‘Coinbase Premium’ Indicates Whales on Binance May Be Behind Bitcoin’s Rally

Institutions outside the U.S. have turned more bullish, according to trading data.

Oct 1, 2021
CoinDesk Insights

Since U.S. markets opened on Friday, bitcoin’s (BTC) price has risen by nearly 10%. A popular indicator used by bitcoin traders may explain the increase.

The “Coinbase premium,” an indicator showing the gap between Coinbase’s BTC/U.S. dollar (USD) pair and Binance’s BTC/USDT pair involving the tether stablecoin, went negative at 14:45 UTC (10:45 a.m. ET) on Friday, according to South Korea-based on-chain data site CryptoQuant, as bitcoin’s price started surging.

(CryptoQuant)

“What’s obvious is that this buying didn’t come from U.S. investors,” said Ki Young Ju, CEO of crypto trading data firm CryptoQuant. The demand for bitcoin is “likely [from] Chinese or non-U.S. investors.”

While Coinbase is more popular among crypto traders in the U.S. and Europe, Binance, which started in China, is known as one of the most popular exchanges among traders in Asia.

Interestingly, not long after the drop, the Coinbase premium also went positive on CryptoQuant’s site, an indication that some trading bots may have captured the widened gap between Coinbase’s BTC/USD pair and Binance’s BTC/USDT for arbitrage opportunities, said Ju.

It is unclear what has triggered the sudden, huge appetite for bitcoin on Binance. However, according to market analysts, institutional investors, or bitcoin whales – those with large bitcoin holdings – have shown a more bullish view on bitcoin, especially as markets welcome a new quarter on the financial calendar.

The Oct. 1 rally shows that players in traditional finance may be establishing new positions as the quarter begins, said Dan Burke, managing director of institutional sales in Asia-Pacific at BitGo.

“It’s the furthest day away from new disclosures,” Burke added.

Options markets also support a renewed bullish view from institutional investors.

“After four days of consolidation, bitcoin broke out bullishly above trend line resistance at $44,000, trading rapidly up to a high just shy of $48,000,” Patrick Chu, director of institutional sales and trading at crypto over-the-counter (OTC) trading firm Paradigm, told CoinDesk. “Throughout the period of consolidation, we continued to see bullish views being expressed via call spreads from our institutional client base.”

(Paradigm)

Chu noted that calls dominated Paradigm’s volume on Friday, at about 77%, versus the volume of put options. A call option gives the purchase the right but not the obligation to buy the underlying asset at a predetermined price on or before a specific date. A put option gives the buyer the right to sell. At the moment, strong interest is showing at strikes between $50,000 and $100,000, according to Paradigm.

“There has been quite some bullish bets for topside, especially targeting a move back towards the all-time high before the end of year,” Chu said.


DISCLOSURE

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Muyao is a reporter on the markets team. She is based in Brooklyn, New York. She holds less than one BTC.