary

2015, whichever way you dissect it, was a great year for Bitcoin with a dramatic increase in value with increased adoption with an accompanying decrease in volatility. Whilst we we leave 2016 price predictions to others we will of course be continually monitoring the increasingly saturated Canadian Dollar Exchange market. Will Quadriga CX cement their advantage or will we see an increased adoption of the free-trading platform of Taurus or a revivial in fortune of the once front-runner Cavirtex?

The Canadian Bitcoin Index (www.cbix.ca) is a real time blended bitcoin (BTC) price index which reflects the true price of the digital currency in Canadian dollars. In addition the site features live trade monitoring, enhanced charting, a notification system for Index movements, live bid/asks from all supported exchanges, a combined orderbook and a suite of developer APIs.