Bitcoin Options Traders Position for Gains (to $80K?) in Historically Bullish April

Theoretically, the $80,000 call represents a bet that bitcoin would settle above that level on April 30.

AccessTimeIconMar 25, 2021 at 11:29 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:31 p.m. UTC

Some bitcoin options traders are betting this year's price rally, which paused in recent weeks, will resume in April – historically a strong month for the market.

Among options listed on the dominant Deribit exchange with an April 30 expiry, the most common open position is the $80,000 call, data shared by the options analytics platform Laevitas shows. Deribit is the world's largest crypto options exchange by trading volumes and open interest.

That's a sign of high price expectations for April, as noted on Twitter by on-chain analytics firm Glassnode founders Jan Happel and Jann Allemann. Bitcoin is currently changing hands around $53,000, up 83% on the year. But the market has stagnated since reaching an all-time high above $61,000 on March 13.

As highlighted by CoinDesk on Wednesday, the near-term focus in the bitcoin options market is on this Friday's March expiry, where a record $6 billion of contracts are set to come due, with some analysts warning of an extreme pullback to what's known as the "max pain" point, seen at $44,000.

But if that expiry comes and goes without any major price fluctuations, the bullish bets for April would come into view.

A call option gives the purchaser the right but not the obligation to buy the underlying asset at a predetermined price on or before a specific date. Essentially, it's a bullish bet on the underlying asset.

The total open interest in the $80,000 call option is 4,469 contracts, or 240 million at press time. The option is currently drawing a premium of 0.0160 BTC on Deribit, a relatively cheap rate that reflects just how far out of the money is the $80,000 strike price.

Bitcoin options open interest (April 30 expiry)
Bitcoin options open interest (April 30 expiry)

Theoretically, the $80,000 call represents a bet that bitcoin would settle above that level on April 30. That doesn't necessarily mean buyers of the $80,000 call option are anticipating a rally above that level by the end of April.

Traders often purchase deep out-of-the-money calls even when expecting a moderate bull run because they can gain significant value as prices rise, yielding handsome returns on a small investment.

Statistically speaking, the seasonality for April is biased bullish.

Historical data shows bitcoin has chalked out gains in April in eight out of the last 10 years.

Bitcoin's monthly returns since 2010
Bitcoin's monthly returns since 2010


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