After a 160% increase over the past 3 months, the open interest on Bitcoin (BTC) options reached a new record-high at $12 billion. While this number might seem unusually high, it makes sense that the figure would increase as Bitcoin’s market capitalization surpassed $1 trillion.
Deribit BTC options open interest in USD. Source: laevitas.ch
Although Friday’s $3.2 billion expiry could negatively impact the market, these options are split among calls (neutral-to-bullish) and the more bearish put options.
As shown in the chart above, Deribit exchange leads the market by holding an 85% market share. For the Feb. 26 expiry, 58,500 BTC contracts remain open and this is equivalent to $3.2 billion.
Before jumping to conclusions on whether the outcome might be bullish or bearish, it’s essential to take a more detailed view of the potential buy and sell pressure nearing expiry.
Paying for a $38,000 put (sell) option might have made sense three weeks ago, but this trade is now worthless. Therefore, to correctly assess the impact of the upcoming expiry, those should be excluded.
Aggregate Feb. 26 BTC options open interest by strike. Source: bybt.com
On the opposite side from these worthless put options below $40,000 are some ultra-bullish calls up to $88,000. Considering there’s less than a week left before the expiry, a 63% BTC price increase seems unlikely.
As shown above chart, the neutral-to-bearish put options are vastly concentrated between $18,000 and $40,000. Currently, over 80% of the Feb. 26 put options fall under that range, so they should not be considered for the potential price pressure.
The remaining 4,550 BTC put option contracts, currently worth $245 million, present incentives to keep BTC below $52,000.
The more bullish call options ranging from $36,000 to $56,000 amount to 17,670 BTC contracts, which is equivalent to $955 million in open interest. Therefore, the most relevant options open interest for Feb. 26 stands at $1.2 billion while holding a 0.20 put-to-call ratio.
Deribit Mar. 26 put option prices in BTC. Source: Deribit
For bears wishing to roll over the position to March 26, the $44,000 put option is currently trading at $1,970 per contract. That would require a 16% downside from the current $54,000 BTC price to generate some profit.
At this moment, bulls are in total control of Friday’s expiry, especially considering the heavy imbalance favoring the buy-side. As for the bears’ potential roll-over activity, the risk-reward seems unattractive.
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.