CME Rises in Bitcoin Futures Rankings as Institutional Interest Grows

Institutional exchange CME has become the third-largest bitcoin futures exchange by number of open contracts.

AccessTimeIconAug 14, 2020 at 12:33 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:43 a.m. UTC

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has leapt up the listings to become the third-largest bitcoin futures exchange by number of open contracts.

  • As of Thursday, open interest (or open positions) on the CME stood at $800 million – up nearly 120% from the July low of $365 million.
  • CME's 15% contribution to the total global open interest of $5.22 billion on Thursday was the third-highest among the major derivatives exchanges.
  • In first and second positions, respectively, OKEx accounted for 23% of the total open interest on Thursday, while BitMEX contributed 18.6%.
  • Open interest on the CME had hit a record high of $841 million on Monday.
  • Increased activity on the CME shows institutional interest in the cryptocurrency is rising, according to industry experts.
Aggregated bitcoin futures open interest.
Aggregated bitcoin futures open interest.
  •  A month ago, open positions on the CME were 12% of the aggregate global total.
  • Back then, CME was the fifth-largest exchange by open interest and BitMEX was the industry leader.
  • CME’s climb is "an indication of increased institutional demand for bitcoin,” said Vishal Shah, an options trader and founder of derivative exchange Alpha5.
  • Chris Thomas, head of digital assets at Swissquote Bank, told CoinDesk that institutions prefer to trade futures of any product via an established and regulated exchange like the CME.
  • “It's a norm – institutions understand each part of the trade cycle when trading on the CME and don’t have to set up new processes to manage risks that they would have to while buying physical bitcoins,” Thomas said.
  • While open interest on the CME has increased to record highs, daily trading volumes have recently cooled.
  • The exchange traded futures contracts worth $347 million on Thursday, down 73% from the high of $1.3 billion registered on July 27.
  • “It means there is less price sensitivity for trades on the CME and implies less risk for extremely high bouts of volatility,” Shah told CoinDesk in a Telegram chat.

Range play continues

Daily chart
Daily chart
  • Bitcoin is trapped in an ascending channel, as seen on the daily chart.
  • A UTC close above $12,000 would confirm a breakout and imply a continuation of the rally from July lows near $9,000.
  • A move below the lower edge of the channel may invite stronger selling pressure. 


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