Record Liquidations on Black Wednesday: Over-Leveraged Degen Traders Yet Again Behind the Latest Wipe-Out


  • The worst seems to be over, with Bitcoin price back above $41,000 and Ether over $2,900.
  • The total cryptocurrency market cap is also on its way to $2 trillion after crashing to $1.5 trillion on Wednesday.
  • While we have started to make a recovery, Black Wednesday was brutal, much like Black Thursday in March 2020.

“Bitcoin markets broke today. Similarly to how it happened on Black Thursday, to a lesser extent and with a considerably larger bid waiting to come in,” noted trader and economist Alex Kruger.

While this sell-off must have seen some spot selling, liquidations have been particularly the highlight, much like April 17’s $10.1 billion wipeout.

As Kruger noted, “Leverage in crypto had been above historically sustainable levels … since early December.” Bobby Ong, co-founder, and COO of data site CoinGecko agrees,

“I've been monitoring the funding rates to check on leverage too, and it has been super high for a very long time. The party went on and on and on searching for a trigger to truly unwind and finally found it with Elon and China FUD.”

Incomplete Data

When the market started to sell off, instead of leveraging down, traders added to their positions. Whales then deposited huge amounts of crypto to exchanges and sold spots creating a cascade of liquidations.

On May 19, more than $8 billion were liquidated; however, this data is not exactly complete, and Black Wednesday could very well have registered the record liquidations. This is because of Binance, which only reports $1 billion in liquidations, the fourth largest after Huobi, Bybit, and OKEx.

As we have reported previously, Binance, known for the highest liquidations in the industry ever, thanks to the exchange offering 125x leverage and a 25x default, up until now have accounted for about half of the crypto market’s liquidations.

Right now, according to Bybt, Binance is accounting for less than 13% of market liquidations.

The leading crypto exchange which sees heavily leveraged traders involved in degen trading is actually not pushing out real-time order data anymore.

If Binance would have reported its complete data, May 19 would have easily marked the highest ever liquidation event.

As can be seen in the total Bitcoin open interest, it has more than halved to $12.34 billion from the ATH of $27.68 billion on April 13. As for ETH, on May 10, the OI peak was $11.6 billion, and currently, it is sitting at $6.47 billion.

Ever since the wipe-out of billions of dollars from the market, the futures market is normalized as the funding rate on both bitcoin and ether perpetual contacts on the majority of exchanges is now in the negative.

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