The total value of outstanding Bitcoin futures contracts traded at major exchanges is closing in on $3 billion. Although not an indicator of price trend alone, some traders believe that rising open interest during upwards price movements suggests that the underlying market trend will continue.
Highlighting the gradual rise in Bitcoin futures open interest is cryptocurrency market analyst Skew (@skewdotcom).
The slowly building open interest in Bitcoin futures comprises of contracts from the following derivatives trading platforms: Bakkt ($10m), Kraken ($41m), Huobi ($442m), Bitfinex ($5m), FTX ($63m), Bitmex ($1.106b), Deribit ($187m), CME Group ($204m), OKEx ($809m), Binance ($136m).
Open interest refers to the number of open contracts in a futures market. An increase in open interest indicates that fresh money is flowing into the market. The figure alone gives no indication as to the direction those trading the market believe the price of the underlying asset will go. However, some traders argue that a surge in open interest often suggests a continuation of a price trend in the asset.
In the case of Bitcoin, the underlying asset of the futures contracts in question, the price has been going up recently. The price of the leading digital asset spent the end of last year and beginning of this one in a clear upward trend. As recently as December 17, Bitcoin traded at just above $6,600. Today price is in excess of $8,560.
Bitcoin futures have previously been the subject of much controversy in the cryptocurrency industry. BeInCrypto has reported on popular YouTuber Chico Crypto and his own theories about the Bakkt Bitcoin futures platform in particular. Bakkt was sold to the Bitcoin community on the promise of physically-settled Bitcoin futures – the traders would need to actually receive the digital currency they bought via futures contracts. This was cause for great excitement prior to the platform’s launch.
However, it has since been revealed that almost all of the trading of Bitcoin futures on the Bakkt platform is, in fact, cash-settled. Chico Crypto makes the case that such products can be used by traders to exert downward pressure on the price of Bitcoin. He describes Bakkt’s “evil agenda” as an effort to tame Bitcoin. The Youtuber speculates that, based on a complete lack of delivery information, the platform is, in fact, a “black hole” that Bitcoin can enter but never leave.