$161M Ethereum options expiry tilts toward bulls as ETH flips $2K to support

With no short-term solution in sight for the surging network fees, some investors are afraid that Ether (ETH) price could face a correction. The EIP-1559 proposal is set to be bundled with the impending London upgrade, and this will change the gas fee structure, but traders are left to deal with high fees until then.

The flexible block size proposal aims for a more predictable fee pricing model, but this upgrade is scheduled for July, meaning, in the short term, Ether could be subject to price pressure. Adding to this, miners have been expressing concerns as the new proposal aims to burn part of the fees to create scarcity, reducing their income by up to 50%.

To prepare for downside events, professional traders usually buy protective put options without reducing their positions, especially those farming and staking with high yields. Although these are generally costly for longer-term periods, the trades are also offered weekly or bi-weekly at some exchanges.

The put-to-call ratio favors bears, but there’s more to it

Unlike futures contracts, options are divided into two segments. Call (buy) options allow the buyer to acquire Ether at a fixed price on the expiry date. Generally speaking, these are used on either neutral arbitrage trades or bullish strategies.

Meanwhile, the put (sell) options are commonly used as a protection from negative price swings.

To understand how these competing forces are balanced, one should compare the calls and put options size at each expiry price (strike).

For those unfamiliar with options strategies, Cointelegraph recently explained how to minimize losses despite keeping a bullish position.

The above data shows that Ether’s April 9 expiry holds 77,800 Ether contracts, worth $161 million at the current $2,070 level. Meanwhile, the call-put ratio favors the more bearish put options by 11%, dominating the strikes below $1,850. Meanwhile, bullish call options have crowded the scene above $1,900.

Despite the imbalance, the net impact leans bullish

Options markets are an all-or-nothing game, meaning they either have value or become worthless if trading above the call strike price, or the opposite for put option holders.

Therefore, by excluding the neutral-to-bearish put options 25% below the current $2,070 price and the call options above $2,480, it is easier to estimate the potential impact of next Friday’s expiry. Incentives to pump or dump the price by more than 25% become less likely as the potential gains will seldom surpass the cost.

This selection entices to 33,000 call options from $1,200 to $2,480 strikes, currently worth $68 million. Meanwhile, the more bearish put options down to $1,580, amount to 18,100 Ether contracts worth $37 million. Therefore, buyers have a slight advantage for April 9 expiry.

The balance between call and put options initially showed a call-to-put ratio favoring the more bearish put options. Nevertheless, by excluding the put options 25% below the current price, the net result clearly favors bulls. This reinforces the view that the April 9 expiry should not be deemed bearish.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.