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Bitcoin derivatives data shows no ‘bottom’ in sight as traders avoid leveraged long positions

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Bitcoin derivatives data shows no ‘bottom’ in sight as traders avoid leveraged long positions

Bitcoin (BTC) lost the $28,000 support on June 12 following worsening macroeconomic conditions. The United States Treasury 2-year note yield closed on June 10 at 3.10%, its highest level since December 2007. This shows that traders are demanding higher rates to hold their debt instruments and expect inflation to remain a persistent challenge.

Louis S. Barnes, a senior loan officer at Cherry Creek, stated that as the United States reported its highest inflation in 40 years, the mortgage-backed securities (MBS) markets had zero buyers. Barnes added:

“Stocks are down 2% today [June 10], but would be down a hell of a lot more if considering what a full-stop to housing will mean.”

MicroStrategy and Celsius leverage use raised alarms

Bitcoin’s sell-off is adding more pressure to the cryptocurrency market and various media are discussing whether the U.S. Nasdaq-listed analytics and business intelligence company MicroStrategy and its $205 million Bitcoin-collateralized loan with Silvergate Bank will add to the current crypto collapse. The interest-only loan was issued on March 29, 2022, and secured by Bitcoin, which is held in a mutually authorized custodian’s account.

As stated by Microstrategy’s earnings call by chief financial officer Phong Le on May 3, if Bitcoin plummeted to $21,000, an additional amount of margin would be required. However, on May 10, Michael Saylor clarified that the entire 115,109 BTC position could be pledged, reducing the liquidation to $3,562.

Lastly, Crypto staking and lending platform Celsius suspended all network withdrawals on June 13. Speculations of insolvency quickly emerged as the project moved massive amounts of wBTC and Ether (ETH) to avoid liquidation at Aave (AAVE), a popular staking and lending platform.

Just realized people with open borrows at low collateral ratios on Celsius are having to choose between getting liquidated due to market crash or depositing more collateral into a service that has frozen withdrawals and is potentially insolvent.

Woof.

— Nick Neuman (, ) (@Nneuman) June 13, 2022

Celsius reported surpassing $20 billion in assets under management in August 2021, which was ideally more than enough to cause a doomsday scenario. While there is no way to determine how this liquidity crisis will unfold, the event caught Bitcoin’s investors at the worst possible moment.

Bitcoin futures metrics are near bearish territory

Bitcoin’s futures market premium, the primary derivatives metric, briefly moved to the negative area on June 13. The metric compares longer-term futures contracts and the traditional spot market price.

These fixed-calendar contracts usually trade at a slight premium, indicating that sellers request more money to withhold settlement for longer. As a result, the three-month futures should trade at a 4% to 10% annualized premium in healthy markets, a situation known as contango.

Whenever that indicator fades or turns negative (backwardation), it is an alarming red flag because it indicates that bearish sentiment is present.

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

While the futures premium had already been below the 4% threshold during the past nine weeks, it managed to sustain a moderate premium until June 13. While the current 1% premium might seem optimistic, it is the lowest level since April 30 and sits at the edge of a generalized bearish sentiment.

An unhealthy derivatives market is an ominous sign

Traders should analyze Bitcoin’s options pricing to further prove that the crypto market structure has deteriorated. For example, 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 30-day Bitcoin options 25% delta skew. Source: laevitas.ch

Readings between negative 8% and positive 8% are usually deemed neutral, but the 26.6 peak on June 13 was the highest reading ever registered. This aversion to pricing downside risks is unusual even for March 2020, when oil futures plunged to the negative side for the first time in history and Bitcoin crashed below $4,000.

The main message from Bitcoin derivatives markets is that professional traders are unwilling to add leverage long positions despite the extremely low cost. Furthermore, the absurd price gap for put (sell) options pricing shows that the June 13 crash to $22,600 caught experienced arbitrage desks and market markers by surprise.

For those aiming to “buy the dip” or “catch a falling knife,” a clear bottom will only be formed once derivatives metrics imply that the market structure has improved. That will require the BTC futures’ premium to reestablish the 4% level and options markets to find a more balanced risk assessment as the 25% delta skew returns to 10% or lower.

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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Record Investment Outflows of $423 Million Led to Crypto Bloodbath

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Record Investment Outflows of $423 Million Led to Crypto Bloodbath

Last week saw record outflows of $423 million from crypto assets, according to CoinShares.

The report found that the outflows last weekend were likely responsible for bitcoin’s decline to $17,760. Analyst James Butterfill said: “The outflows were solely focussed on bitcoin, which saw net outflows for the week totaling US$453m.”

BTC outflows bring down institutional investments 

Therefore, if bitcoin is removed from the calculations, Ethereum contributed an inflow of around $11 million while other alts also added minor positive flows, aggregating inflows to the extent of $70 million. 

This was Ethereum’s first inflow after 11 consecutive negative sessions according to CoinShares.

In the past week, the BTC market has slid under the $20,000 level twice. Short-bitcoin saw inflows of $15 million due to the launch of the first U.S.-based short investment product in the week in question, the report noted.

[1/5] This week’s Digital Asset Fund Flows Report is now available! Written by @jbutterfill, the headline for this week is: Record US$423m outflows last week while Short-Bitcoin saw inflows of US$15m. Read on for the highlights -> pic.twitter.com/eIalnFhacv

— CoinShares 👩‍🚀 (@CoinSharesCo) June 27, 2022

Benefits of a crypto bear market

Similar wide margins were last seen in the previous negative peak, in terms of outflows, in Jan at $198 million.

However, in relative terms, Butterfill remarked that the week did not witness the largest negative flows against total assets under management (AuM). 

