Unprecedented Surge in Bitcoin Options as Market Awaits SEC’s Ruling

In a remarkable development, the open interest in Bitcoin options has seen a massive upswing, breaching the $18 billion mark on December 22, 2023. This surge signifies traders’ increasing reliance on Bitcoin options as a tool for risk mitigation and speculation on Bitcoin’s future price paths. The financial sphere is eagerly awaiting a major event – the forthcoming verdict of the U.S. SEC on a spot Bitcoin ETF.

A Record-Breaking December

December 2023 will be etched in history as the month when Bitcoin options open interest reached an all-time high. Bitcoin options trading, which involves the acquisition or disposal of contracts that provide the trader with the choice, but not the compulsion, to buy or sell a base asset at a set price by a certain date. This financial tool has gained traction as traders increasingly resort to options to anticipate Bitcoin’s price trends and to safeguard their existing holdings from potential price swings.

Anticipating the SEC’s Decision

The SEC is slated to rule on a spot Bitcoin ETF by January 10, 2023. There are multiple signs that Bitcoin traders are bolstering their investments to counter the volatility expected to ensue from the SEC’s decision. A positive verdict could ignite a price rally, while a negative one could precipitate a downturn. By resorting to options, traders strive to insulate their portfolios from adverse price shifts.

A Look at the Numbers

On December 22, 2023, the open interest in Bitcoin options stood at approximately $18.33 billion. As of December 25, 2023, the open interest in Bitcoin options is estimated at $17.28 billion. The last quarter of the year – October, November, and December – has recorded the highest options volume in Bitcoin’s history. Data reveals a significant $36.27 billion in October, $36.16 billion in November, and $34.47 billion in December so far.

The Catalyst for the Rally

“The latest rally is propelled by leveraged/speculative capital,” remarks Ryan Kim, the head of Falconx’s derivatives department. “These traders might deem it wise to expend premium to safeguard their leveraged longs with some [bitcoin] puts, wagering on a substantial move in either direction,” Kim elaborates.


The surge in Bitcoin options open interest is a testament to the growing sophistication of the cryptocurrency market. As traders brace for the SEC’s verdict, the use of options as a risk mitigation tool underscores the maturing landscape of Bitcoin trading. Regardless of the SEC’s decision, the record-breaking interest in Bitcoin options signals a new era in cryptocurrency trading, where traders are equipped with more tools to navigate the volatile market.

Categorized in: