With bitcoin, the promise has been … well, mostly promise. And maybe a bit of peril. At least some of the promise seems imperiled, at least with one exchange.
That’s because the breathless enthusiasm of the past few years has become muted. Readers no doubt know that cryptos en masse are down 70 percent or more from their peaks.
And so the future — or futures — now is a bit hazier for bitcoin, at least across one exchange.
Reports came Friday (March 15) that the Cboe Futures Exchange (CFE) is now backing off from renewed efforts in the bitcoin futures market.
The exchange, which operates as a Cboe Global Markets, has said the bitcoin futures market will not be on offer this month, and per an announcement Thursday (March 14) said that it is “assessing its approach with respect to how it plans to continue to offer digital asset derivatives for trading. While it considers its next steps, CFE does not currently intend to list additional XBT futures contracts for trading.”
Currently listed futures will still trade, reported CoinDesk.com, which means the last contracts that have been listed will expire in June (there are others that expire in April and May). The move follows the debut in 2017 of the contracts and where CME Group, a rival exchange, also launched bitcoin futures contracts. The moves, at the time, had been touted as both representative of the demand for crypto, and specifically tradability, and a growing acceptance of bitcoin and other cryptos among investors.
“But by many accounts, Cboe’s volume has been disappointing,” reported CoinDesk. Tradeblock had reported that Cboe had $250 million in volume in December compared to CME’s $1.5 billion (both monthly tallies are well off previous peaks, according to reports, which cite those numbers as yearly lows). The Chicago-based exchanges have bitcoin futures that are settled in cash, where the difference between spot and futures are paid in U.S. dollars. Other exchanges, such as ErisX, have said futures contracts would deliver bitcoin to buyers.
As Bloomberg reported, “anyone buying the contract back in December 2017 was getting in at the peak of the crypto bubble,” when the marquee crypto name reached its zenith of roughly $20,000. Now, bitcoin trades at about $3,880.