After two years of work and over a year of regulatory delays, Bakkt opened its bitcoin futures market on September 22nd.
The birth of a benchmark!
The Oct ‘19 Bakkt Monthly Bitcoin Future settled at $9875, and the Bakkt Daily Bitcoin Future settled at $9790
— Bakkt (@Bakkt) September 23, 2019
The release of the physically-delivered trading of futures was keenly awaited, but the first day was considered “slow”. Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s (CME) first week of Bitcoin futures trading in December of 2017 reached a volume of $460 million. So far, Bakkt futures’ volume is just over $280,000.
That’s less than 2% of CME’s debut day trade volume. This has prompted speculation over whether or not the highly anticipated contract will “deliver on its mission statement as a key piece of infrastructure in the cryptocurrency market.”
Many believe that this offer is a game-changer, as it’ll attract institutional volume. That’s because institutional traders can now access a regulated market of physically-delivered bitcoin futures.
Back in August, cryptocurrency analysts were expecting Bakkt futures to be the “most bullish development in the history of bitcoin.” Before the launch, industry players reaction was positive. Bakkt is expected to improve Bitcoin’s and crypto’s reputation, particularly within institutions. However, the impact of the launch on the crypto market remains speculative.
Bakkt futures contract “will lead to price discovery”
In an interview to CNN, Bakkt COO Adam White was optimistic. He expressed his hopes that the futures contracts will “lead price discovery.” He commented on the fact that most of the attention remains on the entry of institutional money on the space through Bakkt, and opened the door for retail investors:
“Bakkt is really designed for the institutional trader. So this is a futures contract. That said, we expect this futures contract to trade through retail brokerages as well, so retail customers can trade this contract.”
The Bitcoin market saw no discernible boost from the launch. Bitcoin’s spot price dropped below $10,000 at 00:17 UTC near the open trading period of September 23rd.
When asked whether the contracts should also forecast changes to the block reward halving scheduled for next May, White was less confident. “Possibly”, he said.
“We think this is an important part of the futures contract — to help businesses discover what the fair market value of Bitcoin’s going to be through events like this.”
The block reward halving happens roughly every four years and refers to a drop in the reward miners receive for validating each block of Bitcoin transactions. The last halving took place on July 2016, and a bull market began and culminated in Bitcoin’s current all-time high of $20,000.