How are Futures on Bitcoin doing?

We last looked at Bitcoin Futures in January 2018, shortly after their launch by CBOE and CME, so high time to re-visit these to see how volumes have performed.

Monthly Volumes

In SEFView we collect daily volumes and aggregating these to look at YTD monthly volumes.

  • Growth since January, but certainly not one that requires a log scale chart
  • June a low month, while July a high one
  • CME with the largest contract, close to $5billion in July
  • CBOE with a high of $1.8 billion in Jan and declining since
  • Also shown is LedgerX, which has OTC Forwards and Options

Last Four Weeks

Looking at daily volume for the past 20 days.

We see:

  • Volume each day in each of these venues
  • CME with an ADV of $288 million and a high of $530 million
  • CBOE with an ADV of $42 million and a high of $80 million
  • LedgerX with an ADV of $1.6 million and a high of $3.6 million

This gives a cumulative ADV of $330 million, certainly much higher than the $150 million ADV that we noted in our blog of January 17, 2018.

However this is dwarfed by the physical bitcoin market.

Bitcoin Volumes

From CoinMarketCap, we can get the following price and volume chart.

This time I have selected a Log Scale to get the price history to show nicely 🙂


  • The price of BTC, ranging from a high of $17,221 to a low of $5,878!
  • And currently hovering close to its YTD low
  • Volatile indeed and you can understand why price limits and margin are significant
  • Less obvious from the chart above are the grey volume bars
  • August 14 with $5.3 billion of volume

Extracting this data for the same July 16 to Aug 10 period, we calculate an ADV of $4.8 billion.

(Granted this volume probably includes Bitcoin against currencies other than USD too, but you would expect USD to dominate).

So our $330 million ADV in Futures compares to $4.8 billion ADV in physical bitcoin.

Making the Derivatives market volume just under 7%.

A long way to go to parity, let alone derivatives overshadowing cash/physical volumes.


Perhaps Exchange Traded Funds on BTC are the answer?

CBOE and others seem to think so.

But the SEC will take some convincing to approve such a product.

See the recent rejection of CBOE’s proposal.

Am sure other proposals will follow.

Time will tell if/when any are accepted.

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