Bakkt, the highly touted cryptocurrency exchange founded by the Intercontinental Exchange, saw zero Bitcoin options traded last week as it continues its hugely underwhelming start to life.
The Bitcoin futures exchange, governed by the company behind the New York Stock Exchange, was billed as a gateway for institutional investors to get in on the world of crypto trading given its close associations with established financial institutions. However, the pre-launch excitement failed to translate into activity as Bakkt traded just 623 futures contracts in the first week of launch in late September. Volume did start to pick up pace in November with monthly trading breaking the US$10 million mark.
However, according to data from Skew, Bakkt has seen no trading for its options in the last 10 days. As the weekends aren’t counted, the last activity registered took place on January 17, when 20 Bitcoin options changed hands. Bakkt’s closest rival, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), has fared considerably better in recent weeks since rolling out its Bitcoin options on January 13, with 55 contracts (about US$2.37 million in volume) traded on its first day, rising to 120 (US$5.25 million) by the end of the week.
Bakkt’s physically settled futures contracts, which were launched in December, were also met with underwhelming volumes in the early days—a fact that was immediately unfavorably compared with the fiat-settled BTC futures on CME, which first went to market in December 2017.
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“The activity on CME has been on the rise lately and outgrowing BTC. Open Interest is at approximately $240 million at CME. This is nearly $100 million more than last time Bitcoin was around the same price. The volume on CME is also way higher than in October, and has now been touching the area between $500-$700 million several times this year,” said a recent report by Arcane Research, suggesting that it is gaining an edge over Bakkt as the preferred platform among institutional investors.
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