Data shows the ‘Bitcoin price drops ahead of CME expiries’ claim is a myth

Many traders believe the narrative that Bitcoin price drops ahead of CME BTC futures expiries, but data shows the trend is all bark and no bite.

Historically, activity surrounding the Bitcoin (BTC) monthly futures and options expiry has been blamed for weakening bullish momentum. A few studies from 2019 found a 2.3% average drop in BTC price 40 hours before the CME futures settlement date. 

However, as Cointelegraph reported in June 2020, the effect faded away. While 2020 seems to have rejected the potential negative impact of CME expiries, so far, the current year appears to validate the theory. Bitcoin’s price has been suppressed ahead of futures and options expiry in the first three months of 2021.

Bitcoin performance before and after CME expiry, USD. Source: TradingView

Some investors and traders have pointed out that Bitcoin’s incredible rally after the recent futures and options expiry dates has become a trend.

BTC has effectively rallied in the days following the expiry, but expanding this analysis uncovers a less-than-satisfactory trend.

Three consecutive events don’t prove a trend

The past 13 months have been nothing short of spectacular for Bitcoin, as the cryptocurrency posted 788% gains. August 2020 turned out to be the worst month, as BTC presented a 7.5% negative performance. Thus, choosing random starting points within the month will likely show a similar positive trend.

For example, if one uses the “last quarter” moon phase as a proxy, the odds that a rally takes place after each event are very high.

Bitcoin performance after “Last Quarter” moon, USD. Source: TradingView

As depicted above, indeed, Bitcoin rallied after five out of the last six instances. The only conclusion might be that positive trends are the norm rather than the exception during bull runs.

Although there might be some explanation to the reason behind Bitcoin’s end-of-the-month underperformance, these are only hypotheses.

While market makers and arbitrage desks could benefit from suppressing the price after a rally, other forces, including leverage futures longs and call option holders, would balance that out.

Bitcoin price did not drop in three of the last seven expiries

Therefore, it makes sense to analyze the potential price suppression ahead of the expiry instead of looking for explanations for a rally during a bull market.

Bitcoin performance before and after CME expiry in 2020, USD. Source: TradingView

Both October and December 2020 expiries failed to present any negative pressure ahead of such dates. Meanwhile, the 12% positive performance on the five days that preceded the most recent April 30 expiry also puts a big question mark on how meaningful the CME event really is.

Considering there hasn’t been a price decrease ahead of monthly futures and options expiries in three of the last seven instances, this evidence should put a nail in the coffin of the unfounded myth.

As mentioned earlier, trying to develop theories on why sellers acted more aggressively on specific dates is unlikely to yield results.

As shown above, Bitcoin’s price failed to underperform in three out of the last seven expiries. A 57% success rate should not define a trend when a positive performance after a specific date has been proven common during a bull run.

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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Bulls push Ethereum price higher ahead of Friday’s $930M options expiry

Bulls have a $115 million lead on Friday’s $930 million Ethereum options expiry, a signal that ETH could be en route to new all-time highs.

The last couple of weeks have been nothing short of a roller coaster for Ether (ETH), which oscillated between $2,000 and a record-high $2,650. The 20% crash on April 17 caused a $1 billion liquidation on long futures contracts, and it also drastically reduced investors’ appetite for risk.

Ether (ETH) USD price at Coinbase. Source: TradingView

However, as displayed above, the 28% gain over the last couple of days caused the open interest on Ether futures to reach $8.2 billion, which is just 5% below its April 15 record. A similar event took place in the options markets, which have grown by 45% since the March 25 expiry.

The recent price recovery has been attributed to Paypal’s CEO stating that demand for cryptocurrencies has been multiple-fold higher than expected. Moreover, the net value locked in Ethereum smart contracts reached a record-high $54.2 billion, led by Uniswap, Compound, and Maker.

Ethereum network Net Value Locked. Source: DeBank.com

The 154% increase in this metric happened while network fees sustained levels above $8 per transaction, therefore easing speculation of predatory competition. Meanwhile, Binance Smart Chain reached a $17 billion TVL, and the decentralized finance (DeFi) growth seems more than enough to support both.

Open interest soared, but 22% of it is about to mature

While the current $4.2 billion Ether options open interest represents an all-time high, $930 million of these are set to expire on April 30. As usual, Deribit exchange reigns supreme with a 90% market share.

It is worth noting that not every option will trade at expiry, as some of those strikes now sound unreasonable, especially considering there are less than three days left.

Options are divided into two segments, as the call (buy) options allow the buyer to acquire Ether at a fixed price on the expiry date. These are often used on either neutral arbitrage trades or bullish strategies.

Meanwhile, the put (sell) options are the preferred instrument for hedging to gain protection from negative price swings.

To understand how these competing forces are balanced, one should compare the calls and put options size at each expiry price (strike).

April 30 ETH options at Deribit. Source: Laevitas.ch

A weird pattern emerged as bears were caught by surprise, with 91% of the put options open interest at $2,400 or lower. Meanwhile, bulls were overly optimistic, with nearly half of those call options at $2,880 and above.

Bulls have a decent $115 million lead

However, any expiry above $2,240 is highly favorable for the bulls who currently lead with a $115 million open interest. This difference favoring call options would double at $2,880, although this doesn’t seem to justify a 10% hike in Ether price.

As for the bears, this game seems utterly lost as only a miracle 17% drop below $2,240 would be enough to eliminate the call options advantage.

