Bitcoin futures, which failed to generate the investor interest some had hoped for when CME Group Inc. and CBOE Global Markets Inc. first offered them in December, are finding support from an unlikely quarter – cryptocurrency miners, according to MarketWatch. Miners are using futures to hedge their bests amidst the rising cost of mining bitcoin.
Miners are slowly hedging their bets and reducing their exposure, said Bob Fitzsimmons, managing director and head of Wedbush Futures, a financial services firm that publishes reports on cryptocurrencies.
CBOE Global Markets recorded its largest daily volume on March 26. May contracts are nearing 19,000, eclipsing the 15,500 traded on Jan. 17 when investors flooded to cover losses the day after bitcoin fell by as much as 27%.
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Mining Costs Rise
The amount of energy required to mine bitcoin blocks has increased as the community nears the maximum 21 million bitcoins. About 17 million bitcoins have been mined so far, according to CoinMarketcap.com.
Mining became highly profitable when the bitcoin price approached $20,000 in December. Miners started to mine as many bitcoins as possible even as mining costs were rising.
When the bitcoin price plunged six weeks later by more than 65% to below $6,000, mining revenue, based on rewards and fees, dropped by $40 million per day, forcing some miners to exit the market while others rushed to find less expensive sources of energy.
Fundstrat Advisors, a Wall Street strategy firm that publishes reports on bitcoin, pinpointed the break-even price to mine a bitcoin at $8,038. On March 15, bitcoin’s price was still below that amount.
Bitcoin Recover Revives Mining
As bitcoin’s price has recovered a bit, surpassing $9,000, mining activity has revived.
Thomas Flake, founder and chief marketing officer at because LLC, a mining facility based in Virginia, said the company will continue to build capacity at both of its locations and is “fully subscribed” through September.
The improved interest in bitcoin futures also reflects a level of commitment by investors sticking with their positions, Fitzsimmons said. He noted there was an uptick April 25 with people rolling rather than closing out their positions.
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