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Coinbase's spot trading volumes have collapsed from $200 billion in May 2021 to $59 billion in July. But its new derivatives unit is seeing new retail traders pour into its “nano” bitcoin futures product, which saw volumes hit records three straight days in the last week.
Coinbase launched its nano bitcoin futures product in June. The cash-settled futures contract represents 1/100th of a bitcoin and trades across a number of retail brokers including Wedbush, EdgeClear, and NinjaTrader.
“It requires less upfront capital than traditional futures products and creates a real opportunity for significant expansion of retail participation in US regulated crypto futures markets,” Boris Ilyesky, head of Coinbase Derivatives Exchange, said at the time of the product's launch.
Notional volumes for nano futures hit 217,045 on July 19 after several days of increasing, but data from Bloomberg shows that contract volumes declined to 117,493 on July 22. Volumes stood below 50,000 contracts traded per day for much of June and July. According to an email sent out by Coinbase's sales team, the firm saw a “surge in activity ever since retail broker partners started marketing/ promotional efforts last week.”
Coinbase jumped into the crypto derivatives market this year after it acquired FairX, a derivatives venue regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. It faces steep competition with firms like FTX and CME Group trading tens of billions of dollars per month in bitcoin futures.