Bitcoin futures were down on the CME’s new exchange according to reports in The Wall Street Journal.
Futures for January came in at $19,100 in trading yesterday (Monday) — a 2.1 percent drop on the CME-set opening price. Futures initially picked up — spiking to $20,650 — before declining to $18,345 over the next few hours. Bitcoin was trading close to $20,000 as of Sunday afternoon and was selling for around $18,722.65 late Monday afternoon, according to CoinDesk.
CME reports that about $100 million in bitcoin contracts changed hands on day 1 — a relatively small slice of the total market. But CME’s launch made a bigger dent than that of its competitor Cboe Global Markets Inc., which started the first-ever U.S. bitcoin futures a week earlier.
On Cboe’s day 1, about $75 million in contracts changed hands. Volume in Cboe’s bitcoin contracts was $81.3 million in the trading day that ended yesterday.
Both Cboe and CME are hoping to catch a bit of the bitcoin enthusiasm wave that has seen the price of the digital currency pick up a whopping 1,800 percent since the beginning of the year. The new futures markets allow traders to bet on the rise and fall of bitcoin in much the same way they would on any other commodity like gold, grain or oil. They also give banks, hedge funds and other Wall Street firms a theoretical way to trade bitcoin in a regulated marketplace — though interest from those sources does not appear to have been overwhelming as of yet.
What has not happened — so far — is traders jumping on the exchanges as a method of shorting bitcoin and forcing the price of bitcoin down.
“There was some fear ahead of the Cboe futures launch that Wall Street was going to come in and short bitcoin,” said Garrett See, chief executive of DV Chain, a proprietary trading firm focusing on cryptocurrencies. “But we haven’t seen that.”