Definition: All-Time High (ATH)

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All-time-high, often abbreviated as ATH, means the highest ever price of an asset. This term has been used in traditional financial markets, when referring to stocks, for decades. The meaning of ATH in crypto is the all-time high of a cryptocurrency. Prices will vary between exchanges, but a weighted average between the exchanges is calculated to give the price as announced. 

Due to the volume of trades that occur, the ATH may not be the price of the highest single trade, but rather a highest daily average, or a price sample on the day of the ATH. Several indexes are used by different cryptocurrency price and market cap aggregator websites, including Coin Market Cap, Coin Gecko and Coindesk. All have slightly different calculation methods, but all will give virtually the same price.  

Being the biggest cryptocurrency by market cap, the ATH of Bitcoin attracts the most attention in the world of crypto and beyond. The ATH for Bitcoin was reached in the crypto bull run of 2017, when it mooned and peaked at close to $20,000 on December 18 of that year. 

Indeed, many ATH’s were reached for many altcoins as well at this time, including for Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and XRP. It took nearly three years for the ATH on Bitcoin to be topped. This occurred on November 30, 2020. On Bybit, the price for the trading pair BTC/USD peaked at $19,953. 

When an asset hits an ATH, it will be down to several factors but it is essentially down to supply and demand. It means that someone, somewhere, is willing to pay that amount for the asset. Many long-term investors, or hodlers, will look at the potential for an asset to hit ATHs in the coming years when they look at its viability as a long-term investment. 

Taking Bitcoin as an example, looking at some of the times when the cryptocurrency hit its ATHs can paint a picture of its history. 

  • February 9th, 2011 – Bitcoin reaches an ATH of $1, reaching parity with the US dollar for the first time. 
  • April 9th, 2013 – Bitcoin reaches an ATH of $213, just over 4 months after the first halving, when its price was a mere $12.
  • November 28th, 2013 – Bitcoin passes the $1,000 mark for the first time, fuelled by investor FOMO. Amazingly, it wouldn’t hit this price again for over 3 years. 
  • November 29th, 2017 – Almost exactly four years to the day after passing the $1,000 mark, the price of Bitcoin passes a new milestone: $10,000.
  • December 18th, 2017 – Staggeringly, less than a month after passing the $10,000 mark, the price of Bitcoin reaches a new ATH. It almost hits the $20,000 mark – but doesn’t quite get there. 
  • November 30th, 2020. Clearly, late November is a special time of year for Bitcoin maximalists. Nearly three years after its previous ATH, the price of Bitcoin reaches a new ATH. It gets even closer to the magical $20,000 mark – but again, doesn’t quite get there. When will it reach the pass $20,000 mark? It remain to be seen.

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