Market Wrap: Cryptocurrencies Decline as Traders Position for Volatility

BTC declined by 7% over the past 24 hours, versus an 8% dip in ETH.

Feb 17, 2022 at 9:20 p.m. UTC
Updated Feb 17, 2022 at 9:23 p.m. UTC

Damanick is a crypto market analyst at CoinDesk where he writes the daily Market Wrap and provides technical analysis. He is a Chartered Market Technician designation holder and member of the CMT Association. Damanick is also an equity/fixed income portfolio manager and does not invest in digital assets.

Angelique is a market contributor at CoinDesk.

Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies traded lower on Thursday, partly due to elevated tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Global stocks also declined while gold, a traditional safe haven, continued to march higher.

On Tuesday, U.S. diplomats provided no sign of a resolution between Russia and Ukraine, despite earlier talks of a de-escalation. The back and forth between country leaders has resulted in choppy trading conditions over the past few days.

In crypto markets, some traders expect higher volatility. For example, over the past 24 hours, more than 10,000 BTC flowed into spot exchanges, according to data compiled by CryptoQuant. That could signal a preference among traders to sell tokens rather than hold in digital wallets.

Meanwhile, bitcoin option traders remain uncertain about future price direction, placing a 50% probability that BTC will trade above $40,000 by September. Neutral sentiment combined with the steady decline in trading volume and volatility suggests many buyers remain on the sidelines.

Latest prices

Bitcoin (BTC): $40642, −7.61%

Ether (ETH): $2890, −8.36%

S&P 500 daily close: $4380, −2.12%

Gold: $1901 per troy ounce, +1.65%

Ten-year Treasury yield daily close: 1.97%


Bitcoin, ether and gold prices are taken at approximately 4pm New York time. Bitcoin is the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (XBX); Ether is the CoinDesk Ether Price Index (ETX); Gold is the COMEX spot price. Information about CoinDesk Indices can be found at coindesk.com/indices.

Higher volatility

Bitcoin's short-term implied volatility is starting to rise from extreme lows, which means traders expect greater price moves over the next few weeks.

"Implied volatility is likely to pick up again, specifically in bitcoin, rising back up to 90%," Don Kaufman, co-founder of TheoTrade, a trading eduction website, said during an interview on CoinDesk's "First Mover/" show.

"I don't want to go long crypto until you see bitcoin down to the lower $30,000 handle," he added. However, if countries impose sanctions on Russia, cryptos would experience near-term volatility, but could eventually attract greater inflows, according to Kaufman.

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Bitcoin implied volatility (Skew)

Altcoin roundup

  • USDC backer Circle’s SPAC: Circle, the backer of the USDC stablecoin, said it plans to go public in a deal that values it at $9 billion, twice the level it originally agreed to in July. The company negotiated a new deal with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Concord Acquisition Corp., reflecting improvements in its financial outlook and competitive position, Circle said in an announcement Thursday, according to CoinDesk’s Jamie Crawley. Read more here.
  • Andrew Yang launches DAO: Cryptocurrency proponent and former U.S. presidential candidate Andrew Yang has launched Lobby3, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), to advocate for Web 3 policies in Washington, D.C. The community will “prioritize and propose new policy, and aggregate new ideas that need to be top of mind for our leaders,” according to CoinDesk’s Brandy Betz. Read more here.
  • The Graph backers launch $205M fund for dapp builders: The backers of The Graph, a protocol that aims to make on-chain data more accessible to decentralized application (dapp) projects, have launched the first fund to support developers building for the system. The $205 million pot was announced Thursday by Multicoin Capital, Reciprocal Ventures, gumi Cryptos Capital, NGC Ventures, CoinDesk parent Digital Currency Group and HashKey, according to CoinDesk’s Tracy Wang. Read more here.

Relevant news

Other markets

Digital assets in the CoinDesk 20 ended the day lower.

There are no gainers in CoinDesk 20 today.

Largest losers:

Asset Ticker Returns Sector
Filecoin FIL −11.5% Computing
Polygon MATIC −10.0% Smart Contract Platform
XRP XRP −9.7% Currency

Sector classifications are provided via the Digital Asset Classification Standard (DACS), developed by CoinDesk Indices to provide a reliable, comprehensive, and standardized classification system for digital assets. The CoinDesk 20 is a ranking of the largest digital assets by volume on trusted exchanges.

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Damanick is a crypto market analyst at CoinDesk where he writes the daily Market Wrap and provides technical analysis. He is a Chartered Market Technician designation holder and member of the CMT Association. Damanick is also an equity/fixed income portfolio manager and does not invest in digital assets.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Angelique is a market contributor at CoinDesk.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Damanick is a crypto market analyst at CoinDesk where he writes the daily Market Wrap and provides technical analysis. He is a Chartered Market Technician designation holder and member of the CMT Association. Damanick is also an equity/fixed income portfolio manager and does not invest in digital assets.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Angelique is a market contributor at CoinDesk.

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