Crypto In The Crosshairs & Bitcoin Futures
With announcements by various government agencies, it looks as if stricter regulations are coming for the crypto industry. Recent action in the derivatives market may tell us bitcoin price direction.
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Crypto In The Crosshairs
Yesterday afternoon, bitcoin’s exchange rate gave up some of its year-to-date gains as headlines of increasing regulatory crackdown on the broader crypto industry came across the newswire. The SEC announced charges against Kraken for the selling of unregistered securities due to the firm’s crypto staking product offerings. Similarly, the New York Department of Financial Services announced an investigation into Paxos, the issuer of the Pax Dollar and the BUSD Binance stablecoin.
While the regulator’s concerns aren’t directly related to bitcoin itself, there is increasing chatter of a new-era Operation Choke Point throttling the crypto industry. In simple terms, Operation Choke Point was a controversial initiative launched by the federal government which used the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to reduce access to the U.S. banking system for certain “high-risk,” but (mostly) legal industries. While there is no doubt that there has been plenty of fraud and criminal activity intertwined throughout various parts of the crypto industry, some are worried that the heavy hand of the state could harm honest actors if regulators create burdensome hurdles that have wide ranging limitations. For example, some people who are still interested in staking their crypto might now choose to find an offshore and sketchy exchange to do so, putting their assets even more at risk than before. We’ve written about some of the problems with yield offerings in “Collapsing Crypto Yield Offerings Signal ‘Extreme Duress.’”
Bitcoin Market Dynamics
In regard to the bitcoin price action, one could presume that the newsflow was the cause of the recent local downturn, but there were various signs of local exhaustion after an explosive rally across the daily timeframe.
The current dynamic in the bitcoin market is as follows:
Bitcoin’s supply is inelastic as it has ever been due to extremely strong HODLer dynamics.
Risk-on/risk-off flows dominate, with dollar strength and equity markets deciding much of the direction for the bitcoin price in the short term.
The extreme lack of order book liquidity for BTC will lead to volatile moves in both directions, with liquidity at post-FTX collapse levels despite the recovery from the November 2022 lows.
Bitcoin is still range bound between the $16,000 and $24,000 levels until the market decisively decides otherwise. Expect the pinball match between bulls and bears to continue for some time.
Source: Kaiko Data
From a volume perspective, the market currently finds itself in a meaningful liquidity gap due to the short squeeze that led to prices reaching their recent 2023 highs. Volume support sits around the $21,200 level, with more buyers waiting in the barracks between $19,000 and 20,000.
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