CME February Bitcoin Futures Expire Today, Trader “Expecting Shenanigans”

  • Open interest on Bitcoin futures contracts on regulated platform CME hits its peak this month
  • CME gap is fully closed at $8,500 and a potential bullish divergence has started to show up which means a bounce could be seen
  • The market is already very volatile and it is further expected to be even more so as bitcoin futures on the regulated platform CME expires today.

Bearish traders have a stronghold within the crypto market with Bitcoin’s (BTC) price down from above $10,000 earlier this week to $8,421. Shorts, meanwhile, are feeling the pain amidst this bloodbath.

Interestingly, on Bitfinex, the longs still dominate the market, making up to 95%. This majority contrasts sharply with the shorts on the Binance, which makes up 65% of its market.

Now, CME Bitcoin futures contracts for February are set to expire. Launched in Dec. 2017 during the market peak, CME recorded considerable growth over the last two years.

After the crypto-winter of 2018, 2019 brought a revival of volume: with prices climbing before dropping towards the second half of the year. However, in Feb. 2020, CME’s platform registered the highest average daily open interest (OI) on Bitcoin futures.

This month marked the highest ever OI on CME bitcoin futures, breaking $1 billion in trading volume for the third time.

However, since hitting $1.1 billion in daily volume on Feb. 18, according to the data provider – Skew Market – the volume on the exchange took a hit. During these two weeks, the daily volume hit lows of $118 million. This week, however, it’s been moving between $270 million and $450 million. OI also hit a low of $220 million down from $338 million on Feb. 14, before reaching a peak at $338 million.

This increased activity means the futures expiry will have a greater impact on BTC prices. In addition, CME has been accused of market manipulation, due to its involvement in the 2017 crash from the $20,000 ATH.

For the moment, Bitcoin is hovering around $8,600 and, according to the trader Crypto Michael said,

“We could see a bounce up to $9,000 from $8,300-8,400.”

“Futures expiring today, as well as current BTC prices, show that the gap is fully closed at $8,500 + a potential bullish divergence is starting to show.”

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Author: AnTy

VanEck CEO: “No Bitcoin ETF Approval In The Foreseeable Future” By The SEC

Jan Van Eck, of Van Eck Associates, and CEO, gave his opinion on the probability of a regulated crypto investment asset taking root in the United States. The long awaited Securities Exchange Commission’s (SEC) approval of a Bitcoin ETF looks unpromising in the near future, and not anytime soon either.

As one of the most sought after investment products, a Bitcoin ETF is expected to influence a spike in the price and adoption of Bitcoin as most experts believe. However, the reverse is not true as the SEC’s constant rejection and withdrawals of applications in 2019, did little in effect to prices, as BTC grew over 95% through the year. The SEC has taken too long in that some sections of the crypto market believe Bitcoin ETFs approvals will never come to life.

This is the case even in the opening weeks of 2020, as Bitwise pulled back its BTC ETF proposal on Jan. 14th leaving optimists in massive doubt. One of the most awaited for Bitcoin ETF, VanEck/ SolidX ETF, faces the same challenges from the SEC having halted its proposal progress three times over the course of 2019, with Gabor Gurbacs – VanEck Director of digital asset strategies, comforting their customers by saying they were still focused on making a Bitcoin ETF a “top priority”.

At the start of 2019, VanEck released a statement announcing the withdrawal of their Bitcoin ETF proposal from the SEC. After re-applying in February, the SEC delayed its decision in March by 45 days, before the company announced yet another withdrawal. In September all hopes for a 2019 Bitcoin ETF were dashed as VanEck announced yet another withdrawal of their proposal in fear of rejection.

No Bitcoin ETF in the foreseeable future

In an interview with Bloomberg, CEO of Van Eck, Jan Van Eck, further spoke on how Bitcoin ETFs are not set to be approved any time soon. He believes the current regulation uncertainty around the area is not set to end anytime soon despite the increase exposure that Americans have to crypto in unregulated markets. He said,

“I don’t see a Bitcoin ETF anytime soon. So yes, the vehicles that allow […] accredited investors to access it, that’s fine. But, still you have tens and millions of retail Americans invested in Bitcoin with no regulatory protection.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Monerium Partners With Algorand To Put Its Regulated E-Money On The Blockchain

Monerium which is regulated to offer e-money in the European Economic Area (EEA), is teaming up with Algorand in a non-exclusive partnership deal to introduce fiat money transactions within the Algorand blockchain platform, CoinDesk reports.