“This record occurred during the bear market in Feb 2018 where outflows representing 1.6% of AuM were witnessed, while the outflows last week were the third largest on record, representing 1.2% of AuM,” the report noted.

According to FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, the Federal Reserve’s decision to aggressively increase interest rates was the main reason behind the market crash.

But despite the bearish sentiments, some crypto bosses are optimistic about the results of a market downturn. Charlie Silver, founder of Permission.io told Insider: ” There are hundreds of firms that are built on hype and not substance. It will be good for the industry to have them go away.”

“Bear markets are healthy because it resets valuations to reality and flushes out the bad actors. There are many cryptos that are true Ponzi schemes, that pay investors only with new investor money. When the new money dries up the project falls apart,” Silver added.

Disclaimer

All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.

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Uzbekistan warms up to Bitcoin mining, but there’s a catch

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Uzbekistan warms up to Bitcoin mining, but there’s a catch

The executive order spares all the mined assets from taxation and bans mining anonymous currencies.

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Uzbekistan warms up to Bitcoin mining, but there’s a catch

The National Agency of Prospective Projects (NAPP) in Uzbekistan announced its demands toward crypto mining operators. It would only allow the companies that use solar energy to mine Bitcoin (BTC) or other cryptocurrencies. 

The normative act on the government page, dated June 24, describes the confirmation of “Guidelines on the registration of the crypto assets mining,” and sets the finalization date on July 9. The second article of the document offers an uncompromising wording:

“Mining is being carried out only by the legal entity with the use of electric energy, provided by a solar photovoltaic power plant.”

As a further complication, the miners should own the solar photovoltaic power plant that they will use for energy.

The executive order also obliges any mining operator to obtain a certificate and register in the national registry of crypto mining companies. This procedure demands a brief list of documents, and should take no more than 20 days from submitting to the final decision to the licensing body. The certificates would be valid for one year after the registration.

Related: Go green or die? Bitcoin miners aim for carbon neutrality by mining near data centers

All the currency generated from mining activities would be spared taxation, though the mining farms would face the special tariffs on the consumed energy set by the Uzbekistan government. But, the trade operations with mined assets would have to be conducted only on the exchange platforms that are registered in Uzbekistan. The mining of anonymous cryptocurrencies would be prohibited.

In April 2022, the freshly-restructured NAPP became Uzbekistan’s exclusive crypto regulator with the mission to adopt a special crypto regulation regime in the country. This move came in a row of initiatives launched by the Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to provide the regulatory framework for crypto. In September 2018, Mirziyoyev signed a law prohibiting local firms from launching their crypto exchanges in Uzbekistan. The law only offered legal status to crypto exchanges established by foreign legal entities.

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Celsius denies allegations on Alex Mashinsky trying to flee US

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Celsius denies allegations on Alex Mashinsky trying to flee US

Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky wasn’t trying to leave the U.S. last week but has continued to work on recovering liquidity and operations, the company has claimed.

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Celsius denies allegations on Alex Mashinsky trying to flee US

Troubled crypto lending firm Celsius is putting their best foot forward to recover operations alongside CEO Alex Mashinsky, who currently stays in the United States, the company has claimed.

A spokesperson for Celsius has denied rumors that the company’s CEO tried to flee the U.S. last week amid the ongoing liquidity crisis of the Celsius Network.

The representative told Cointelegraph on Monday that the firm continues working on restoring liquidity, stating:

“All Celsius employees — including our CEO — are focused and hard at work in an effort to stabilize liquidity and operations. To that end, any reports that the Celsius CEO has attempted to leave the U.S. are false.”

Celsius’ statement came shortly after Mike Alfred, co-founder of the crypto analytics firm Digital Assets Data, took to Twitter on Sunday to claim that Mashinsky attempted to leave the country last week via Morristown Airport in New Jersey.

Citing an anonymous source, Alfred alleged that Celsius’s CEO was trying to go to Israel. “Unclear at this moment whether he was arrested or simply barred from leaving,” he added.

Alfred’s claims followed a massive GameStop-like “short squeeze” of Celsius, with Celsius’ native token Celsius (CEL) jumping 300% in one week by June 21. CEL price also abruptly rallied more than 600% on June 14, with analysts attributing the event to an exchange glitch or liquidation of short traders.

At the time of writing, CEL is trading at $0.741, down around 5% over the past 24 hours, according to CoinGecko. Celsius’ native token is still up more than 160% over the past 14 days.

Celsius Network token (CEL) 30-day price chart. Source: CoinGecko

Some industry observers in the crypto community have expressed skepticism about Alfred’s tweets about Mashinsky, with many considering his allegations as FUD.

If @Mashinsky attempted to leave the country this week, why are you reporting it now exactly when the CEL price is going down? Seems very coincidental Mike Alfud. And why no mainstream media or crypto media is reporting this? #CelShortSqueeze https://t.co/ynJbzWib9o

— Otis — #CelShortSqueeze ©️ ⚡️ (@otisa502) June 27, 2022

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Celsius officially announced that it would be “pausing all withdrawals, swaps and transfers between accounts” on June 13. United States regulators subsequently started an investigation into Celsius as multiple accounts on the network were frozen.

Related: South Korean prosecutors ban Terraform Labs employees from exiting the country: Report

According to some analysts, Celsius’ liquidity issues should be attributed to shortcomings of the existing crypto lending model in general, as other lenders in the market have faced similar problems recently.

Celsius has been working hard to fix the consequences of the platform’s liquidity crisis, reportedly onboarding advisers and restructuring consultants to help the platform handle potential filing for bankruptcy. On June 18, Celsius’ lead investor BnkToTheFuture and its co-founder Simon Dixon offered to assist the network by deploying a recovery plan.

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