18 Bitcoin (BTC) in volume has been traded since the launch of Bitcoin futures on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)’s Bakkt platform yesterday, Sept. 22.
The much-anticipated contracts — the first of their kind to be physically settled in Bitcoin — went live at 8 PM EST on Sept. 22 (00:00 UTC Sept. 23).
The first hours
Bakkt ™ Bitcoin (USD) Monthly Futures Contract. Source: ICE
As of the most recently available data at the time of writing, 18 BTC has been traded, with a last recorded trading price of $10, 042.50/BTC.
Many crypto commentators have commented on the apparently slight volume levels, with one trader comparing the platform’s launch so far to patterns typically seen with earlier products:
“CME bitcoin futures traded $460 million on its first week. Current volume is around $700 million. The Van Eck fake ETF traded $0 on its first week.”
Cryptocurrency investor Ari Paul argued that physical delivery is likely to slow adoption, at least initially, contending that:
“Probably a more gradual scale-up since it’s physical. With CME futures, anyone with the right FCM [Futures Commission Merchant] could immediately trade on launch […] I’d think the incremental demand (beyond CME) would come from people who want to buy or sell physical for delivery, at least at first. Receiving could be instant (use FCM to convert), but I’m kind of thinking depositing physical will be gradual.”
Price and the institutional landscape
Despite long anticipation of the new contracts’ launch, the markets have yet to register any impact, with Bitcoin trading tepidly below $10,000 as of press time.
When it comes to the fiat-settled Bitcoin futures contracts on CME, their expiration and rollover dates have historically exerted pressure on Bitcoin markets — traders will no doubt be closely eyeing signs of potential impact from Bakkt’s product in the coming days.
Taking a wider view, Fundstrat analyst and well-known Bitcoin bull Tom Lee had tweeted on Sept. 20 that he was “very positive on Bakkt and its ability to improve trust with institutions to crypto.”