CME’s Rise in Bitcoin Futures Rankings Signals Growing Institutional Interest


In sign of increased institutional participation in cryptocurrency, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has surpassed prominent cryptocurrency exchanges to become the second-biggest bitcoin futures platform by number of open contracts.

  • As of Thursday, bitcoin futures contracts worth $790 million were open on the CME, according to data source Skew.
  • That’s 15.8% of the global open interest tally of $5 billion – the second highest contribution among major exchanges.
  • The CME was ranking fifth on the list of biggest futures exchanges by open interest on Oct. 1.
  • The exchange’s contribution to global open positions has jumped from 10% to 15.8% this month alone.
  • At the start of the year, the exchange accounted for a meagre 4% of the global open interest.
  • “The CME’s rise is predominantly led by institutional participation, as most entrants from that segment are prohibited from dealing in unregulated derivatives listed on retail platforms such as BitMEX and Binance,” Matthew Dibb, co-founder and COO of Stack Funds, told CoinDesk.
  • The CME’s regulated product also offers high standards of compliance that institutions must adhere to.
  • While the CME ranked second on Thursday, Malta-based OKEx retained the first place, accounting for nearly 20% of total open interest.
  • In the third position was Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency spot exchange by trading volumes, which accounted for 14.3% of the total open interest. The controversial perpetuals giant BitMEX ranked fourth.
  • Notably, BitMEX’s share of global open interest has declined from 18% to 12% this month in the wake of charges that recently hit the firm in the U.S.
  • On Oct. 1, U.S. authorities charged BitMEX with illegally operating an unregistered derivatives-trading platform that accepted U.S. customers, triggering a major outflow of funds from the exchange.


  • The CME’s share of global futures open interest has risen alongside bitcoin’s three-week rally from $10,500 to $13,300.
  • At press time, bitcoin is changing hands near $13,000, representing a 20% gain on a month-to-date basis.
  • Bitcoin’s 14-day relative strength index is now reporting overbought conditions with an above-70 print.
  • However, in a strong trending market, the indicator tends to stay overbought for a prolonged period and traps sellers on the wrong side of the market.
  • Disclosure: The author holds small positions in bitcoin and litecoin.

Also read: Hedge Fund Billionaire Tudor Jones Says Bitcoin Rally Only in ‘First Inning’: Report 

Related Stories

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Latest Cryptocurrencies Videos


    CoinDesk is the leading digital media, events and information services company for the crypto asset and blockchain technology community. Its mandate is to inform, educate and connect the global community as the authoritative daily news provider dedicated to chronicling the space. Founded in May 2013, CoinDesk reaches millions interested in blockchain technology thru its website, social media, newsletters, podcasts and video. CoinDesk created the original reference rate known as the Bitcoin Price Index which is widely sourced in the media including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, CNBC and many others on a daily basis.

    Learn More