The Bitcoin futures market has exploded like no one could have expected over the recent years, and it continues to grow. This summer, BitMEX hit a new record for BTC futures trading at over $16 billion.
CME recently petitioned the CFTC to double its BTC futures trading capacity in the face of soaring interest. Binance had recently entered the space, and Bakkt has launched with its physically delivered BTC futures product (albeit somewhat tepidly).
In the light of so much action among the margin trading of cryptocurrencies, let’s take a look at some of the key faces working to build the current and future billion-dollar BTC futures market.
Arthur Hayes is arguably one of the most influential people in the BTC futures space right now. He is the CEO of BitMEX, which is widely recognized as the most liquid in the market and frequently turns over billions of dollars a day in trading volume. It’s also the most popular Bitcoin margin trading exchange.
With his company registered in Seychelles and offering 100x leverage, BitMEX has democratized the BTC futures space like no other.
As he’s reiterated on quite a few occasions, he has come from nothing to build the most popular BTC futures exchange currently available for retail traders. With a degree in economics from the Wharton School of Business and trading derivatives in Hong Kong for many years, he’s used his extensive knowledge to make BitMEX the number one platform it is.
Even though it’s only been out for a month, it feels as if the CEO of New York Stock Market’s Bakkt, Kelly Loeffler, has been part of the fabric of the BTC futures market for a while now. That’s because she has. Bakkt first announced its plans to enter the market with the first physically settled BTC futures contracts back in the summer of 2018. However, it has suffered various delays and setbacks from U.S. regulators.
Despite the fact that Bakkt’s debut failed to cause the stir in the price of Bitcoin that was expected, many people consider its physically settled BTC futures product to be revolutionary. This might lead investors to purchase or take delivery of the actual underlying asset for the first time.
Changpeng Zhao (CZ)
Changpeng Zhou (CZ) needs no introduction. If you haven’t heard of CZ by now, you probably haven’t heard of Bitcoin or cryptocurrency either. As CEO and founder of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchange Binance, the company that shook the crypto world, only recently entered the crypto derivatives space.
Their recently launched Binance Futures had quickly gained popularity. Recently the Futures department of Binance had surpassed the veteran spot exchange in trading volume, with decent daily volume amounts of over $1 Billion.
More importantly than that, Chinese-Canadian coder CZ’s got personality in bucket-loads and often leading and influencing debates going on in the crypto space. He’s also on the Forbes billionaire’s list with a real-time net worth of $1.2 billion.
As chairman and CEO of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group (CME), one would think that the man at the helm of one of the highest-profile BTC futures trading products would be a little more bullish on Bitcoin. Despite smashing trading volume records and his competitors CBOE into submission, Terry Duffy doesn’t see Bitcoin as having a long-term future.
He told Business Insider at the FIA’s International Futures Industry Conference in Florida earlier this year that he only saw fiat-backed digital currencies as staying the distance. He also believes that there is too much speculation in the space and not enough use cases (kind of ironic, given the nature of his business).
Nevertheless, this doesn’t take away from the fact that he is, indeed, an influential person in the cryptocurrency space.
Jesse Powell, Co-founder and CEO of one of the industry’s longest-running cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken, is a prominent figure in the industry. Kraken is well-known for refusing to give in to regulatory bullying, too, negating to comply with a New York inquiry for customer information.
Not wishing to be left out of the BTC futures space, Kraken purchased UK-based Crypto Facilities derivatives trading firm earlier this year. The move made Kraken the first crypto exchange for offering spot trading and futures trading (although not to US customers).
Maybe the most surprising name on the list. Pertaining to another interesting BTC futures platform that is yet to launch, Adam Todd is another name that deserves mention.
One of the exciting things that Todd is working towards is a zero-fee trading platform by the name of Digitex. With the testnet launch coming up at the end of this month, traders will be able to trade BTC futures contracts and pursue scalping strategies, which would arguably be more productive without the fees paid on other exchanges.
There Are More
There are plenty more faces behind the billion-dollar BTC futures market with more and more exchanges throwing their hats into the ring all the time. From established players like OKEx and Bitfinex to newer entrants like Derebit and IDAX, a lot of money is changing hands on a daily basis in this burgeoning industry.
With new developments afoot with physically-settled BTC futures contracts and commission-free trading, there’s plenty to keep your eye on in the derivatives space.