Bitcoin is recovering from a steady price decline while ether options traders anticipate another high-water mark after it hit an all-time high of $1,439.
- Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $35,023 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). Slipping 4.1% over the previous 24 hours.
- Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $33,430-$36,794 (CoinDesk 20)
- BTC above the 10-hour but way below the 50-hour moving averages on the hourly chart, a sideways signal for market technicians.
Bitcoin’s price fell Wednesday, going as low as $33,430 around 15:00 UTC (10 a.m. ET), according to CoinDesk 20 data. It’s been a long and mostly downward direction for the price. The world’s oldest cryptocurrency was at a high of $36,794 just 24 hours ago. It fell over $3,300 before picking up somewhat, at $35,023 as of press time.
Constantin Kogan, partner at crypto investment firm Wave Financial, has a bearish outlook, anticipating a fall to at least $30,000. “This is where the bulls will begin to actively buy back. If we pass this mark it might drop to almost $26,000,” he told CoinDesk. “According to a Bank of America survey, long bitcoin has become the busiest type of trade.”
Kogan dubbed Wednesday’s crypto spill “a small squeeze.” A squeeze in the derivatives market certainly occurred over the past 24 hours. Jan. 19’s long liquidations, which included early Asian hours trading leading into Wednesday’s market, totaled $121 million. “Liquidations” is the equivalent of a margin call in crypto whereby a leveraged trader’s position gets wiped out.
On Jan. 10, the last time a large number of long liquidations occurred, $555 million in bull-placed leveraged trades were called in and the bitcoin market crumbled to $30,300.
However, Michael Stark, a market analyst at FX broker Exness, expects larger financial players to continue to plow dollars into the bitcoin market as investors continue avoid “risk-off” assets like gold and look into “risk-on” instruments like equities and crypto.
“Bitcoin will almost certainly continue upward eventually, but everything needs to pause here and there,” Stark said.
With a new U.S. president, inaugurated Wednesday, bringing a new set of policies – including an expectation of more fiscal stimulus – traders may be getting optimistic that more dollars flooding into the economy might bring about higher crypto prices. The bitcoin market overall is still in bull mode; less than a month ago, the spot price per 1 BTC was below $25,000.
However, nothing is certain, notes Joshua Mahony, a senior market analyst at trading platform IG. The question for markets now is whether the U.S. Congress remains divided politically, "with Biden hoping that Democrats will vote along party lines to help him push through a raft of grandiose spending packages,“ Mahony said.
Options traders like calls on ether
The second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, ether (ETH), was down Wednesday, trading around $1,338 and falling 3.8% in 24 hours as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET).
Ether’s price also declined Wednesday, though not by as much as bitcoin's. In fact, current-day options orientation in the ether market heavily favors calls, according to Skew. Call options are the right, but not obligation, to buy an asset at a set price and time. Calls are currently dominating those options, 66% versus 34% for puts, which are contracts giving the right, but not the obligation, to sell.
Wave Financial’s Kogan, although bearish on bitcoin for now, expects more bullish results out of ether in the near term. It appears options traders agree, given the way they are positioned. “The expected rollback of ether did not follow bitcoin, which indicates the strength of ETH’s trend,” Kogan said. “We are waiting for a pullback to $1,300 (but) in a couple of days, the growth will resume and very soon we might see the $1,800 mark.”
Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are almost all red Wednesday Notable winners as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):
- Asia’s Nikkei 225 index ended the day in the red by 0.38% as investors took profits amid incoming U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen’s comments about more spending.
- In Europe the FTSE 100 closed up 0.41% as traders watched the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden and hope for less turbulent political times.
- In the United States, the S&P 500 jumped 1.5% as Joe Biden was inaugurated the 46th U.S. president and tech stock Netflix gained almost 17% on growth numbers and stock buybacks.
- Oil was up 0.41%. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $53.21.
- Gold was in the green 1.6% and at $1,869 as of press time.
- The 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield fell Wednesday to 1.082 and in the red 0.77%.
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