Bitcoin started the week with a bullish run, but it has now given back all of those gains.
Bitcoin (BTC) was trading around $9,296 as of 20:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET), slipping 3.5% over the previous 24 hours.
At 00:00 UTC on Wednesday (8:00 p.m. Tuesday ET), bitcoin was changing hands around $9,624 on spot exchanges such as Coinbase. Price remained steady until 07:00 UTC (3 a.m. ET) when heavy sell volume sent bitcoin to as low as $9,195. Bitcoin’s price is well below its 10-day and 50-day moving averages, which is a bearish signal for market technicians.
Bearish sentiment is affecting all markets today as investors appear to be de-risking, selling liquid assets for the safety of instruments like cash, said Neil Van Huis, director of institutional trading at liquidity provider Blockfills. “Looks a little risk-offish on all risk assets across the board,”
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Indeed, major stock indices are all in the red Wednesday. In Asia, the Nikkei 225 of publicly traded companies ended the day flat, down 0.07%. Concern about increased coronavirus infection rates in Japan led to some selling pressure. In Europe, the FTSE 100 index dropped 3.1% Wednesday. The prospect of U.S. tariffs on U.K., French, Spanish and German goods dragged the index lower.
The U.S. S&P 500 stock index lost 2.6%. The round of stock selling has been attributed to concerns of the coronavirus pandemic’s resurgence in some states.
June hasn’t exactly been a winner for bitcoin so far, but it’s not like stocks were hot either.
As bitcoin dropped Wednesday, traders with long positions on Seychelles-based derivatives exchange BitMEX were forced to liquidate. A spike of over $19 million in total liquidations occurred at 10:00 UTC (6 a.m. ET), exacerbating bitcoin’s price fall. Over the past 24 hours, total liquidations on BitMEX heavily skewed towards the red, with $33 million in sell liquidations versus a mere $406,000 in buy liquidations.
Liquidations on BitMEX are the equivalent of margin calls on conventional exchanges. A “buy liquidation” on a bitcoin contract is when a losing short position is forced to close, requiring purchases of bitcoin. When a “sell liquidation” occurs, those long bitcoin are forced to sell.
“It looks like someone was liquidating positions ahead of the Friday, June 26 option expiration – lifting hedges above $10,000-$11,000 as this is where the heavy portion of strikes lie,” said David Lifchitz, managing partner of ExoAlpha, a crypto quantitative trading firm.
In fact, strikes do favor bitcoin prices over $9,900, according to Skew data, as options traders appear to be making moonshot bets on the world’s oldest cryptocurrency…