Ether’s (ETH) 12-hour closing price has been respecting a tight $1,910 to $2,150 range for twelve days, but oddly enough, these 13% oscillations have been enough to liquidate an aggregate of $495 million in futures contracts since May 13 according to data from Coinglass.
Ether/USD 12-hour price at Kraken. Source: TradingView
The worsening market conditions were also reflected in digital asset investment products. According to the latest edition of CoinShare’s weekly Digital Asset Fund Flows report, crypto funds and investment products saw a $141 million outflow during the week ending on May 20. In this instance, Bitcoin (BTC) was the investors’ focus after experiencing a $154 weekly net redemption.
Russian regulation and crumbling U.S. tech stocks escalate the situation
Regulatory uncertainty weighed on investor sentiment after an updated version of the Russian mining law proposal came to light on May 20. The document in the lower chamber of the Russian parliament no longer contained the obligation for crypto mining operators registry nor the one-year tax amnesty. As cited by local media, the legal State department stated that these measures could “possibly incur costs on the federal budget.”
Additional pressure on Ether price came from the Nasdaq Composite Index’s 2.5% downturn on May 24. In addition, the heavily-tech stock-driven indicator was pressured after social media platform Snap (SNAP) tumbled 40%, citing rising inflation, supply chain constraints and labor disruptions. Consequently, Meta Platforms (FB) shares fell by 10%.
On-chain data and derivatives are in favor of bears
The number of active addresses on the largest Ethereum network’s decentralized applications (DApps) has dropped by 27% from the previous week.
Ethereum network’s most active DApps in USD terms. Source: DappRadar
The network’s most active decentralized applications saw a substantial reduction in users. For instance, Uniswap V3 weekly addresses decreased by 24%, while Curve faced 52% fewer users.
To understand how professional traders, whales and market makers are positioned let’s look at Ether’s futures market data.
Quarterly futures are used by whales and arbitrage desks primarily due to their lack of a fluctuating funding rate. These fixed-month contracts usually trade at a slight premium to spot markets, indicating that sellers request more money to withhold settlement longer.
These futures should trade at a 5% to 12% annualized premium in healthy markets. This situation is technically defined as “contango” and is not exclusive to crypto markets.
Ether futures 3-month annualized premium. Source: Laevitas
Ether’s futures contracts premium went below the 5% neutral-market threshold on April 6. There’s an evident lack of conviction from leverage buyers because the current 3% basis indicator remains depressed.
Ether might have gained 2% after testing the $1,910 channel resistance on May 24, but on-chain data shows a lack of user growth, while derivatives data point toward bearish sentiment.
Until there’s some morale improvement that boosts the use of decentralized applications and the Ether futures premium regains the 5% neutral level, the odds of the price breaking above the $2,150 resistance seems low.
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