The deal which was announced on Tuesday, will see the Iceland-based Monerium issue programmable e-money on Algorand protocol. According to Algorand’s COO, Sean Ford, the two firms will work together on real-world cases which can be solved through advanced blockchain technology utilizing the programmable e-money from Monerium.

Monerium, backed by ConsenSys, enables customers to come up with blockchain-based financial solutions like cross-border payment settlements utilizing various fiat currencies like the US dollar, euro as well as British pound. Monerium holds the customer’s deposits in the form of the fiat money and releases it in virtual form which can easily be used on a blockchain platform.

The firm believes that digital fiat money can help in cost savings through elimination of intermediaries as well as allowing complex payment forms.

Monerium was started in 2016 and got additional media attention after ConsenSys announced investment of $2 million during the seed round last year. In June last year, the firm was awarded an e-money licence by Icelandic Financial Supervisory Authority which grants it authority to offer its services in EU zone including Liechtenstein and Norway.

Algorand was started in 2017 and was created by award winning cryptographer Silvio Micali and has lately drew considerable interest from investors in the industry. It was able to raise slightly over $60 million worth of token sales in about four hours last year. The release of Algorand 2.0 in November last year brought new features like smart contracts support as well as decentralized finance (DeFi) aspects.

According to Monerium CEO, Sveinn Valfells,

“Algorand incorporates key features for many mainstream use-cases, including stateless smart contracts and scaleable proof-of-stake consensus. The Algorand leadership has taken a pragmatic and deliberate approach in designing a blockchain for mainstream applications while staying close to the ethos of the open source community.”

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Bitwise “Committed” to Bitcoin ETF, Sends a Letter to SEC about Significant Retail Demand for BTC

  • A Bitcoin ETF to provide investors exposure to BTC in a regulated manner
  • Charles Schwab’s study shows millennials growing interest in BTC
  • Most popular crypto app has 30 million accounts, more than Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and E*Trade’s combined
  • But these Bitcoin access avenues have high fees, limited disclosures, & security risk

in response to their decision to disapprove the proposed rule change to list and trade shares of the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Trust under NYSE Arca Rule.

Though the company is disappointed with the Staff’s decision, it is not giving up and aims to provide additional context to review Staff’s decision.

“Bitwise is committed to creating a bitcoin ETF that provides all investors with the ability to

access bitcoin in a regulated and familiar fund format with the transparent and robust disclosures required by the federal securities laws.”

Such an ETF, it said would provide protection for the current millions of US investors using other avenues to access BTC market.

Meeting SEC’s Requirements for an ETF

Bitwise in its letter dated Dec. 18, reiterates that two requirements found by the Staff in terms of the bitcoin market being resistant to market manipulation and fraudulent activity and that the listing exchange has entered into a surveillance sharing agreement with a regulated market of significant size are satisfied by BTC market.

Because the BTC price is set in the open market, Bitwise argues it is resistant to the kind of market manipulation scandals that occurred in markets that rely on coordinated fix pricing. Bitcoin’s inherent fungibility and the market’s distributed nature allows for effective arbitrage that it said helped insulate bitcoin from attempts to manipulate individual markets.

As for the market to be need to be resistant to a comprehensive set of market manipulation vectors to qualify, “This is a standard that, historically, even the most well-regulated, arbitraged, and liquid markets, such as the U.S. equity index options market, have not met.”

Bitwise’s research also pointed out that CME bitcoin futures — the largest US bitcoin market by notional volume — is a regulated market of significant size.

Why Does A Bitcoin even ETF Matter?

But why exactly the market needs a Bitcoin ETF? Bitwise notes that a large number of US investors are investing in Bitcoin but they need to do so in a safe and efficient manner.

The company illustrated Charles Schwab’s recent study that showed Grayscale Bitcoin Trust is the fifth largest holding in millennial retirement accounts, ahead of companies like Berkshire Hathaway, Walt Disney, and Microsoft.

GBTC it said is the only tool that retail investors can access Bitcoin through a traditional brokerage account. However, it’s ability to offer high-fidelity exposure to BTC is limited. Also, it is traded on the secondary market at a premium to its net asset value (NAV) as high as 140%.

Another primary means for retail investors for accessing bitcoin is via crypto apps. Coinbase is once such incredibly popular one that has 30 million accounts, more than the number of active brokerage accounts at Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and E*Trade combined. But they have their own challenges in terms of high fees, limited disclosures, and security risk.

“Our goal is to demonstrate that there is significant retail demand for bitcoin exposure, and to note that this demand is currently forced into products that forgo the protections and disclosure requirements that would be required of an ETF.”

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Author: AnTy