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Market Wrap: Bitcoin Has Light Response to OKEx While Ether Options Traders Make Beacon Bets



Bitcoin rebounded from an OKEx-related drop; ether options traders may be beacon chain bearish. 

  • Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $11,327 as of 20:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). Slipping 2% over the previous 24 hours.
  • Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $11,199-$11,623
  • BTC below its 10-day moving average but above the 50-day, a sideways signal for market technicians.

Bitcoin trading on Bitstamp since Oct. 14.
Source: TradingView

Bitcoin’s price moved as high as $11,623 late Thursday/early Friday but trades at that height were short-lived. Spot traders punched the sell button around 04:00 UTC (12:00 a.m ET) on the news that Malta-based exchange OKEx suspended withdrawals due to an investigation of a key operations person. Bitcoin fell as low as $11,199 on spot exchanges such as Bitstamp before rebounding a bit, up to $11,327 at press time. 

Read More: Bitcoin Price Dips 3% on OKEx News, Analysts Aren’t Too Worried

Market analysts seem unfazed, saying OKEx’s situation will hardly affect crypto’s long-term fundamentals. Nonetheless, the circumstances seem a bit curious, according to George Clayton, managing partner of investment firm Cryptanalysis Capital. 

“Kind of weird that a major exchange can be incapacitated by one guy,” Clayton told CoinDesk. “One would have thought that there would be contingency plans in place with that much at stake.”

William Purdy, an options trader and founder of analysis firm PurdyAlerts, noted the resilience of the market in the face of negative sentiment. “If this news occured in 2018, the market would have dropped 10%-15%,” he told CoinDesk. “However, now it is supported by the larger equity investors and traditional markets.” 

Indeed, despite the drop, the price per one bitcoin is still hovering around the $11,400-$11,500 range it has been in since Oct. 9. 


Spot bitcoin trading on Bitstamp in October.
Source: TradingView

Yet, in the bitcoin options market, traders appear to be preparing for further fallout. Open interest in bitcoin options keeps trending upward, according to Purdy. 


Open interest on major bitcoin options venues the past month.
Source: Skew

Specifically, Purdy sees a trend with an increase in the put/call ratio on bitcoin options. High put/call here is bearish positioning by options traders who expect further downside,” he said.


Bitcoin put/call ratios in the options market.
Source: Skew

These two trends combined reflect the possibility of big market movements in the near-term by options traders. “Bitcoin options open interest keeps climbing as the put-to-call ratio is seen increasing,” said Purdy. “Given the continuous increase in open interest, we will see a large liquidation move in the coming weeks.”

Lots of ether options expiring in December

The second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, ether (ETH), was down Friday trading around $366 and slipping 3.1% in 24 hours as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET). 

Read More: Will a Sharded Ethereum Be Flexible Enough for Decentralized Finance?

Ether traders are loading up on options for a Dec. 25 expiration. As of press time, 439,813 ETH, worth $161,851,184 at current prices, are set to expire on Deribit, the largest options venue in the market.


Open interest by expiration date on Deribit.
Source: Genesis Volatility

Greg Magadini, co-founder and CEO of data aggregator Genesis Volatility, said the large number of options, mostly positioned short, for December expiration has to do with Ethereum’s plan to upgrade its network. Ethereum 2.0’s initiation will begin with the “beacon chain” where investors will stake ether to help jump-start the network. A date has not yet been set for the beacon chain launch but is expected in 2020.  

“Ether options remain concentrated in December expiration,” Magadini told CoinDesk. ”Traders are net short in December far out of the money calls. This is most likely related to beacon chain launch positioning.”

Other markets

Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are mostly red Friday. Notable winners as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):

Notable losers as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):

Read More: Reginald Fowler May Reopen Plea Talks in Crypto Capital Case

  • Oil was down 0.18%. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $40.73.
  • Gold was in the red 0.46% and at $1,899 as of press time.
  • U.S. Treasury bond yields all climbed Friday. Yields, which move in the opposite direction as price, were up most on the 10-year, jumping to 0.741 and in the green 0.91%.

The CoinDesk 20: The Assets That Matter Most to the Market

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R3 Corda Network Set to Go DeFi With XDC Digital Currency




A group of former bankers building on R3’s public Corda Network are touting the first digital currency for that ecosystem, dubbed XDC. 

Announced Tuesday, the Cordite Society, a co-operative registered in the U.K., released the XDC crypto token on public Corda, the open-source version of R3’s network. The new regulation-friendly cryptocoin will open the door, say its creators at Cordite, to various decentralized finance (DeFi) applications running on Corda’s distributed ledger technology (DLT).

