Why did crypto derivative volumes hit record highs in 2021?

Crypto derivatives outdid the spot market in trading volumes for the first time in 2021, thanks to a series of market factors.

Crypto derivative trading volumes grew rapidly in 2021, even overtaking spot volumes in the process.

This was largely driven by the launch of Bitcoin futures ETFs and increased institutional participation, said Matrixport’s Head of Business Development for EMEA, Omid Zadeh, during a panel discussion at the recent Digital Asset Summit in London.

Below are some highlights from Zadeh’s sharing during the dialogue.

On the rise of crypto derivatives

“We have seen this year that derivatives volumes have surpassed spot volumes – 1.5 times the size of the spot market.

It seems the approval of (BTC) futures ETFs has certainly made a big impact on (crypto) derivatives and we found that futures prices widened a long way away from spot prices.

The spot market used to be very important in determining the direction of the market. What we found recently is that the derivatives market is determining the velocity of the market’s movements.”

On growing institutional participation in crypto

“Institutional money is certainly coming in and has really accelerated this year (2021).

These institutional players seem to have a preference for trading on the more US-regulated exchanges.

On the other hand, crypto native institutions are more open minded to trading across all global exchanges where there are profit generating opportunities.”

On increased demand for stablecoins

“What we have seen on our lending desk at Matrixport is that there is an unprecedented demand on our platform for stablecoins. We have seen rates go from the low teens to the mid-to-high teens.

There is still a lot of eager demand to borrow stablecoins especially with the APY basis returning to around 30%.”

Watch the full conversation here.

Head over to, Matrixport's derivatives exchange arm, to start trading crypto derivatives (futures, options) now.

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