No matter if one analyzes Ether’s (ETH) longer-term or weekly time frame, there is little hope for bulls. Besides the negative 69% year-to-date performance, a descending channel has been pressuring the ETH price while offering resistance at $1,200.
Ether/USD 4-hour price index. Source: TradingView
Regulatory uncertainty continues to weigh down the sector. For example, Starling, a digital bank based in the United Kingdom, announced on Nov. 22 that it would no longer allow customers to send or receive money from digital asset exchanges or merchants. The bank described cryptocurrencies as high risk and heavily used for criminal purposes.
Other concerning news for the Ethereum ecosystem involved the decentralized finance (DeFi) platform AAVE, which suffered a short-seller attack on Nov. 22 aimed to profit from under-collateralized loans.
Curiously, a similar exploit happened on the Mango Markets DeFi application in October. Albeit not a direct attack on the Ethereum network, the attacker has shown critical flaws in some major decentralized collateral lending applications.
Furthermore, the Singapore-based cryptocurrency lender Hodlnaut is reportedly facing a police probe over allegations of cheating and fraud. The issues started on Aug. 8 after the lending firm cited a liquidity crisis and suspended withdrawals on the platform.
Lastly, on Nov. 22, United States senator Elizabeth Warren correlated the demise of the FTX exchange to subprime mortgages of 2008 and penny stocks used for pump-and-dump schemes. Warren said the FTX collapse should be a wake-up call to regulators to enforce laws on the crypto industry.
That is why the $1.13 billion Ether monthly options expiry on Nov. 25 will put a lot of price pressure on the bulls, even though ETH posted 11% gains between Nov. 22-24.
Most of the bullish bets were placed above $1,400
Ether’s rally toward the $1,650 resistance on Nov. 5 gave the bulls the signal to expect a continuation of the uptrend. This becomes evident because only 17% of the call (buy) options for Nov. 25 have been placed below $1,400. Consequently, Ether bears are better positioned for the monthly expiry of the upcoming $1.13 billion options.
Ether options aggregate open interest for Nov. 25. Source: CoinGlass
A broader view using the 1.44 call-to-put ratio shows a skewed situation with bullish bets (calls) open interest at $665 million versus the $460 million put (sell) options. Nevertheless, with Ether currently hovering around $1,200, bears have a dominant position.
For instance, if the Ether price remains below $1,250 at 8:00 am UTC on Nov. 25, only $40 million worth of these call (buy) options will be available. This difference happens because there is no use in the right to buy Ether at $1,250 or $1,500 if it trades below that level on expiry.
Bears could pocket a $215 million profit
Below are the four most likely scenarios based on the current price action. The number of options contracts available on Nov. 25 for call (bull) and put (bear) instruments varies, depending on the expiry price. The imbalance favoring each side constitutes the theoretical profit:
- Between $1,050 and $1,150: 800 calls vs. 20,200 puts. The net result favors bears by $215 million.
- Between $1,150 and $1,250: 3,300 calls vs. 15,100 puts. The net result favors bearish bets by $140 million.
- Between $1,250 and $1,300: 4,700 calls vs. 13,200 puts. The net result favors bears by $100 million.
- Between $1,300 and $1,400: 8,700 calls vs. 8,900 puts. The net result is balanced between bulls and bears.
This crude estimate considers the call options used in bullish bets and the put options exclusively in neutral-to-bearish trades. Even so, this oversimplification disregards more complex investment strategies.
A 7-year-old dormant Bitcoin wallet could complicate matters for Ether bulls
Ether bulls need to push the price above $1,300 on Nov. 25 to balance the scales and avoid a potential $215 million loss. However, Ether bulls seem out of luck since a Bitcoin wallet related to the 2014 Mt. Gox hack moved 10,000 BTC on Nov. 23.
Ki Young Ju, the cofounder of blockchain analytics firm Cryptoquant, has verified the findings, noting 0.6% of the funds were sent to exchanges and may represent sell-side liquidity.
If bears dominate the November ETH monthly options expiry, that will likely add firepower for further downside bets. Thus, at the moment, there is no indication that bulls can turn the tables and avoid the pressure from the two-week-long descending triangle.
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