CME Records Record Crypto Derivatives Trades in Q2

  • Average daily open interest in CME Group crypto products reached 106,000 contracts
  • Average daily volume of ether futures increased 27% from the previous quarter

CME Group crypto derivatives posted record open interest and above-average daily volumes during the second quarter, even as the sell-off in digital asset markets intensified.

Average daily open interest in its crypto products was 106,000 contracts, a quarterly all-time high, according to a report published by the derivatives exchange on Wednesday. Average daily volume was approximately 57,000 contracts, the second highest quarterly total.

Ether futures, in particular, posted an average daily volume in the second quarter of 6,600 contracts, an all-time high that is up 27% from the first quarter. A record 26,500 contracts traded on June 15.

During the third week of June, the combined number of what the company calls large open interest holders for CME Group crypto futures hit a high of 404, indicating growing interest from institutional investors.

A CME Group spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Futures contracts are legal agreements to buy or sell a particular asset at a predetermined price at a specific time in the future. CME futures are cash settled in dollars and are based on a daily reference rate of the price of the underlying asset.

CME began offering bitcoin futures contracts in 2017 and then added ether futures in February 2021. It launched cash-settled micro bitcoin futures contracts, worth a tenth of a bitcoin, last year and moved in November to add micro ether futures, as liquidity in ether futures grew.

Tim McCourt, CME Group
Tim McCourt, CME Group

Most recently, in March, CME launched options on micro bitcoin and ether futures. Tim McCourt, CME’s global head of equity and currency products, said at the time that the new offering would allow traders of all sizes to manage exposure to the crypto market more accurately.

The first bitcoin futures-based ETFs hit the market last October after SEC Chairman Gary Gensler hinted in August that the agency would be more comfortable with products limited to CME-traded futures contracts. The SEC has yet to approve an ETF that invests directly in cryptocurrencies.

Simeon Hyman, head of the investment strategy group at ProShares, told Blockworks earlier this month that daily volume on the company’s Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) has dwarfed that of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC). He noted that a futures-based ETF is “not a second-class citizen at all” when considering the challenges in the spot market.


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  • ben strack

    Ben Strack is a Denver-based reporter covering macro and crypto-native funds, financial advisors, structured products, and the integration of digital assets and decentralized finance (DeFi) into traditional finance. Before joining Blockworks, he covered the asset management industry for Fund Intelligence and was a reporter and editor for several local newspapers on Long Island. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Contact Ben by email at [email protected]

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