Bitcoin Steadies At $37,000, But What Are Options Traders Doing?


Bitcoin price has been trending around $37,000 since it last broke out of the funk of the market crash. Since then, the digital asset has continued to record low momentum but bears and bulls look to remain in a tie for who will eventually move the price in their favor. While all of this is going on, bitcoin options traders have shown a clear picture of their hand, and by extension, their sentiment, as the market struggles.

Bitcoin Options Traders Are Wary

Since bitcoin options traders bet on the price of the digital asset, they have to play to volatility. Hence, when volatility is high, the traders are subject to more expensive options. Such is the nature of the game. However, at current market trends, options traders have not shown much faith in the market, indicating that the majority of these traders maintain bearish sentiment around BTC.

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Bitcoin’s volatility skew is the highest it has been since May 2021, more than seven months ago. It is the difference in the prices of both put and call options and how expensive each one is for options traders. BTC’s call options have a tendency to be higher than put options but this is not always so. When this happens, the asset is more in a negative volatility skew.

Implied volatility down and volatility skew up

Implied volatile down | Source: Arcane Research

Presently, as the volatility skew has risen to a seven-month high, the demands for puts have shot through the roof. This has flipped the historical trend of BTC put and call options as puts are now more expensive than calls. Simply put, BTC’s options traders are still bearish.

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Implied Volatility Tell A Similar Story

The bitcoin implied volatility is usually derived from the option prices, which are currently very low. It helps to map out how traders are viewing an asset, especially their long-term outlook for the asset. When implied volatility is low, options prices fall. The same happens the other way around.

With implied volatility being low, it points to options traders being more bearish as they are wary of placing any directional bets in the asset. Instead, staying on the fence for the time being.

Bitcoin price chart from TradingView.com

BTC settles at $37K | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com

For traders who are interested in being able to put in some cheap calls, the opportunity has presented itself as demand for put options has gone up. Nevertheless, options traders seem hesitant to take advantage of this opportunity.

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Bitcoin itself does not paint a particularly bullish picture on the chart. Although it has been able to dig itself out of the low $30,000s hole that the market crash left it in, it is yet to re-touch the $40,000 point. Coupled with the negative market sentiment that is prevalent, it does not look like bitcoin will be pulling upward soon. Although the reverse could very well end up being the case.

Featured image from CoinDesk, charts from Arcane Research and TradingView.com

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