The nascent meme coin pepecoin (PEPE) is the token that keeps on giving, at least so far, surging to an almost $1 billion market capitalization just weeks after its birth.
The tokens have run from strength to strength in the past week even as skeptics warned of an impending collapse, gaining some 500% in the past two weeks as per CoinGecko data.
These warnings centered around the apparent number of whales – or entities who hold large amounts of any token – who purchased PEPE in the hours after it was first issued in mid-April.
That has led to short interest booming among futures traders, as CoinDesk reported. Shorts refer to bets against a token’s price.
Funding rates in perpetual futures tied to the token remain negative, indicating the dominance of bearish positions in the derivatives market. A negative funding rate indicates that shorts are dominant and are willing to pay longs to keep their bearish bets open.
An 80% price bump in the past 24 hours has led to outsized losses for these traders, however. CoinGlass data shows shorts against PEPE lost at least $11 million on several exchanges over the past 24 hours – with traders losing $5.5 million on crypto exchange OKX alone, the highest figure among counterparts.
Traders lost another $2.2 million on Huobi, some $3.6 million on Bybit, and a few hundred thousand dollars on BitMEX. All these exchanges started offering PEPE futures trading in the past week.
PEPE losses were third to only bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) futures liquidations, which usually rack up the highest futures losses.
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.
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