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OKEx Insights Market Watch Weekly Institutional investment DeFi Bitcoin

BTC quarterly premiums widened, but most altcoins outperformed market leader

2021.04.12 Robbie Liu

Altcoin season is in swing, while Bitcoin bulls fight to keep market leader in the game — Market Watch Weekly

Last week, Bitcoin consolidated over the weekdays, but volatility came in during the weekend. The market leader was quickly pulled up from 58,000 USDT levels to 61,500 USDT on Saturday, per the OKEx spot price, but suffered a 5% correction immediately after. Overall, the bulls are still dominating the market due to positive news and BTC's price closing up 3.3% last week.

Saturday's upswing caused the premium on OKEx BTC quarterly futures to rise sharply, pulling up from 7% to over 11% in a few hours. The unusual jump in futures premium could be a result of market speculation but also reflects a more consistent bullish expectation ahead of Tuesday. The funding rate for BTC perpetual swaps has also remained above 0.1% every eight hours since Saturday, and the bulls are trying to pull the price up despite the high funding and premiums.

The premium of BTC quarterly futures pulled up sharply on Saturday. Source: OKEx

In addition, open interest across derivatives exchanges is currently at an all-time high of $25.5 billion, per data from Bybt. This buildup would exacerbate the magnitude of a possible price breakout or correction.

Exchange BTC futures open interest hit an all-time. Source: Bybt

Institutions went long during last week's consolidation

On the institution side, CME updated the latest (as of April 6) Bitcoin futures position data on April 10. In this reporting period, BTC repeatedly tested the $60,000 mark and the volatility had decreased in the meanwhile. The open interest rebounded from 9,322 to 9,865 contracts (with a standard contract being 5 BTC). This shows that as prices found support, the long-held bullish bias was able to return quickly. 

Asset-manager accounts saw their long positions rise slightly from 354 to 355 contracts, while their short position fell from 534 to 519 contracts.

Leveraged funds, on the other hand, have increased their positions in both directions. Long positions rose from 2,335 to 2,481, while short positions increased from 7,144 to 7,477. The percentage change in long positions is more substantial, however.

CME Bitcoin futures data — Number of asset-manager accounts' longs vs. shorts. Source: Quandl

Altcoin season in full swing

Altcoins have seen rapid moves during Bitcoin's consolidation. The Altcoin Season Index maintained well above 90 while Bitcoin's dominance dipped to 54% — the lowest level since May 2019. 

It's an absolute altcoin season. Source: blockchaincenter.net

In the major altcoins sector, only Polkadot (DOT) and Tron (TRX) underperformed Bitcoin. All other altcoins on the chart are gaining ground to Bitcoin in terms of weekly returns. The biggest gainer was none other than XRP, whose price doubled in a week. Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC) and Dogecoin (DOGE) all gained more than 20% last week.

Weekly returns of major altcoins, 4/5 to 4/11. Source: TradingView

DeFi TVL hit a new high

The DeFi sector was a mixed bag this past week. 1INCH jumped 22% after announcing a name change to "1inch Network" and plans to launch a new protocol and product this month. The native asset of decentralized blokchain protocol OKExChain, OKT, also surged 21%. Moreover, Yearn Finance's YFI reaped a 20% gain as the market reverted to talking about it being the best automated asset management tool. 

Several decentralized exchanges, however, were weak performers. Uniswap's UNI and SushiSwap's SUSHI plummeted by about 6%. 

Weekly returns of major DeFi tokens, 4/5 to 4/11. Source: TradingView

However, the total value locked in DeFi protocols in the past seven days is holding above $50 billion and is likely to continue making new highs next week, per data from DeFi Pulse. The largest projects in terms of TVL are lending giants. Compound is leading the pack with $10.2 billion TVL, followed by Maker with $8.27 billion. Aave is in third place, with $5.75 billion locked in the protocol.

Total value locked in DeFi. Source: DeFi Pulse

Looking ahead this week 

The three major U.S. stock indexes rose for the second consecutive week, with big tech stocks setting new all-time highs. After a quick short-term rally, the S&P and Nasdaq are entering overbought territory on the daily chart. Although the overall stock indexes are in an upward channel, a short-term pullback could occur at any time.

The U.S. consumer price inflation and retail sales to be released on Tuesday will be the biggest points of the week since these numbers can further reveal the pace of inflation.  

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Disclaimer: This material should not be taken as the basis for making investment decisions, nor be construed as a recommendation to engage in investment transactions. Trading digital assets involve significant risk and can result in the loss of your invested capital. You should ensure that you fully understand the risk involved and take into consideration your level of experience, investment objectives and seek independent financial advice if necessary.