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Bitcoin [BTC] market more efficient as arbitrage on exchanges improved, says Bitwise Report

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Bitcoin [BTC] markets more efficient as arbitrage opportunity slumps in past 18 months : Report
Source: Pixabay

From the standpoint of investors, the cornerstone of the virtual currency market is its volatility. With price fluctuations at every corner, arbitrage-savvy investors would consider the cryptocurrency market a paradise. However, a recent report from Bitwise suggests otherwise.

The report presented to the SEC by the crypto-centric investment firm, Bitwise Asset Management, captured the arbitrage in the Bitcoin [BTC] market over the past 18 months. However, the crux of the research was the difference between actual volume and reported volume, which recorded a deviation of a whopping 95 percent.

It must be noted that the “arbitrage” in question refers to the variance in Bitcoin prices on exchanges, including Binance, Bitfinex, Kraken, Bitstamp, Coinbase, BitFlyer, Gemini, itBit, Bittrex, and Poloniex. This is because these exchanges pose “actual volume”, according to a prior study done by Bitwise.

Looking at the monthly average price deviation based on the price listed by the ten aforementioned exchanges, a consistent decline was seen in 2018. The price deviation in December 2017, when the Bitcoin bull-run began, was over 0.7 percent and since then, the deviation has not crossed 0.5 percent.

January 2018 saw the highest deviation in 2018, accounting for over 0.45 percent, which soon fell to under 0.1 percent by July. As the market went into a freefall after the Bitcoin Cash [BCH] hardfork, the deviation increased to over 0.15 percent. February 2019 saw the lowest deviation in over 15 months when a deviation of 0.05 percent was recorded.

Additionally, the average spread of the 10 exchanges varied from Coinbase Pro’s $0.01 to Bitfiniex’s $0.10, indicative of the accurate tracking between exchanges and small margin for arbitrage trading.

Bitwise cited three main reasons for the consistency in BTC prices across major exchanges. The primary reason was the launch of futures contracts by the Chicago Board Options Exchange [CBOE] and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange [CME] in December 2017. The report stated,

“[Bitcoin Futures] fundamentally transformed the bitcoin market, creating a two-sided market and easy hedging for the first time.”

The secondary reason was the surge in institutional interest, which Bitwise refers to as “institutional market makers.” Jane Street Capital, a trading firm was named by the report as a “leading market maker” entering the crypto-trading business in March 2018.

In July 2018, Europe’s largest ETF marker maker, Flow Trader, began making markets with the Swedish Bitcoin ETN. In the following months, several market makers followed Flow Traders’ lead and ventured into the crypto market. The report added,

“By summer 2018, most major market makers were either present in the bitcoin market or actively exploring the space.”

Cryptocurrency lending at the institutional level also provided immense impetus to the flattening of the arbitrage level, stated the third reason. Prior to the crypto-boom of December 2017, “modest lending” did take place but after the surge, the crypto-lending industry skyrocketed.

Bitwise cited the success of Galaxy Global Trading, a cryptocurrency lending platform, which processed over $1.11 billion in borrowings and lending in 2018 alone, with around 60 percent owing to Bitcoin [BTC]. According to the final quarterly report from the company, despite the decline in Bitcoin’s price, its loan records surged to $153 million active loans, a massive 15 percent increase from the previous quarter.

Based on the three factors presented above, the report suggests that the efficiency of the overall market in 2018 has seen a significant boost. This has allowed both retail investors and institutional investors to establish a commensurate foothold in the market. The investment firm hails this period as being a “dynamic, institutional-quality, two-sided market for the first time.”



Bitwise concluded:

“While future developments, including the proposed launch of a U.S. ETF, may be incrementally beneficial to the market, the spot bitcoin market today operates with an efficiency that matches or exceeds that of other major markets.”

Other findings of the report pointed out that the degree of difference between the Bitcoin Futures market and the Bitcoin Spot market is not as far apart as one might imagine. If adjusted rather than touted trading volume being taken into account, the BTC  Futures expressed as a percentage to their Spot equivalent rises from 1.51 percent to over 33 percent.





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Bitcoin [BTC] surges above $5,500 and breaks major resistance level; collective market rises

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Bitcoin [BTC] surges above $5,500 breaking major resistance level; collective market surges
Source: Pixabay

Bitcoin [BTC] broke out of its sideways trend that saw coins fall after a brilliant start to April. This “break-out” is especially significant since it came days after the coin was trading sluggishly, pulling the market cap below $175 billion.

After breaking the $5,200 level on April 16, the coin held steady, showing no noticeable dips. However, it also began losing the momentum it had gained when it rose by 15 percent on April 2. Many saw the past week as Bitcoin losing steam, opining that a drop to as low as $4,000 would manifest. This pessimism coupled with the delisting dilemma saw the global market decline by 3.31 percent over the past weekend.

Given this backdrop, the present Bitcoin price incline was even more bullish for the collective market. Further, this was not just an effort to shrug off “sideways bears,” but instead, two key levels were broken in order to usher a collective market rise and sustain BTC bullishness.

Source: Trading View

RESISTANCE

The first, as indicated by eToro’s senior market analyst Mati Greenspan, was the resistance level of $5,350. When Bitcoin began to consolidate following the early April high, Greenspan stated that if the BTC price were to punch above the aforementioned level, it “would likely serve as confirmation that we’re pushing higher and will lead to further buying pressure.”

Greenspan stated that the $5,350 level acted as a major support level throughout 2018. Hence, it is incredibly important that Bitcoin surge above it in the next rise to consolidate buying pressure. Another important point to signal the coming of a bullish market was the 200-day moving average which Bitcoin has stayed above since the April 2 rally.

PSYCHOLOGY

The other significant level for the collective market is Bitcoin’s ascendance over $5,500, which it managed courtesy of this rally. Many, including Greenspan, pegged $5,000 as a key psychological level for the coin and hence, the rise above $5,500 less than three weeks after $5,000 was broken will bring back optimism to the BTC market.



Further, as was seen in the April 2 rise, the Bitcoin pump resulted in the king coin increasing its market dominance. At the close of March, Bitcoin was edging closer to losing the majority. However, the rally saw its share increase to 52.4 percent within a day. Following this recent 4.61 percent increase against the US Dollar, the king coin’s dominance increased to 53.2 percent.

Given the elasticity of the collective market to changes in Bitcoin’s price, the market was awash in green as Bitcoin broke the resistance and psychological levels. Amid this bullish charge, some coins stood out for their above-average gains, which included Bitcoin Cash [BCH], Cardano [ADA], EOS [EOS], Litecoin [LTC], and the exchange-ousted Bitcoin SV [BSV].





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