Bullish ETH/BTC pair revives the Ethereum ‘flippening’ discussion

Bitcoin price is clinging on to $53,000 while Ethereum’s increasing bullish momentum prompted renewed discussions of an ETH flippening.

Bitcoin and the overall cryptocurrency market saw minor losses on April 29 as the market heads into the expiry of $4.2 billion worth of (BTC) options contracts. 

Data from Cointelegraph Markets and TradingView shows that since reaching a high above $56,400 on April 28, the price of Bitcoin has dropped more than 6% back down near the $53,000 support level while Ethereum (ETH) continues to trade above $2,700.

BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Despite the lull in market activity, signs of mainstream cryptocurrency integration continue to emerge on a near-daily basis. Earlier today Coinbase announced that users can now purchase up to $25,000 worth of cryptocurrency per day using their PayPal account.

And it’s not just financial institutions that are integrating blockchain technology to help achieve financial objectives. The government of Ethiopia revealed a partnership with Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK), the research and development arm behind Cardano (ADA). The goal of the new partnership is to us blockchain technology to overhaul its education system.

ETH/BTC starts to climb higher

While Bitcoin continues to struggle below the $55,000 resistance level, the ETH/BTC pairing has started climbing higher in a move that was predicted by multiple analysts, including Real Vision CEO Raoul Pal. The bullish movement in the ETH/BTC pair has also reignited conversations about Ether price evetually flipping BTC.

ETH/BTC 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

According to Élie Le Rest, partner at digital asset management firm ExoAlpha, Ether has been getting stronger against Bitcoin since the end of March with the upcoming upgrade which includes EIP 1559 being “seen as a strong catalyst of the recent ETH bull-run.”

This increased momentum is a signal for Le Rest that the market may be in a “buy the rumor, sell the news configuration that may drive the price up until EIP 1559 is released in July this year.”

Le Rest said: 

“Overall, this Ethereum upgrade is getting closer to ETH 2.0, with features like shifting from a proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake chain including a burning fee mechanism. Those upcoming features are a great incentive for investors to tag along, contributing to ETH’s strong recovery against BTC, but it’s still very early to put the flippening topic on the table again.”

A few altcoins make gains

The slumping price of Bitcoin weighed down the wider cryptocurrency market on Thursday with a majority of altcoins experiencing minor losses.

Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360

Some notable exceptions to the pullback include Syscoin (SYS), which at one point spiked 45% to $0.50 and the Binance Smart Chain-based Venus lending platform, whose XVS token rallied 30% to $97.90, just a dollar short of its all-time high.

Waves (WAVES), a multi-purpose blockchain platform, also experienced a 20% surge that lifted the token to a new record high at $23.43.

The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $2.035 trillion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 48.8%.

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USDT-settled futures contracts are gaining popularity, here’s why

Crypto exchanges offer USDT and BTC settled perpetual futures contracts but which is best suited for the average trader?

When BitMEX launched its Bitcoin (BTC) perpetual futures market in 2016, it created a new paradigm for cryptocurrency traders. Although this was not the first platform to offer BTC-settled inverse swaps, BitMEX brought usability and liquidity to a broader audience of investors.

BitMEX contracts did not involve fiat or stablecoins and even though the reference price was calculated in USD all profits and losses were paid in BTC.

Fast forward to 2021, and the Tether (USDT) settled contracts have gained relevance. Using USDT-based contracts certainly makes it easier for retail investors to calculate their profit, loss and the required margin required but they also have disadvantages.

Why BTC-settled contracts are for more experienced traders

Binance coin-margined perpetual futures. Source: Binance

Binance offers coin-margined (BTC-settled) contracts and in this case, instead of relying on USDT margin, the buyer (long) and the seller (short) are required to deposit BTC as margin.

When trading coin-margined contracts there is no need to use stablecoins. Therefore, it has less collateral (margin) risk. Algorithmic-backed stablecoins have stabilization issues, while the fiat-backed ones run risks of seizures and government controls. Therefore, by exclusively depositing and redeeming BTC, a trader can bypass these risks.

On the negative side, whenever the price of BTC goes down, so does one’s collateral in USD terms. This impact happens because the contracts are priced in USD. Whenever a futures position is opened the quantity is always in contract quantity, either 1 contract = 1 USD at Bitmex and Deribit, or 1 contract = 100 USDat Binance, Huobi and OKEx.

