CME Group and Deribit have become the latest crypto markets to report bitcoin open interest records as traders position themselves for the hotly anticipated approval of a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund in the US.
CME on Wednesday hit an all-time high in Bitcoin futures open interest of 22,726 contracts – the equivalent of $4.3 billion (£3.5bn). Deribit meanwhile said its bitcoin options open interest hit an all-time record of over $15bn on Thursday, meaning the crypto market’s bitcoin options open interest has passed its futures open interest for the first time.
For CME, the news extends its week-long reign at the top of Coinglass’ exchange rankings. Additionally, the number of large open interest holders (defined as those holding 25+ contracts) on CME reached an all-time high of 137 holders last week surpassing the record set the week before.
"As market participants seek regulated venues and highly liquid products to hedge market volatility and manage price exposure, we continue to see increased institutional interest across our crypto suite,” Giovanni Vicioso, global Head of crypto products at the CME, said in an emailed comment. “Market participants view CME Group as a valued source for risk management."
This performance extends a recent trend after a jump in open interest at the beginning of this month. CME has seen cryptocurrency options open interest rise also, with average open interest increasing 1.7 times from the end of October, according to figures provided by the exchange. At the same time, average daily volume increased 2.5 times this month, with the exchange citing institutional and retail investor demand to hedge increased volatility linked to likely approval of the spot bitcoin and ether exchange-traded funds.
Deribit also said its recent growth in options open interest was partly due to an influx of more sophisticated traders seeking to pre-empt the approval of a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund in the US.
The firm’s chief commercial officer Luuk Strijers said: “This week marked a significant milestone in the cryptocurrency market, with the total open interest in BTC options surpassing that of BTC futures for the first time. This shift signifies the market maturations and growing sophistication.”
Strijers said this trend is important to Deribit because it is the market-leader in BTC options, where it has over 85% market share. “This development underscores the increasing preference for options as a strategic tool among traders whether for positioning, hedging or leveraging the recent surge in implied volatility. It is clear evidence of the market’s evolving complexity and Deribit’s role as a leading venue in this space,” he added.
Robert Gaskell, a partner at London-based blockchain advisory firm Appold, said this week the approval of a US spot crypto ETF could be a catalyst for the long-awaited institutional adoption of digital assets.
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