Mar 03, 2023

BTC Leverage Longs Reach Unprecedented Highs

The crypto market is teeming with investors eager to maximize their returns with Bitcoin (BTC) positions, but it is difficult to discern whether these traders are pursuing high-risk strategies or using savvy hedging techniques. Margin trading is an option for investors who want to reduce their exposure to counterparty risk by maintaining a collateral deposit and most of their position on cold wallets.

It is important to note that not all leverage is necessarily reckless. Currently, the margin lending market is highly unusual, with a bias towards BTC longs who are betting on a price increase. This has been the case even though the BTC futures markets have remained relatively steady throughout 2023.

Margin markets are distinct from futures contracts in two key ways. Primarily, trades occur on the same order book as regular spot trading and secondly, the balance between margin longs and shorts is not always equal. After buying 20 Bitcoin using margin, traders can withdraw the coins from the exchange. This is only possible if there is a margin deposit, which is usually based on stablecoins. If the borrower fails to return the position, the exchange will automatically liquidate the margin to repay the lender.

Margin traders can either long or short. A long position is when an investor buys a cryptocurrency, expecting the price to increase. A short position is when an investor borrows a cryptocurrency, expecting the price to decrease. By analyzing the total lending amounts of Bitcoin and stablecoins, analysts can gain insight into whether investors are leaning bullish or bearish.

On Feb. 26, the BTC/USD long (bulls) margin demand outpaced shorts (bears) by 133 times, at 105,300 BTC. This is the highest leverage long/short ratio ever seen on Bitfinex. This indicates the participation of whales and large arbitrage desks.

The OKX margin lending ratio is based on the stablecoin/BTC ratio. Traders can increase their exposure by borrowing stablecoins to buy Bitcoin. On the other hand, Bitcoin borrowers can only bet on a decline in the price of a cryptocurrency. The margin ratio at OKX on Feb. 22 was the highest level seen in over six months. This trend is also seen at Bitfinex, where a strong imbalance favors Bitcoin margin longs.

The cost of leverage could explain the imbalance. The rate for leverage BTC longs at Bitfinex has been almost nonexistent throughout 2023, currently sitting below 0.1% per year. On the other hand, stablecoin borrowers pay 25% per year on Bitfinex. This cost increased significantly in November 2022 when the leading derivatives exchange FTX and their market maker Alameda Research blew up.

Traders should continue to monitor the data for any signs of stress. As long as the Bitcoin margin markets remain extremely unbalanced, investors should be aware of the risk. The size of the Bitfinex BTC/USD longs ($2.5 billion position) should be a cause for concern. The crypto market is evolving rapidly, so traders should stay informed and make decisions accordingly.

Disclaimer: All investment or financial opinions expressed by MoonLanding Media are not recommendations and are intended for entertainment purposes only. Do your own research prior to making any kind of investment. This article has been generated based on trending topics, has not been fact checked and may contain incorrect information. Please verify all information before relying on it.