Bitcoin futures contract trading volume on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) is up 93% from Q1 to Q2 in 2018, with average contracts traded per day increasing from 1,854 to 3,577. Each contract is equivalent to 5 bitcoins, so in Q2 an average of 17,885 bitcoins were transacted per day on the CME futures market, making 536,550 bitcoins worth of future contracts traded per month. This is a sign of increasing institutional investment, since Bitcoin futures contracts are the only regulated Bitcoin investment product available on the stock exchange.

It is difficult to calculate USD volume from these figures since the USD price of Bitcoin is fluctuating all the time, but generally, this corresponds to anywhere between USD 100 million and USD 150 million of daily trading volume. This puts the CME Bitcoin futures exchange among the top crypto exchanges in the world; there are only 13 crypto exchanges with daily trading volume in excess of USD 100 million listed on CoinMarketCap as of this writing on 22 July 2018.

According to the most recent data, over 7,000 Bitcoin futures contracts have been traded per day on a couple of days this past week, corresponding to over 35,000 Bitcoins (USD 259 million) of daily trading volume. It seems the recent Bitcoin rally has led to a spike in Bitcoin futures contracts trading volume. On 25 April 2018 a record USD 497 million of Bitcoin futures contracts were traded on CME, in addition to USD 168 million of Bitcoin futures contracts on CBOE.

The CME and CBOE Bitcoin futures contract exchanges are not listed on CoinMarketCap since they trade futures contracts instead of actual Bitcoin. A futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell an asset at a predetermined price at a specified time in the future. Currently, on CME there are Bitcoin futures contracts for each month from July through December 2018 available.

It has previously been argued that the Bitcoin futures markets are having a negative impact on Bitcoin’s price since they can be used as a mechanism for short selling, which is a way traders can profit from betting on Bitcoin’s price going down. CBOE responded that Bitcoin futures contracts volumes are so low that they probably don’t impact the overall Bitcoin price. Now since Bitcoin futures trading volume is rapidly rising and rivaling top crypto exchanges, perhaps futures markets may begin to measurably influence Bitcoin’s price.

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