BitMEX Hits $1 Trillion Annual Trading as Bitcoin Futures Explodes

BitMEX, a bitcoin derivatives exchange, has surpassed $1 trillion in annual trading volume, according to a tweet by founder Arthur Hayes.

It comes as bitcoin futures trading volumes explode to record highs on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) platform. Demand for bitcoin derivatives, which allow users to open up long and short positions on bitcoin’s price movement, is booming.

BitMEX: the trillion dollar bitcoin exchange

BitMEX is popular for its high-leverage margin trading. Users can execute 100x leveraged trades on bitcoin futures and perpetual swaps

On June 26th, the exchange boasted a record day as the bitcoin price shot to almost $14,000. Open interest for perpetual swaps hit $1 billion while total volumes hit $16 billion across the board.

Cumulatively, the exchange has now seen more than $1 trillion traded in the last year. It’s a stunning feat, considering bitcoin languished at bear-market lows for most of the 365 trading days.

Bitcoin futures trading sets new record

The CME bitcoin futures platform, which launched in late 2017, has also seen record interest. The exchange traded a record notional value of $1.7 billion on Wednesday last week on the day bitcoin hit a 2019 high.

Both CME and BitMEX offer a platform for traders to short, or bet against, the bitcoin price. As bitcoin soars more than 300% off its yearly lows, traders are using these platforms to place bets on the rally running out of steam. As the Wall Street Journal points out, however, shorting bitcoin is also a hedging strategy for bigger players.

“Such data don’t necessarily mean hedge funds are placing outright bets that bitcoin will drop. The short bets could also be part of hedging strategies: for instance, a fund with a portfolio of bitcoins might go short at CME as insurance against the value of bitcoin dropping.”

BitMEX CEO takes on bitcoin-hater Nouriel Roubini

BitMEX founder Arthur Hayes is set to debate Nouriel Roubini, a renowned bitcoin critic, on Wednesday 3rd July. Roubini took a swipe at Hayes on Twitter, claiming the BitMEX volume is fake, citing a BitWise study into exchange manipulation.

What Roubini doesn’t realize is that BitMEX volume wasn’t even considered by the Bitwise report, nor is it listed in CoinMarketCap’s “reported volume” because it’s a derivatives platform.

The pair will go head to head at the 2019 Asia Blockchain Summit on Wednesday. In a deleted tweet, Hayes said he would “wipe the floor with that chump.”

Last modified: March 4, 2021 2:37 PM

Ben Brown

Ben is a journalist with a decade of experience covering financial markets. Based in London, UK, his writing has appeared in The Huffington Post and he was Chief Editor at Block Explorer, the world's longest-running source of Blockchain data. Reach him at Twitter at _Ben_Brown. Email ben @