This effect is known as non-linear inverse future returns and the buyer incurs more losses when BTC price collapses. The difference grows wider the further the reference price moves down from the initial position.

USDT-settled contracts are riskier but easier to manage

USDT-settled futures contracts are easier to manage because the returns are linear and unaffected by strong BTC price moves. For those willing to short the futures contracts, there is no need to buy BTC at any time, but there are costs involved to keep open positions.

This contract doesn’t need an active hedge to protect collateral (margin) exposure, thus it’s a better choice for retail traders.

It is worth noting that carrying long-term positions on any stablecoins has an embedded risk, which increases when third party custody services are used. This is one reason why stakers can obtain over 11% APY on stablecoin deposits.

Whether an investor measures returns in BTC or fiat also plays a massive part in this decision. Arbitrage desks and market makers tend to prefer USDT-settled contracts as their alternative investment is either staking or low-risk cash and carry trades.

On the other hand, cryptocurrency retail investors usually hold BTC or switch into altcoins aiming for higher returns than a fixed APY. Thus, by being the preferred instrument of professional traders, USDT-settled futures are gaining more traction.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Key Bitcoin price metric signals traders are positioned for $50K BTC

A key Bitcoin price metric is signaling that top traders are comfortably positioned and expect BTC to secure the $50,000 level in the short term.

Bitcoin (BTC) price posted a 25% gain after this week’s news of Tesla’s $1.5 billion BTC investment came out. Prior to this reveal, BTC was lagging behind Ether’s (ETH) performance by 7.5% but the numerous bullish events of the past few days helped BTC to hit a new all-time high at $48,900.

Previous to Tesla’s announcement, BTC price was trading in the $30,000 to $41,500 range for nearly 3 weeks and once the price broke out one would expect pro traders and arbitrage desks to follow the bullish trend.

Rather than flipping long, many of the top traders opened short positions as BTC commenced its 25% move. This seems risky given that this week Bitcoin received praises from JPMorgan’s co-president and regulators approve a BTC ETF approval in Canada.

Bitcoin and Ether USD prices at Bitstamp. Source: NYDIG Digital Assets Data

Historical data shows that Bitcoin price actions tend to trade in tandem with Ether, which has been strongly bullish for months. Adding to this bullish scenario, Bitcoin’s Lightning Network announced a record node count and the total value locked (TVL) surpassed $42 million.

Mastercard also announced that it would support cryptocurrency payments on its network by the end of 2021.

These bullish signals contrast with the long-to-short net positioning metrics provided by major cryptocurrency exchanges.

This indicator is calculated by analyzing the client’s consolidated position on the spot, perpetual and futures contracts and it provides a clearer view of whether professional traders are leaning bullish or bearish.

It is important to note that there are occasional discrepancies in the methodologies between various exchanges, so viewers should monitor changes instead of absolute figures.

Exchange’s top traders BTC long-to-short ratio. Source: Bybt.com

Since Feb. 8, when the Tesla announcement took place, exchanges’ top traders have kept their net positions relatively unchanged.

Before Bitcoin’s 25% rally, Binance had a 1.33 ratio favoring longs, which is in line with the previous week. This indicator peaked at 1.53 on Feb. 10, but has since then returned to 1.31.

On the other hand, Huobi top traders had a 0.74 indicator ahead of Feb. 8, which remained flat for three days. On Feb. 11 as BTC rallied from $44,000 to $48,000, these traders began increasing net longs, reaching the current 0.80. Although this level is still favoring net shorts by 20%, it remains above the 0.75 level from Jan. 29.

Lastly, OKEx top traders held a 14% net long position before the Tesla news came out. Although they’ve reverted to a 47% net short position on that same day, over the last four days the indicator has come back to 1.03. Currently, OKEx traders remain well below the 52% net long position from two weeks ago.

Staking could be capturing top traders

Top traders could have also moved their BTC off-exchange in search of better yield opportunities. Therefore, assuming that they’ve entered short positions solely by monitoring centralized exchanges’ could be a brash conclusion to reach.

