Ether drops below $3,800, but traders are unwilling to short at current levels

Even though Ether (ETH) reached a $4,870 all-time high on Nov. 10, bulls have little reason to celebrate. The 290% gains year-to-date have been overshadowed by Dec.’s 18% price drop. Still, Ethereum’s network value locked in smart contracts (TVL) increased nine-fold to $155 billion.

Looking at the past couple of months’ price performance chart doesn’t really tell the whole story, and Ether’s current $450 billion market capitalization makes it one of the world’s top 20 tradable assets, right behind the two-century-old Johnson & Johnson conglomerate.

Ether/USD price at FTX. Source: TradingView

2021 should be remembered by the decentralized exchanges’ sheer growth, whose daily volume reached $3 billion, a 340% growth versus the last quarter of 2020. Still, crypto traders are notoriously short-sighted, accentuating the impact of the ongoing downtrend channel.

Derivatives markets do not reflect panic selling

To understand whether bearishness has been instilled, one must analyze the futures’ funding rate. Perpetual contracts, also known as inverse swaps, have an embedded rate usually charged every eight hours. Those measures are established to avoid exchange risk imbalances. A positive funding rate indicates that longs (buyers) demand more leverage.

However, the opposite situation occurs when shorts (sellers) require additional leverage, and this causes the funding rate to turn negative.

Ether perpetual futures 8-hour funding rate. Source:

As depicted above, the eight-hour fee has been ranging near zero in December, indicating a balanced leverage demand from buyers and sellers. Had there been some panic moments, it would have been reflected on such derivatives indicators.

Top traders are increasing their bullish bets

Exchange-provided data highlights traders’ long-to-short net positioning. By analyzing every client’s position on the spot, perpetual and futures contracts, one can better understand whether professional traders are leaning bullish or bearish.

There are occasional discrepancies in the methodologies between different exchanges, so viewers should monitor changes instead of absolute figures.

Exchanges top traders Bitcoin long-to-short ratio. Source: Coinglass

Despite Ether’s 9% correction since Dec. 24, top traders on Binance, Huobi and OKEx have increased their leverage longs. To be more precise, Binance was the only exchange facing a modest reduction in the top traders’ long-to-short ratio. The figure moved from 0.98 to 0.92. However, this impact was more than compensated by OKEx traders increasing their bullish bets from 1.67 to 3.20 in one week.

Currently, there is hardly a sense of bearishness present in the market. According to the data, pro traders are buying the dip while retail investors’ net demand for shorts (sell) hardly changed throughout the past month. Of course, none of that can predict whenever Ether will flip the current descending channel, but one might infer that there’s little interest in betting on the downside from here.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.


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Bitcoin Funding Rates Have Calmed Down – Has Greed in the BTC Market been Neutralized?

Bitcoin funding rates have slowed down since the leading cryptocurrency scaled to new heights of $69,000.

On-chain analyst Will Clemente acknowledged:

“BTC funding rates have calmed down across the board. A lot of the greed in the Bitcoin market has been neutralized, for now.”


Moreover, funding rates have dropped because open interest in the BTC network has nosedived. 


The surge towards highs of $69K was boosted because the US Bureau of Labor released data showing that inflation had hit a 30-year high. Therefore, this triggered the discussion of whether Bitcoin was cementing its status as an inflation hedge. 

Moreover, the number of active addresses rose to 1.19 million, and this played an instrumental role in enabling Bitcoin to break the record at $69,000.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin has enjoyed significant capital inflows because 18.3% of its supply has transacted above $53,000. Crypto analytic firm Glassnode noted:

“The volume of Bitcoin last moved above a $1 Trillion Market Cap has reached 3.454 million BTC. This means 18.3% of the supply was transacted above $53K, demonstrating capital inflows 474K BTC were last spent above the current price, and are thus currently holding an unrealized loss.”


Is Bitcoin entering the main phase of the bull market?

According to Clemente:

“Long-term holders buy BTC into weakness and sell into strength. We’ve just gotten our first red prints on LTH net position change in over 6 months, showing bull market distribution has begun.”


Clemente believes that Bitcoin might be entering the main phase of the bull market based on the long-term holders’ behaviour because they don’t ideally buy the bottom and sell the top.

On the other hand, Arcane Research acknowledged that Bitcoin was in a healthy market. The market insight provider stated:

“The basis represents the gap between the spot and futures price. A high basis signals a bullish bias in the futures market. The basis is much lower now than when BTC traded above $60k in April – indicating a healthier market.”

Image source: Shutterstock


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Traders pin Ethereum’s route to new ATH to eventual Bitcoin ETF approval

Ether (ETH) price is lagging Bitcoin’s (BTC) price action by 13% in October, but is this relevant? To date, the altcoin has still outperformed BTC by 274% in 2021. However, traders tend to be short-sighted and some will question whether the Ethereum network can successfully migrate to proof of stake (PoS) validation and finally solve the high gas fees issue.

Bitcoin and Ether prices at Bitstamp. Source: TradingView

Moreover, the increasing competition from smart contract networks like Solana (SOL) and Avalanche (AVAX) have been worrying investors:

According to Cointelegraph, the recent speculation over the possible approval of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) raised traders’ appetite for BTC. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is expected to announce its decision on multiple ETF requests over the next couple of weeks. However, it remains a possibility that the regulator will postpone these dates.

Pro traders are unfazed by the recent price stagnation

To determine whether professional traders are leaning bearish, one should start by analyzing the futures premium — also known as the basis rate. This indicator measures the price gap between futures contract prices and the regular spot market.

Ether’s quarterly futures are the preferred instruments of whales and arbitrage desks. These derivatives might seem complicated for retail traders due to their settlement date and price difference from spot markets, but their most significant advantage is the lack of a fluctuating funding rate.

Ether three-month futures basis rate. Source:

The three-month futures typically trade with a 5% to 15% annualized premium follows the stablecoin lending rate. By postponing settlement, sellers demand a higher price, and this causes the price difference.

As depicted above, Ether’s failure to break the $3,600 resistance has not caused a shift in pro traders’ sentiment because the basis rate remains at a healthy 13%. This shows that there is no excessive optimism at the moment.

Retail traders have been neutral for the past five weeks

Retail traders tend to opt for perpetual contracts (inverse swaps), where a fee is charged every eight hours to balance the leverage demand. To understand if some panic selling occurred, one must analyze the futures markets funding rate.

Ether perpetual futures 8-hour funding rate. Source: Bybt

In neutral markets, the funding rate tends to vary from 0% to 0.03% on the positive side. This fee is equivalent to 0.6% per week and indicates that longs are the ones paying it.

Since Sept. 7, there hasn’t really been any indication of high leverage demand from either bulls or bears. This balanced situation reflects retail traders’ lack of appetite for leverage long positions, but at the same time shows little panic selling or excessive fear.

Derivatives markets show that Ether investors are not worried about the recent underperformance versus Bitcoin. Furthermore, the lack of excessive long leverage after a 274% gain year-to-date should be positively portrayed.

By leaving some room for bullishness without compromising the derivatives market structure, Ether traders seem prepared for a rally above its all-time high, especially if a Bitcoin ETF is approved.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.