Analysts say Bitcoin’s strong rejection at $44,000 is further proof that derivatives markets play a significant role in the asset’s price dynamics.
Bitcoin (BTC) fell more than 2% from local highs during Jan. 12 in the latest move to keep market participants guessing about what's to come for the largest digital asset.BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingView
A trip to $44,450 on Bitstamp after the Wall Street open was followed by an hourly candle which at one point sparked losses of $1,500.
A fresh sign that rangebound activity remains the order of the day for Bitcoin, bulls were disappointed after multiple calls for a fairly easy squeeze toward $46,000.
For popular trader and analyst Scott Melker, " there was still no clear sign of direction."
"Still just chopping sideways," he told Twitter followers on the day, noting that Bitcoin had swept lows with its sub-$40,000 dive earlier in the week, which was also in line with his own predictions.
Fellow Twitter account Daan Crypto Trades further highlighted $45,700 as an upside target important for a resistance/ support flip.
"The $45.7K level is the next area of interest that's on my radar. It will be key to flip that level for the bulls," he wrote.
"BTC looks great on LTF but still has a lot of work to do on HTF to call this a proper reversal. One step at a time."
Others were more hopeful of a paradigm shift coming in the mid-term.
"Over the coming days and weeks, BTC may reveal a new market structure in which case it would be well worth paying close attention to it," trader and analyst Rekt Capital forecast.
New research also suggested why $40,000 was short lived as a dip and $44,000 conversely became an area of resistance afterward.
According to crypto trading firm QCP Capital, the determining factor lies in options markets, which have now become significant enough to have a "material impact" on BTC price action.
"For instance, one key reason for the lack of follow through in BTC and Ether below $40,000 and $3,000 is possibly the few large players owning strikes around those levels. They naturally create support as they bid for spots to trade the delta there. And when they take take profit on those option positions, the upside impact on the market is very clear as well," a Telegram update explained.
"Additionally, a sharp options player who had bought 42,000 January calls started taking profit on those around the $44,000 spot level, naturally creating some resistance there."
Options open interest remains far from 2021's all-time highs, data from Coinglass shows.Bitcoin options open interest chart. Source: Coinglass