Market Wrap: With Fed Rate Policy Unchanged, Bitcoin Passes $11K; Ether Options Bet on Price Below $400

 coindesk.com  09/16/2020 20:37:25   Daniel Cawrey

Bitcoins price continues to move up, with a little help from the U.S. Federal Reserve, while ether traders are hedging in the options market.

  • Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $10,979 as of 20:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). Gaining 2% over the previous 24 hours.
  • Bitcoins 24-hour range: $10,662-$11,099
  • BTC above its 10-day and 50-day moving averages, a bullish signal for market technicians.
btcsep16
Bitcoin trading on Coinbase since Sept. 14.
Source: TradingView

Bitcoin hit as high as $11,099 on exchanges such as Coinbase Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it was keeping interest rates near zero until maximum employment is achieved.The price lost steam to $10,979 as of press time, however.

Buyers have already reached $11,000 per BTC. We expect an increase to $11,200, and then a test of $11,500, said Constantine Kogan, partner at crypto fund of funds BitBull Capital.

At least one stakeholder remains wary until there is more buying volume in the bitcoin market, however. Personally I think we need to see sizable purchase volume above $12,000 to really get this moving, otherwise I would tend to expect some more consolidation over the next few weeks, said Neil Van Huis, director of institutional trading at liquidity provider Blockfills. The last time bitcoin hit $12,000 was back on Sept. 1.

btcthirtyday
Bitcoin trading on Coinbase the past month.
Source: TradingView

Bitcoin mining could play a role in near-term market movements, added Van Huis. If BTC prices are higher, miners may look to capitalize on it by selling to raise cash, he said. The mining difficulty adjustment, expected on Sept. 19, is anticipated to trend higher since hashpower has been hitting record highs this week. That means older mining machines will be replaced with newer models in order for some operations to compete.

miningdiff2017
Bitcoin mining difficulty the past three years.
Source: Glassnode

Miners would essentially be speculating on whether it would be more profitable to just let their bitcoin holdings ride because they cant get access to equipment, or sell BTC to raise cash for equipment to mine more efficiently going forward, added Van Huis. 

Italian over-the-counter trader Alessandro Andreotti pointed to the amount of bitcoin locked in decentralized finance, which crossed the 100,000 BTC mark this week, as a bullish sign for the worlds oldest cryptocurrency. I think it is a great milestone for decentralized finance as a whole, showing how much potential it has and how many investors believe in it, Andreotti said. These are exciting times.

Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was up Wednesday trading around $365 and climbing 0.28% in 24 hours as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET).

Ether options traders remain biased toward spot pricesbelow $400. While 36% expect ether to be over $380, only 22% of options bets expect ether over $400 next week at the Sept. 25 expiration.

skew_probability_of_eth_being_above_x_per_maturity-9
Probabilities for ether price at expiration next week.
Source: Skew

William Purdy, an options trader and founder of analysis firm PurdyAlerts, said that ethers implied volatility, the forecast of its price movements, has been higher than realized volatility, a measure of price movements from past behavior, since July. As option prices are based on implied volatility, he sees an opportunity in shorting ether options.

skew_ethusd__iv_vs_rv-1
Ether Implied volatility versus realized volatility the past three months.
Source: Skew

The implied volatility is priced at a premium to historical volatility as ether investors are looking for downside price protection from future unfortunate events, said Purdy. This protection cost is often overestimated by the market and can be taken advantage of by selling options.

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

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

  • Oil is up 4.4%. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $40.09
  • Gold was in the green 0.27% and at $1,958 as of press time.
  • U.S. Treasury bond yields were mixed Wednesday. Yields, which move in the opposite direction as price, were down most on the two-year bond, in the red 8%.
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