First Mover Americas: BTC Volatility Spikes, Crypto Derivatives Volume Surges

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for Feb. 29, 2024.

AccessTimeIconFeb 29, 2024 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 9, 2024 at 6:02 a.m. UTC

This article originally appeared in First Mover, CoinDesk's daily newsletter, putting the latest moves in crypto markets in context. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every day.

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Crypto prices. (CoinDesk Indices)
Crypto prices. (CoinDesk Indices) (CoinDesk Indices)

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The bitcoin bull is back, and so is price volatility. BTC traded 6.8% higher at $62,992 at press time, having printed highs near $64,000 on Wednesday. The price has gained 21% this week alone. The CoinDesk 20 Index, a broader market gauge, traded 7.5% higher at $2,326. The cryptocurrency's 30-day realized volatility, or the standard deviation of the last 30 days' daily percentage price change, has surged to an annualized 46% from 30% in a week. Activity in the crypto derivatives market has picked up. According to Swiss-based data tracked platform Laevitas, $374 billion worth of crypto futures, perpetual futures and options contracts have changed hands in the past 24 hours. That's the largest single-day tally since November 2021. Renewed demand for leveraged products, which magnify profits and losses, suggests an increase in risk appetite and the potential for sudden liquidations-induced price turbulence.

Bitcoin miners are selling more of their coins and running down their inventories in a rising market. Data tracked by Glassnode shows the estimated number of BTC held in wallets tied to miners has dropped by 8,426 BTC ($530 million) since the start of the year to 1,812,482 BTC. The decline began in the second half of October when miners held over 1.83 million BTC. The impending halving of miners' rewards and the ongoing dry season in China have catalyzed the sales, according to analysts at FRNT Financial.

Morgan Stanley is deciding whether to offer spot bitcoin ETFs to customers of its large brokerage platform, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission greenlighted 11 spot bitcoin ETFs on Jan. 10. Since then, billions of dollars have poured into these products, known to closely track bitcoin’s price and allowing investors to take exposure to the cryptocurrency without owning it. Liquidity floodgates, however, would open once big registered investment adviser (RIA) networks and broker-dealer platforms like Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and others offer ETFs. Morgan Stanley, a leader in the alternative investments and private market space, has over $150 billion in assets under management and was the first major U.S. bank to offer its wealthy clients access to bitcoin funds in 2021.

Chart of the Day

Pendle's daily trading volume hits record high. (Pendle)
Pendle's daily trading volume hits record high. (Pendle) (Pendle)
  • On Wednesday, trading volume on yield tokenization protocol Pendle Finance crossed above $100 million, a record high.
  • Pendle allows traders to split yield-bearing instruments like staked ether into a yield token and a principal token and then offers a liquidity pool to trade these tokens.
  • Source: Pendle

- Omkar Godbole

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Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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Omkar Godbole

Omkar Godbole is a Co-Managing Editor on CoinDesk's Markets team.