Bitcoin Futures: CBOE vs CME

The following table is a consolidation of the best information we have at the time of writing, please consult the relevant exchanges for official specifications and updates.

 

CBOE CME
Trading Starts 5pm CT
Sunday Dec 10th, 2017
5pm CT
Sunday Dec 17th, 2017
Ticker XBT BTC
Settlement Cash Settled Cash Settled
Price Quote Currency USD USD
Contract Size 1 Bitcoin 5 Bitcoins
Underlying Index Valuation Gemini Auction CME CF Bitcoin Real Time Index (BRTI)
Trading Hours 5pm CT Sunday – 3:15pm CT Friday

(closes at 2:45pm on final settlement date)

5pm CT Sunday – 4pm CT Friday
Weekday Trading Break 3:15pm – 3:30pm CT 5pm – 6pm CT
Contracts – Weekly Up to 4 None
Contracts – Serials (Monthly) 3 Serials 2 Serials
Contracts – Quarterly (IMM) 3 Monthlies 2 Monthlies
Minimim Price Interval 10.00 points ($10.00/contract) $5/bitcoin ($25/contract)
Spreads 0.01 points ($0.01/contract) $1/bitcoin ($5/contract)
Position Limits – Across All Expiries 5,000 contracts (5,000 bitcoins) net long or short in all futures contract expirations combined 5,000 contracts (25,000 bitcoins) in single months outside the spot month and in all months combined
 Position Limits – Front Contract 1,000 contracts (1,000 bitcoins) in the expiring futures contract, commencing at the start of trading 5 business days prior to final settlement date 1,000 contracts (5,000 bitcoins)
Maximum Order Size Unknown 100 contracts (Globex)
Trading Halt – 2 minute 10% up or down 7%, 13% up or down

(soft halt/monitoring period)

Trading Halt – 5 minute 20% up or down
Trading Halt – Hard Limit 20% up or down
Fees $0.25-$0.50 per contract, waived in Dec 2017 Unknown
Initial Margin 33% 35%
Other Restrictions Market orders will not be accepted (Only stop limit orders)
Additional Information CBOE Contract Specifications  CME Bitcoin FAQ

Everything you need to know about the upcoming OPEC meeting

OPEC’s next meeting is scheduled for this upcoming Thursday, November 30th. While the meeting itself is expected to go smoothly, OPEC’s impact has been waning since Russia joined the conversation late last year (see also “Putin Crowns Himself OPEC King“). TankerTrackers is looking for an extension of the relatively successful production cuts that were implemented November 30th of last year, potentially with more nations added to the deal. Money managers have not forgotten the last meeting (25 May 2017) in which the prudent move was to buy the rumor and sell the news.

As of Friday’s close, WTI ended the week +4.0% and Brent finished +1.8%.

Conflicting 2018 forecasts

In their Oil Market Report released earlier this month, the International Energy Agency (IEA) lowered its demand forecast for this year and next. Opposingly, OPEC’s forecast for 2018 was adjusted higher in their November Monthly Oil Market Report. Obviously only one of these predictions can be correct – but one can’t help but wonder – with the political machinations going on in Saudi Arabia – if OPEC’s forecast is somewhat biased.

Systemically low volatility has subjugated oil markets

In spite of the upcoming meeting and unrest in the middle east, oil vol has been steadily ticking down since the middle of the year and is currently at lows not sustained since 2014. Pictured below are the constant maturity volatilities for 7, 14, and 30 day ATM options:

Upcoming options expirations offer unique precision to play the meeting

LO1Z7 expires Dec 1st (underlying CLF8)
LO2Z7 expires Dec 8th (underlying CLF8)
LOF8 expires Dec 14th (underlying CLF8)

Open interest and max pain

Max pain prices are unsurprisingly strictly decreasing. For more information on max pain login to QuikStrike and go to “Market Reports” –> “OI – Max Pain” –> “What is Max Pain?” (in the upper right hand corner).

Spotlight on Oil

Unrest in the Saudi Arabian political sphere over the weekend drove oil up more than 3% in Monday’s trading session with Brent above $64 and WTI above $57 – highs not seen since summer 2015. After nearly a year and a half of rangebound trading, global geopolitical uncertainty seems to be giving an already bullish market the confidence to run.

ATM volatility predictably jumped as well with a larger jump in WTI than in Brent:

And here are the vol curves compared to a week ago:

For non-oil traders, here’s a short breakdown of Brent vs WTI:

Brent – light sweet crude oil extracted from one of four oil fields in the North Sea. Typically refined in Northwest Europe. Contracts are listed on the ICE.
WTI – light(er) sweet(er) crude oil produced in the United States, price settled at Cushing, Oklahoma. Typically refined in the midwest and gulf coast regions. Contracts are listed on the NYMEX (part of CMEGroup).

(Both contracts are quoted in USD. Contract sizes are 1,000 barrels with a tick ($0.01) worth $10.)

Bitcoin News

These days it seems like you can’t read the financial news without seeing headlines about cryptocurrencies. Between Bitcoin Gold, Segwit2x, hard forks and soft forks, things can get confusing. Here are a few articles that you may have missed:

Are you trading Bitcoin as a financial security? Love it? Hate it? Let us know your thoughts and if there’s anything you’d like to see in future versions of QuikStrike.

Oil and Gold Update

Friday’s 3% drop in crude oil definitively broke below $50/barrel with open interest for WTI (as reported in the COT Report) at all time highs. Headlines cite lessening concerns regarding Tropical Storm Nate and oversupply issues. Volatility remains subdued though ahead of OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report on Weds followed by the IEA’s report on Thurs.

The WTI COT Report also shows that Producers – who have a natural bias to be short – haven’t been net short this little since Jan 2015 (AKA their net position, while still short, is the longest it’s been in awhile). In Brent, the Money Mangers’ net position is the shortest it’s been in our data’s history (dating back to 2008).

Funny trade in gold on Friday as well – expiring over a year from now the following trade was blocked – all new positioning:

– 7,500 Dec18 2000 calls @ 3
– 7,500 Dec18 2600 calls @ 0.15
– 15,000 Dec18 3000 calls @ 0.1

The sizes make it look like a call spread stupid (the 2000-3000 call spread WITH the 2600-3000 call spread) for when the SHTF – but that far out both in strike and expiry, who knows.

QuikStrike In The News

QuikStrike got a mention in the WSJ’s article “How Traders Are Making Money as Oil Prices Go Nowhere” [paywall] by Stephanie Yang. In the article she points out that oil traders have been focused on mean-reverting (rangebound) strategies in this low-volatility environment.

She notes: “Recently, traders have been fixated on the $45-to-$55 range, where options positions are the most concentrated, according to data provider QuikStrike.” You can see this for yourself by going to Market Reports –> OI & Volume Heat Map (or OI & Settle Detail if you want a specific expiry). Paid versions can generate PDF links like this one to send to colleagues or clients.

Happy trading.