R3 began life as a pay-to-join DLT consortium of big banks, which over time realized the value of hosting a large developer community and created the open-source Corda Network alongside the commercial version of the software. 

In fact, the idea of a “Corda Coin” was floated at last year’s CordaCon, the annual developer gathering, but only as a research project at that time. Now a reality, the Cordite Society will be minting the first run of 1 million XDC to lubricate applications on Corda. This cooperative is taking advantage of existing U.K. legal structures for mutual societies, a provision also used by DeFi risk mitigation platform Nexus Mutual. 

“XDC is a digital currency in its own right,” said ex-RBS banker and Cordite CEO Richard Crook. “It is issued as an exchange token to Cordite Society members, and as it’s minted or created, will be evenly distributed amongst those cooperative society members.”

The XDC and Cordite Society announcement is timed to coincide with this year’s CordaCon event. R3 did not return requests for comment by press time.

Read more: 85% of Italian Banks Are Exchanging Interbank Transfer Data on Corda

Crook said membership for the newly-convened Cordite Society is now open, and members will vote on the rate of supply of XDC and other points of governance going forward. Firms participating in the Cordite decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) will have compliance baked in, Crook added, since R3 designed the Corda network such that each node represents a legal entity, identified by a trusted identity certificate. 

This ensures that XDC meets the G20-sanctioned Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards on digital assets to deal with anti-money laundering (AML) risks, a challenge that Ethereum-based DeFi projects continue to be unable to address, Crook said. 

“Regulators have set the requirements for what a digital currency needs to be, and that’s exactly where XDC fits in,” said Crook. “It meets the requirements of most jurisdictions as a digital currency and is therefore a step ahead. We’re a next-generation Bitcoin or XRP.”


In addition, Crook said the XDC code will pave the way for things like central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) to run on Corda (especially since federal regulators in the U.S. recently announced that national banks can hold reserves for stablecoin issuers), and also allow for what he called “a cleaned-up” expansion of DeFi.

“Anything in finance needs to solve the know-your-customer identity problem out of the box, as well as provide privacy between the parties that are transacting,” said Crook. “With many DeFi projects to date, if the technology doesn’t solve that, they seemingly ignore those requirements and wait for regulators to give chase.”

The XDC system, with its reliance on the U.K.’s mutual societies legal structure, shows that the core tenets of DeFi are actually centuries old, said Crook.

Read more: R3 Corda Partners With Kaleido After Ethereum Startup Spins Out of ConsenSys

“It takes us back to that ability for legal entities to come together and share equity or debt and work together for a common aim,” Crook said. “That’s why cooperatives were created in the first place. And that’s why we are showing that with XDC, you can mix the legal and the technology components to solve this DeFi requirement set.”

U.K.-based institutional crypto player BCB Prime Services (which works with Bitstamp, Coinbase, Galaxy and Kraken) will provide OTC liquidity and custody services for XDC.

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‘Boring’ Bitcoin Market Sends Miners’ Fee Earnings to 3-Month Low




Bitcoin’s transaction activity has cooled amid the recent lull in price action – and that’s hurting miners’ earnings.

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First Mover: ‘Blue Wave’ in US Senate Could Mean Flood of Stimulus for Bitcoin




Bitcoin was lower, tracking what appears to be a new range between roughly $11,200 and $11,700. It’s a step up from levels that prevailed over most of September, between $10,100 and $11,000.

“As the bulls push for a return to a $12,000 handle, resistance will be found just below, at $11,900,” Matt Blom, head of sales and trading for the cryptocurrency exchange owner Diginex, wrote in a daily newsletter. 

In traditional markets, U.S. stock futures rose on fresh optimism that lawmakers might reach agreement on a new federal stimulus package. Gold strengthened. 

Happening Monday: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to appear at a panel sponsored by the International Monetary Fund on “the benefits and risks of cross-border” digital currencies. 

Market moves

Alert readers will recall that First Mover argued in this column last week that next month’s U.S. presidential elections may not matter too much for bitcoin’s price – because trillions of dollars of stimulus money are likely no matter who wins. 

The calculus may also hold for whoever wins the upper chamber of the U.S. legislature, the Senate. 

President Donald Trump is trailing in polls with just two weeks left until the Nov. 3 election day, so Wall Street analysts are starting to handicap the likely market reaction if the U.S. leader’s lack of popularity translates into a takeover of the Senate by the opposition Democratic party.  

