(Bloomberg) -- Traders are setting their sights beyond Bitcoin’s 2021 record price even before it has been broken, with options showing growing expectations for a run to as high as $80,000 by the end of March. 

The open interest, or the number of outstanding contracts, for short-dated call options that expire on March 29 with strike prices of $70,000, $75,000 and $80,000 has climbed in the last 24 hours, data from Deribit and Amberdata show. Bitcoin rose as much as 5.7% to $66,460 on Monday, bringing it within striking distance of its all-time high of $68,991 set in November 2021.

While a sharp correction in Bitcoin is on the mind of many traders, the momentum in the latest rally continues. Largely driven by optimism over demand for the newly launched spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds, the largest cryptocurrency has jumped more than 50% already this year.   

“At the end of last week, we saw a slowdown in OTM (out of money) call buying, and some cooler heads buying the downside,” said Luke Nolan, a research associate at crypto asset manager CoinShares. “The beginning of this week shows a resumption of bullish activity, with a lot of March expiry OTM calls clustered at 65k, 70k (All time high) and some other clusters at 75k and 80k.” 

The big bets in the Bitcoin options market come as leverage in crypto trading springs back to a level that was seen in the last bull market, with key metrics across different derivatives hitting highs. Bitcoin perpetual futures, the most common derivative to make leveraged bets on the digital asset, are seeing heavy inflows as well. 

Perpetual swaps funding rates are extremely high, with annualized rates rising to 50-70% over the weekend, according to Jaime Baeza, founder at crypto hedge fund AnB Investments. The futures basis on Bitcoin is also extremely high, especially in the shorter maturities. The one-month basis is about 30%, two-month about 25%, and 4-month about 22%, he said. 

“These conditions are reminiscent of some moments of late 2020 and 2021, of the bull market and extreme optimism,” Baeza said.  

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