Bitcoin (BTC) briefly reached its lowest level in five months this Monday at $39,650, marking a 42.6% drawdown from the all-time high present on Nov 22, 2022. Some argue that a “crypto winter” has already begun citing the $2.1 billion leverage-long aggregate crypto futures contracts that were liquidated over the past seven days.Bitcoin/USD price at FTX. Source: TradingViewThe descending channel guiding Bitcoin’s negative performance for the past 63 days indicates that traders should expect sub-$40,000 prices by February.Confidence from investors continued to decline after the United States Federal Reserve’s December FOMC session on Jan. 5. The monetary policy authority showed commitment to decrease its balance sheet and increase interest rates in 2022.On Jan. 5, Kazakhstan’s political turmoil added further pressure to the markets. The country’s internet was shut down amid protests and this caused Bitcoin’s network hashrate to tumble 13.4%. Futures traders are still neutralTo analyze how bullish or bearish professional traders are, one should monitor the futures premium , which is also known as the “basis rate.”The indicator measures the difference between longer-term futures contracts and current market levels. A 5% to 15% annualized premium is expected in healthy markets, which is a situation known as contango.This price gap is caused by sellers demanding more money to withhold settlement longer and a red alert emerges whenever this indicator fades or turns negative, which is a scenario known as “backwardation.”Bitcoin 3-month future contracts basis rate. Source: Laevitas.chNotice how the futures market premium did not trade below 7% over the past couple of months. This is an excellent indicator considering the absence of Bitcoin price strength during this period.Options traders are not as bullishTo exclude externalities specific to the futures instrument, one should also analyze the options markets.The 25% delta skew compares similar call (buy) and put (sell) options. This metric will turn positive when fear is prevalent because the protective put options premium is higher than similar risk call options.The opposite holds when greed is the prevalent mood which causes the 25% delta skew indicator to shift to the negative area.Deribit Bitcoin options 25% delta skew. Source: laevitas.chReadings between negative 8% and positive 8% are usually deemed neutral. The last time the 25% delta skew indicator entered the “fear” range at 10% was on Dec 6, 2022.Related: Bitcoin drops below $40K for first time in 3 months as fear set to ‘accelerate’Thus, options markets’ traders are at the very edge of the neutral-to-bearish sentiment because the indicator currently stands at 8%. Moreover, buying protective put options is becoming more expensive, so market markers and arbitrage desks are not confident that $39,650 was the bottom.Overall, the sentiment is pessimistic and the $2.1 billion in aggregate futures contracts liquidations signal that derivatives traders’ longs (buyers) are quickly losing confidence. Only time will tell where the exact bottom is, but presently, there is not an indication of strong support coming from pro traders.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.Čítaj viac
Since hitting an all-time high at $4,870 on Nov. 10, Ether (ETH) price has been posting lower lows over the past 50 days. If this downtrend continues, the lower trendline support suggests that the altcoin will bottom at $3,600. Still, derivatives data is signaling that pro traders are not concerned about the seemingly bearish market structure.Ether/USD price on FTX. Source: TradingViewNotice how the price peaks are getting lower on the 12-hour time frame as mounting regulatory concerns drive investors away from the sector. In a press conference on Dec. 17, Russia’s Central Bank governor, Elvira Nabiullina, stated that banning crypto in the country is “quite doable.”Nabiullina cited crypto’s frequent use for illegal operations and significant risks for retail investors. Russian President Vladimir Putin also recently criticized cryptocurrency by saying they are not backed by anything. Interestingly, the country plans to launch its own central bank digital currency even as the Russian ruble lost 44% against gold over the past four years.In the United States, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators has called on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to clarify the language in the infrastructure bill relating to the crypto tax reporting requirements. Under the current broader “broker” definition, miners, software developers, transaction validators and node operators will likely be required to report digital asset transactions worth more than $10,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.Even with the regulatory uncertainty and negatively skewed price action, traders should monitor the futures contracts premium — also known as the “basis rate” — to analyze how bullish or bearish professional traders are.Pro traders are neutral despite the price weaknessThe basis indicator measures the difference between longer-term futures contracts and the current spot market levels. A 5% to 15% annualized premium is expected in healthy markets. This price gap is caused by sellers demanding more money to withhold settlement longer.However, a red alert emerges whenever this indicator fades or turns negative, also known as “backwardation.”Ether 3-month futures basis rate. Source: Laevitas.chNotice how the sharp decrease after the 24% intraday crash on Dec. 3 caused the annualized futures premium to reach its lowest level in two months. After the initial panic, the Ether futures market recovered to the current 9% level, which is close to the middle of the “neutral” range.To confirm whether this movement was specific to that instrument, traders should also analyze the options markets. The 25% delta skew compares similar call (buy) and put (sell) options. The indicator will turn positive when “fear” is prevalent because the protective put options premium is higher than similar risk call options.When market makers are bullish, the 25% delta skew indicator shifts to the negative area, and readings between negative 8% and positive 8% are usually deemed neutral.Ether 30-day options 25% delta skew. Source: Laevitas.chRelated: Senate hearing on stablecoins: Compliance anxiety and Republican pushbackFor the past three weeks, the 25% delta skew ranged between a positive 3 and 8 which is in the neutral zone. Consequently, options market data validate the sentiment seen in futures markets and signals that whales and market makers are not worried about the recent price weakness.If investors “zoom-out” a bit, they will see that Ether’s year-to-date gains are at 300%, and this explains why pro traders are not worried about a 20% drop from the $4,870 all-time high.Furthermore, the Ethereum network’s total value locked in smart contracts doubled over the past six months to $148 billion. This data gives derivatives traders the confidence needed to remain calm even with the current short-term price weakness.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.Čítaj viac
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