Bitcoin Price Resumes Holding Pattern as Futures Trading Soars

The bitcoin price remained locked in a sideways pattern on Thursday, as virtual exchange volumes continued to retreat following a sharp early-week spike. However, a new report from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) confirmed a sharp increase in trading in bitcoin futures contracts, a sign that institutional investors were flocking to the asset.

BTC/USD Update

Bitcoin’s price is currently averaging $6,543 on major exchanges, according to CoinMarketCap. The leading digital currency continues to trade at a premium on Bitfinex, where prices hover around $6,720. In both cases, BTC is virtually unchanged compared with 24 hours ago.

The digital currency market has experienced very little change over the past three days as trade volumes continued to dry up following an unexpected upsurge on Monday. Bitcoin’s trade volumes are back down below $4 billion,

BTC is up nearly 4% this week, having adding more than $4 billion to its market cap. The digital currency is currently valued at $113.4 billion for a 53.7% share of the overall market.

The crypto market cap was valued at $211.1 billion on Thursday. Trading volumes across all major assets averaged $11.6 billion compared with 24 hours ago.

Bitcoin Futures Volumes on the Rise

Institutional interest in bitcoin appears to be on the rise, according to the latest trading data published by CME Group. Trading in CME bitcoin futures contracts jumped 41% in the third quarter, with the total number of open contracts increasing 19%.

Bitcoin futures contracts have recorded an average daily trade volume of 2,582 this year, with open interest reaching 2,696 contracts. Volumes appear to have spiked throughout the month of September, reaching a high of 5,881 contracts on Sept. 21.

The following chart, courtesy of CME, provides an overview of bitcoin futures volume based on notional value traded and open interest.

Bitcoin futures appear to have had a stabilizing effect on the market, a contrary view to the one proposed by the San Francisco Federal Reserve, which argued that securitization induced more volatility. Volatility in bitcoin’s spot price has been declining all year long, having recently touched new 17-month lows.

Over the past 30 days, bitcoin’s price volatility has averaged less than 2%, according to The website’s volatility tracker reads 2.91% over the last 120 days and 3.82% over a 252-day window.

The CME futures contract expires at the end of the month. The contract offered by CBOE closes toward the middle of the month.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi