BitMEX Takes Big Hit as Bitcoin Futures Volume Drops

John Moore

New data provided by cryptocurrency market aggregator CryptoCompare, as part of its latest monthly Exchange Review, reveals that a January decline in Futures trading saw BitMEX’s daily volumes drop away heavily compared to the speculative instruments in general. 

Futures trading claimed 24% ($54.6 billion) of a cryptocurrency trading sector that receded as a whole during January, experiencing a volume drop of around 16% in a fall back from around $268 billion to $223 billion in combined Spot Trading and Futures trading volumes. December’s figures showed Futures holding an increased 28% share of the total ($76.3), buoyed by the rather more animated price action seen at the end of 2018.

Monthly Spot v Future comparison


BitMEX seeing a decline

Perhaps the most glaring statistic revealed by the 29 pages of research done by the company, however, is the startling decline of Bitcoin-based Futures business going through the books of the Seychelles-based high-leverage marketplace BitMEX. 

Perhaps due to feeling the bite of recent increased pressure from American authorities, and its subsequent moves to clamp down on US-based traders using its services in breach of US regulations, BitMEX’s total volume for XBTUSD Perpetual Swaps (XBT being BitMEX’s ticker code for Bitcoin, the Swaps its daily settled, never-ending Futures instrument) took a fairly hefty 41% turn southwards during January.

Recent reports in the South China Morning Post cited sources describing US-based customers as something like 15% of BitMEX's user base, and linked the US Securities Exchange Commission's recent action against 1Broker and warning that any Exchange offering its services to US residents as needing to be registered with heightened moves by the platform to shut down accounts operating in breach of its T&Cs, which outlaw American traders.

While the somewhat becalmed nature of the Bitcoin price, which traded in the mid-$3,000 range for the vast majority of January would also have taken its toll on BitMEX's volumes, it seems clear that the precipitous nature of the drop is link to the newly found dilligence in blocking trade from North America. Reports have also, for example, noted that Quebec-based customers are now unable to use the site in the wake of new rules coming in to force there. 

Whatever the reason, that large percentage fall took its daily volume back below the $1 billion dollar mark - to $665 million per day, down from $1.13bn in December. It also meant that BitMEX’s share of the total USD-based Bitcoin Futures market fell below 90%, compared to the 95%+ slice it took back in November. 

The US-legal Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Futures stepped in to claim a bigger share of the reduced pie, showing a trend-bucking monthly increase in daily volume from $66.5 million to $79.9 million. That equated to it taking a 10%+ share of the total USD-based Futures market, the first time it has even come close to that kind of number. 

Daily XBT to USD Volumes

The other US-regulated Futures option, offered by The Chicago Board of Exchange (CBoE), fell back from daily volume of $10.65 in December to just $8.1 million in January. In percentage terms, that drop is less than the 29.9% seen by the USD Futures market as a whole over the month, but leaves CBoE with little more than 1% of the entire market.

The two regulated options - which appear to have picked up at least some of the US-based business lost by BitMEX, despite being very different instruments - now account for combined 11.7% share of the dollar-based Bitcoin Futures market, a marked increase - but still trailing well behind the crypto-centric incumbents, BitMEX and the Japan-based BitFlyer. .  

Indeed, the amount of futures trading by BitMEX is now dwarfed by the XBTJPY volume seen on BitFlyer, which - despite the view of the majority of the Western crypto press, that often characterises BitMEX as the major player in terms of  Futures in the sector - has been easily biggest Exchange for such instruments since CryptoCompare has been publishing its figures. After conversion, its daily volumes still exceeded $1bn during January - though they did recede from the 1.4bn range of December to around the $1.1bn mark.  Regulated Exchanges v Crypto Exchanges

The same sources that explained BitMEX's worries regarding the SEC were keen to point out that Asian traders were still the backbone of its business. However, it appears that the loss of a significant amount of North American trade, coupled with the continued rise in BitFlyer's popularity in the Far East and the ravages of the extended bull market is taking its toll.  

