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Bitcoin futures open interest soars to new heights ahead of Coinbase listing


14 Apr 2021   #Bitcoin

Open interest in Bitcoin futures is soaring but volumes are falling. Open interest in Bitcoin futures has surged to new record highs ahead of Coinbase’s April 14 direct listing on the Nasdaq. Crypto market data aggregator Glassode states that Bitcoin open interest has exceeded $27 billion for the first time as Bitcoin pushed into new record highs above $63,000. The milestone suggests traders may be speculating on higher prices, although some may also be hedging against incoming volatility.

The lion’s share of trading activity is on Binance, where the $5.2 billion in positions accounts for almost 20% of all outstanding positions being held on the exchange. It’s followed by Bybit with $4.66 billion, OKEX with $3.75 billion, and then Huobi, FTX, and CME with roughly $3 billion each.

Despite the record open interest, Bitcoin futures volumes appear to have been declining over the past month, sagging from $117 billion as of March 15 to range between $50 billion and $75 billion during April, according to crypto derivatives data aggregator, Skew. The waning volume may suggest traders have become increasingly cautious about opening new positions as the date for Coinbase’s listing has approached, with a significant share of open interest likely representing positions that have been opened during previous weeks and months.

Of the $75 billion worth of BTC futures that changed hands over the past 24 hours, Binance makes up more than one-third of the volume with $26.9 billion, followed by Huobi with $14.5 billion, OKEx with $12.7 billion, and Bybit with $10.6 billion.

By contrast, open interest in Bitcoin options has declined since a record $6 billion worth of contracts expired at the end of March. Options volumes have increased during April, with the data suggesting many traders have been hedging their positions as billions were mobilized to protect against a crash down to $40,000 last week.

Bitcoin is not the only market that derivatives traders are speculating on, with open interest in Ethereum futures also spiking to record highs above $8 billion as volumes increased over recent weeks. Ethereum’s options markets have also seen an increase in activity, with open interest pushing into 30-day highs near $3.2 billion. Ether options volumes jumped 90% overnight, surging from $200 million to $380 million. However, many Ethereum traders appear to be looking beyond Coinbase’s listing this week, with analyst Cantering Clark noting significant volume targeting prices above $3,200 for the end of June earlier this month.

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