Bitcoin futures are not the reason for this year’s sharp decline in cryptocurrency prices, according to Tim McCourt, managing director and global head of equity products and alternative investments of CME Group.
Speaking during a panel on crypto derivatives trading at Coindesk’s Consensus Singapore 2018 event, McCourt said that “we are just a small part of the market”. However, he also indicated that the Bitcoin futures market has been growing due, in large part, to strong interest from Asian markets.
"Out of the 40 percent of bitcoin futures trading on CME that's outside the U.S., 21 percent are coming from Asia," McCourt said, as quoted by Coindesk. He also explained that the trading activities in the hours prior to the US market opening bell had a strong influence on the price of bitcoin futures on CME.
At the same event, the founder of high-speed trading firm DRW, Don Wilson, suggested that the combined volume of Asian trading in bitcoin futures on CME and CBOE was approaching that of the US.
“If you look at the bitcoin futures data from CME and CBOE, volume in Asia hours are almost the same wth the U.S. … Whereas in like foreign exchange, even for the Japanese yen-dollar trading, volume in Asia is significantly lower,” Wilson said, as quoted by Coindesk.
Last December, CME became the second major US derivatives operator to launch futures contracts for the most popular digital currency. CME’s chief rival in the derivatives space, Cboe Global Markets, had made a similar move just a week earlier. Both launches contributed significantly to Bitcoin’s record-breaking run that month.
At Coindesk’s event, CME’s McCourt said that the company introduced its Bitcoin futures offering “in response to demand from market participants who want to trade crypto derivatives on a regulated exchange”.