The Chicago Mercantile Trade (CME) launched its Bitcoin (BTC) futures contract in December 2017. This was across the identical time that BTC had reached an all-time excessive of $19,800, however by late 2018 the value had dropped to $3,100. Buyers in cryptocurrencies rapidly discovered that CME by-product contracts allowed them to make bullish bets with leverage, but additionally enabled them to wager in opposition to the value, a apply often known as shorting.
Traditionally, the Securities and Trade Fee (SEC) has rejected Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposals attributable to considerations about manipulation on unregulated exchanges. The rising significance of CME’s Bitcoin futures market would possibly tackle this situation and just lately, Hashdex has even requested a Bitcoin ETF that depends on Bitcoin’s bodily trades inside the CME market.
Skilled merchants usually use BTC derivatives to hedge dangers. As an illustration, one can promote futures contracts whereas concurrently shopping for BTC utilizing borrowed stablecoins utilizing margin. Different examples embrace promoting longer-term BTC futures contracts whereas buying perpetual contracts may assist profit from worth discrepancies over time.
CME overtook Bybit to turn into the second largest BTC futures market
CME has performed a key function within the Bitcoin futures market since 2020, amassing a powerful $5.45 billion open curiosity by October 2021. Nevertheless, over the next years, the hole widened as CME’s Bitcoin futures market reached $1.2 billion in January 2023, trailing behind exchanges like Binance, OKX, Bybit and Bitget.
Extra just lately, Bitcoin worth dropped by 12.8% between Aug.16 and Aug. 17, resulting in a $2.4 billion discount within the mixture futures open curiosity. Notably, CME was the one trade unaffected when it comes to open curiosity. Consequently, CME turned the second-largest buying and selling platform on Aug. 17, with a $2.24 billion BTC open curiosity, in keeping with knowledge from Coinglass.
It is price noting that CME solely presents month-to-month contracts, which differs from perpetual or inverse swap contracts, probably the most traded merchandise on crypto exchanges. Moreover, CME contracts are at all times cash-settled, whereas crypto exchanges present contracts based mostly on each stablecoins and BTC. These distinctions contribute to the distinction in open curiosity between CME and crypto exchanges, however there’s extra to the story.
CME futures present discrepancies relative to crypto exchanges
Other than variations in contract settlement and the absence of perpetual contracts, the buying and selling of Bitcoin futures on CME diverges considerably from most crypto exchanges when it comes to each quantity and pricing dynamics. The CME data a mean each day quantity of $1.85 billion, which falls in need of its $2.24 billion open curiosity.
In distinction, Binance’s BTC futures see a each day quantity nearing $10 billion, thrice better than its open curiosity. A comparable sample is noticed at OKX trade, the place each day buying and selling in BTC futures reaches about $4 billion, surpassing its $1.4 billion open curiosity. This variance could be attributed partially to CME’s increased margin requirement and the fee-free buying and selling atmosphere for market makers on crypto exchanges. Moreover, CME’s buying and selling hours are constrained, with a halt from 4:00 p.m. Central Time to five:00 p.m., and a full closure on Saturdays.
Nevertheless, numerous components contribute to cost distinctions in comparison with different exchanges. These embrace shifts in demand for leverage amongst lengthy and brief positions, together with potential disparities within the Bitcoin index worth calculation throughout completely different suppliers. Lastly, it is essential to contemplate the solvency dangers related to the tie-up of margin deposits (collateral) till the BTC futures contract settlement.
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Notably, CME Bitcoin futures have traded at roughly $280 increased than these on Binance for a similar December 2023 expiration. Finally, the day-to-day pricing of BTC future contracts hinges on a number of variables. Whereas CME’s buying and selling volumes are trending upward, its pricing mechanism may not flawlessly mirror Bitcoin’s worth actions on crypto exchanges.
Given the intricate interaction of variables impacting its pricing and buying and selling dynamics, it fails to offer enhanced worth steering to BTC traders.
This text is for common data functions and isn’t meant to be and shouldn’t be taken as authorized or funding recommendation. The views, ideas, and opinions expressed listed here are the creator’s alone and don’t essentially mirror or symbolize the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.