Antigua-based crypto derivatives exchange FTX saw record volumes in ether (ETH) futures on Wednesday amid a sell-off in the cryptocurrency’s price.
Daily trading volume on the nine-month-old exchange jumped to a lifetime high of $245 million, marking a 51 percent increase from Tuesday’s volume of $162 million, according to Skew Markets. The previous record high of $189 million was reached on Feb. 20.
While volumes on FTX spiked, the cryptocurrency’s price fell by 10 percent from $251 to $215 to hit the lowest level since Feb. 8.
Trading activity has been rising since early January and has witnessed spectacular growth over the last four weeks, as seen below.
Throughout the second half of 2019, futures registered daily volume of more than $25 million only seven times. The situation changed in mid-January with the futures witnessing a daily volume of more than $45 million for three consecutive days.
Daily volume rose from $12 million on Jan. 27 to $245 million on Feb. 26, a staggering 1,784 percent increase.
Volume growth has been accompanied by a sharp rise in the open interest.
Open interest, or the number of futures contracts outstanding on the exchange, rose from $8.4 million to a record high of $81 million in the five weeks to Feb. 20. Open positions stood at $72 million on Wednesday.
Activity on FTX seems to have been boosted by ether’s solid price rally.
The second-largest cryptocurrency by market value traded near $125 in early January and rose to a seven-month high of $289 on Feb. 19, according to CoinDesk’s Ether Price Index. At press time, ether was trading at $228, representing a 77 percent gain on a year-to-date basis.
Other exchanges are also reporting a solid growth in the ether futures trading volumes. BitMEX, one of the largest derivatives exchanges, traded $1.4 billion volume on Feb. 13, the highest since July 15, 2019, according to Skew Markets.
Total daily volumes across nine exchanges rose to $5.2 billion on Wednesday, the highest since May 2019.
Daily volumes have topped $5 billion four times so far this month.
FTX accounted for 4.7 percent of the total volume of $5.2 billion registered on Wednesday. Meanwhile, BitMEX contributed 18 percent of the total volume.
While FTX remains an underdog, it is slowly eating into BitMEX’s trading volume, as noted by trader John Dummet.
Total derivative volume traded by FTX as a percentage of BitMEX volume recently rose above 40 percent, marking a big rise from 10 percent noted at the start of the year.
It remains to be seen whether FTX is able to keep the momentum going. Nonetheless, the overall derivatives space could continue to grow as the market volatility and uncertainty is expected to remain high ahead of bitcoin’s reward halving due in May.