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$475M in Bitcoin options expire this week — Are bulls or bears poised to win?

Bitcoin (BTC) has been posting higher lows for the past eight weeks, but during this time, BTC has not been able to flip the $24,000 resistance to support on at least three different opportunities. This is precisely why the $475 million Bitcoin options expiry on Aug. 12 might be a game changer for bulls.

Considering the current regulatory pressures in play, there seems to be a good enough rationale for avoiding bullish bets, especially after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission pressed charges against a former Coinbase manager for illegal securities trading on July 21.

The additional impact from the Terra (Luna) — now renamed Terra Classic (LUNC) — ecosystem imploding and subsequent crypto venture capital firm Three Arrows Capital (3AC) registering for bankruptcy continue to weigh on the markets. The latest victim is crypto lending platform Hodlnaut, which suspended user withdrawals on Aug. 8.

For this reason, most traders are holding back their bets above $24,000, but events outside of the crypto market might have also negatively impacted investors’ expectations. For example, according to regulatory filings released on Aug. 9, Elon Musk sold $6.9 billion worth of Tesla stock.

Moreover, on Aug. 8, Ark Investment manager CEO Cathie Wood explained that the 1.41 million Coinbase (COIN) shares sold in July were caused by regulatory uncertainty and its potential impact on the crypto exchange’s business model.

Most bearish bets are below $23,000

Bitcoin’s failure to break below $21,000 on July 27 surprised bears because only 8% of the put (sell) options for Aug. 12 have been placed above $23,000. Thus, Bitcoin bulls are better positioned for the $475 million weekly options expiry.

Bitcoin options aggregate open interest for Aug. 12. Source: CoinGlass

A broader view using the 1.23 call-to-put ratio shows more bullish bets because the call (buy) open interest stands at $262 million against the $212 million put (sell) options. Nevertheless, as Bitcoin currently stands above $23,000, most bearish bets will likely become worthless.

If Bitcoin’s price remains above…

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