Market Wrap: Bitcoin Dips to $10.1K, Ether Drops to $330 on Sell-Off Session

Bitcoin and ether price fell precipitously Monday as markets globally roil in uncertainty.

AccessTimeIconSep 21, 2020 at 8:21 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:58 a.m. UTC
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Bitcoin and ether both dropped Monday as global markets conducted a selling session.

  • Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $10,492 as of 20:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). Slipping 3.6% over the previous 24 hours.
  • Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $10,179-$10,994.
  • BTC below its 10-day and 50-day moving averages, a bearish signal for market technicians.
Bitcoin trading on Coinbase since September 19.
Bitcoin trading on Coinbase since September 19.

Bitcoin price fell sharply Monday, with a lengthy sell-off session starting around 07:00 UTC (12:00 a.m. ET) and dropping to as low as $10,179 on spot exchanges such as Coinbase before gaining to $10,492 as of press time. 

“The market is still positioned short with persistent negative funding over the past month and under-allocation to BTC,” said Cindy Leow, portfolio manager for 256 Capital Partners, a market-neutral trading firm. ”At this stage, sellers are still in control of the market."

As bitcoin tumbled Monday, sell liquidations on derivatives exchange BitMEX picked up, putting pressure on price. In fact, over the past 24 hours, BitMEX liquidated over $34 million in long positions, the crypto equivalent of a margin call.

Liquidations on derivatives exchange BitMEX the past 24 hours.
Liquidations on derivatives exchange BitMEX the past 24 hours.

Darius Sit of crypto quant trading firm QCP Capital said the global equities markets are not faring well to start the week. “Stocks are getting hit,” Sit said. indeed, major indexes are all in the red Monday:

Michael Rabkin, of crypto liquidity and market making firm DV Chain, said markets across the board are in “risk-off” mode, when asset holders unload for safer investments in the face of broader economic tumult. “Governments continue to print money and questions are left unanswered due to covid,” said Rabkin. “We're seeing risk-off across all the markets right now which is having a direct effect on crypto.”

QCP Capital noted in its Monday investor letter that both bitcoin and ether were riding high just last week - ether hit $394 on Sept. 17, bitcoin topped $11,178 Sept. 19.

Spot bitcoin trading on Coinbase the past week.
Spot bitcoin trading on Coinbase the past week.

Monday’s sell-off may prove to be an assessment of crypto’s resiliency, according to QCP. “We’ve had a retest of $11,000 in bitcoin and almost $400 in ether,” QCP’s note stated. “We think this week and next is where the rubber meets the road.”

Ether options shift on price drop

The second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, ether (ETH), was down Monday trading around $345 and slipping 7.2% in 24 hours as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET). 

Implied volatility, the market’s expectation of ether’s future price movement, has dipped below realized volatility, ether’s current movement based on historical data. It’s a shift in the ether options market not seen since July.

3-months daily implied versus realized ETH/USD volatility.
3-months daily implied versus realized ETH/USD volatility.

William Purdy, an options trader and founder of analysis firm PurdyAlerts, said ether’s price descent, hitting as low as $330, Monday, is helping fuel the switch. “This recent discrepancy in implied volatility and realized volatility is due to the options market following the underlying asset price momentum in the short-term,” he said. 

Purdy said this means options premiums are likely undervalued and buyers can take advantage - at least for the time being. “Implied volatility will likely increase again when options buyers seek to close their positions,” Purdy added.

Other markets

Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are mostly in the red Monday. Two notable winners as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):

Notable losers as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):

Commodities:

  • Oil is down 3.1%. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $39.60.
  • Gold was in the red 2% and at $1,910 as of press time.

Treasurys:

  • U.S. Treasury bond yields slipped Monday. Yields, which move in the opposite direction as price, were down most on the 10-year, in the red 3.5%.
The CoinDesk 20: The Assets That Matter Most to the Market
The CoinDesk 20: The Assets That Matter Most to the Market

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