First Mover: Collapsing Bitcoin Futures Premium Offers Glimpse of New Digital Money Market

Price Point

Bitcoin traded slightly higher early Thursday at $11,772 after falling for two straight days.

The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization has declined 1.3% this week as the U.S. dollar strengthened in foreign exchange markets. The greenback gained support Wednesday as the Federal Reserve said it wasn’t immediately planning to implement a “yield curve control” program that probably would have brought an accelerated pace of money printing.

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“The corrective moves we witnessed are necessary for the market to cool down and catch a breath,” Joe DiPasquale, CEO of the cryptocurrency investment firm BitBull Capital, told CoinDesk in an email. “Moving forward, we can expect the market to lean on the support zone between $11,000 and $11,500 to consolidate and try another push above $12,000.”

Market Moves

Bitcoin‘s mini-sell-off this week has revealed a key feature of fast-evolving cryptocurrency markets: How dollar-linked “stablecoins” are being used to fund exotic futures trades, similar to the way money markets serve as a vital lifeblood on Wall Street.

As flagged earlier this week by the Norwegian cryptocurrency-analysis firm Arcane Research, prices for bitcoin futures contracts on the Chicago-based CME exchange have been trading well above “spot” prices for the underlying security. That premium rose last week to 20%, the highest in five months, seen as a sign of just how bullish big investors have become on bitcoin.

This week’s retreat in prices below $12,000 has led to a squeeze for traders who were attempting a “cash and carry arbitrage,” as reported Wednesday by 

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