As things currently stand, the long-to-short indicator does not show extreme net long positions from arbitrage desks, market makers, and whales. A balanced derivatives market suggests that there’s ample room for buying activity if BTC continues to rally to $50,000 and above.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Bitcoin Futures Open Interest Smashes $15 Billion, CME Registers Over $33 Million in ETH Contracts

Following the revelation that Tesla now owns $1.5 billion in bitcoin, crypto spot markets across the board skyrocketed. Data shows that crypto derivatives markets also saw significant demand as bitcoin futures open interest tapped $15 billion on Monday. Moreover, this week was the start of ethereum futures on CME Group’s exchange, and ether-based futures registered […]
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FTX Token (FTT) rallies 105% as interest in derivatives trading grows

In the last 30 days, FTX Token rallied 105% as its exchange surpassed BitMEX and Deribit’s open interest, but is there room for further upside?

FTX is a cryptocurrency derivatives exchange backed by Alameda Research, a quantitative trading firm and crypto liquidity provider. 

The exchange launched in April 2019 and offered the usual spot trading, inverse swaps and futures contracts that can be found at other major platforms. By early 2020, the exchange launched its daily and weekly binary BTC options markets.

FTT/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

FTT is the exchange’s native token and it’s issued on the Ethereum blockchain. FTT stakers are granted a trading fee discount based on a tiered system and other benefits include bonus votes in their polls and increased airdrop rewards.

The first airdrop took place in August 2020 when 500 million Serum (SRM) tokens were distributed to FTT holders. To differentiate itself from competitors, the users’ collateral is shared in one universal stablecoin wallet.

This means traders can reduce their margin requirements drastically. Numerous leveraged tokens mimicking leveraged ETF stocks have also been listed, including 3x Long Bitcoin and 3x Short Litecoin.

Leveraged tokens are derived from the exchange’s perpetual swap contracts and operate as tradeable ERC-20 tokens that can be withdrawn and traded. These innovative products have made the FTX a popular exchange among investors, as reflected by its rising futures contracts open interest.

Global markets aggregate open interest. Source: coinalyze.net

As shown above, the figure grew by 340% over the past six months, surpassing the $2 billion mark to vastly outperform more established exchanges.

In November 2020, the exchange ventured into tokenized equity trading, albeit not available for its U.S. citizens. Its partner CM-Equity custody the tokens redeemable for the underlying stocks. Interestingly, it’s allowed its users to buy less than one share, which is particularly useful for high-priced stocks like Amazon ($AMZN) and Google ($GOOG).

In December, FTX continued to innovate by launching pre-IPO futures contracts for AirBNB and Coinbase. These contracts allow traders to speculate on what price those companies will list on a stock exchange. The exchange also offers trading for thematic products, including a basket of cannabis-related listed stocks.

By creating multiple markets with enough liquidity provided by its market-making structure, the exchange was able to gather attention from a new client base. More recently, a Wall Street Bets index was launched, including GameStop ($GME), Dogecoin (DOGE), and iShares Silver Trust ($SLV).

Backed by these popular offerings, FTX Token (FTT) price has doubled since the beginning of 2021.

FTX Token (FTT) token price at Binance. Source: TradingView

To further incentivize holding the token, FTX repurchases and burns 33% of all fees generated from the exchange and 10% of its insurance fund net additions. This process will continue until half of the initial 350 million supply are destroyed.

While this may appear like a deflationary schedule, there are 31.25 million tokens allocated to the team, representing at least 17.8% of the targeted 175 million circulating supply. Regardless, considering the current $11.70 token price, its market capitalization after the burn process is completed surpasses $2 billion.

This number represents a 45% discount to Binance Coin’s (BNB) projected 2031 market capitalization, according to data from Messari. This is also roughly in line with the exchanges’ aggregate open interest $4.26 billion to $2.0 billion difference .

Interestingly, Binance has an undisclosed investment in FTX, and this may be creating fewer incentives for direct competition.

Currently, it seems that the market is pricing both tokens at the same valuation. Binance appears to be expanding its ecosystem via its Binance Smart Chain decentralized exchange, their blockchain projects incubator and a successful token launchpad platform.

FTX, on the other hand, is focused on being the market-leader of derivatives products innovation.

Currently all of these projects are producing value for token holders and with the burn schedule and rising popularity among derivatives exchanges it’s possible that FTT will continue to see further price appreciation.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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