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Cryptocurrency catalysts are driving records. Here’s why.

The approval of the spot Bitcoin ETF, upcoming Bitcoin halving, as well as Ethereum’s upgrades and anticipation for a spot Ether ETF led to sustained price rallies in Q1 for the two leading cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. Bitcoin’s price broke its years-old record reaching $73,700 while ether briefly crossed $4,000. As prices increased, so did volatility. Institutional and individual investors turned to our regulated and liquid markets to express their views and hedge their risk leading to record open interest and average daily volume across the CME Group Cryptocurrency suite of products in the quarter.

Cryptocurrency futures and options records in review

  • Q1: 
    • ADV surpassed 82K contracts ($5.7B notional), +70% vs. Q4 2023
    • Average notional open interest of $11.2B, +74% vs. Q4 2023
  • March:
    • ADV reached 110.6K contracts (+$7.8B)
    • A record 6,392 unique accounts traded across the suite in March 
    • 252,460 contracts traded on March 5
    • $13.7B notional traded on March 25 
    • $18.26B notional open interest on March 28 

The need for institutional-grade risk management tools was evidenced by multiple large open interest holders (LOIH) records throughout the quarter. CME Group Cryptocurrency futures achieved a record 530 the week of March 12, with a record quarterly average of 442 (+18% vs Q4 2023). 

Meet us at Consensus

Attending Consensus 2024 this May? Stop by booth #1341 to meet our Cryptocurrency Team in Austin, Texas.

Email us at to schedule a time to discuss our products at the conference.

Small but mighty, how the micros have returned

CME Group offers Micro Bitcoin and Micro Ether futures (MBT and MET) and now Micro Bitcoin Euro and Micro Ether Euro futures (EBM and EEM) to provide all traders and investors precise, cost-effective tools to manage their cryptocurrency risk.

Micro Bitcoin and Micro Ether futures Q1 average daily volume (ADV) was a combined 58K contracts, doubling the prior quarterly ADV again. MET open interest (OI) averaged 34K contracts (+53% vs. Q4 2023) while MBT OI averaged 30K contracts (+156% vs. Q4 2023). Since their respective launches, over 12M MBT and close to 9M MET futures contracts have traded. Micro Bitcoin and Micro Ether options have traded close to 1M contracts since launch.

Reduced fees through July 31, 2024: View the fee schedule for details, including member exchange discounts.

  • Futures: MBT futures non-member exchange fees are reduced from $2.50 to $1.00 per contract. MET futures non-member exchange fees are reduced from $0.20 to $0.10 per contract.
  • Options: Exchange trading fees are reduced by 50% per contract

Trading Highlights

  • Micro Bitcoin futures:
    • In March, MBT futures ADV reached a record 61.3K contracts (up 150% vs. Feb. 2024)
    • Record volume of 135,936 or $849M notional on March 5
    • Record OI of 69,257 or $494M notional on March 28
  • 34% of MBT volume and 40% of MET volume are traded during non-U.S. hours
  • MET futures traded a record 88,018 contracts on Feb 14
  • Micro Cryptocurrency futures had a record 5.6K unique accounts trading in March

Mitigate settlement price risk on Bitcoin and Micro Bitcoin futures

Now trade Basis Trade at Index Close (BTIC) against the Hong Kong/Singapore close. Similar to the existing London and New York close, this functionality allows traders to precisely trade the bases on Bitcoin, Micro Bitcoin, Ether and Micro Ether futures. Liquidity during the New York close has improved greatly this quarter with nearly 20% of Bitcoin futures volume transacted from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST, up from 10% in 2023.   

The Trading at Settlement (TAS) functionality allows market participants to enter a trade at a spread to the yet-to-be-determined daily settlement price of the Bitcoin and Micro Bitcoin futures calculated at 4:00 p.m. EST. TAS enables clients to transact at or near the futures settlement price, making it particularly useful when replicating an index. Over 5.1K TAS transactions have occurred on Bitcoin futures in Q1 2024.

Event contracts on Bitcoin futures: increased contract size

Discover an additional way to gain exposure to Bitcoin futures price movements with event contracts on Bitcoin futures. These limited-risk, cash-settled and daily expiring contracts on Bitcoin futures complement our suite of 11 events contracts tied to benchmarks futures markets. On January 29, the contract size for all event contracts increased from $20 to $100, allowing the contract to align more closely to the probability of a trade’s success.

Nearly 80K bitcoin event contracts have traded since launch. Cash-Settlement Fees are waived through the end of April 2024. Learn more here.

Capture relative value between ether and bitcoin in a single trade

Ether/Bitcoin Ratio futures enable traders to efficiently capture the relative value between ether and bitcoin in a single transaction. The contract is cash-settled based on the settlement prices of the corresponding futures contracts. Ether/Bitcoin Ratio futures can help market participants access ether-bitcoin exposure without the need to take a directional view. Markets are actively quoted with consistent trades occurring. Read the FAQ to learn more.

Cryptocurrency trading highlights:


Cryptocurrency futures and options
ADV: 82.4K contracts (+70% vs. Q4 2023)
Open interest: 140K contracts (+21% vs. Q4 2023)

Futures Product Q1 ADV (vs. Q4 2023) Q1 Avg. Daily OI (vs. Q4 2023) March ADV March Avg. Daily OI
BTC 16.2K (+26%)* 26.1K (+28%)* 18.1K* 30.7K*
ETH  6.1K (-1%) 6.5K (+23%)* 5.6K 7.2K*
MBT 36.3K (+186%)* 29.5K (+156%) 61.3K* 50.2K
MET 21.7K (+73%) 33.6K (+53%) 23.9K 47.7K

*Indicates record performance

CME Group nominated for Hedgeweek Global Digital Assets Awards

We are excited to announce that CME Group has been nominated in the 2024 Hedgeweek Global Digital Assets Awards for the Derivatives Exchange of the Year category. Please follow this link to cast your vote before April 19, 2024.

All examples in this report are hypothetical interpretations of situations and are used for explanation purposes only. The views in this report reflect solely those of the author and not necessarily those of CME Group or its affiliated institutions. This report and the information herein should not be considered investment advice or the results of actual market experience.

CME Group is the world’s leading derivatives marketplace. The company is comprised of four Designated Contract Markets (DCMs). 
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