Over the week ending January 23, the number of open contracts for bitcoin futures on the CBOE rose from 4,736 to 5,193, according to the report filed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
The net short position held by the bigger players over the period is down from 2,226 to 1,746 contracts, whereas long positions increased from 1,553 to 2,440 contracts, and short positions rose from 3,779 to 4,185 contracts.
By the bigger players we here mean the participants obliged to submit regular reports to the commission, including brokers, externally financed investment funds, and others.
Over the same week, the net long position of the smaller players decreased from 2,226 to 1,746 contracts; long positions are down from 3,004 to 2,665 contracts, while short positions are up from 778 to 919 contracts.
The figures above do not take into account the positions that are part of spread trading strategies, where traders open both short and long positions simultaneously.
The CBOE began trading bitcoin futures on December 12, followed by the CME Group on December 18. However, the CME Group data are still not reflected in the weekly CFTC report.
The trading volume of one contract is one bitcoin on CBOE and 5 bitcoins on CME, which makes CBOE more suitable for smaller traders.
When assessing the difference in short and long positions of large and small players, it should be borne in mind that a short position in the bitcoin futures market does not necessarily mean that the trader is waiting for the price to drop.