Investor interest in ether futures traded on BitMEX has declined sharply since the Seychelles-based cryptocurrency exchange was charged Thursday with illegally operating an unregistered derivatives-trading platform that accepted U.S. customers.
- At press time, ether futures contracts worth $63 million (179,000 ETH) are open or active on BitMEX, the lowest since May 15, according to data source Skew.
- Open interest is down nearly 50% from the $125 million observed on Oct. 1.
- Last week, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed civil charges against BitMEX, and the Department of Justice brought criminal charges against BitMEX's owners for facilitating money laundering and other illegal transactions.
- Open interest in ether futures on BitMEX was declining even before last week’s charges, in line with a downdraft witnessed across the industry. It had peaked at $214 million on Sept. 1.
- September's 17% decline in ether's price likely dented short-term optimism, causing a slide in the open interest across all exchanges.
- Notably, since Thursday, open positions in BitMEX bitcoin futures have also declined by over 20% from $592 million to $456 million.