zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Dec 22, 2017
The crypto space was thrown into chaos today as the price of bitcoin and its peers plunged overnight, cementing the pioneering digital currency’s worst week since December 2013, only to rebound dramatically into the close, wiping out virtually all losses. Also today, just as the rout was nearing its trough, we shared a story from the Wall Street Journal about a mystery trader who placed a $1 million bet that bitcoin will climb above $50,000 by December 28, 2018.
That trade was a call option purchased on the LedgerX platform, which received permission from the CFTC over the summer to launch the first swap execution facility for the clearing of bitcoin-linked derivatives, and began trading in the fall, before CME and CBOE launched their own bitcoin futures. As the WSJ detailed previously, if bitcoin is below $50,000 on Dec. 28, 2018, the options will expire worthless, and the $1 million will be lost. But if bitcoin rises above that level, the options give the owner the right to buy 275 bitcoins for $50,000 apiece—a transaction that would cost $13.8 million.
Some more details on the trade mechanics from Privateer’s Aaron Brown:
… one or more people delivered 275 bitcoin (valued at $4.5 million at the time) to the LedgerX clearinghouse, and wrote one-year calls at a strike of $50,000 ($13.75 million in total) against them for a premium of $3,600 per coin ($990,000 total); that is, the buyer paid the seller $990,000 today, and has the right but not the obligation to buy 275 bitcoin for $13.75 million any time before December 28, 2018. These 275 bitcoin are held by the LedgerX clearinghouse and will be released on Dec. 28, 2018 to either the buyer (if the buyer exercises the option by paying $13.75 million) or the seller (if the buyer does not exercise).
These are real bitcoin, and there is no need for any sort of settlement auction, the call option buyer can exercise and receive the physical bitcoin.
Naturally, it was unclear who the buyer of the call was, just as it was unclear if the call was a standalone trade or part of a broader, multi-leg option strategy. And perhaps more importantly, the identity of the seller was also a secret.
On Friday afternoon, one part of the the mystery was solved, when the buyer of the $50,000 call was revealed as Blocktower Capital, a prominent crypto hedge fund, Business Insider reported.
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