Published: Apr 12, 2018 3:03 p.m. ET Short positions on Bitfinex were at a 6-month high when bitcoin surged 15% Volume records were taken out on Thursday, when the No. 1 digital currency rose more than 15%, trading to $8,000 for the first time in two weeks.

The price of bitcoin

BTCUSD, +12.03%

 moved from below $7,000 to above $8,000 shortly after 7 a.m. Thursday, and in a one-hour period more bitcoins exchanged hands than in any other 60-minute period since widespread trading in the cryptocurrency first picked up in early 2017. While market maturation is young, Thursday’s numbers even surpass the volume numbers in late-2017 when digital currencies were marching to record levels.

Although volume intensified nearly market-wide, participants speculated that the significant pump up in activity came from one particular exchange, Bitfinex, where customers had open orders on the sell side that were triggered. “Over the past two weeks there has been a steady increase in short positions with people betting against the price of bitcoin.

This was up until yesterday the total number of open bitcoin short positions on Bitfinex reached a 6-month high of 40,000 open shorts, while the price remained in range,” Brendan Playford, CEO of Constellation, said in an email to MarketWatch. The next question crypto investors face is whether or not Thursday’s move is a short squeeze or a fundamental shift higher.

After some consolidation, the price of bitcoin steadied just below $8,000, last at $7,689.00, up 10.8% on the day. Aaron Hankin is a MarketWatch reporter in New York who covers cryptocurrency and financial markets. Read more from…

thumbnail courtesy of