The Strange Case of Bytecoin

Bytecoin’s roller coaster journey continued Monday, as prices rose double digits in the wake of an apparent pump-and-dump that was linked to new exchange activity on Binance and Poloniex.

BCN Price Levels

Price action for BCN has been so volatile that deposits and withdrawals were temporarily halted on major exchanges Poloniex and Binance. Interestingly, the pump of BCN was linked to recent announcements that the digital currency had been picked up by some of the world’s largest exchanges. BCN appears to have also made its way to HitBTC, another prominent cryptocurrency exchange, around the same time it was listed on Poloniex and Binance.

The coin spiked more than 160% last Tuesday, the same day the company announced it would list on Binance. Over the next 24 to 48 hours, the company’s official Twitter page issued several updates about “an unusually high load” of transactions crashing the system. Regarding the huge variance in price across major exchanges, Bytecoin tweeted the following statement May 9:

“Dear Community. We’d like to clarify situation with the Binance/ price. We don’t have any influence on one or the other’s price. We are responsible for only our software and all we are doing now is trying to fix everything ASAP, please excuse us for any inconvenience.”

At the time of writing, BCN was trading at $0.0118 for a gain of more than 30%.  Its total market cap was $2.1 billion, placing it in the No. 16 spot on the global leader board. In terms of trade volume, nearly $140 million worth of BCN traded hands over the last 24 hours. Volumes topped $630 million last Tuesday. Binance now accounts for roughly 79% of total BCN transactions.


The massive pump of BCN appears to have been facilitated on Binance, where prices were more than ten times higher than other exchanges when measured in terms of satoshis. Named after bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto, a “satoshi” is the smallest fraction of a bitcoin that can be sent. Currently, that is a hundredth of a millionth BTC.

This isn’t the first time the backers of the anonymous coin have been subject to pump-and-dump speculation. An article published on CCN in May 2017 revealed an abrupt increase in Bytecoin values over a short period. In just three days, the coin saw its market cap surge to $400 million from around $80 million. Around the same time, its daily trading volume spiked to $48 million from just $340,000.

Allegations of pump-and-dump are common for Bytecoin for two reasons: the coin exhibits a high degree of centralization and has limited trading options across major exchanges.

Though Bytecoin is regarded as the original anonymous cryptocurrency, it has spent much of its existence in obscurity. The coin was superseded by Monero after a hard fork deviated from the original BCN protocol. While Monero is only ranked four spots ahead of Bytecoin, it has spent a much longer time near the top of the market cap charts.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi