Bitcoin Again on the Move Amidst “Increasing Market Demand”

Bitcoin is back on the move today. Volatility has been expected as options for 67,700 Bitcoin worth $745 million are expiring today.

Currently, the largest cryptocurrency is trading just under $11,400, up more than 3%, with over $2 billion in trading volume. In the past ten days, BTC has surged 24.5% that has resulted in the number of bitcoin addresses holding 1 million USD spiking by 38% to about 18,000.

Also, a whopping 93% of bitcoin’s supply is at a profit with the price at $11k.

Interestingly, BTC deposits at major exchanges continue to drop, which has been falling since March after the digital asset crashed along with the other asset classes. The deposits have currently reached the low-levels, last seen in May 2019, which suggests users prefer to store their BTC in private wallets. Moreover, it “may lead to a lower selling pressure the upcoming months.”

“Despite BTC’s recent surge to $11k, there are currently no signs of weak hands from long-term investors,” noted Glassnode. “Hodler Net Position Change remains positive since the end of March, with hodlers currently accumulating more than 50k BTC each month.”

However, Ki Young-ju, the CEO of on-chain analysis firm CryptoQuant, said whales have started to send Bitcoin and stablecoins to exchanges. He said,

“BTC whales are sending Bitcoins to exchanges. Stablecoin whales are sending stablecoins to exchanges as well. This week will be a battle between Stablecoin and Bitcoin exchange inflows. These inflows indicate potential buy/sell pressures.”

So Much HODling & Accumulation

Bitcoin gains are recorded amidst the amount of USDT flowing into exchanges spiking to yearly high. All the while, Tether continues to mint millions more USDT that “hints at increasing market demand and could potentially support further Bitcoin price appreciation,” states OKEx.

The exchange’s one-month futures annualized basis has also surged to as high as 27.67%, its highest level since late February. “Values above 20% indicate that traders are paying a very high premium on spots and using high leverage,” OKEx said.

Just this week, Bakkt recorded peak volume twice in a row while CME saw its open interest making new highs. Regarding the slow adoption of its bitcoin options product, CME Group continues to “work with both brokers and platforms to get them connected and up and running to facilitate trades with customers.”

Another bullish development seen in the market is the 1-year HODL wave, which has been unmoved on the blockchain over the last 365 days.

Additionally, this Bitcoin 1-year HODL wave has hit a new all-time high of 63%, up 1% since the start of July.

The fact that an increasing number of bitcoin investors are HODLing with no pressure from any sell-side in the form of deposits to exchanges speaks well for the world’s leading digital currency.

At this point, if bitcoin closes above ~$14,300 on the 12 Monthly charts, that would be one of the most bullish developments in this new cycle, said analyst Rekt Capital.

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Author: AnTy

Kraken and Binance Form New Partnerships to Offer More Fiat Funding Options

Amidst the flying altcoins and stuck Bitcoin, cryptocurrency exchanges continue to add new options to allow users to buy and sell digital assets.

Kraken has added seven new USD funding options for US residents through its partnership with MVB Bank to offer the fastest and smoothest experience for its clients. Formed in 1997, MVB Bank is an FDIC insured bank.

“We are excited to offer this new USD funding method, and think it will prove to be one the best funding methods for our US clients. MVB Bank is an ideal banking partner for us in many ways, including their deep commitment to supporting innovative financial companies in the Fintech sector,” said Kraken Chief Operating Officer David Ripley.

The new domestic wire charges a deposit and withdrawal fee of $4 with a minimum deposit/withdrawal of $20.

The new option is available in every US state that Kraken operates in, except for Texas.

Reaching 170 Countries

Another exchange that is extending its options is leading spot exchange Binance, which has acquired crypto wallet app Swipe.io. This acquisition could help boost crypto adoption, said Binance.

Swipe users can now purchase cryptos from within the app and use debit cards that utilize the Visa payment network to automatically convert stored digital assets into fiat currency.

Available in 31 countries, Swipe support transactions in US dollar, pound sterling, and euros. The app has also listed Binance’s native coin BNB to its platform for an undisclosed amount.

The exchange also announced a partnership with settlement provider Etana Custody to further increase options for users to buy digital assets with fiat currencies.

With this partnership, Binance users can now fund their accounts with 15 national currencies in Europe, Asia, North America, and Oceania markets.

Besides, United Arab Emirates dirham (AED), Czech koruna (CZK), Danish krone (DKK), Hungarian forint (HUF), Mexican peso (MXN), Norwegian krone (NOK), Polish złoty (PLN), and Swedish krona (SEK), euro (EUR), Canadian dollar (CAD), Australian dollar (AUD), and Swiss franc (CHF) are also included.

This brings the total number of countries and regions that Binance serves with fiat to 170.

Users can fund their purchases of cryptos right from Binance’s website once they have set up a funded Etana account. Etana also follows KYC and AML standards and is compliant with the Bank Secrecy Act.

Etana also provides services to Kraken as a third-party custodian and settlement provider of both fiat and digital assets for brokers, traders, and exchanges.

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Author: AnTy

Venezuelan Government Exploring Bitcoin Payment Option for Passport Renewal Services

  • Venezuelan government via immigration authority SAIME might avail BTC payment options for passport application and renewal as indicated by recent ‘test-run’ as the SAIME website extended the option briefly before disabling it.
  • The country seeks to embrace cryptocurrencies to mitigate sanctions as its national fiat’s value is experiencing hyperinflation and has plummeted to almost zero.

News has emerged that soon Venezuelans shall be able to apply for their passports via Bitcoin. This was first revealed by a Reddit post showing a BTC payment option available for passport application on the Administrative Identification, Migration, and Alien Services (SAIME) official website.

The information was further collaborated by twitter users who confirmed that immigration watchdog SAIME had extended the BTC payment option for passport application and renewals. There is also an indication that they might even extend support to Visa and MasterCard as it was marked coming soon. This might have been brought about by economic sanctions placed by the US. The other alternatives of paying for the service are by using their fiat currency, the Bolivar, or leverage their state-backed crypto, Petro.

Inaccessible to Venezuelan Residents

However, the option wasn’t available to residents of Venezuela. This was confirmed by the owner of the original post, who disclosed that he was unable to complete the transaction hours after the initial post. Users in other countries such as Brazil were able to utilize the option which has since vanished from the site indicating that the government was simply conducting test runs.

Huge appetite for crypto

Notably, Venezuela has been seen to increase its crypto uptake with the sanctions well underway. With banking halls inaccessible indefinitely due to global Covid-19 pandemic, the Venezuelan based witnesses have noted a surge in P2P BTC transactions. Their legislature has recently amended government policies offering the residents fuel at subsidized prices. The residents can now make gas payments with their national crypto petro, alongside their fiat currency.

With the national fiat facing hyperinflation now almost valueless, they have turned to crypto for cross border remittances. Valiu, a Colombia based startup, has availed a BTC backed crypto dollar. Although tests are still underway for the synthetic dollar, they have partnered with Latin food delivery firm, Rappi, as they anticipate tremendous market response on launch.

There has also been mention of government holding BTC and Ethereum as part of their international reserves. The country’s main revenue generator Petroleos de Venezuela SA, is looking for ways to transfer BTC and ETH to the central bank to fulfill their financial obligations.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Crypto Options Exchange Sparrow Raises $3.5M Led by BitMex’s Parent Firm HDR Global

  • Sparrow, a crypto options trading platform based out of Singapore, has raised $3.5 million in a Series A funding round.
  • The funding round, led by the parent company of Bitmex exchange HDR, also saw participation from the likes of Signum Capital, Du Capital, and FinLab EOS VC.

The options exchange offers Bitcoin and Ethereum options trading on its platform, which is executed via smart contracts. The firm also claimed that current liquidity would set them apart from similar other platforms saying their platform has more liquidity than over-the-counter trading Options.

Kenneth Yeo talked about how Sparrow as a platform is well structured to facilitate options trading in the decentralized space and said:

“Around 90% of our orders are filled within minutes, via a global liquidity book and an extensive network of liquidity providers and market makers.

Our options are settled on Ethereum smart contracts on the NIDUS Chain, enabling automated and transparent settlement of options contracts.

Competing platforms are proprietary and closed systems that rely on trust rather than transparency.”

Sparrow exchange was launched back in June 2019, and CEO Yeo claims that since its launch, the trading platform has seen its volumes grow by three folds peaking at $150 million.

With the crypto derivatives market flourishing and registering all-time high trading volumes, sparrows Series A fundraiser could prove to be a big boon and provide them with a push start in the already thriving market. At present, both the Options and Futures crypto derivatives market are seeing higher volumes than the spot markets.

Crypto Derivatives Market Thriving

The crypto derivatives market has seen a significant surge in volumes for both futures and options market. While the options market is comparatively just a fraction of the futures market, it still registered an amount of $3.1 billion last month. In comparison, the futures market clocked a whopping $558 billion in the same period.

The options market’s volume might look like a small fraction when compared to futures and spot markets that seem to be growing at a rapid pace. The ratio between spot trading volume and options trading volume has surged from 0.009 to 0.029.

Sparrow is planning to utilize the recently raised capital on expanding its service and workforce. The options trading platform has also applied for a payment license in Singapore.

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Author: James W

Crypto Derivatives Platform, Delta Exchange, Rolls Out BNB and LINK Options Trading

  • Crypto exchange Delta has introduced options trading for the Binance Coin and Chainlink’s LINK.
  • The CEO has revealed that this was due to demand from the traders denoting that the two were the most active digital assets on their platform.

Singapore-based crypto derivatives platform Delta Exchange has now launched trading options for the Binance coin (BNB) and LINK, a brainchild of enterprise oracle solutions Chainlink. The June 19th announcement highlighted that the BNB and LINK would be corresponding to contracts they have with Tezos (XTZ), Atomic Coin (ATOM), XRP, and Litecoin (LTC).

According to the CEO, Pankaj Balani has insisted that they released the products due to demand from traders. He remarked at the popularity of the two altcoins on their exchange.

“A lot of inbound interest from traders”

The crypto derivatives platform has been offering Bitcoin and Ethereum options for a while now wrapped in lucrative contracts dubbed Move. Unlike legacy contracts that extend traders the option to acquire or trade at a specified price, the move contracts enable the traders to focus specifically on the volatility of the crypto asset.

“When trading these contracts, a trader is betting on the absolute value of the price movement of a coin rather than the coin going up or down”

This was likened by the CEO in combining the call and put options into one. This way, the amateur traders would be awarded an extra edge due to its simplicity—the Move contracts currently attracting a 0.05% transactional fee. According to the executive, the contracts have recorded at least $4 Million and $2 Million daily for the BTC and ETH move contracts, respectively.

BTC Options Popular choice for Crypto Derivative Platforms

Similarly, other crypto exchanges have jumped at the opportunity of offering options trading for an array of crypto assets with OKEX, Binance, and FTX, all unleashing parallel products. Notably, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has experienced exponential upsurge (20x) since the introduction of the CME BTC options making up for nearly 25% of the global IO on BTC options surpassing OKEx and LedgerX markets.

With CME, bitcoin options open interest soared from $13 million to an all-time high recorded this June 10th of close to $373 million.

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Author: Lujan Odera

CME Records Over 20x Growth in Total Bitcoin Options Open Interest Since May

Institutional grade Bitcoin derivatives platform, CME, is experiencing a superficial growth in options interest from its clients. The total open interest is on a skyrocketing path, witnessing a 2500% increase, from the May 1 at $13 million to over $360 million as of Monday, June 15, 2020.

However, the total daily volume of BTC options traded has dropped significantly during the past week as price levels faltered below the $9,000 mark.

Institutional Interest in BTC Options Explodes

CME Bitcoin options launched in early January this year, starting on a slow note before the market exploded about five months later in May. Across the past six weeks, CME Bitcoin options open interest increased from $13 million on May 1 to an all-time high of $373 million recorded on June 10, 2020.

Source: Skew Markets

Despite the slight retrace to $368 million on Monday, the 2000%+ growth signals a growing interest in institutional investment interest into trading regulated crypto derivatives. CME now holds over 23 percent of the total global OI on Bitcoin options, surpassing the OKEx and LedgerX markets.

A spokesperson of the company, however, said the company “has no plans to introduce additional cryptocurrency products” despite the demand.

A one-Sided Battle in Institutional Investment

According to Matt Kaye, a managing partner at Blockhead Capital, a crypto hedge fund, the increasing open interest gives a “strong signal that regulated institutions are exposing their books to bitcoin.” Investing in regulated BTC products comes at a higher cost, but it seems the institution is ready to pay it, Kaye said.

“CME has a higher cost of capital and is closed on weekends, so anyone trading there is likely making those sacrifices because they have to.”

However, CME’s largest competitor, Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt, is not experiencing similar fortunes despite institutional demand growth. Since launching in December 2019, the total OI on Bakkt BTC options has only crossed the $1 million mark thrice (from January 9 to 11th), currently languishing at $66,000 as of June 15.

Skew Markets BTC Open Interest
Source: Skew Markets

Bitcoin options interest has also ballooned in retail markets, given the extremely volatile prices of the top crypto so far. Deribit, the largest exchange dealing in BTC options, has recorded a 300% increase in total open interest since the start of the year. Deribit crossed the billion-dollar mark in the final week of May, setting an all-time high on June 12 at $1.2 billion.

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Author: Lujan Odera

OKEx Crypto Exchange Launches ETH Options Contract; EOS Options Trading to Follow

One of the largest cryptocurrency trading and derivative platform OKEx, announced the launch of its Ether options contract on June 4th.

On June 18th, the trading platform will also launch the EOS/USD options as well. The trading platform also confirmed that they had put 1000 ETH in the ETH Options insurance fund to avoid a clawback.

OKEx has managed to make a name for itself in the derivatives market, offering a range of derivative products, including crypto futures and perpetual swaps for BTC and ETH.

Before launching the Ether/USD options, the firm has already launched BTC/USD options, which has proven to be a hit among traders. As per a recent data set released by Skew, OKEx’s BTC/USD options brought in an average daily transaction volume of over $10 million. Jay Hao, CEO of OKEx.commented on the launch of Ether options contract and said:

“The launch of the ETH/USD options provides our users with more trading tools to fulfill their needs of executing different trading strategies. Based on the success of the OKEx BTC/USD options, we are confident to bring users better options trading experience. “OKEx will never stop innovating our products and provide users with one-stop trading services. For example, EOS/USD options will open soon on OKEx. Stay tuned!”

OKEx’s success in the derivatives market meant that it successfully overtook Bitmex to become the largest bitcoin futures market share.

Derivative products help in hedging risks in hard times and maximize profits. Among these numerous derivative products, options and futures are the most popular ones.

Options contracts allow the traders to buy/sell depending on the type of contract, and the underlying asset, be it Bitcoin or Ether, helps traders to hedge risk.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Harmony’s 4-Shard Network Upgrades to Support Staking, Allowing Users to Earn ONE Tokens

  • Harmony extends staking options to users with a number of staking companies already expressing interest to partner with Harmony.
  • They will issue around 441 Million ONE tokens annually to go directly to stakers to incentive staking.

News has surfaced that Harmony has revealed they are extending staking options for their Mainnet users. They will reward users with extra tokens for locking their ONE token.

According to Harmony cofounder Nick White, this sort of arrangement would build trust levels with their client base without actually identifying them. Harmony’s top brass with a couple of trusted partners consists of the Blockchain’s oversight committee with the staking option to welcome more parties on board.

Their Token, ONE trading at $0.003407 has a market cap of $15.6 Million and registering trading volumes just shy above the $3 million mark. There are currently 4,596,807,869 ONE tokens in circulation as per this writing.

The base layer Blockchain in April 2019 disclosed that they had sourced around $18 million from their completed token presale. They were bankrolled by a variety of investors including the Consensus Capital Group of Silicon Valley, Bank Central Asia (BCA) Australia, Lemniscap VC of Hong Kong, and UniValues Associates from Singapore. The funds were injected into the development of their sharded Blockchain.

Already some staking companies: Staked, Stake.fish, Blockdaemon, Everstake, InfStones have expressed their interests in collaborating with Harmony to manage their nodes. They have advised those who want to stake, to partner with their staking partners’. Although they have left space for individual investors by designing a protocol that is pocket friendly (doesn’t require High computing power) increasing its accessibility.

“A computer with two cores, 2GB of memory and 30GB of storage”

They have offered incentives to encourage staking committing to issue 441 Million ONE annually to the stakers’. This would translate to high yields for the stakers: 164% (at 5% staked) to 9% (at 95% staked) in just the first year.

