Market Wrap: Cryptos Mixed as Volatility Fades, Traders Expect Weak Recovery

Bitcoin's average trading volume rose toward its highest level since January, which could point to a brief period of price stabilization.

AccessTimeIconMay 16, 2022 at 8:38 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 3:46 p.m. UTC

Bitcoin (BTC) was roughly flat on Monday, while some alternative cryptos (altcoins) underperformed, indicating a lower appetite for risk among traders.

LUNA, Terra's governance token, declined by 18% over the past 24 hours, compared with a 6% drop in GALA and a 5% decline in AVAX and DOT over the same period. Typically, alts decline more than bitcoin in down markets because of their higher risk profile.

Still, the uptick in trading volume during last week's sell-off coupled with fading volatility could point to a brief upswing in crypto prices.

Just launched! Please sign up for our daily Market Wrap newsletter explaining what happens in crypto markets – and why.

Technical indicators suggests a weak price recovery for bitcoin, which requires another weekly close above $30,000 to encourage buying activity. Still, the recovery could fade at around $33,000-$35,000 because of negative momentum signals on the charts.

Meanwhile, Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon released a “revival plan” to save the Terra network after last week’s meltdown. Kwon proposed forking Terra into a new chain without terraUSD (UST). The plan could go into effect if token holders approve it. Read more here.

During last week's UST de-peg, "other major stablecoins such as USDC, BUSD and DAI experienced a 1% to 2% premium as investors moved toward assets they perceived were less at risk of contagion," Glassnode wrote in a blog post. That suggests, for now, that risks surrounding UST have been contained.

Latest prices

Bitcoin (BTC): $29,727, −1.98%

Ether (ETH): $2,017, −3.39%

S&P 500 daily close: $4,010, −0.36%

Gold: $1,823 per troy ounce, +0.88%

Ten-year Treasury yield daily close: 2.88%

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

Uptick in trading activity

Bitcoin's average trading volume last week rose toward its highest level since January. That happened during a time of extreme bearish sentiment.

Trading volume declined over the past weekend, but remains elevated – almost twice as high the average volume levels recorded in April, according to Arcane Research.

Still, in the futures market, bitcoin's open interest, or the total number of derivatives contracts outstanding on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, continues to decline from its recent peak on March 28. That suggests the recent sell-off emanated from trading activity in the spot market rather than from leveraged traders in the futures market, although liquidations have accelerated the downward price moves.

Bitcoin's trading volume (Arcane Research)
Bitcoin's trading volume (Arcane Research)

Bitcoin's implied volatility also remains elevated following last week's sell-off. Further, intraday volatility reached its highest level since May of last year, according to Arcane Research.

"The key contributor to surging intraday volatility tends to be massive destabilizing effects in derivatives with leveraged positions unwinding, causing knock-off effects in all associated markets," Arcane wrote.

Typically, volatility spikes are short-lived, especially if price declines stabilize. Some traders remain cautious because of the weak recovery in crypto and equity prices following last week's sell-off.

QCP Capital, a Singapore-based crypto trading firm, stated that it intends to keep long volatility positions open in anticipation of choppy markets, according to a recent Telegram announcement. The firm is watching for news on the fallout from the Terra stablecoin debacle, which could be a source of additional volatility in the future.

Still, others are looking for opportunities to fade the spike in volatility. "In the short term, spot prices have likely bottomed out while option volatility likely peaked," Greg Magadini, CEO of Genesis Volatility, wrote in a blog post on Sunday.

"Should prices find stability and bounce violently higher, fading the skew is a prime volatility trade," Magadini wrote, referring to the anticipated decline in the relative volatility of put options versus call options.

Bitcoin's implied volatility (Skew)
Bitcoin's implied volatility (Skew)
Bitcoin's 25-delta skew (Skew)
Bitcoin's 25-delta skew (Skew)

Altcoin roundup

  • Morgan Stanley warns about NFTs: The bank said non-fungible tokens (NFTs) may be the next part of crypto requiring re-evaluation after DeFi (decentralized finance) tokens and stablecoins saw liquidations, “as it is becoming clearer that all the elevated prices were traded on speculation, with limited real user demand.” Read more here
  • UST reserves evaporates: Luna Foundation Guard, the nonprofit that was supposed to save Terra’s stablecoin UST in a crisis, broke its multiday silence and confirmed that its reserve that was once $3 billion mostly held in bitcoin has dwindled to $100 million. As UST fell into a death spiral, LFG said that it sold the reserve to restore UST’s peg and denied allegations that it bailed out insiders with it. Earlier, blockchain analytics firm Elliptic tracked the money to major exchanges Gemini and Binance. Read more here
  • Investors flee stablecoins: As the market tries to stomach crypto’s Lehman Brothers moment after UST’s implosion, most stablecoins saw heavy outflows as investors lost confidence. Tether (USDT) has lost $8 billion in market cap in May, and the supply of dai (DAI) dropped 20% and frax (FRAX) almost halved, according to CoinMarketCap data. Meanwhile, the Fantom blockchain’s algorithmic stablecoin, Deus Finance's dei, lost its peg during the day. Read more here

Relevant insight

Other markets

Most digital assets in the CoinDesk 20 ended the day lower.

Biggest Gainers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Algorand ALGO +2.6% Smart Contract Platform

Biggest Losers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Internet Computer ICP −6.9% Computing
Filecoin FIL −6.7% Computing
Polkadot DOT −6.3% Smart Contract Platform

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.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Damanick Dantes

Damanick was a crypto market analyst at CoinDesk where he wrote the daily Market Wrap and provided technical analysis. He is a Chartered Market Technician designation holder and member of the CMT Association. Damanick is also a portfolio strategist and does not invest in digital assets.

Krisztian  Sandor

Krisztian Sandor is a reporter on the U.S. markets team focusing on stablecoins and institutional investment. He holds BTC and ETH.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.