It has been an explosive past few days for the price of Bitcoin. Within the span of merely two days, the cryptocurrency gained over 20%, peaking just above $9,500. It was a move that liquidated dozens of millions worth of futures positions on BitMEX, data from Skew.com shows.
According to Mohit Sorout, partner at cryptocurrency hedge fund Bitazu Capital, what drove the rally was an influx of buying activity on spot cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase, not buying activity on derivatives platforms.
Spot exchanges differ from derivatives platforms in that they facilitate crypto to fiat trades without borrowed capital, unlike futures exchanges, which allow their users to utilize leverage.
Sorout found that as Bitcoin pressed higher, the open interest on BitMEX hit a “new all-time low,” reaching 50,000 BTC. Prior to March’s crash to $3,700, BitMEX’s open interest was closer to 100,000 BTC, according to Skew.com.
This metric reaching an all-time low is significant because it suggests that the speculative contracts, the futures, “no longer dominate the price of Bitcoin,” Sorout explained. Instead, it was spot markets that were “leading this uptrend.”
The trader also found that as BitMEX’s open interest plunged, the price of BTC on Coinbase and on BitMEX continued to deviate from one another, creating a positive basis indicative of consistent buy-side pressure in the spot markets.
Corroborating this is Bitwise’s trading volume dashboard, which reported nearly $5 billion worth of Bitcoin spot trades over a 24-hour period during the move past $9,000. On most days, this figure is closer to $2-3 billion.
Binance, which is the top exchange on Bitwise’s volume dashboard registered a new all-time high in trading activity on April 29. Much of this trading activity took place on Binance’s Bitcoin/USDT and Ethereum/USDT markets.
What’s Behind The Spike In Buying Activity?
Behind the recent jump in buying activity on cryptocurrency exchanges is a positive trend of fundamentals for Bitcoin.
In approximately 11 days, according to BitcoinBlockHalf.com, Bitcoin will see its latest block reward reduction, also known as a halving. Halvings are automated events that ensure the number of coins issued per block gets cut in half every four years.
At the start of April, Google Trends data indicated that the popularity of the term “Bitcoin halving” had begun to increase at a rapid clip. This trend has continued into the start of May, with the search engine reporting that global users are searching for information about the event more than ever before.
Similarly, cryptocurrency marketer and writer “Molly” reported on April 22 that the Chinese term for “Bitcoin halving” briefly became the sixth-most popular trending search term on Weibo, a social media platform with over 400 million active users.
Also boosting BTC is the response by central banks to the ongoing slowdown in the global economy.
Michael Collett, a co-founder of digital asset management platform Stack, told Forbes senior contributor Charles Bovaird recently:
“Set against the broader context of excessive monetary easing policies and ‘unlimited’ economic stimuli in major economies, [Bitcoin’s recent] gains are likely just the beginning.”
The confluence of a decrease of leverage in the cryptocurrency market and an increase in spot exchange activity, spurred by positive fundamentals, gives credence to the sentiment that Bitcoin is preparing to enter a sustainable uptrend in the weeks ahead.