Market Wrap: Bitcoin Slips to $12.8K; Ether Options Traders Prefer Calls

Market Wrap: Bitcoin Slips to $12.8K; Ether Options Traders Prefer Calls
CoinDesk 20 Bitcoin Price Index

Major markets are in the red today, including bitcoin. Ether options traders have favored calls over the past month.

The price of bitcoin slipped Wednesday, going as low as $12,894 around 14:00 UTC (10 a.m. ET), according to CoinDesk 20 data. Prices have picked up a bit since then, at $13,184 as of press time. 

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Katie Stockton, a technical analyst for research firm Fairlead Strategies, said Wednesday was a “risk-off” day where investors were shedding what they consider higher-risk assets, including cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is seeing a retracement of its strong up move as risk assets trade off sharply,” Stockton told CoinDesk. Risk assets, which include global equities, slipped Wednesday.

Bitcoin’s strong move up Tuesday approached before losing steam. Stockton said that despite Wednesday’s respite, bitcoin still has a strong chance to pass 2019’s price zenith. “The recent breakout above the August high lends a bullish intermediate-term bias,” she added. “Uncertainty is taking its toll on the markets, but we think it will be short-lived.”

Neil Van Huis, director of institutional trading at liquidity provider Blockfills, noted bitcoin’s mining hashrate has dropped to levels not seen since June. Older, inefficient machines are being turned off, which he sees as a huge opportunity to invest in newer mining rigs at these price levels.

“This is good for mining companies,” Van Huis said. “It also comes at a time when prices are rising. With that comes more investment into the space like JPMorgan and PayPal. That should, in my opinion, keep prices bullish, especially now that we cleared that $12,000-$12,500 hurdle for a bit.” 

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In the futures market, Denis Vinokourov, head of research at digital asset prime broker Bequant, noted the rise of institutional interest on CME, which surpassed $800 million in open interest Tuesday. “Futures contracts trading at a premium to spot prices even as the October CME expiry is fast approaching this Friday,” he said.

Guy Hirsch, U.S. managing director at multi-asset brokerage eToro, said unpredictable global market fundamentals are actually a good thing for bitcoin. “The election outcome might produce a shift from a pro-business administration into an administration that is much more skeptical about free markets” just as COVID-19 cases hit record levels, he added. “[W]e could be in for a long winter that may see bitcoin potentially challenge its previous record high set back in 2017,” Hirsch told CoinDesk.

, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was up in Wednesday trading around $384 and slipping 5.6% in 24 hours as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET). 

The ether options market has been more favorable towards calls than puts recently. Derivatives exchange Deribit, which is by far the largest ether options venue, has seen 55% calls versus 44% puts the past month, according to data aggregator Genesis Volatility. 

Calls are bullish bets in the direction of the underlying assets (in this case, ether) while puts are bearish bets.

Greg Magadini, Genesis Volatility’s CEO, doesn’t see this data as necessarily providing clear direction on ether’s price, but does indicate where liquidity is pooling. 

“Seeing more activity on the call side indicates that the call legs have the most liquidity and active participation,” Magadini said. “This is useful for traders to know when structuring less liquid multi-legged trades.”

Digital assets on the are mostly red Wednesday. One notable winner as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):

Notable losers:

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