It looks like the popularity of bitcoin futures has taken a turn for the worse.
Bitcoin Futures Trading Reaches New Lows
CME Group in Chicago, Illinois reports that only three bitcoin futures were traded last Tuesday. Approximately 80 bitcoin units were involved in the contracts, totaling approximately $80,000 at the time of the trades. This, according to CME Group, establishes a new low for the company, beating the previous record of $125,000 BTC posted in late January.
While CME still boasts trading activity, the same cannot be said for Bakkt, the institutional crypto trading platform first announced by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in late 2018. Bakkt was allegedly going to be a revolutionary product. Not only would it potentially bring institutional players to the crypto table, it would also pair up with several retailers willing to accept crypto payments for products and services in lieu of standard fiat, but the platform hasn’t witnessed any futures trading since February.
Bakkt’s popularity is low when compared with CME’s. The latter, for example, traded more than $2 million in bitcoin contracts on its initial day of opening back in mid-January. Bakkt has only traded about half that since last December. In three months, Bakkt has not been able to accomplish what CME has done in two.
In addition, Bakkt’s dismal opening back in September of 2019 is widely blamed for a massive bitcoin price fall that ultimately took the world’s number one cryptocurrency by market cap down into the low $7,000 range by the time the year was ready to say goodbye. This figure was almost half of what the currency had been trading at in July of that year.
Of course, the sentiment is that the selloff was caused by instability in the market. Cryptocurrencies were dropping by the thousands, while stocks and oil were falling in droves. Bitcoin dropped all the way from the high $8,000 range to about $5,100 over the course of a week, losing more than $3,000 in a relatively short period, and many traders didn’t want to be saddled with the effects.
Tom Lombardi – director of digital asset management firm Wave Financial – explained in an interview:
Last week’s market rout saw institutional investors selling many risk assets, including bitcoin. CME is a regulated platform designed for traditional investment managers seeking bitcoin exposure without a priority of ownership or utilization, and therefore saw a drop in volume as their customers led the flight to cash.
Get Rid of Assets, Hold Onto Cash
In times of economic strife, people lose their faith in both traditional and non-traditional assets and instead choose to focus on holding as much cash as possible, which explains why so many were willing to liquidate their crypto and stock holdings.
Either way, today’s price spikes could potentially give the markets the turnaround they so desperately need.