Bitcoin and Friends Episode 2 Addresses Silk Road, Bitcoin's Case to Be Sound Money

Francisco Memoria

The second episode of the popular show Bitcoin and Friends, available on CoinMarketApp, has addressed some of the cryptocurrency’s first use cases, as well as its current battle with the U.S. dollar and other fiat currencies.

The show’s second episode starts off with a character called Pal Fifty, which resembles Hal Finney, passing away before telling Bitcoin and his entourage they need ot seek the cryptocurrency’s whitepaper.

In a heartfelt conversation shortly after Mitalik Buterin, a leading character representing Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, tells Bitcoin its potential goes beyond money alone, and its father – Satoshi Nakamoto – doesn’t have to be the one to guide him. After some soul searching, we see Mitalk start to work on Ethereum (ETH).

As the story develops we see Jones, a car dealer turned drug dealer voiced by rap artist Petey Pablo, gets his power cut off. When he goes out to sell more drugs he finds his clients don’t need any. Later one, the show makes it clear they’ve ben buying their supply off of the dark web, through the now-defunct marketplace Silk Road.

The Silk Road was one of the first catalysts for Bitcoin’s popularity as the pseudonymous cryptocurrency was used to buy and sell drugs – and other items – on the platform. Its founder, Ross Ulbricht, received a double-life sentence for running the platform.

Bitcoin then starts throwing up more often small bitcoins, making it clear the cryptocurrency’s network is growing. In reality, more miners on the network mean it’s more secure and reliable. While the BTC network is now over a decade old, it has never been compromised.

Halfway through the episode we see Satoshi Nakamoto again. The cryptocurrency’s creator makes it clear to the Bitcoin character, while he’s high on cocaine, he needs to finds himself as “answers freely given are worth little.”

During this conversation, Satoshi gives Bitcoin four weapons: the Divisibility Dagger, the Portability Pack of Teleportability, the Shield of Durability, and the Sword of Scarcity to “cut through all the lies and FUD you will face.”

Bitcoin’s Battle With the U.S. Dollar

Nakamoto then tells Bitcoin he needs to “follow the light.” The character’s path sees him end up at a “Freedom Fest” in which gold and silver are used as the de-facto currency. After getting into some trouble, a general, Ross Fullbrick – representing Ross Ulbricht - rescues Bitcoin and explains gold and silver have their flaws, and that BTC is the future of money for freedom-loving individuals.

Per his words:

Bitcoin is the natural evolution of money into a digital gold standard. We don’t live in a physical world anymore boys. We need a means through which we can transfer value across the internet, anywhere, anytime, freely. Without the state, the religion of our time, impeding our freedoms.

What ensues is Bitcoin entering the “Economania,” an event that sees currencies compete for a championship belt. Gold, the Freedom Fest’s representative, never won, as it always loses to the U.S. dollar.

We then see the Dollar Bot beat gold once again. Bitcoin, using the weapons Satoshi gave him, which represent characteristics BTC has the USD doesn’t, beat the Dollar bot. The episode ends with a big bank representative receiving a call warning him about Bitcoin.

The Cryptocurrency Space’s Cartoon

The cartoon’s style seemingly resembles that of shows like South Park, Family Guy, and more. It has a sense of humor that can’t be appreciated by all, but has so far been well-received by the cryptocurrency community.

Contacted by CryptoGlobe on what feedback the show received, the show’s team noted:

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive for both episodes. We're thrilled to see that we have a very loyal and motivated fanbase and we can't thank everyone enough for donations, gifts of time and talent, and so on. This project is growing into a community effort and we hope to see that support continue to grow.

On where they got inspiration for the show, its creator, Uncle Chris, and producer Broccoli Rob, revealed they initially had an idea for an advertisement that would see actors use large cryptocurrency-related costumes. While that never happened, Chris later contacted Robert on an idea for a Bitcoin cartoon which “quickly grew into a multi-season outline [show].”

Featured image via Bitcoin and Friends, YouTube