The clock is ticking down to the expected halving event on Monday and bitcoin is capturing the interest of investors who may not normally follow the cryptocurrency markets.
At press time, bitcoin (BTC) was trading up less than 1 percent over 24 hours at $9,966 and above its 10-day and 50-day moving averages, bullish technical indicators. The cryptocurrency has spent much of its U.S. trading hours with a $9,900 handle on spot exchanges like Coinbase, a small retreat after briefly breaking above the $10,000 barrier Thursday.
“Most of the people I know are buying bitcoin and gold as a hedge against global recession. Most likely this trend will continue to grow strong,” said Constantin Kogan, partner at crypto fund of funds BitBull Capital.
A boost above the $10,000 price level is certainly a big draw if you are interested in bitcoin. What’s more, conversations about the bitcoin reward halving, expected Monday, May 11, have increased in the past week. Kogan believes bitcoin prices can push up to as much as $12,000 before the halving, an every-four-years event that this time will lower bitcoin’s generation of new cryptocurrency from 12.5 to 6.25 BTC.
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Additionally, investor Paul Tudor Jones II, who manages $38 billion in assets, published an outlook and change to one of his fund’s strategies to reflect trading in bitcoin futures on Thursday.
“Paul Tudor Jones has written quite a knowledgeable piece on bitcoin. Adoption on Wall Street-fueled halving-FOMO is my bet,” said Henrik Kugelberg, a Sweden-based over-the-counter crypto trader.
“It’s clearly lots of casual investors coming in and picking it up. I’m even getting friends and contacts asking me again,” said Chris Thomas, head of digital assets at Swissquote Bank.
However, in his note, Jones revealed his fund’s strategy is around bitcoin derivatives, likely on advanced futures platforms like CME, not purchasing spot bitcoin on exchanges like Coinbase. “We have set the initial maximum exposure guideline for purchasing bitcoin futures to a low single digit exposure percentage,” Jones wrote in his outlook titled “The Great Monetary Inflation.”
Indeed, derivatives such as futures are seeing an uptick, and Swissquote’s Thomas expects an interesting dynamic in the coming weeks. As more investors have conversations on bitcoin’s place in an uncertain global economy, professional traders active in the crypto derivatives market are hedging their bets with both futures and options.
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The crypto options market is experiencing record highs – over $1 billion – but there are more bearish bets in the form of put options than bullish calls. “Looking at bitcoin options we can see that puts are more expensive than calls,” said Thomas. “This implies that more people are picking up downside protection.”
“New money is driving us higher ahead of the halving and professionals will push us lower afterwards,” he added. “Medium term, still very much bullish, just short term we’re in for a rough ride.”
Digital assets on CoinDesk’s big board are mostly in the green on Friday. Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, less than a percent in 24 hours, trading at $213 as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. EDT).
Cryptocurrency winners include neo (NEO) in the green 6.6%, iota (IOTA) climbing 5.5%, and bitcoin cash (BCH) higher by 3.7%. Losers include dogecoin (DOGE) in the doghouse down 2.2% and decred (DCR) losing 1%. All price changes were as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. EDT) Friday.
In commodities, oil mostly traded flat but rallied late, up 4.6% Friday. Gold is trending down today, down less than a percent and closed the New York trading session at $1,706. For the year, the yellow metal is up 13%.
In the United States, the S&P 500 index of large cap stocks was up 1.7% despite the worst jobs report in over seven decades; 20 million people were laid off from work in April and the unemployment rate is now at a devastating 14.7%. U.S. Treasury bonds were mixed. Yields, which move in the opposite direction as price, were up most on the 10-year, in the green 4.8%.
In Europe the FTSE Eurotop 100 index of publicly traded companies ended trading up 2.3%.
The Nikkei 225 index in Asia ended its day up 2.5%. It’s a surge attributed to positive news surrounding Japanese policymakers planning to subsidize landlords of small businesses up to $20 billion over the next six months.