Bitcoin (BTC) added over 11% in the past 24 hours to trade above $24,700 on Tuesday, retracting all losses from over the weekend and setting a three-week high.
The movement possibly came as a surprise to traders who may have otherwise bet on declining prices after two key crypto-friendly banks were shut last week and USD coin (USDC), a major stablecoin, depegged from the U.S. dollar.
Over $100 million worth of bitcoin shorts, or bets against a rise in prices, was liquidated on Monday. This was the highest liquidated amount since Jan. 14 when a bitcoin surge caused $500 million in liquidation across several crypto futures.
Monday’s liquidations meant 78% of all bitcoin futures traders took on losses, data from Coinglass shows. The losses were spread mainly over crypto exchanges Binance, OKX, Huobi and Bybit.
Liquidation refers to when an exchange forcefully closes a trader’s leveraged position due to a partial or total loss of the trader’s initial margin. It happens when a trader is unable to meet the margin requirements for a leveraged position (fails to have sufficient funds to keep the trade open).
Large liquidations can signal the local top or bottom of a steep price move, which may allow traders to position themselves accordingly.
Bitcoin prices rose as U.S. bank stocks dropped steeply on Monday, exacerbated by fears of a similar bank run on regional outlets following last week’s collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.
As such, data suggests the price action was spot driven. As of Tuesday, open interest on futures remained below Mar. 9 levels, when bitcoin traded above $23,500, even as bitcoin retraced all losses – implying the price action was led by investors purchasing bitcoin instead of being futures driven.
Elsewhere, crypto exchange Binance said Monday it would convert $1 billion of its native Binance USD (BUSD) stablecoin to bitcoin, ether (ETH), BNB coin (BNB) and other unspecified tokens – which also likely contributed to the price rise.
Meanwhile, Asian companies mirrored the U.S. market movement on Tuesday's open – as the Asia Dow fell 2.2%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 2.5% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed nearly 1%.