$5.3 Billion Bitcoin Options Expired, Market Remains Unaffected as Investment Inflows Slow Down

The expiry of Bitcoin derivatives contracts that has been making the crypto market nervous, which some described as an “earthquake,” helped the price of Bitcoin move 4.8%.

Yesterday, the price of Bitcoin dropped to $50,300 only to end the day higher above $52,500. Today we went as high as $53,800 following the expiry of the Bitcoin options.

Deribit reported a total of $6.4 billion worth expiry — 99k BTC options, with $5.1 billion notional along with BTC March Futures of $240 million and 608k ETH options with $1 billion notional and ETH March Futures of $51 million.

As of writing, BTC is trading around $53k and Ether $1,600. ETH -0.66% Ethereum / USD ETHUSD $ 1,089.20
Volume 18.21 b Change -$7.19 Open $1,089.20 Circulating 121.36 m Market Cap 132.19 b
6 mon Coinbase Predicts Substantial Growth of Newer L1 Chains & Institutionalization of Regulated DeFi 6 mon A Possible Crypto Recovery Moving Into New Year, Risk-on Sentiments Send The Stock Market to Another Record High 6 mon The Sandbox Game Is Migrating to Ethereum Sidechain Polygon and Launching A DAO in 2022

According to Tony Stewart, who has previously headed the trading desk, “It's currently irrelevant for Crypto Options, particularly when the Max pain is not near the current spot.”

“Serious experienced option players are laughing at the narrative. It is only good for exchanges to promote large numbers.”

Given that the options market is becoming bigger and bigger in terms of trading volume and open interest (OI), it does affect the underlying spot market prices, as we saw during the January expiry that helped push the BTC price from $32k to nearly $39k.

But this time, the maximum pain was around $44k, and there was also a decrease in options open interest by about $70 million before the expiry.

Volatility trader @merpetual is “short volatility right now and bullish volatility into the end of April,” as call net positioning is around $80k for the month.

The Bitcoin market has slowed down in March despite hitting a new ATH in the second week of the month. This coincides with the March seasonality, which has historically ended as a bear month.

According to CryptoCompare’s report, March was a quiet month for digital asset investment products, as well as volumes dropped by 17.6%, and average weekly investment inflows slowed by 70.5%. Still, total AUM continued to rise month on month and now stands at roughly $58.7 billion.

The world’s largest digital asset manager, Grayscale Investments and 31Q are currently trading a discount. The market premium for both dropped dramatically, with 3iQ’s QBTC product trading at a discount of 4.34%.

The $34 billion Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) dropped about 20% so far this week and is currently trading at a 9.74% discount despite the fund’s parent company Digital Currency Group planning to purchase up to $250 million worth of shares.

“GBTC has a fixed supply and acts like a leveraged play on Bitcoin,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst James Seyffart said. “As price goes down, sentiment goes down, GBTC is going to fall further than Bitcoin. Same thing happens on the way up.” The debut of several Bitcoin ETFs in capital (Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, VanEck, Valkyrie, NYDIG, Wisdom Tree, and Skybridge Capital) may have pulled away capital from GBTC as well.

“This shift may be a reflection of increased competition from alternative digital asset investment product providers,” noted CryptoCompare.

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