3 reasons why Bitcoin’s drop to $56.5K may have been the local bottom

The absence of cascading liquidations, 25% delta skew and the margin lending ratio all suggest that Bitcoin price bottomed at $56,500.

The first rule of Bitcoin (BTC) trading should be “expect the unexpected.” In just the past year alone, there have been five instances of 20% or higher daily gains, as well as five intraday 18% drawdowns. Truth to be told, the volatility of the past 3-months has been relatively modest compared to recent peaks.

Bitcoin historical 90-day annualized volatility. Source: TradingView

Whether it be multi-million dollar institutional fund managers or retail investors, traders new to Bitcoin are often mesmerized by a 19% correction after a local top. Even more shocking to many is the fact that the current $13,360 correction from the Nov. 10 $69,000 all-time high took place over nine days.

The downside move did not trigger alarming-raising liquidations

Cryptocurrency traders are notoriously known for high-leverage trading and in just the past 4 days nearly $600 million worth of long (buy) Bitcoin futures contracts were liquidated. That might sound like a decent enough number, but it represents less than 2% of the total BTC futures markets.

Bitcoin futures aggregate open interest. Source: Coinglass.com

The first evidence that the 19% drop down to $56,000 marked a local bottom is the lack of a significant liquidation event despite the sharp price move. Had there been excessive buyers’ leverage at play, a sign of an unhealthy market, the open interest would have shown an abrupt change, similar to the one seen on Sept. 7.

The options markets’ risk gauge remained calm

To determine how worried professional traders are, investors should analyze the 25% delta skew. This indicator provides a reliable view into “fear and greed” sentiment by comparing similar call (buy) and put (sell) options side by side.

This metric will turn positive when the neutral-to-bearish put options premium is higher than similar-risk call options. This situation is usually considered a “fear” scenario. The opposite trend signals bullishness or “greed.”

Bitcoin 30-day options 25% delta skew. Source: Laevitas.ch

Values between negative 7% and positive 7% are deemed neutral, so nothing out of the ordinary happened during the recent $56,000 support test. This indicator would have spiked above 10% had pro traders and arbitrage traders detected higher risks of a market collapse.

Margin traders are still going long

Margin trading allows investors to borrow cryptocurrency to leverage their trading position, therefore increasing the returns. For example, one can buy cryptocurrencies by borrowing Tether (USDT) and increasing their exposure. On the other hand, Bitcoin borrowers can only short it as they bet on the price decrease.

Unlike futures contracts, the balance between margin longs and shorts isn’t always matched.

OKEx USDT/BTC margin lending ratio. Source: OKEx

The above chart shows that traders have been borrowing more USDT recently, as the ratio increased from 7 on Nov. 10 to the current 13. The data leans bullish because the indicator favors stablecoin borrowing by 13 times, so this could be reflecting their positive exposure to Bitcoin price.

All of the above indicators show resilience in the face of the recent BTC price drop. As previously mentioned, anything can happen in crypto, but derivatives data hints that $56,000 was the local bottom.

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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Is excessive bullish optimism behind Bitcoin’s drop below $60K?

Bitcoin’s futures premium hit its highest level in 5 months, but was this the primary reason for BTC’s fall below $60,000?

Bitcoin (BTC) has a long history of forming local tops when events that are anticipated by the market occur. The recent Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) launch on Oct. 19 was no different and led to a 53% monthly rally to an all-time high at $67,000.

Now that the price has briefly fallen below $60,000, investors are attempting to understand if the 10% correction was a healthy short-term profit taking or the end of the bull run. To determine this, traders need to analyze BTC’s previous price activity to evaluate the possible similarities.

Bitcoin price in USD. Source: TradingView

The chart above depicts the day of a New York Times headline announcing that “Bitcoin gets cautious nod from China’s central bank” in November 2013. At the time, Yi Gang, the deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China (POBC), said that people could freely participate in Bitcoin’s market. He even mentioned a personal view that suggested a constructive long-term perspective on digital currency.

It’s also worth mentioning that this favorable media coverage on Chinese state-run television aired on Oct. 28, and it showed the world’s first Bitcoin ATM in Vancouver.

Bearish events can also be anticipated

Bearish examples can also be found throughout Bitcoin’s 12-year price action. For example, the April 2014 Chinese ban marked a 5-month price bottom.

Bitcoin price in USD. Source: TradingView

On April 10, 2014, Huobi and BTC Trade, the two of China’s largest exchanges, said their trading accounts at certain domestic banks would be closed within one week. Once again, rumors had been circulating since March 2014, and this was fueled by a note on the Chinese news outlet Caixin.

More recent events included the CBOE Bitcoin futures launch on Dec. 19, 2017, which preceded the infamous $20,000 all-time high by one day. Another event that marked a local top was the Coinbase IPO on Nasdaq when Bitcoin price reached $64,900. Both events are signaled on the following chart:

Bitcoin price at Coinbase in USD. Source: TradingView

Notice how all of the above events were largely anticipated, even though some did not have a precise announcement date. For example, Bitcoin’s futures-based ETF’s Oct. 19 initial trading session was preceded by SEC’s Chair Gary Gensler’s statement on Aug. 3 that the regulator would be open to accepting a BTC ETF application using CME derivatives instruments.

