According to the US futures trading commission, by December 19th the number of open bitcoin futures contracts totaled 2821. Only CBOE’s contracts are included in the statistic. The bitcoin futures trading on CBOE commenced on December 10, while on CME Group — on December 18.
Some 27 traders took part in the trading process. A big chunk of them were brokers who represented their clients.
According to the exchange itself, on December 27 the number of open contracts equals 2,943. 2,298 of them expire on January 17.
Big industry players, including brokers, investment funds with external financing and others who submit reports to the commission feel pessimistic about Bitcoin’s future. Their net short position equals 1371 contracts (long positions — 828 contracts, short positions — 2199 contracts).
The smaller players feel a lot more optimistic about Bitcoin. Their net short position equals 1371 contracts (long positions — 1857 contracts, short positions — 486 contracts).
Such a significant difference can be explained by the margin. The margin on the opening of a short position is a lot higher than the margin on a long one. Consequently, the opening of short positions is predominantly available to big industry players who possess the necessary bankroll. Furthermore, the big players could have been making money on the difference between spot price and futures price. In the first few days after the trading commenced, the futures price was higher than that of Bitcoin, the difference was up to 13%. Thus, they held short positions on the futures.