The amount of Bitcoin on exchanges is called exchange balance. It was in a downward trend since January 2022 for Binance and Coinbase. But then Binance’s exchange balance suddenly took a turn, and began to rise in May. While it is still rising, both Coinbase and overall exchange balances continue to decline.
Bitcoin Exchange Balance (via Glassnode
The chart shows the cumulative Bitcoin exchange balance, Bitcoin prices, and the respective exchange balances of Binance and Coinbase.
Since February, the green line indicating the cumulative exchange balance has been in a sharp decline. The exchange balance was more than 2,6 millions at the start of the year. This is a net outflow if 200,000 bitcoins are being transferred.
This indicates that Bitcoin supply has been removed on exchanges. It also suggests a bullish long-term holding tendency.
Coinbase is following the same trend in terms of overall balance. The exchange had nearly 690,000.000 bitcoins at the start of the year, but it fell to 560,000 within eight months.
Bitcoin Exchange Net Position Shift (Source: Glassnode).
The chart below shows Coinbase’s movements. The red lines indicate Bitcoins that have left the exchange and the greens indicate new balances. Since the beginning of this year, Coinbase has seen significant amounts of Bitcoin being withdrawn. The amounts taken out increased by a third between March and May and again in July.
These transactions may have been facilitated by the fact that Coinbase is preferred by U.S institutions. Institutions are more inclined to buy and hold when faced with a bearish market. This might have motivated them pull their Bitcoins from Coinbase.
Binance managed to accumulate more Bitcoins than January despite being caught in the same downtrend at its beginning. The exchange began the year with 586,000 bitcoins. It fell below 560,000 in May and ended the year at 623,000 bitcoins in August.
The chart below shows the decline in Bitcoin reserves between February 2012 and May 2013, which then takes a right turn.
Binance and Coinbase in the bear market
Based on the recent news, Binance is handling the winter market differently to Coinbase. Binance continues to be a customer-first company and doesn’t seem to mind the winter weather, but Coinbase is more concerned with layoffs and lawsuits and bankruptcy speculations.
Binance U.S. was worth $4.5 billion before the coldest winter in crypto-history. This seed round funding round saw the exchange take the first steps towards expansion in Abu Dhabi. Binance continued to invest and hire even after the winter began. Changpeng Zhao Binance’s CEO stated that the company is now in a very rich position and would soon start buying other companies.
Coinbase, on the other hand has been dealing in the quarter with the bankruptcy language changes that were included in its quarterly reports just before winter began. Coinbase users soon lost their Wormhole Lunas when they tried to send money to the exchange. Coinbase refused to assist them at that time. Craig Wright and customers sued the exchange. SEC is investigating Coinbase’s stake product.
The exchange also laid off 1,100 employees due to market conditions. According to Goldman Sachs’s estimates, Coinbase’s revenue could drop by 61% because of the winter conditions. The company may need to fire more employees to survive.
After roles were reversed with Coinbase CryptoSlate, Binance now holds the largest amount of Bitcoin on all exchanges.