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There’s $14 billion worth Bitcoin options expiring on Friday— $7.6 billion of it on Derebit and another $6.4 billion on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).
An options contract is just that: It grants the holder an option to buy or sell an asset in the future at a set price. So an investor who’s optimistic about the Bitcoin price going up might want the option to buy BTC at current prices. Conversely, someone who thinks the Bitcoin price might soon take a dive could want to reserve the option to sell a portion of their BTC holdings at today’s prices.
The split on Bitcoin options can offer some insight into what investors think how the price will move in the near future. On CME, a traditional finance mainstay that’s been around since 1898, 55% of the options expiring on Friday are calls (optimistic) and the rest are puts (pessimistic).
But on Derebit, a leading crypto derivatives exchange founded in 2016, investors appear to be more confident that the price of Bitcoin will continue to climb. The split there is 60% calls and 40% puts.
Meanwhile, open interest in Bitcoin contracts—which refers to currently open options contracts that expire tomorrow and in the coming months—has reached a staggering $21 billion. So far, there’s $2.3 billion worth of options expiring at the end of January on Derebit and another $1.5 billion on CME. Those two exchanges tend to account for the bulk of Bitcoin options contracts.
Binance, OKX, ByBit, and BIT are in the mix too. Together they account for combined $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin options expiring on Friday.
There’s already at least $5 billion worth of options set to expire in March. That’s right before the Bitcoin halving is expected to occur in April. The halving is when the Bitcoin reward paid to miners for validating transactions reduces by half, this time from 6.25 BTC to 3.125 BTC. It’s an event baked into the Bitcoin protocol and designed to keep the issuance of new coins in check.
It’s hard to pin down the exact date because the halving is scheduled to take place when the network reaches its 840,000th block worth of transitions. But past halvings have been followed by the Bitcoin price increasing, and so there’s already been a lot of investor interest in buying futures contracts.
Simply put: High open interest means there’s high confidence among investors that current trends will continue.
Although Bitcoin is down slightly today and has lost 2% in the past week, its current $42,532 price means that it’s still trading 11.4% higher than it was a month ago, according to CoinGecko.
Most investors and analysts expect that the Securities and Exchange Commission could create a lot of price movement in the next couple weeks when it approves, denies or gives itself more time to decide on the fate of pending spot Bitcoin ETF applications.
Edited by Guillermo Jimenez.