Risk of Dramatic Ether Sell-Off Grows With Longs at Record Highs


With anticipation growing for Ethereum’s long-awaited ETH 2.0 revamp, Ether long positions have gone parabolic on Bitfinex since February.

But with short positions also growing, and co-founder Vitalik Buterin withdrawing last week’s confident prediction of a July launch, the bullishness has also increased the risk of a violent sell-off.

Ether long positions go parabolic

Long positions have been breaking new record highs ever since charting above 600,000 in February, rising by another 150% over the past two months despite the historic Bitcoin (BTC) sell-off in on March 12 – 13.

ETH/USD Longs on Bitfinex: TradingView

However, the number of shorts positions has also trended upwards significantly since March, up nearly 200% from February’s record lows. This suggests that some traders are banking on the price of Ether to fall.

ETH/USD Shorts on Bitfinex: TradingView

ETH 2.0 launch date is unclear

There has been confusion in recent days over the launch date for ETH 2.0, which could be a factor sparking an aggressive correction should price action begin to break down.

On May 12, Buterin was asked if ETH 2.0’s phase 0 would commence in July:

I think so, Ethereum 2.0 already has two testnets, Topaz and Schlesi, launched a week ago […] That’s the first phase of ETH 2.0 that will bring the Proof-of-Stake [implementation] It’s moving forward on all fronts.

However, core developer Afr dampened down expectations on Twitter later the same day, stating

Going on stages or panels and putting out dates is not helpful at all. I don’t think Vitalik said July. But I didn’t see the talk.

Buterin responded: “Yeah I did not say July. Perhaps the question contained the word July but I did not hear July when it was asked.”

After reviewing footage from the event, he added: “OK I definitely should have heard July in the question, it was my mistake.”

Greenspan is bullish on Ether

Mati Greenspan, the founder of Quantum Economics, said the confusion over the launch date was not a major concern. 

“Just judging on the price action, it would seem that Vitalik’s statements have not had that much of an impact,” Greenspan told Cointelegraph. “All startups have a tendency to push dates back and have delays, especially when they’re rolling out major upgrades.”

Mati notes that Ether is the third-largest position in his crypto portfolio, adding: “Everything that is happening in DeFi is extremely exciting […] I’m bullish.”

ETH/BTC longs could continue to rise

The number of ETH/BTC longs has consistently risen for roughly 12 months, except for a quick run and retracement during January.

ETH/BTC Longs on Bitfinex: TradingView

While the market action suggests the market is anticipating ETH 2.0’s launch will drive gains relative to Bitcoin, it remains to be seen whether Bitcoin’s freshly reduced block rewards will have a bearish impact on ETH/BTC prices as was the case following 2016’s halving.

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