CME Bitcoin futures spike during US presidential election

As ballots poured in on the night of the United States presidential election, traders piled in and out of positions on the CME.

As votes came in on the night of Nov. 3, the day of the U.S. presidential election, Bitcoin’s (BTC) volume soared on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, or CME. 

“Overnight, before 9:00am NYT over 6,700 Bitcoin futures contracts traded (33,500 equivalent Bitcoin), 75% more than what has been observed YTD [year-to-date] and more than double the volume observed since launch,” a CME Group spokesperson told Cointelegraph on Wednesday.

6,700 BTC CME Bitcoin futures contracts traded between 5 PM CST on Nov. 3 and 8 AM CST on Nov. 4. CME Bitcoin futures trade 23 hours per day, between 5 pm and 4pm. Each contract is worth 5 BTC. That means that overnight during the U.S. presidential election, the CME hosted 33,500 Bitcoin in trading volume, equal to approximately $462 million, based on a rough estimate of Bitcoin’s average price during that window. 

Such volume stands 75% higher than the exchange’s average action hosted during that same time window on any other night over the past year, the spokesperson clarified. 

Additionally, the exchange hosted more big players than ever before. “Ahead of the election, the number of Long Open Interest Holders (LOIHs, large traders as defined by the CFTC) to a new record, 102,” the spokesperson said. 

November also started off hot, showing an increase in the number of Bitcoin positions participants held, known as open interest, or OI. “Average daily futures OI over the first two days in November is up 20% over October to 11,929 contracts,” they noted. November’s early action logically came with little surprise, given the building trading interest seen near last month’s end, expressed in average daily volume, or ADV. The spokesperson said:

“Bitcoin futures weekly ADV grew significantly in the week leading to the election. On average 11,428 contracts (57,140 equivalent Bitcoin) traded daily on the last week of October up 164% from the first full week in October.”

The CME is looking back on a positive year for Bitcoin trading, while Bitcoin itself has yielded a tremendous run thus far, especially given its March 2020 low near $3,800. The asset has reached prices not seen in nearly three years.  

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