CME says Q3 open interest for bitcoin, ether derivatives hit all time highs

Futures and options contracts for bitcoin and ethereum are soared in Q3 as institutions continue to grow more interested

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The CME Group, which operates the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, told Blockworks Tuesday that volumes and open interest for crypto derivatives soared in the third quarter of 2023. 

In fact, with the ongoing bitcoin rally, CME Group said via email that Monday’s “trading session marked a record [open interest] for CME Group Bitcoin futures at 20K contracts.”

Open interest simply denotes the total number of active derivatives contracts (futures or options) held by traders. The metric demonstrates how many people in the market are interested, as the term suggests, in holding a position.

But Monday’s trading day, when bitcoin (BTC) flashed up from around $30,500 to nearly $35,000, was no fluke according to CME Group. 

The third quarter set a record average of 15,800 contracts for bitcoin futures, up 11% quarter over quarter. Open interest for ether futures and options jumped 22% from the second quarter. 

Ether options contracts really skyrocketed in the third quarter though, increasing 75%. Open interest also soared 55% higher on a quarterly basis.

Read more: $325 million in shorts liquidated amid crypto-wide market rally

CME Group noted that this derivatives frenzy occurred despite major price declines in BTC and ether (ETH) in the third quarter.

“While volatility and prices have remained mostly range bound along with trading volumes this year, CME Group continues to see increases in open interest across the Cryptocurrency suite,” analysts wrote in a newsletter.

Obviously, the environment is different now, with BTC and ETH each trading on Coinbase at elevated prices of around $34,500 and $1,800, respectively, at the time of writing.


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