The average daily trading volumes for bitcoin futures have increased by as much as 41% in the third quarter of this year, according to results published today by CME Group.
CME Group, which launched bitcoin futures back in December 2017, revealed its findings on Twitter this week, showing the stark increase in trading volumes over the period.
According to their figures, there were as many as 5,053 average daily contracts traded over the quarterm up from 3,577 average orders in the previous quarter. The figures compare to 1,854 contracts in the first quarter of the year, reflecting a growth of 170% over 2018 so far.
Open interest also increased over the year, peaking in Q3, a marker of open positions with unsettled contracts in the bitcoin futures market. From 1,523 in Q1 to 2,405 in Q2, open interest levelled at daily volumes of 2,873 per day average in Q3.
Futures contracts allow investors to take exposure to bitcoin markets, without investing in bitcoin directly, or taking ownership of any cryptocurrency – a more secure, and leveraged way of investing in bitcoin markets.
Instruments based on the future value of an underlying asset, futures are regarded as particularly important for institutional investors, many of which have regulatory constraints preventing direct investments in bitcoin.
Speaking at an event in September, CME’s managing director Tim McCourt said that he was already aware volumes were rising, fuelled in large part by strong and growing interest from Asian markets.
“Out of the 40 percent of bitcoin futures trading on CME that’s outside the U.S., 21 percent are coming from Asia.”
While the figures reflect strong ongoing investor interest in bitcoin, some have previously held the launch of futures trading responsible for the downturn in bitcoin markets around the turn of the year.
However, back in September, McCourt dismissed this idea with the contention they are “just a small part of the market.” Either way, the Q3 figures show persistent demand for access to crypto markets through futures contracts.
Despite some challenging conditions for bitcoin bulls in 2018 so far, there remain plenty of reasons to be optimistic about bitcoin trading, both now and in the future.