Personal Finance

Do the Biggest Price Swings Happen on Weekends?

Many eagerly await weekends as a much-needed break from the workweek, but in the past, there have been claims that the weekends were one of the best times to trade and profit from Bitcoin volatility. Is this true? Well, like many other investments, it depends. There seem to always be drops in volume on these traditional days off, but generally, prices experience large swings in both directions.

An analysis of data from 2022 and 2023 (through November) suggests that weekends provide bitcoin trading opportunities in line with any other day of the week.

Here are some figures that can help you decide when or if you want to trade Bitcoin on the weekend.

Key Takeaways

  • Bitcoin prices remain volatile throughout the week and weekend, but the volatility is somewhat reliable in that it is always present.
  • There is less trading volume on the weekends, reducing liquidity.
  • The significant drop in volume is likely from professional traders, who cease trading on weekends.
  • Bitcoin retail traders should be cautious when trading on the weekends, religiously executing their exit strategies on every trade.

Methodology

Data was taken from CoinMarketCap, a popular cryptocurrency data aggregator. Prices were sampled from October 2017 to November 2023, taken at midnight each day. Average price and volume changes were measured for the five-year period and each weekday from January 2022 to November 2023.

Bitcoin’s Price and Volume Numbers

Bitcoin’s average price rose rapidly from 2017 to 2018, climbed significantly in 2021, then dropped through November 2023. It’s important to note that prices and volume from December 2023 were not included, although they began rising significantly that month. The following table lists average prices for each year.

BTC 5-year average price $18,731.13
2017 average price $4,006.03
2018 average price $7,572.30
2019 Average price $7,395.25
2020 average price $11,127.11
2021 average price $47,436.93
2022 average price $28,197.88
2023 average price (through November) $26,728.69

Average daily price and volume change data for October 2022 and to November 2023 was as follows:

2022 Price Changes 2023 Price Changes 2022 Volume Changes 2023 Volume Changes
Sunday -0.27% 0.53% 3.86% 12.21%
Monday 0.02% 0.12% 47.65% 59.56%
Tuesday -0.06% 0.97% 3.69% 2.75%
Wednesday -0.27% 0.06% 2.93% 11.49%
Thursday -0.20% -0.37% -0.42% 0.67%
Friday -0.64% 0.48% 7.34% 1.72%
Saturday -0.21% 0.13% -31.11% -36.60%

Bitcoin’s average price changes (by midnight) in 2022 tended to drop from the previous midnight, but you’ll notice that Friday night’s change was the most significant drop, while Mondays was the most significant increase.

It should also be remembered that 2022 was often called a “crypto winter” as prices continued dropping through the year, somewhat mirroring the stock market, influenced by downward market pressures. Bitcoin’s prices tend to follow stock market trends but are much more exaggerated in the short term.

During 2023, all but Thursday’s average price changes were positive by midnight. Average volume changes for both years demonstrate that volumes tended to drop on weekends as professional traders stopped trading. On Sundays, some traders were active, increasing volume from the night before. Mondays suggest professional traders got back to work as average trading volumes rose significantly and continued to rise throughout the work week.

Interpreting the Price and Volume Data

It’s difficult to discern if volume changes occur for reasons other than the days of the week professional traders are working, but it’s a good bet that traders of all kinds are taking some time off during the weekend.

It also appears that bitcoin’s market price doesn’t change much (percentage-wise) regardless of the changes in trading volume—but given the price of one bitcoin, even a price change of 0.5% could be a few hundred dollars.

So, what does all this mean for weekend traders? Less volume usually means lower liquidity and fewer opportunities in a market already touted as less liquid than other markets. But there are opportunities to make large profits on the weekends trading bitcoin.

The image below shows prices on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023, in one-minute increments. On this particular Saturday, there were some opportunities for large profits from increases but also some significant drops that could cause massive losses. Between 8:30 and 9:10, the price dropped from about $44,200 to $43,760—about $440 in less than 40 minutes. Several hours later, it nearly recovered, then dropped again by a few hundred dollars.

TradingView


A trader who can take advantage of movements like these could walk away with a significant profit, but the chances of losing a large amount are just as high.

Is It Good To Trade Bitcoin on the Weekends?

Bitcoin prices are as volatile on the weekend as during regular trading hours, but there is much less volume. Trading Bitcoin is always risky, but weekend trading adds more risk. If you can tolerate the risk and stick to your strategy, you could still trade profitably on weekends.

Can I Trade Bitcoin on the Weekends?

Cryptocurrency markets are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you can trade bitcoin on the weekend.

Does Bitcoin Go Up on the Weekends?

There is no pattern of price climbs on weekends, but prices can rise and fall significantly within minutes.

The Bottom Line

Cryptocurrency trading is an around-the-clock activity, giving you the flexibility to trade anytime. Weekends may be a good time to trade if you’re busy throughout the week and don’t have time to trade—there are opportunities to profit.

However, it is important to understand that trading volume was generally lower on weekends in 2022 and 2023 while prices continued rising and falling. Lower volume lessens liquidity in a market that is already somewhat low, and the cryptocurrency market can turn on a dime. But for the trader who can tolerate risks and stick with their strategy, Bitcoin weekend trading provides some excellent (but risky) opportunities.

The comments, opinions, and analyses expressed on Investopedia are for informational purposes only. Read our warranty and liability disclaimer for more info. As of the date this article was written, the author does not own cryptocurrency.

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