At the moment, there is little reason to believe that the April 30 options expiry will bring any surprise for Ether price. Both Deribit and OKEx settle at 8:00 AM UTC, and the focus of traders is likely to just move on to June options.

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 bears have a $340M lead heading into Friday’s BTC options expiry

$1.55 billion in Bitcoin options are set to expire on April 23 and the recent BTC crash to $51,000 has given bears a $340 million advantage.

Bitcoin (BTC) price is making a slow recovery after facing a sharp 16% correction in the early hours of April 18.

While some analysts blame a 9,000 BTC deposit at Binance, others focused on the hashrate drop caused by a coal mining accident in China. Regardless of the reason behind the $51,200 low, options market makers were forced to adjust their exposure.

Typically, arbitrage desks seek non-directional exposure, meaning they are not directly betting on BTC moving in any particular direction. However, neutralizing options exposure usually requires a dynamic hedge, meaning positions must be adjusted according to Bitcoin’s price.

These arbitrage desks’ risk adjustments usually involve selling BTC when the market drops, which as a result, adds further pressure to long liquidations. Therefore, it makes sense to understand the current level of risk as the April 23 options expiry approaches. We will attempt to dissect whether or not bears will benefit from a $50,000 BTC price.

The initial outlook seems balanced

Before the April 18 correction, BTC accumulated 74% gains in three months as it marked a $64,900 all-time high. Thus, it is natural for investors to approach protective options more heavily.

Bitcoin April 23 aggregate options. Source: Bybt

While the neutral-to-bullish call (buy) option provides the buyer with upside price protection, the opposite happens with the more bearish put (sell) options. By measuring each price level’s risk exposure, traders can gain insight into how bullish or bearish traders are positioned.

The total number of contracts set to expire on April 23 totals 27,320 BTC, which is $1.55 billion at the current $56,500 price. However, bears and bulls are apparently balanced as the call (buy) options total 45% of the open interest.

Bears have a decent advantage after the recent crash

While the initial picture seems neutral, one must consider that the $64,000 call (buy) and higher options are almost worthless, with less than three days left before expiry. A more bearish situation emerges when these 6,400 bullish contracts currently trading below $50 each are removed.

The neutral-to-bearish put options dominate with 70% of the remaining 19,930 BTC contracts. The open interest stands at $1.13 billion considering the current Bitcoin price, and this gives the bears a $450 million advantage.

One can see that bulls were caught off-guard as Bitcoin retraced 13% after the April 14 all-time high. A meager 3,000 BTC call options are left below $58,000, which is only 24% of the total.

Meanwhile, the neutral-to-bearish put options amount to 9,000 BTC contracts at $55,000 and higher strikes. This difference represents a $340 million open interest that favors bears.

As things currently stand, the expiries between $57,000 and $64,000 are reasonably balanced, which suggests that the bears have an incentive to keep the price down on April 23.

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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$420M in leveraged long traders liquidated after XRP rallies to $1.96

XRP price dropped by 20% shortly after making a 2021 high at $1.96, but have the altcoin’s bullish fundamentals changed?

XRP holders couldn’t have asked for a better year as the cryptocurrency rallied almost 800% and flirted with a $2 level in the early hours of April 14. 

In addition to achieving its highest level since January 2018, this robust price increase signals that investors are not worried about the ongoing SEC “unregistered securities offering” dispute.

However, just 6 hours after rallying to $1.96, XRP price crashed by more than 20%. During an interview, DCG Group CEO Barry Silbert said it would be risky for exchanges and companies in the United States to relist XRP ahead of receiving the SEC’s blessing. These remarks may have contributed to the unprecedented $420 million long liquidations on derivatives exchanges today.

XRP price in USDT at Binance. Source: TradingView

Over the past couple of weeks, the primary catalysts for XRP’s rally have been victories in Ripple’s legal battles. Lawyers representing Ripple were granted access to internal SEC discussions regarding cryptocurrencies, and more recently, a court denied the disclosure of two Ripple executives’ financial records, including CEO Brad Garlinghouse.

Considering the recent rally, pinpointing a single reason for the price correction will likely be inaccurate. Nevertheless, the impressive $420 million long liquidations past 24-hours exceed those of Feb. 1 when XRP price crashed by 46% in two hours.

XRP futures aggregate liquidations. Source: Bybt

The only logical reason behind this staggering liquidation is excessive leverage used by buyers. To confirm such a thesis, one must analyze the perpetual contracts funding rate. To balance their risks, exchanges will charge either longs or shorts depending on how much leverage each side is demanding.

XRP perpetual futures 8-hour funding rate. Source: Bybt

The chart above shows that the 8-hour funding rate is surpassing 0.25%, which is equivalent to 5.4% per week. Although this is excessive, buyers will withstand these fees during strong price rallies. For example, the current upward price move lasted for almost three weeks, and prior to that another took place in early February.

Blaming the liquidations exclusively on leverage seems a bit extreme, although it certainly played its part in amplifying today’s correction.

Moreover, the record growth in XRP futures open interest was accompanied by a hike in the volume at spot exchanges. As a result, the eventual impact from more significant liquidations should have been absorbed by the increased liquidity.

Cascading liquidations will always take place in volatile markets. Thus investors should focus on how long it takes until the price recovers from it.

Fundamentally, a 10% or 20% intraday drop should not be interpreted differently. The correction depends on how many bids were previously stacked at exchange orderbooks and is not directly related to investors’ bullish or bearish sentiment.

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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