Trading of Bitcoin futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has reached its highest volume ever during the past few days of rallies across the cryptoasset markets. The CME, along with the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), are currently the only regulated Bitcoin futures markets operating in the US.
Data from the CME’s website show that 18,338 contracts were bought on 19 Feb. alone. Each contract is comprised of five bitcoin - so on average, about $360 million worth of volume was traded on the CME in one day.
The CBOE Bitcoin market - which trades one-bitcoin contracts - did not however see a similar, unprecedented explosion in trading. This divergence is consistent with 2018’s trend, as CME Bitcoin trading has continuously risen versus CBOE’s falling Bitcoin volume. CME Bitcoin trading was outpacing CBOE trading by mid-2018 by about six times, according to the Financial Times.
Of course, speaking about the regulated Bitcoin futures markets segues into the less-regulated ones, principally BitMEX. And in this regard, BitMEX’s most popular Bitcoin futures trading product has seen healthy volume - but not record-breaking.
Perhaps this volume on an institutionally regulated exchange signals more institutional buying of Bitcoin.
CryptoGlobe recently reported that the New York-regulated Kraken exchange will soon offer Bitcoin futures, making it the first regulated exchange to offer both spot and derivative products under one roof.
And of course, the cryptoasset industry continues to wait for the Bakkt launch, a New York Stock Exchange-connect Bitcoin futures product with daily physical settlement. Bakkt has been repeatedly delayed since its original launch date late in 2018 - but are continuing to prepare for the launch with new hires, as CryptoGlobe reported in January.