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Bitcoin’s Ascent May Encounter Headwinds as Order Book Discrepancy Suggests Increased Selling

ByDayne Lee

Mar 8, 2024
Bitcoin's Ascent May Encounter Headwinds as Order Book Discrepancy Suggests Increased Selling

Bitcoin’s Ascent May Encounter Headwinds as Order Book Discrepancy Suggests Increased Selling

As Bitcoin (BTC) ascends toward unprecedented heights, a potential roadblock emerges, hinting at a pause driven by profit-taking actions from investors of the preeminent cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

Analyzing the Order Book Dynamics

The imbalance between potential sellers and buyers within Bitcoin’s comprehensive order book, spanning 33 centralized exchanges, reveals a notable divergence. The disparity in the dollar value of sell orders (ask side) versus buy orders (bid side) within a 2% margin of the market price has expanded to an approximate $100 million, a figure about five times higher than its usual level. This data, provided by the Paris-based analytics firm Kaiko, underscores a critical shift in market sentiment.

Furthermore, since late January, a discernible increase in liquidity on the ask side indicates a heightened readiness among investors to sell, coinciding with Bitcoin’s nearly 60% value increase since the year’s onset.

The Signal from the Market

“The enduring imbalance, especially as the 2% ask depth overtakes the bid depth for the most extended period since early 2021, is a clear indicator,” states Dessislava Aubert, a research analyst at Kaiko. She notes this trend typically signals a buildup of limit orders on the sell side of the order book, suggesting that traders might be capitalizing on Bitcoin’s approach to its all-time peak.

Bitcoin recently achieved new highs above $69,000, later retracting slightly, then experiencing a rebound. At the moment, it trades around $66,700, showing minimal change over 24 hours. Meanwhile, the CoinDesk 20 Index, reflecting broader market movement, has declined by 1.5% to 2,553.

Market Makers’ Role in the Current Dynamics

Market makers, tasked with ensuring liquidity in the order book by consistently opposing investors’ trades, play a crucial part in this observed imbalance. By continuously adjusting their positions to maintain a neutral portfolio, they significantly impact the flow of orders.

Aubert further mentions, “The recent surge in demand and net buying across most exchanges could be attributed to market makers’ strategic placements.”

A Closer Look at Buying Pressure

The chart illustrating the cumulative volume delta (CVD) on major spot exchanges since February 25 highlights a pivotal trend. A positive and ascending CVD indicates a prevailing buying pressure, while a declining CVD suggests the opposite. Notably, Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, has seen its CVD increase by nearly $1 billion since the mentioned date, contributing to the overall buying momentum in the market.

  • Order Book Imbalance: A significant imbalance in Bitcoin’s order book suggests an increase in sell orders, potentially signaling a pause in the ongoing price rally.
  • Market Sentiment Shift: The liquidity shift towards the ask side hints at a growing inclination among investors to sell, amid a substantial price surge since the beginning of the year.
  • Significance of Market Makers: Their crucial role in balancing the order book dynamics could be influencing the current market state.
  • Emerging Buying Pressure: Despite the imbalance, an uptick in demand and net buying activity is evident, showcasing the market’s complex dynamics.
IndicatorObservationImplication
Order Book Imbalance$100 million gap favoring sell ordersPotential slow down in price rally
Liquidity on Ask SideIncreased since late JanuaryGrowing readiness to sell
Market Maker ActivityConstant hedging to maintain neutralityInfluences order book dynamics
CVD TrendPositive increase on major exchangesIndicates net buying pressure

This comprehensive analysis not only delves into the current market sentiment surrounding Bitcoin but also highlights the intricate balance of forces at play, including the pivotal role of market makers and the underlying buying pressure that continues to shape the cryptocurrency’s trajectory.


Featured image credit: chayanit via Adobe Stock

Dayne Lee

With a foundation in financial day trading, I transitioned to my current role as an editor, where I prioritize accuracy and reader engagement in our content. I excel in collaborating with writers to ensure top-quality news coverage. This shift from finance to journalism has been both challenging and rewarding, driving my commitment to editorial excellence.