CME Sees Record High Open Interest for Bitcoin Futures on Wave of Institutional Inflows

Open interest surged to $976 million Monday.

AccessTimeIconNov 17, 2020 at 8:51 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:31 a.m. UTC

Open interest for bitcoin futures traded on CME Group's exchange reached a record high of $976 million Monday amid a surge of institutional capital inflows to the leading cryptocurrency and its derivative markets.

  • Open interest, or the total number of outstanding derivative contracts, on CME Group's bitcoin futures market reached its highest level since mid-August as iconic players in traditional markets, like Stanley Druckenmiller and Bill Miller, expressed optimistic opinions about bitcoin.
  • The previous record high of $948 million came shortly after another famed investor, Paul Tudor Jones, said he owns bitcoin and planned to take positions in bitcoin futures.
  • So far in 2020, bitcoin has rallied 144%, according to Messari market data.
  • Expanding on the growth craze in CME's bitcoin market, a spokesperson for the firm told CoinDesk, "The number of large open interest holders (LOIH) is once again at a record 102 holders and we are averaging 101 holders so far in November."
  • CME's surge in bitcoin futures positions also comes as incumbent, crypto-only exchanges including BitMEX and Huobi face ongoing regulatory challenges and flat or declining open interest through Q3 and Q4.
  • CME's growth relative to other exchanges is "indicative of institutional investors wanting exposure to bitcoin," said Phillip Gradwell, chief economist for the blockchain surveillance software firm Chainalysis, in an email to CoinDesk. It also demonstrates "the increasing separation of fiat and pure crypto markets," he said.
CME bitcoin futures open interest since Jan. 2020
CME bitcoin futures open interest since Jan. 2020

Update (November 17, 21:08 UTC): This article has been updated with additional data from CME Group.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.