The scenario “most likely to occur under a Democratic blue wave” is one of “overly easy” fiscal policy, eventually eliciting a response from the Fed, Deutsche Bank Chief International Strategist Alan Ruskin wrote last week in a report. A weaker U.S. dollar could result, Ruskin wrote, which could be good for bitcoin prices. 

Even if Trump’s Republican party holds the Senate and fiscal policy were “inappropriately too tight,” then the “burden of responsibility” would fall on the Fed to pursue additional money printing to keep markets from convulsing.

There’s little pressure at the moment to impose fiscal austerity. None other than the International Monetary Fund recommended last week that governments spend more to fight the pandemic and bolster economies despite public debt reaching record levels. 

Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF’s managing director, noted in published remarks that governments had allocated $12 trillion of extra aid this year and central banks had expanded their balance sheets by about $7.5 trillion. She said she expects debt levels in 2021 to rise to about 125% of gross domestic product in “advanced economies.”  

“The scale of government money committed is extraordinary,” Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid wrote in a separate note last week. “With [COVID-19] spreading and restrictions mounting, this won’t be the end of such fiscal support and will maybe herald a new era of fiscal largesse.” 

With nearly $20 trillion pumped into the economy this year by governments and central banks, prices for bitcoin, seen by many investors as a potential hedge against inflation, have surged 60%. Bitcoin traders can be forgiven for betting that prices will rise further as trillions of dollars more in stimulus are deployed.  

Chart showing advanced-economy government debt as a percentage of gross domestic product. The dotted line in the blue on the upper right signifies the IMF’s forecast.
Source: Deutsche Bank

Bitcoin watch


CME Bitcoin futures market positioning.
Source: Skew.

BTC’s recent resilience to several exchange-related issues seems to have given institutions the confidence to increase their bullish bets.

In the week ended Oct. 13, institutional investors increased long positions by over 9%, taking the tally of bullish bets to the record high of 3,500 contracts reached in mid-September.

The numbers were revealed by the Commitment of Traders (COT) report published by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday.

Bitcoin’s price rose to multi-week highs above $11,700 during the seven days to Oct. 12. Since then, however, the cryptocurrency has remained sidelined largely in the range of $11,200 to $11,700.

The on-chain activity has cooled due to the comatose price action. Bitcoin’s blockchain processed 231,437 transactions on Oct. 18, the lowest since May 24, according to data provided by the blockchain analytics firm Glassnode. 

The combination of low volatility consolidation and pullback in transaction count often creates bullish conditions. That’s because, exchanges earn fewer BTC in fees with the slide in transaction count. As such, supply of BTC from exchanges drops, putting floor under prices. 

That, coupled with record institutional bullish positioning suggests the path of least resistance is to the higher side. At press time, bitcoin is trading near $10,480.

Read More: ‘Boring’ Bitcoin Market Sends Miners’ Fee Earnings to 3-Month Low

Token watch

OKB (OKB): OKEx exchange token loses 30% of market value since withdrawal suspension due to private keyholder being “out of touch.”   

Filecoin (FIL): Wild first days of trading in decentralized data-storage company’s tokens end with price around $34 and market cap of $560 million, according to CoinGecko, though variations are large across exchanges. 

What’s hot

Huobi contrasts security approach with rival OKEx’s, saying “multiple people and multiple backups ensure the availability of the private key.” (CoinDesk) 

Sweden’s top central banker pushes hard for launch of “e-krona” digital currency in new economic note. (CoinDesk)

Diginex management’s projection of 5x Coinbase’s trading volume by 2023 “seems ambitious.” (CoinDesk Research)

Release of Filecoin’s FIL tokens signals growing market for “storage tokens.” (CoinMarketCap) 

DeFi 3Q revenue dwarfed previous three-month periods by “a few orders or magnitude.” (Bankless):


Quarterly revenue of DeFi projects, based on data from Token Terminal.
Source: Bankless


The latest on the economy and traditional finance

China growth hits 4.9% versus a year earlier, on track to be world’s only major economy to expand this year. (WSJ) 

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon says biggest U.S. bank has $300B of cash and doesn’t want to put money into investments returning 0.6% to “get a teeny bit more” of interest income. (Bloomberg) 

Nancy Pelosi says she’s optimistic about legislation being passed before Nov. 3 presidential election. (CNBC)

After last week‘s IMF and World Bank meetings, columnist suggests that government stimulus funds should be used for investment in infrastructure, education and climate-change mitigation rather than “ill-targeted subsidies.” (South China Morning Post)

U.S. budget gap tripled to record $3.1T in fiscal 2020 ended Sept. 30 (WSJ):


U.S. federal budget deficit/surplus since 1950.
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

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