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Wall Street Traded $572 Million in Bitcoin Futures During Tuesday’s Bull Run

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:05 PM
Josiah Wilmoth
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:05 PM

The bitcoin price is rallying, and this time, it looks like Wall Street has shown up to the party.

On Tuesday, bitcoin brief briefly broached the $8,500 threshold on Bitfinex for the first time since mid-May, and while it has since pulled back several hundred dollars from that two-month high, it has nevertheless risen 10 percent in the past week and 29 percent over the course of a month.

bitcoin price
BTC/USD | Bitfinex

As noted by Mati Greenspan, a senior market analyst at eToro, this rally was fueled in the spot markets by the usual suspects — traders in Japan and South Korea — who provided a surge of volume to help push the bitcoin price past key levels.

“According to the volume on exchanges, it seems clear that the rally is being led by East Asia,” Greenspan wrote in commentary provided to CCN.com. “The US Dollar had a spike as well but it was much more focused. Meaning that the Americans only participated during the extreme part of the surge and less in the before and after party.”

That’s not to say that the U.S. was absent from the rally. In fact, Greenspan said, trading data from Chicago-based. derivatives exchanges CME and CBOE — the only two regulated U.S. exchanges to list bitcoin futures — suggests that Wall Street wants a piece of the action.

Tuesday trading volume on CME reached 12,878 contracts across all expiration dates, worth an equivalent 64,390 BTC (each contract represents 5 BTC). CBOE traders exchanged 7,138 contracts, each equivalent to 1 BTC, bringing total U.S. bitcoin futures volume to 71,528 BTC. At $8,000 per coin — the mean of Tuesday’s opening and settlement price in CME’s August futures market — this translates into a daily volume of $572.2 million.

That volume is still minor relative to the global cryptocurrency marketplace, however. The worldwide bitcoin spot market saw more than $7.7 billion in volume on Tuesday, according to CoinMarketCap.

Moreover, Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency margin trading platform BitMEX reported that it saw a record 1 million XBT contracts traded during a 24-hour period on Tuesday, worth more than $8 billion. The vast majority of this — more than $7 billion — was concentrated in XBT/USD markets.

Nevertheless, this uptick in bitcoin futures volume could serve as another in a growing list of data points and anecdotes that suggest Wall Street is beginning to make a strategic entry into this nascent ecosystem.

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