Crypto market cap reclaims $1T, and derivatives point to further upside
The total crypto market capitalization increased by 26% in seven days, reaching $1.16 trillion on March 17. Bitcoin (BTC) was the biggest winner among the top 20 coins, up 31.5%, though some altcoins gained 50% or more during that period.
The surge in cryptocurrency prices occurred as the United States Federal Reserve was forced to lend banks $300 billion in emergency funds. According to PBS News Hour, nearly half of the money went to failed financial institutions Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank and was used to pay uninsured depositors. The remaining $153 billion was obtained through a long-standing program known as the "discount window," which allows banks to borrow funds for up to 90 days.
While appearing to protect the banking sector, additional funding for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and credit facilitation using Fed resources ultimately creates a "false sense of confidence," according to activist billionaire investor Bill Ackman.
The $30 billion plan devised by U.S. regulators to avoid a major liquidity crisis in First Republic Bank (FRB) "raised more questions than it answers," said Ackman, who manages the hedge fund Pershing Square. Furthermore, Ackman stated that "half measures don't work when there is a confidence crisis."
Warren Buffett, the billionaire, is on the losing side of the bet
As the banking crisis worsened, Warren Buffett, the largest shareholder and co-founder of Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB), a $650 billion financial conglomerate, saw his holdings rapidly deteriorate. Berkshire Hathaway, for example, is the largest holder of Bank of America (BAC) stock, which has fallen 15.5% year-to-date. This position alone has cost Buffett's investment vehicle $5.2 billion.
Buffett, a well-known cryptocurrency critic, has stated that he has no interest in Bitcoin, even if the entire float is offered at $1,300. The 91-year-old, with a net worth of around $102 billion, claimed that Bitcoin doesn't produce anything, whereas farmland and residential real estate do.
However, Bitcoin's price increased by 31.5% in the six months preceding March 17, while Berkshire's stock increased by 5.8%. So, for the time being, the so-called "rat poison," as Buffett once described Bitcoin, is outpacing his own financial management firm.
$1 trillion market capitalization support quickly restored
Let's look at the performance of the top 80 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization to see if the surge above the $1 trillion mark has boosted the confidence of altcoin investors.
Conflux Network (CFX) gained 97.6% after KuCoin Ventures announced a $10 million investment in stablecoin issuer and blockchain-based payment service provider CNHC, which is available on Ethereum and Conflux networks.
Stacks (STX) rallied 75.7% as the network is scheduled to undergo an upgrade on March 20, introducing Stacks 2.1 with new features and improvements.
Immutable X (IMX) rose 71.7% following a much-anticipated partnership announcement scheduled for March 20.
Option traders are extremely confident about market conditions
Traders can gauge the market's sentiment by measuring whether more activity is going through call (buy) options or put (sell) options. Generally speaking, call options are used for bullish strategies, whereas put options are for bearish ones.
A put-to-call ratio of 0.70 indicates that put option open interest lags behind the more call options. In contrast, a 1.40 indicator favors put options, which is a bearish sign.
Related: Crypto Biz — SVB collapses, USDC depegs, Bitcoin still up
Since March 12, the demand for neutral-to-bullish call options has increased, indicating the growing risk appetite of derivatives traders. The movement peaked on March 17, when the volume of call options exceeded the volume of protective put options by a three-to-one ratio.
The gap favoring call options has stabilized at two-to-one, indicating that professional investors are unconcerned following the March 17 rejection of the $1.16 trillion market capitalization level. In the end, data indicate a strong conviction for Bitcoin's support at $26,000, so bulls are in a stronger position to continue their rally.
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