A Month After Launch, Bakkt Bitcoin Options Volumes Are Lackluster

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Little more than a month after their launch, Bitcoin (BTC) options contracts on the Intercontinental Exchange’s digital asset platform Bakkt appear to have seen sluggish uptake.

The latest available reports for the contract, Jan. 24 and Jan. 27, reveal that 11 days have elapsed since the last trade.

Traders bide their time

As reported, Bakkt launched its new BTC options contract in early December, shortly after rolling out a cash-settled Bitcoin (BTC) futures offering in November. 

Options are derivatives that are designed  to provide traders with additional flexibility hedge against an asset’s price swings in either direction: thus an options contract offers them the chance to purchase either a right to buy (a call option) or sell (a put option) the given asset at a specified “strike price” determined on or before the contract’s expiration date.

Both the new options contract and cash-settled futures followed upon Bakkt’s existing physically delivered Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Monthly Futures contract — a pioneering product that was the first in the industry to give futures traders direct exposure to the underlying cryptocurrency. 

As reported, the physically-settled futures contract had met with underwhelming volumes in its early days — a fact that was immediately unfavorably compared with the fiat-settled BTC futures on CME, which first went to market in December 2017.

Yet uptake for the product eventually picked up, in correlation with a period of volatility in Bitcoin’s spot market valuation at the time (late October-November 2019). 

Aside from Bakkt, market participants including Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange OKEx and CME have both launched or plan to launch Bitcoin options contracts this year.