The total figure of 5,190 for the period between May 27 to June 3 represents the largest number of open interest, or contracts outstanding, in CME bitcoin futures ever and a 7 percent gain on the week prior, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
May 31 marked the last day of trading on the CME futures markets before contract settlements, which are set to take place at the end of today’s (June 3) trading session.
The sharp rise in the futures trading activity could be a sign of increased institutional participation in the cryptocurrency markets. It is worth noting that futures were listed on the CME at the height of the bull market in December 2017. The futures trading activity, however, remained dull throughout 2018, courtesy of the bear market.
CME Futures Market – Daily Snapshot
As seen previously, bitcoin futures usually “fill” a gap created by the close of the trading period at the end of the week with a resumption of trade on the following Monday. Large demand in futures contracts usually creates bigger gaps (from the time of close to a new open for the week), thereby risking greater draw down once prices correct.
The gaps shown on the CME bitcoin futures daily chart for May 17 and May 31 provide a good example of this.
On May 17 the spot price of bitcoin dropped to as low as $6,600 before greater buying pressure pushed prices back above $7,300, completing the 11.74 percent gap left in the futures market four days prior.
Again on May 31, after climbing to as high as $9,090 on the Coinbase exchange, BTC’s price retraced 11 percent below $8,000 before resuming its bullish trend, pushing back above $8,200 an hour later and completing the 5.5 percent gap left in the futures market, again, four days prior.
Lastly, the latest $145 gap left from yesterday’s close and today’s open created the possibility for a correction to roughly $8,595, which came in to effect early this morning as bitcoin’s price fell below $8,400 on most exchanges.
Data from the CFTC also showed open interest in short positions sat at 85.1 percent compared to 62.9 percent for bitcoin longs, hinting at a price pullback in the short-term as investors side with the possibility for a downward move in its price.
Disclosure: The author holds no cryptocurrency at the time of writing