According to their blog, White believes that high staking (above 60%) would ensure the Network isn’t vulnerable to 33% attack. This would ease their minds knowing that majority of the tokens are locked in. He also highlighted that staking would create an organic demand for the ONE token. The unstaking process only takes 10 days once it is initiated by the staker.

They highlighted that creating a malicious fork in their network was grounds for contract termination. An additional 1000 slots would be availed to accommodate more validators on Harmony later on.

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Author: Lujan Odera

$72B in Equities to Move to the Axcore Blockchain in an OCC Deal; Will Save Billions

The Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) that’s helping the New York Stock Exchange, the NASDAQ, Cboe and BATS to clear their equity derivatives is in the process of moving its infrastructure to Axoni.

Axoni is a New York-based lending platform that has about $72 billion in loan equities from the Americas. It gives its users real-time access to its data, so it doesn’t send any messages in order to receive information back.

What Would Moving the Stock Lending Process to Axcore Mean?

While the information on Axoni is not visible to all parties, the process of moving the lending to Axcore or any other of the blockchains can save billions in auditing costs, but only if each party has access to the data whenever it needs to. An executive for the OCC said that every profit-generating trader will need only 3 employees to manage any reconciliation process.

The OCC move is scheduled for 2022, after a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) test has been completed. The test includes JP Morgan, Charles Schwab, Blackrock BLK and the Bank of America. Greg Schvey, Axoni’s co-founder, says the transition’s capabilities aren’t comprised by a single project, but by isolated platforms that are running the same technology.

Other Equity-Swap Platforms Powered by Axcore

The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation has been ever since January 2020 in the final stages of moving $11 trillion of trade information to the Citi and Goldman Sachs equity-swap platforms powered by Axcore,. Here’s what Schvey, who also happens to be Axoni’s CEO, had to say about this:

“What we’re talking about here is another major piece of capital markets infrastructure, not just migrating over to blockchain generally, but running on the exact same platform as a number of other major asset classes and infrastructure providers.”

More on the OCC

The OCC has been regulated by both the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It runs a futures and options clearing platform from NASDAQ and had its stock lending platform moving to the Axcore blockchain. This OCC platform has acted as a guarantor when lenders and borrowers were agreeing on security deals, helping the OCC to reduce the risk of borrowers not being able to repay their loans.

At the beginning of 2019, the OCC has started to upgrade its platform with the PoC design in order to show how the auditors’ need to accelerate settlement timings can be reduced on a distributed ledger that’s similar to the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Deribit Exchange Launches Ethereum Daily Options After Success With Bitcoin Contracts

The Deribit Exchange specializing in crypto derivatives has launched daily Ether (ETH) options, an announcement from Monday and made on Twitter says.

The strike price intervals for the new product will be $5. Their expiring date will be every day at 08:00 UTC, so traders will only have a window of 24 hours for trading. As far as their trading lifetime goes, this will be 2 days when introduced. Starting with February 19, Deribit will also scale back the tick size for all options, said Andras Caron, Deribit’s CMO. This means the size will be cut back from 0.001 ETH to 0.0005 ETH.

Deribit Volumes Raised Considerably as a Result of ETH Prices Increasing

Deribit also launched longer duration options settled in cash, in late March of last year Ever since, it has traded a $1.9 million average daily volume. The exchange’s volumes have risen considerably when the ETH prices have increased, so on February 13, Deribit had a record volume of $13 million in 1 day. ETH has recently reached its 7-month $290 high and gained almost 100% until now, for this year. The derivatives space has been very heated in the last few months, seeing huge names such as Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt and Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) have launched options on Bitcoin (BTC).

Deribit Remains a Leader in Options Volume

Deribit is based in Panama and continues to remain superior as far as options volume. According to Skew, Deribit has handled almost ninety percent of the worldwide volume since January 28.  Deribit’s launch of the daily ETH options arrives just 2 weeks after the daily BTC options went live. This is what Caron had to say about what daily options have to offer users:

“Daily options only have one or two days remaining lifetime and thus lower time value or premium and thus [are] cheaper. These shorter-dated, cheaper options are great instruments to use for short term strategies enabling the trader to hedge events or benefit from expected short term moves.”

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Author: Oana Ularu