The Best Bitcoin Options Trading Platforms
The demand for bitcoin options has not been high, but there is a definite upwards trend in trading volume at deribit, which is currently the market leading platform.
The as-yet underdeveloped bitcoin options market is serviced by two players: Deribit and BitMex. A third, Quedex, does not really have the volume to make it a serious player yet. As it stands today, Deribit is definitely the top bitcoin Options exchange in the market.
Deribit is bitcoin's first and largest options trading platform, with a solid bitcoin futures and spot market offering as well. US traders welcome.
- Top Options Exchange in the market by volume and product quality
- USA traders accepted
- Maker: -.02% Taker: .05%. Options .04%.
- Crypto Only
- Crypto Only
Bitmex’s UP and DOWN contacts seem a bit of a trial balloon, and the product is definitely not as fully baked as either Deribit or Quedex. However, the potential of Bitmex, which is the number one bitcoin futures exchange by volume, bodes well for the future of the options market. The contracts are starting to attract much bigger liquidity, but there are serious limitations for the time being. As it currently stands, traders will have to make due with either deribit the market leader by a good ways, or quebex who suffers from a dire lack of liquidity.
BitMEX has developed a crypto derivative trading platform supporting leverages of up to 100:1. Highest trading volume in the market. Get an exclusive 10% fee discount.
- Massive volume
- only two options one up one down
- one expiration at a time
- Bitcoin Cash
- Maker: -.025%; Taker: .075%
- Crypto Only
- Crypto Only
See below a comparison of the three exchanges.
|Exchange||Settlements||Strike Intervals||Option Style||Option Types||Settlement Index|
|Deribit||1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months||$1,000||European||Short and long calls and puts||Bitstamp, gdax, itbit, kraken, gemini, bitfinex (hi/lo removed)|
|Quedex||1 week, 1 month, 3 months||$500||European||Short and long calls and puts||Bitstamp, gdax, itbit, kraken, gemini|
|Bitmex||1 week||One strike price for long and short options||European||Long and short calls||Bitstamp, gdax|
(As of June 7th, 2018)
|Quedex||$1||-.02%||.03%||.03% In the money only||20:1|
|BitMex||0.1 XBT||0%||0%||0%||None Offered|
The price of doing business
Don’t let Bitmex’s lack of fees attract you too much; you can usually find more attractively priced options on either deribit or quedex. It is a bit hard to compare however, as bitmex’s use of a single strike price and a single settlement date often makes for an irrelevant instrument. For example, the spot price of bitcoin is currently $9020 as of May 9th, and the only strike price on bitmex is 10,750, with settlement on May 11th. This of course means that the market has dried up – there has only been a turnover of 318 contracts – each valued at .00, which is set by the undisclosed market maker – in the last 24 hours.
So that brings us to Deribit and Quedex. Quedex has the edge on fee pricing, but the fee price is much less important than the option prices themselves. Obviously, any option exchange pricing is a static snapshot of a moving picture, but find below the differences in pricing at the time this article was written.
It is unfortunately not entirely straightforward to compare, as each Quedex contract is worth $1 to 1 btc for Deribit, but we will try and do the math. The numbers in parenthesis show the Quedex bid and ask adjusted as if the contracts were for 1 bitcoin rather than a dollar.
Expiration June 29th. Current Spot (May 9) $9,117
Bid Ask Bid Ask
$9,000 Call .1412 .1479 .00001279
$9,000 Put .1084 .1140 None .00000781
$10,000 Call .0968 .1024 .00000265 None
$10,000 Put .1713 .1789 .00000135
$8,000 Call .2003 .2072 .00000412
$8,000 Put .0617 .0677 None .00000274
So, you get the picture. Quedex is having trouble getting volume with a minimum of $1 and the bids are entirely unrealistic, at least compared to deribit. Deribit demonstrates decent spreads (at least for this market) with minimum contract sizes of 1 bitcoin. So yes, Quedex has better fees, but the product is borderline unusable at the moment.
Deribit is the obvious choice for best bitcoin options platform at the current time. Deribit benefits greatly not only from its decent product, but from being the first mover in the market. It will be interesting to see what tricks Quedex has up its sleeves to overcome this significant handicap. Bitmex, of course, is the elephant in the options room – if they decide to develop a proper options platform, they have an overwhelming customer advantage that will be nigh-on impossible for deribit to compete with. I do hope that deribit is able to continue to build on its respectable volume base, as competition will do the market well.