Nobody Trades Bitcoin on Weekends Anymore—Here’s Why Liquidity Is Dwindling

Nobody Trades Bitcoin on Weekends Anymore—Here's Why Liquidity Is Dwindling



Bitcoin may be buzzing 24/7, but weekend crypto trading is quickly becoming a thing of the past, according to crypto market research firm Kaiko.

Since the start of 2024, just 13% of Bitcoin transactions have taken place on Saturdays and Sundays—days when traditional markets for stocks and bonds are fast asleep. That’s down from 17% for all of last year and down from 24% in 2018.

“The decline suggests worsening liquidity conditions during weekends and could be explained by both increased institutional participation and worsening market infrastructure,” Kaiko wrote in a research note on Tuesday.

In absolute terms, the cumulative BTC/USDT trading volume on weekends last year was 11 million BTC, compared to 15 million BTC in 2022. Meanwhile, BTC/USD trading volume hit an all-time low last year of 2 million BTC, less than half of the previous three years.

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Since TradFi firms are closed on weekends, large crypto holders and market makers have always faced challenges on those days when it comes to liquidity management. Kaiko noted that these problems were exacerbated in March 2023, when several of the United States’ most crypto-friendly banks were forced to close shop.

Coinbase, for example—a U.S. domiciled exchange—had a more challenging time trading on weekends last year than its international competitor Binance. “The average bid-ask spread, which measures the cost of trading, has widened on Coinbase since Q2 2023, suggesting weekend liquidity has worsened,” Kaiko explained.

While the long-term decline in weekend volume is a global phenomenon, it has consistently been a more popular trading period in offshore markets. This year, only 11% of Bitcoin volume in the U.S. traded on the weekend compared to 15% overseas.

The Bitcoin spot ETFs approved last month also play a role. Funds run by BlackRock and Fidelity and recorded record daily volumes on Monday, fast becoming one of the leading Bitcoin spot trading venues in the country.

That said, the red-hot investment vehicles are only active during stock market hours, and almost no transfers occur between issuers and exchanges on weekends.

“This suggests that the gap between weekends and weekdays could deepen further as ETFs gain traction and change the market structure,” Kaiko concluded.

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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