In brief:

  • Trading volumes on CME's Bitcoin futures and options trading offerings have risen.
  • Bitcoin futures trading is up 43%.
  • Bitcoin options trading saw a peak on May 6.

Trading volumes for Bitcoin derivatives on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) have skyrocketed in advance of the third Bitcoin halving.

In the last year, the average daily volume (ADV), or the average number of Bitcoin futures contracts changing hands each day, on CME has increased by 43% and now stands at 8,456 contracts YTD. This is equivalent to an average of 42,280 BTC ($376 million) changing hands every day on the exchange, since each contract is worth five Bitcoin.

Comparatively, more than 2,250 Bitcoin options have been traded on CME, and the platform recently recorded a peak of 216 options contracts traded on May 6, 2020.

Bitcoin futures and Bitcoin options on CME have seen their open interest climb considerably in recent months, and both recorded an all-time-high for open interest on May 7, 2020. On this date, open interest in Bitcoin futures climbed to 9,783 contracts (or 48,900 BTC), while the open interest for CME Bitcoin options peak at 555 contracts (or 2,800 BTC) on the same day.

The number of large open interest holders, defined as a single user with an open interest of at least 25 contracts, has also climbed in recent months. The average number of monthly large open interest holders reached its all-time highest value of 58 last month, almost triple that seen a year prior.

Overall, the amount of open interest in CME's Bitcoin futures has grown almost non-stop since it first launched in December 2017. Open interest is now up 33% year-on-year, and over 4,500 new accounts have participated in Bitcoin futures trading on the exchange—with 844 of these registering this year, more than doubling last year's figures.

As one of the most popular trading platforms for well-heeled and institutional Bitcoin traders, these numbers indicate rising interest among some of the largest Bitcoin traders. But are they going long or short?