It’s possible that investors had previously positioned themselves ahead of the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF launch and a look at BTC’s derivatives markets could possibly provide more insight into this.

The futures premium was not “exaggerated”

The futures premium, also known as the basis rate, measures the price gap between futures contract prices and the regular spot market. Quarterly futures are the preferred instruments of whales and arbitrage desks. Although it might seem complicated for retail traders due to their settlement date and price difference from spot markets, their most significant advantage is the lack of a fluctuating funding rate.

Some analysts have pointed to the “return of the contango” after the bais rate reached 17%,which was the highest level in 5 months.

In a normal situation, futures markets of any kind (soy, S&P 500, WTIl) will trade at a slightly higher price versus the regular spot market. That happens mainly because the investor needs to wait until the contract expires to collect his payout, so there’s an opportunity cost embedded, and this causes the premium.

Bitcoin 3-month futures annualized premium. Source: laevitas.ch

Let’s assume one does arbitrage trades, aiming to maximize the funds held in USD. This trader could buy a stablecoin and get a 12% annualized yield using decentralized finance (DeFi) or centralized crypto lending services. A 12% premium on the Bitcoin futures market should be deemed a ‘neutral’ rate for a market maker.

Excluding the short-lived 20% peak on Oct. 21, the basis rate remained below 17% after a 50% rally month-to-date. As a comparison, on the eve of Coinbase’s stock launch, the futures premium skyrocketed to 49%. Therefore, those naming the current scenario as somehow excessively optimistic are just wrong.

Liquidation risks were also not “imminent”

Whenever buyers are overconfident and accept a steep premium for leverage using futures contracts, a 10% to 15% price drop could trigger cascading liquidations. However, the mere presence of a 40% or higher annualized premium does not necessarily translate to an imminent crash risk because buyers can add margin to keep their positions open.

As the main derivatives metric shows, a 10% drop from the $67,000 all-time high on Oct. 20 was not enough to cause any sign of worry from professional traders as the basis rate stood at a healthy 12% level.

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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Altcoin roundup: There’s more to DeFi than just providing liquidity

Bitcoin price is down but crypto investors still have a plethora of yield opportunities thanks to DeFi.

The growth of the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector has been a recurrent headline throughout 2021 and to date, hundreds of billions of dollars in crypto assets are locked on protocols across numerous blockchain networks and earning a yield for their holders. 

What started off as a simple Ethereum-based swap interface that allowed ERC-20 tokens to be exchanged in a decentralized manner, called Uniswap, has exploded into a vast ecosystem full of decentralized exchanges, yield farms, lending protocols and staking platforms.

As development continues and older protocols become more established, newer projects have emerged to incorporate more pieces from the traditional financial realm into the DeFi arena as digital technology slowly transforms the global financial system.

Here’s a look at some ways for users to get involved with DeFi outside of simply staking in liquidity pools or depositing to a lending protocol.

Decentralized derivatives trading

Cryptocurrency derivatives exchanges have long been a target for regulators, and once defiant exchanges like BitMEX and Binance have found themselves bending to the will of the law and modifying their operating practices as they seek a more legitimate standing.

This has furthered the necessity for crypto traders to have a decentralized option and led to the creation of protocols like dYdX and Hegic, which offer similar services without the target that is a centralized structure for regulators to come after.

DYdX is a non-custodial perpetuals trading platform built on a layer-two protocol that operates on the Ethereum network and offers users access to up to ten times leverage on futures contracts for more than twenty cryptocurrencies.

Hegic is an on-chain options trading protocol that utilizes hedge contracts and liquidity pools to offer options contracts that last up to 90 days and can payout in Ether (ETH), Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) or USD Coin (USDC).

Both of these platforms offer users access to these advanced trading products without the need to divulge their identities, as is required on the centralized counterparts.

Bonding, rebase and ultra-high APY tokens

One topic that is increasingly popping up more in financial discussions is the concept of how to create a decentralized reserve currency that is free of the control of any government or centralized financial institution.

Olympus aims to address this issue through a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) platform which offers staking and various bond offerings including the ability to bond Ether, MakerDAO (DAI), Liquidity USD (LUSD) and Frax (FRAX).

The bonding process on Olympus is basically a cross between a fixed income product, a futures contract and an option. Bonders are provided with a quote outlining terms for a trade at a future date and include a predetermined amount of the protocol’s native OHM token that the bonder will receive once the vesting period is complete.

Funds that are raised by bond offerings go into the Olympus treasury as collateral to back the OHM tokens that were minted, helping to provide the underlying value behind the OHM token which allows it to be used as a reserve currency or medium of exchange.

The only other projects that have a treasury that provides the underlying value for each token are stablecoins, but as the name implies their price is fixed whereas the price of OHM can increase, offering a new avenue of yield for users.

Once bonding is complete, users can sell their OHM on the open market or stake them on the Olympus protocol for a current yield of 7,299%.

