If Bitcoin trading never stops then what does it mean when news sites and others talk about bitcoin opening or closing at a certain price, and why is this terminology used?

Could two people mean different things when they talk about the closing price at the same date? (apart from price differences between exchanges)

4 Answers 4


In 24 hour markets High and Low usually mean "highest/lowest price in last 24 hours".

Open generally refers to the price at 12:01 AM UTC of any given day and close generally refers to the price at 11:59 PM UTC of any given day.


For the Gemini exchange the closing price is at the time of their daily auction at 4pm ET.

You can read more about the auction here: https://gemini.com/marketplace/

And why it is considered their "end of day" price here: http://www.coindesk.com/winklevoss-exchange-gemini-bitcoin-auctions/ with a quote from one of their founders.


Traditional markets are not open for trade all day, so the opening and closing price refer to the first and last price of the day. They are used as measurements for the trading activity of a day.

Since Bitcoin exchanges are open 24/7, I would expect the opening price to refer to the price at midnight and the closing to refer to the priceat 23:59:59 in the exchange's respective timezone. Since closing of the previous day is essentially the same as opening of this day, some pages such as e.g. CoinDesk only show the closing values for the historical data.

Closing price should always be the last price of the day, so it should be unambiguous.

  • 1
    What about timezones?
    – Dr.Haribo
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 7:17
  • Well, it's the opening and closing of the market, so it should be in respect to the market's timezone. I.e. if you were in London, for you a market in Shanghai would open at 4pm (UTC+8), a market in Berlin at 11pm (UTC+1), and a market in NYC at 4am (currently UTC+4, due to their summertime being longer than Europe's).
    – Murch
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 8:33
  • 1
    So pretty clear if talking about a specific exchange, and pretty confusing if saying "bitcoin closed at X" (of course that is also confusing because the price differs between exchanges)
    – Dr.Haribo
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 18:14
  • Ooooh. I hadn't even realized that it could be read that way. Then maybe the last price in that timezone; what exchange though, or an index?
    – Murch
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 22:13
  • 1
    This answer is somewhat misleading. For traditional markets, the open and close prices have significance and are calculated according to methodologies. For 24 hour markets, like currencies, there are standard price fixes in addition to closing regional prices. For crypto, where often people adopt similar language of traditional markets (but perhaps without understanding the nuances), it essentially means a random trade that just happened to be the first or last in a given day. Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 22:49

I only know about one exchange for sure but I'm pretty confident this is a widespread concept and applies to many other exchanges, too.

https://www.bitcoin.de uses candlestick charts. These charts exist in traditional markets, too. There, a candle stick typically represents 1 day. That day has among others an opening and a closing price. Note that the closing price December 29th doesn't have to be the opening price of December 30th and the opening price of December 29th wasn't necessarily the closing price of December 28th, in such markets. In fact, it's fairly unlikely that these prices are the same.

https://www.bitcoin.de always trades. Its candlesticks are different.

First of all, they have different sizes depending on the length of the period of time the diagram shows. In the 48 h chart, they only are 15 minutes wide. In the 1 Y chart, they are as wide as in old markets: 1 day. In the 5 Y chart, they are a week wide.

Furthermore, the closing price of one candlestick is always the same as the opening price of the next one. This is because they simply slice time up on the clock (00:00, 00:15, 00:30, etc.) or calendar (December 29, December 30, December 31th, etc.). Every time slice's opening price is the price when that time slice started and its closing price is the price when it ended. Because the one time slice begins right when the one before it ends and price is is simplified to a function of time, the opening price of a slice must always be the same as the closing price of the previous one.

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