Cheatsheet: Crypto short sellers losing $110K per minute

Bitcoin is whiskers away from an all-time high, setting crypto and its markets up for an exciting week ahead


Art by Crystal Le


This is Cheatsheet, a primer on what’s happening in crypto today.

If dog coins were barking before, now they’re really biting.

Six of the eight best performing cryptocurrencies at the top end of the market are memecoins, and four of those are dog coins.

Pepe (PEPE) leads with 38% gains as of 5 am ET, followed by bonk (BONK), shiba inu (SHIB), dogecoin (DOGE), floki (FLOKI) and SATS, each up between 34% and 13% over 24 hours.

Fantom (FTM) and BitTorrent (BTT) are somewhere in between. Bitcoin (BTC) is meanwhile up 5.7% after inching back above $65,100 — less than 6% shy of its $69,044 all-time high. 

Ether (ETH) is ahead 3% and hovers at $3,500 flat. The ETH/BTC, which measures ether’s price in terms of bitcoin, has given up most of its gains last month and could soon turn negative for the year to date.

What’s happening on-chain

Bitcoin’s fledgling DeFi ecosystem is attracting serious capital — and degeneracy. 

  • Flipped: Bitcoin DeFi now ranks above Solana, Polygon and Avalanche for total value locked (TVL).
  • Flooded: Bitcoin’s TVL, now $2.65 billion, has exploded by almost 800% over the past month as the crypto climbed by half.
  • Fandangled: Almost all of it is tied up in “staking events” for two unreleased layer-2 projects, Merlin’s Seal and B2 Buzz.

Interest in Bitcoin as a base layer for stuff other than BTC has bubbled since the NFT-like Ordinals took off last January. Merlin’s Seal and B2 Buzz are part of a crop of projects rushing to capitalize on that hype. 

Unlike the crypto staked in liquidity pools and debt protocols like Orca and Maker, Bitcoin’s current big-two are popular with those chasing allocations of a token sale. Distributions are to be generally scaled to how much has been staked, echoing recently-launched Ethereum layer-2 Blast.

Bitcoin has a number of adjacent protocols already live, including payments layer Lightning, Rootstock, Liquid, Stacks and DeFiChain. Wide differences in tokenomics, technology and terminology has led Bitcoin Magazine to define what it considers an actual “Bitcoin protocol” moving forward, including the use of bitcoin as the native asset.

Ether is still outperforming Nvidia stock over the past five years 

Read more: Ordinals are driving up Bitcoin fees — but that may be good for the network

  • DEX volumes have cooled somewhat since last week: $6.5 billion over the past day, down 30% from last Wednesday’s near-yearly high of $9.45 billion.
  • Solana DEX Raydium flipped BSC’s PancakeSwap for daily volume after posting $799 million, second overall behind Uniswap.
  • Tether is only $300 million fresh supply away from becoming only the fifth cryptocurrency to ever reach a $100 billion market cap.

Crypto business

Practically every crypto stock is set to open higher this week — except China-headquartered BIT Mining, which had slipped 3% pre-market as of 5 am ET.

  • Bhu-tane: Bitdeer (BTDR), the Bitmain spinoff operating bitcoin mines in Bhutan and the US, is on track to open 11% higher than Friday’s close.
  • Electric: CleanSpark (CLSK) continues to outperform, climbing 9.1% pre-market. Rival Riot is up less than 5%.
  • More like Macro: MicroStrategy (MSTR) has now eclipsed CLSK for year-to-date returns, now the number-one crypto stock this year with 85.5%.

MicroStrategy’s market value is no longer mostly bitcoin. The stock is currently worth $18.32 billion with $12.54 billion BTC on its balance sheet and liabilities worth $2.53 billion — meaning markets either value its software business as much as $9.4 billion, or they’re adding premium to its bitcoin-stacking strategy.

And while Bitcoin may be closer than ever to retesting 2021’s high, January’s “sell the news” event around the launch of bitcoin ETFs has dragged heavily on most mining stocks.

Only four bitcoin miners have outperformed the S&P 500’s 7.9% returns so far this year: CLSK, Marathon (MARA), Core Scientific (CORZ) and Bitfarms (BITF).

Read more: EIA to drop emergency bitcoin miner survey following court battle

  • Liquidations worth $262.3 million have struck crypto derivatives traders over the past day, 60% of it hitting short sellers.
  • On average, that’s $110,000 lost per minute on short bets, with BitMEX’s dogecoin market seeing the largest recent liquidation ($2.45 million).
  • Overall CEX open interest is again at all-time high, now $28.92 billion.

On the ground

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