How Is CME Shaping Bitcoin Futures?

Analyzing the role that the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has played in the bitcoin futures market.

The below is from a recent edition of the Deep Dive, BitcoinLinux‘s premium markets newsletter. To be among the first to receive these insights and other on-chain bitcoin market analysis straight to your inbox, subscribe now.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at the evolving role that the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has played in the bitcoin futures market. In particular, we will examine some of the trends since the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy Futures ETF (BITO) began trading in October 2021.

We covered the potential impact of a bitcoin futures ETF in The Daily Dive #080 – Bitcoin Futures ETF Impact.

There is currently $14.7 billion of bitcoin futures open interest contracts across various exchanges and contract types, a figure equivalent to 348,000 bitcoin. 

Bitcoin futures open interest

An analysis of open interest by exchange shows Binance ($4.44 billion) as the market leader with FTX ($2.53 billion) and CME ($2.14 billion) following behind. These three exchanges make up the majority of open interest contracts accounting for over 60% of the market. 

btc futures open interest by
Bitcoin futures open interest from Binance, CME and FTX

In terms of the percentage of aggregate open interest by exchange, 30.74% is currently held on Binance while FTX and CME hold 17.51% and 14.83% of open interest each, respectively.

Among the most interesting dynamics, in regards to analyzing the open interest of specific exchanges in the futures market, is the rise of open interest in the CME leading up to the approval of the bitcoin futures ETF.

btc futures open interest by exchange market share
Bitcoin futures open interest by the market shares of Binance, CME and FTX

In early October, rumors began to circulate that a futures ETF was imminent and bitcoin futures open interest on the CME (where the prospective futures ETF would trade its holdings) more than doubled to a peak of $5.5 billion in less than a month, briefly becoming the market leader in open interest.

deep dive 25 promo 3