Crypto Traders Bet on US Election as FTX Prediction Markets Hit Record Volumes

Prices for TRUMP and BIDEN futures markets on FTX

Cryptocurrency traders are placing last-minute bets on the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, pushing volume on FTX’s prediction markets to record highs and drawing new users to the crypto derivatives exchange.

  • In the first two weeks of October, monthly trading volume for the TRUMP and BIDEN markets eclipsed prior high set in March when the coronavirus public health and economic crisis brought the Trump Administration and prospects of his reelection to the fore of nearly every news cycle, domestic and international. 
  • Known for its cutting-edge cryptocurrency futures products, FTX has benefited from this non-crypto offering as well. The markets have served as a “surprisingly strong” funnel for new users, CEO Sam Bankman-Fried told CoinDesk in a private message.
  • Both markets represent 22% of referral traffic to FTX, according to data from web analytics service Similar Web, the largest share of any FTX referrer, thanks to links and data posted to electionbettingodds.com.
  • Though the betting is on the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, anyone who could cast an actual vote for either candidate on Nov. 3 is excluded from the action in FTX’s markets because the exchange’s services are not available in the United States.
  • With the election less than three weeks away, the TRUMP market commands nearly double the volume of its counterpart, the BIDEN futures contract.
  • Even though volume for each election market is relatively small compared to similar offerings on other betting sites, the market behavior aligns fairly well with larger election prediction markets.
  • For example, PredictIt shows a lead for former Vice President Joe Biden ($0.65) over President Donald Trump ($0.40) similar to FTX’s Biden ($0.65) lead over Trump ($0.36). 
  • Bankman-Fried told CoinDesk he is “looking into” building more of these non-crypto markets in the future. But his team “might need to build out some more support for them” before launching new offerings.

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