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Up till to now, Bitcoin was trading at $18,175 with a market capitalization of $337 Billion, as the world's largest cryptocurrency manages to outpace its ATH on the price charts. Despite such developments and expectations, Bitcoin is interestingly leaving exchanges.   

What drives the surge of Bitcoin price is seemingly the "supply shortage," with the total circulating supply of Bitcoin to exchanges now just over 18.5 million. 

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Total Circulating Bitcoin || Source: Blockchain.com

Notably, in spite of almost 2.5 million Bitcoin left to mine, Bitcoin being pulled out of exchange is beyond Bitcoin being mined per quarter. This reflects the supply shortage narrative on spot exchanges. The past quarter saw the considerably increasing number of active Bitcoin addresses, but increasing demand is also being met by scarcity. Actually, the pullback in Bitcoin reserves is being met by profit-taking in top alts such as XRP, Chainlink, and Litecoin.

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Bitcoin Balance on Exchanges || Source: Twitter

Owing to their high correlation with Bitcoin, the prices of these altcoins have risen and so have their market capitalizations. Actually, the data for these coins consistently indicate enthusiasm and bullish sentiment in their markets. 

Institutions and retail traders keeping HODLing were probably motivated by the profit booking opportunities in altcoins. This makes Bitcoin unique when it came to other alternate assets in your portfolio. Gold production doubles to meet the demand, Bitcoin production however halves, and this may be the key to an exponential price rise that eventually takes Bitcoin to a newer all-time high post every halving. 

As per the hourly map of unspent Bitcoin from Whalemaps, that is not the whole story, whales with more than 10,000 BTC have accumulated above $12,000 and are HODLing on to it, still. Actually, Bitcoin accumulation by whales is still going on, even at the current price.

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Map of unspent Bitcoins || Source: Whalemaps

$18,000 makes HODLing redefined, and a growing number of traders are reluctant to part with their Bitcoin. One might argue that this is a result of a challenging financial period owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the same possibly re-ignited a sense of trust in Bitcoin's narrative. 

Once Bitcoin's keeps its price above $18,000 for over 72 hours, and over the weekend, it may hit a new ATH. And this is something institutions have been preparing for too. Bitcoin's current market capitalization, actually, nearly exceeds the combined market capitalization of JP Morgan and Bank Of America. 

Bitcoin leaving exchanges is a sign of growing faith and trust and maturity in Bitcoin as an asset, and different from the narrative back in 2017, it would seem that institutions are the ones driving the same.