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Price predictions

Bullish traders cast low-risk Ethereum options bets with this clever strategy


31 Mar 2021   #Ethereum

Risk-averse traders who believe Ethereum is in a bull trend often use the Iron Condor options strategy to limit their downside risk. Ether (ETH) has been making higher lows throughout 2021, and the current trend indicates that $1,800 might be the bottom for April. Even traders and investors who do not rely on technicals have become optimists after Visa initiated a pilot to settle transactions in USD Coin (USDC) through the Ethereum network.

Given that Ether's price is looking like it's ready to pursue new yearly highs, there's a few investment options on the table. Buying and holding is an excellent strategy, as well as a leveraged long position up to 2x. The problem lies on the downside, as a 20% move would result in a 40% loss using futures contracts. Not to mention there is not much room for additional leverage as it requires a considerable upfront.

On the other hand, options strategies provide excellent opportunities for traders who have a fixed-range target. For example, for those expecting a moderate 15% price increase in thirty days, the 'Iron Condor' strategy provides 12% gains with minimal upfront funds required. This strategy also limits the downside to 10%, regardless of how the asset performs.

This bullish strategy consists of buying 10 Ether worth of $1,600 put options while simultaneously selling the same amount of $2,240 calls. To finalize the trade, the buyer will sell 7.5 Ether worth of $2,080 put options and balance it by buying 8 Ether contracts of $2,880 call.

Unlike perpetual futures (inverse swaps), options have a set expiry date, so the expected outcome must happen during the defined period. The Ether (ETH) calendar option below refers to the April 30 expiry, but this strategy can also be used on Bitcoin (BTC) or applied on a different time frame.

Derivatives exchanges price these contracts in Ether, meaning the displayed profits and losses are calculated by Ether fractions at the expiry date. Considering that Ether is currently trading at $1,810, any outcome between $1,790 and $2,545 (up 40.6%) yields a net gain. For example, a 15% price increase to $2,080 results in a 1.2 ETH net gain, or $2,500.

Meanwhile, this strategy's maximum loss is 1.04 ETH, which will happen if the price on April 30 is below $1,600 (down 12%) or above $2,545. The Iron Condor strategy allure is the potential 1.2 ETH gain while losses are limited below $1,600 at expiry.

Overall this conservative strategy yields a much better risk-reward compared to leveraged futures trading because of the limited downside. The upfront cost (deposit) is 1.04 ETH, and this also reflects the maximum potential loss.

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