At 4 PM ET on a Friday, the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ Stock Exchange both close for the weekends. This trading hours setup has been in place since 1985. But do these trading restrictions also apply to Bitcoin and the wider cryptocurrency market?
In some ways, the cryptocurrency exchange is similar to the stock exchange. But in many ways, it is also much different from the fiat market.
So what does this mean for Bitcoin's trading hours? Here's what you need to know.
Bitcoin trading hours: Is it 24/7?
The cryptocurrency market is best seen as an international exchange. As digital currencies such as Bitcoin are not traded on a sole centralised, regulated exchange, there are no regular 'trading hours', with the market open 24/7, 365 days a week.
Trades on platforms such as Binance, Coinbase, Kraken and Huobi do not require human activity to go through, with the transactions utilising computer processing power instead. This means that bar some world-ending event, the cryptocurrency market will always be open.
As you'd expect, even though Bitcoin trades can occur at any point, there are times when trading is lighter. According to research from Forbes and Skew (via CoinTelegraph), the busiest time for Bitcoin trading is around 16:00 UTC, especially in the midweek period. Trading is also quieter during the weekends, notably Saturday.
Despite the 24/7 nature of cryptocurrency exchanges, price indexes- especially those that also track regular stocks - often track the opening and closing prices of Bitcoin as part of the Historical Data. This means that the Bitcoin market technically 'opens' at 00:00 UTC, and closes at 23:59 UTC. Some indexes, however, instead emphasise the price change in the past 24 hours rather than opening or closing prices.
Of course, there are always slight exceptions. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has more traditional trading hours, closing on Friday before opening on Sunday. In 2017, the CME added Bitcoin as the first cryptocurrency in its exchange. This has led to a phenomenon known as the 'CME Gap', in which there is a price gap on the CME market between Bitcoin's closing and opening price, as Bitcoin trading has continued on other exchanges.
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