CME Futures Open at $20K, Crypto’s Market Cap Eclipses $600B

Following in the footsteps of CBOE, the CME Group launched its own highly anticipated Bitcoin futures on Sunday evening. Come Monday morning, cryptocurrency’s overall market capitalization reached another milestone at US$600 billion, making the jump from US$500 billion in just five days.

Wall Street’s Newest Toy

Adding to Bitcoin’s bullish December run, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s futures opened with a price of US$20,000 for its January 2018 contracts.  

The successful opening comes just a week after CBOE began trading its own Bitcoin futures. Both of these United States-based exchanges were cleared for trading by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission earlier this month. These contracts track the price of Bitcoin from an index that draws from multiple private exchanges, but the trades do not include actual Bitcoins, as the futures’ value comes solely from Bitcoin’s price movements.

According to CME data, upwards of 220 January contracts were sold within the first hour (and a handful more were sold for February, March, and even June). While this figure is noteworthy, it’s tame compared to the 800+ trades in the opening hours of CBOE’s futures that crashed the exchange’s website.

Initially, CME’s January futures began trading at US$20,650, a good US$1,000 more than the exchange’s reference rate for Bitcoin’s market valuation at the time. The February, March, and June contracts also traded over US$20,000, even as the January futures began slipping into the US$19,000 range.

At the time of writing, the January contracts have reached a volume of 847 trades, with a 24-hour high of US$20,865 and a low of US$18,165. Between January, February, March, and June, each month’s future is currently trading just above US$19,000.

The Market in General

While futures trading was brimming with $20k optimism in CME’s first hour, Bitcoin’s present-day market played it safe amidst the newest futures opening.  

After reaching a new all-time high of US$20,089, Bitcoin began a steady decline back to US$18,355. Since this dip, the Bitcoin price has remained in the range of US$18,000-$19,000. Meanwhile, the rest of the market has continued its holiday boom, as crypto’s overall market cap topped US$600 billion in Monday’s early hours. 

The majority of the market has benefited from December’s bull run, but a few of the big winners stand out. Tron, for instance, is up 2,000% from its asking price at the beginning of December. Stellar Lumens is another big gainer, moving up to #13 on CoinMarketCap after rising from US$0.07 to an all-time high of US$0.29 over the course of the month.

Within the market cap top 10, Cardano, Litecoin, and Ripple have been the best performers this December, increasing 400%, 220% and 200%, respectively.

Still, the rest of the top 10 coins have little to complain about. In the past 24 hours, 6 out of the market cap’s top 10 reached new all-time highs. Excluding Bitcoin, this list includes Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Cardano, NEM, and Monero.

As the performance of the CBOE and CME futures suggests, institutional money has become increasingly attracted to cryptocurrencies. In addition to these futures, Nasdaq and Cantor Fitzgerald expect to launch their own commodities in 2018. As big-name players continue to get involved, cryptocurrency markets could continue to see healthy growth in the months to come.