Since May 10, the Bitcoin (BTC) chart shows a relatively tight range of price movement and the cryptocurrency has failed to break the $32,000 resistance on multiple occasions.
BTC-USD 12-hour price at Coinbase. Source: TradingView
The choppy trading partially reflects the uncertainty of the stock market as the S&P 500 Index ranged from 3,900 to 4,180 in the same period. On one side, there has been economic growth in the Eurozone where the gross domestic product grew 5.1% year over year. On the other, inflation continues to soar, reaching 9% in the United Kingdom.
Further adding to Bitcoin’s volatility was the digital assets regulatory framework proposal introduced to the U.S. Senate on June 7. The 69-page bipartisan bill is supported by Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and it addresses the CFTC’s authority over applicable digital asset spot markets.
On June 3, South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) began an inquiry with 157 payment gateway services that work with digital assets. Previously, on May 24, South Korean officials opened an investigation against Do Kwon, the primary figure in the Terra incident.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also broke out an investigation against Binance Holdings on June 6. Binance is the world’s largest crypto exchange in volume terms and the SEC is evaluating whether the BNB token initial coin offering violated securities rules.
On June 6, IRA Financial Trust, a platform providing self-directed digital asset retirement and pension accounts, filed a lawsuit against Gemini cryptocurrency exchange and claimed that a Feb. 8 breach led to a $36 million loss in crypto assets from customer accounts under Gemini’s custody.
Let’s look at Bitcoin’s futures data to understand how professional traders are positioned, including whales and market makers.
Derivatives metrics reflect investors’ bearish expectations
Traders should analyze Bitcoin futures market data to understand how professional traders are positioned. The quarterly contracts are experienced traders’ preferred instrument to avoid the perpetual futures’ fluctuating funding rate.
The basis indicator measures the difference between longer-term futures contracts and the current spot market levels. The Bitcoin futures annualized premium should run between 5% to 10% to compensate traders for “locking in” the money for two to three months until the contract expiry.
Bitcoin 3-month futures annualized premium. Source: Laevitas
Bitcoin’s futures premium has been below 4% since April 12, a reading typical of bearish markets. Even more concerning is that the last time these professional traders were bullish was over six months ago when the metric surpassed the 10% threshold.
To exclude externalities specific to the futures instrument, traders must also analyze the Bitcoin options markets. The 25% delta skew is a telling sign for when Bitcoin market makers and arbitrage desks are overcharging for upside or downside protection.
During bullish markets, options investors give higher odds for a price pump, causing the skew indicator to move below negative 12%. On the other hand, a bear market’s generalized panic induces a positive 12% or higher skew.
Bitcoin 30-day options 25% delta skew: Source: Laevitas
The 30-day delta skew has ranged from 12.5% to 23% between June 1 and 7, which signals options traders are pricing higher odds of a bearish movement. Still, it shows a moderate sentiment improvement from the previous couple of weeks.
Cryptocurrency regulation and weak economic numbers are clearly weighing on investor sentiment and derivatives data shows professional Bitcoin traders avoiding leveraged long positions, plus they are reluctant to take downside-risk.
At the moment, it’s clear that bears are comfortable with setting $32,000 as a resistance level and repeat drops to the $28,200 level are likely to continue.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.