Not sure which way BTC price might go? Here’s how pro traders use the "iron condor" options strategy to place carefully hedged bets.
For traders who are undecided on Bitcoin's (BTC) move, the "long condor with call options," or the "iron condor" options strategy, yields optimal results with very low risk. This strategy offers protection down to $53,500, which would be a 7% downside move from the current $57,600, and returns a positive outcome up to $67,500.
Options markets provide more flexibility to develop custom strategies. Unlike futures, there are two separate instruments available. The call option gives the buyer upside price protection, while the protective put option offers the opposite.
Bitcoin options strategy returns. Source: Deribit Position Builder
This long condor strategy has been set for the Dec. 31 expiry and uses a slightly bullish range. The same basic structure can also be applied for other periods or price ranges, although the contract quantities might need some adjustment.
Bitcoin was trading at $57,600 when the pricing took place, but a similar result can be achieved starting from any price level. The minimum contract size depends on the derivatives exchange, but one needs to keep the suggested ratio to hold the overall strategy structure.
The first trade requires buying 0.54 contracts of the $52,000 call options to create positive exposure above this price level. Then, to limit gains above $56,000, the trader needs to sell 0.50 BTC call option contracts.
To further limit gains above $64,000, another 0.45 call option contracts should be sold. To complete the strategy, the trader needs upside protection above $70,000 by buying 0.41 call option contracts if the Bitcoin price skyrockets.
The 1.50 to 1 risk-reward ratio is moderately bullish
The strategy might sound complicated to execute, but the margin required is only 0.0152 BTC, which is also the max loss. Traders should remember that it is also possible to close the position ahead of the Dec. 31 expiry if there's enough liquidity.
The max net gain occurs between $56,000 and $64,000 at 0.0233 BTC, which is 50% higher than the potential loss. With 30 days until the expiry date, this strategy gives the holder peace of mind because, unlike futures trading, there is no liquidation risk.
Furthermore, having a profit range that varies from a 7% downside move to a positive 17% price change seems conservative and covers a decent $14,000 price range.