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Bitcoin Options Market Sends Mixed Signals

Bitcoin Options Market Sends Mixed Signals 101
Source: Adobe/Sodel Vladyslav

With the halving in Bitcoin (BTC) block subsidy now behind us, all eyes are on the BTC market, searching for signs that the reduced supply will lead to rising prices. However, there is a continued interest in bearish bets on the bitcoin options market.

As reported last week, open interest in bitcoin options surpassed USD 1 billion just ahead of the halving, with the put-to-call ratio also revealing a rather bearish sentiment among traders. The increasing put-to-call ratio was widely believed to be caused by traders seeking a form of downside hedge for their holdings of bitcoin before the halving.

However, according to, financial derivatives trader Tony Stewart, interest in bearish put options has continued to increase since the halving, which means that “the anticipation that large put positions could be unwound has not been fulfilled.”

He said that put options with a May 29 expiry first came under pressure after the halving as bullish sentiment rose, although “the largest holders” chose to keep their put options on hand, effectively keeping them protected against a potential sell-off in the spot market.

Meanwhile, at the same time, data shows that the bitcoin put-to-call ratio has decreased after the halving, which took place on May 11, suggesting that concerns about a potential downside move in bitcoin have eased among traders after Bitcoin went through its third halving successfully.

Bitcoin Options Market Sends Mixed Signals 102
Source: Skew

In options terminology, a call option represents a bet that prices will rise in the underlying spot market, while a put option represents a bearish view on prices. If the conditions are not met in the underlying spot market, however, the options contract will simply expire worthless and the trader will only have lost his premium payment, similar to how an insurance policy works.

While interest in put options have to some extent persisted, total open interest in bitcoin options have also continued to increase after the halving, with Deribit still leading far ahead of other exchanges like CME, LedgerX, and OKEx.

Bitcoin Options Market Sends Mixed Signals 103
Source: Skew

At pixel time (10:41 UTC), BTC trades at USD 9,628 and is up by 8% in a day and 3.5% in a week. The price increased by 41% in a month and 20% in a year.

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