Bitcoin traders put eyes on $31K even as $2B in BTC options expire on Friday


The upcoming $2 billion Bitcoin (BTC) monthly options expiry on July 28 could potentially establish $29,500 as a support level. Some argue that the recent U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate increase to 5.25% had a detrimental effect on risk-on assets like cryptocurrencies. However, Bitcoin bulls believe that the full impact of a tighter economic policy takes time to influence the markets.

Bitcoin daily price movements during option expiries. Source: TradingView

Looking back, the monthly expiry on June 30 did not cause significant volatility, given that Bitcoin had already experienced a 22.2% gain between June 15 and June 23. Conversely, the May monthly expiry triggered a 9% rally, with Bitcoin’s price rising from $26,100 on May 25 to $28,450 on May 29.

In contrast, the options expiry in April resulted in a 7% correction, as Bitcoin’s price dropped from $29,900 on April 27 to $27,800 on May 1. This data clearly indicates that the impact of options expiry takes a few days to consolidate but eventually becomes highly relevant for setting trends.

Bulls have regulatory and the ETF momentum on their side

There are multiple spot Bitcoin ETF requests from some of the world’s largest fund managers, including BlackRock and Fidelity. In addition, on July 26, a U.S. Lower House Committee approved a pair of bills aiming to clarify the distinctions between securities instruments and digital commodities.

The recent positive corporate earnings also support the bullish momentum in risk-on markets. Along with the latest Consumer Confidence data, they strengthen the argument that the risk of a recession is diminishing, at least in the short term. For starters, Meta Platform reported $32 billion in 2Q revenues, surpassing the market’s estimates.

Several other companies have also reported earnings above consensus, including McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Google, Johnson & Johnson, Morgan Stanley and Novartis. As for the U.S. Consumer Confidence, the metric reached its highest level in 2 years, reaching 117 in July, up from 110.1 in June.

Data shows bulls were excessively optimistic on Bitcoin price

The open interest for the options expiry on July 28 is $2 billion. Still, the actual figure is expected to be lower because some bullish traders anticipated price levels of $31,000 or higher. This excessive optimism stemmed from Bitcoin’s price trading above the resistance level from July 13 to July 24.

Deribit Bitcoin options aggregate open interest for July 28. Source: Deribit

The 0.56 put-to-call ratio reflects the imbalance between the $1.3 billion in call (buy) open interest and the $740 million in put (sell) options. Yet, if Bitcoin’s price remains near $29,500 at 8:00 am UTC on July 28, only $137 million worth of these call (buy) options will be available. This difference happens because the right to buy Bitcoin at $30,000 or $31,000 is useless if BTC trades below that level on expiry.

Bitcoin bears aim for sub-$29,000 to secure some profit

Below are the four most likely scenarios based on the current price action. The number of options contracts available on July 28 for call (buy) and put (sell) instruments varies depending on the expiry price. The imbalance favoring each side constitutes the theoretical profit.

This crude estimate disregards more complex investment strategies. For instance, a trader could have sold a put option, effectively gaining positive exposure to Bitcoin above a specific price. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to estimate this effect.

  • Between $27,000 and $28,000: 1,100 calls vs. 10,000 puts. The net result favors the put instruments by $240 million.
  • Between $28,000 and $29,000: 3,000 calls vs. 6,800 puts. The net result favors the put instruments by $110 million.
  • Between $29,000 and $31,000: 6,500 calls vs. 6,600 puts. The result is balanced between put and call options.
  • Between $31,000 and $32,000: 15,400 calls vs. 3,800 puts. The net result favors the call instruments by $360 million.

Note that the bulls’ best shot requires a 5.5% price increase ahead of the July 28 expiry to secure a profit. On the other hand, bears only need a modest 2% correction below $29,000 to come out ahead on the monthly expiry. However, the potential profit of $110 million doesn’t justify a large effort for the bears. Moreover, given that Bitcoin has recently failed to break the $29,000 support level, the most probable outcome for the expiry is a neutral area near $30,000.

When analyzing a broader mid-to-long term scenario, Bitcoin bears may have the upper hand due to the added incentives of higher fixed-income returns resulting from the reduced 3% inflation and increased interest rates. But, considering the overall bullish momentum in the economy, there’s actually a favorable outlook for Bitcoin to break above $31,000 in the following weeks.

This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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