Ether’s Options Market Sees Highest Trading Volume Since May

Ether calls at $6,000 and $7,000 strikes were most popular on Wednesday

AccessTimeIconSep 2, 2021 at 11:55 a.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:41 p.m. UTC

Ether’s options market has come alive with the cryptocurrency resuming the uptrend from July lows.

Major exchanges traded 172,472 ether (ETH) options contracts on Wednesday, the highest single-day figure since May 20, according to data tracked by Glassnode. Deribit, the world’s largest crypto options exchange, alone accounted for 172,000 contracts, while OKEx contributed the rest.

Including over-the-counter trading, daily volume tallied more than $630 million in nominal terms, also the highest in over three months. Over-the-counter tech platform Paradigm accounted for 40% of the global volume, Paradigm’s co-founder, Anand Gomes, told CoinDesk. Trades facilitated by Paradigm are automatically executed, margined and cleared at Deribit.

“Our highest market share for ETH has been 45%, so yesterday was one of our highest days,” Gomes said in a Telegram chat. Deribit and Paradigm introduced an institution-focused block-trading service two years ago.

Ether’s rally to 3.5-month highs above $3,800 has boosted options market activity, most of which has been concentrated in the higher strike or out-of-the-money calls or bullish bets.

Deribit data tracked by Laevitas shows Sept. 24 expiry calls at $6,000 and $7,000 registered trading volumes of more than 13,000 contracts as sophisticated traders set up “call spread” strategies at these strikes via Paradigm.

Call spread strategies involve buying/selling calls at a particular strike ($6,000 in this case) and simultaneously taking an opposite position in the higher strike call ($7,000). Paradigm, however, doesn’t reveal the nature of the flows, and so it’s not clear whether traders initiated the limited risk, limited reward bull call spreads by purchasing $6,000 calls and selling an equal number of $7,000 calls or did the reverse to set up a bear call spread.

That said, the way the options are priced suggests bullishness in the market. Data provided by derivatives analytics firm Skew shows the one-, three- and six-month put-call skews, which measure the value of puts relative to calls, continue to trade negative, indicating greater demand for calls than puts or bearish bets.

Ether is currently trading near $3,750 on major exchanges.


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Omkar Godbole is a Co-Managing Editor on CoinDesk's Markets team.

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