Related: CFTC renewed: What Biden’s new agency picks hold for crypto regulation

Crowd loan participation on Polkadot and Kusama

Another way crypto holders can put their assets to work while also helping the cryptocurrency ecosystem expand is through participating in the parachain auctions in the Polkadot and Kusama ecosystems through a process known as a crowd loan.

In the auction process, different projects vie for one of the limited parachain slots that connect the project directly to the main Kusma or Polkadot network, facilitating the interconnection of all parachains in the ecosystem.

With crowdloans, users who hold the native KSM and DOT tokens can “contribute” them towards the pool that a project uses to secure a parachain slot, and they will have their tokens returned after a specified lock-up or bonding period that can last for up to one year.

In exchange for their contribution and inability to earn staking rewards for the period that the tokens are locked up, users receive a specified number of tokens for the new protocol which can then be used in the ecosystem or sold on the market.

This approach offers a less risky yield opportunity for token holders, as all principal contributions are locked in a smart contract and returned after the stipulated lock-up period. And by the nature of the parachain auction process, there have been well-developed projects with larger communities that have secured parachain slots, increasing the chance that their tokens will maintain or increase in value as long development for the protocols stays active.

Aside from the threat of regulation, the DeFi ecosystem is showing few signs of slowing its integration of the best parts of the traditional financial system and developing innovative protocols that level the playing field for retail investors.

Want more information about trading and investing in crypto markets?

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

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Bitcoin bulls target $50K as Friday’s $655M BTC options expiry approaches

$655 million in BTC options expire on Sept. 3, and data suggests bulls may be motivated to break the $50,000 resistance prior to the expiry.

Bitcoin (BTC) failed to break the critical $50,000 psychological barrier on Aug. 23 and has since then retested the $47,000 support. If historical data plays any role in Bitcoin price, the month of September presented negative performances in 4 of the previous 5 years.

Cointelegraph contributor and market analyst Michaël van de Poppe recently said that Ether’s (ETH) break above $3,500 could be a leading indicator for Bitcoin’s next bull run, and now that Ether trades at $3,700, traders anxiously await BTC’s next move.

Bulls could be excited for El Salvador’s Bitcoin Law, which is scheduled to take effect on Sept. 7. In addition, the recent $150 million Bitcoin Trust approval by the country’s Legislative Assembly is another potentially bullish development.

The money will be used to support the installation of government-backed crypto ATMs and to offer incentives that encourage the adoption of Chivo, the government-backed digital wallet.

This week, Coinbase also saw a large Bitcoin outflow after a relatively stable period. The move brought the exchange’s balance below 700,000 BTC, a figure last seen in December 2017. These movements are usually considered bullish because they signal that holders are less likely to sell coins in the short term.

Bitcoin options aggregate open interest for Sept. 3. Source: Bybt.com

The Sept. 3 expiry will be a test of strength for bulls because 93% of the $390 million call (buy) options have been placed at $48,000 or higher.

Moreover, these neutral-to-bullish instruments dominate the weekly expiry by 48% compared to the $265 million protective put options.

However, the 1.48 call-to-put ratio is deceiving because the excessive optimism seen from bulls could wipe out most of their bets if Bitcoin price remains below $48,000 at 8:00 am UTC on Friday. After all, what good is a right to acquire Bitcoin at $52,000 if it’s trading below that price?

Bears were also caught by surprise

Seventy-eight percent of the put options, where the buyer holds a right to sell Bitcoin at a preestablished price, have been placed at $46,000 or lower. These neutral-to-bearish instruments will become worthless if Bitcoin trades above that price on Friday morning.

Below are the four most likely scenarios that consider the current price levels. The imbalance favoring either side represents the potential profit from the expiry.

  • Between $45,000 and $46,000: 140 calls vs. 1,220 puts. The net result is $48 million favoring the protective put (bear) instruments.
  • Between $46,000 and $48,000: 590 calls vs. 735 puts. The net result is balanced between bears and bulls.
  • Between $48,000 and $50,000: 1,930 calls vs. 120 puts. The net result is $88 million favoring the call (bull) options.
  • Above $50,000: 3,310 calls vs. 0 puts. The net result is a complete dominance with $165-million worth of bullish instruments.

The above data shows how many contracts will be available on Friday, depending on the expiry price.

This crude estimate considers calls (buy) options being used in bullish strategies and put (sell) options exclusively in neutral-to-bearish trades. Unfortunately, real life is not that simple, because it’s possible that more complex investment strategies are being deployed.

For example, a trader could have sold a put option, effectively gaining a positive exposure to Bitcoin above a specific price. Still, there’s no easy way to measure this effect, so the simple analysis above is a best guess.

Incentives are in place for bulls to try to break $50,000

These two competing forces will show their strength, and the bears will try to minimize the damage. On the other hand, the bulls have modest control over the situation if BTC price remains above $48,000.

The most important test will be the $50,000 level because bulls have significant incentives to obliterate every single protective put option and land a $165 million advantage.

The bears’ only hope resides in some surprise regulatory newsflow or a negative outcome for Bitcoin price coming from the U.S. jobless claims data on Sept. 2.

Even though there’s still room for additional volatility ahead of the expiry, the bulls seem to be better positioned.

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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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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