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Bitcoin spot and futures market microstructure


  • Saketh Aleti
  • Bruce Mizrach


We study Bitcoin (BTC) trading at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and four settlement spot exchanges that transact $146 million per day in the BTC/USD pair. Spot market median trade sizes are under $1,300 but exceed $18,000 on the CME. Bid‐ask spreads average 0.0298%. Trade sizes of over $1 million move markets by less than 1%. 2.5% of trades and 15.5% of cancellations on Coinbase take place within 50 ms. Bid‐ask spreads exceed 0.8% for only 226 s. Most executions trade‐through better quotes, with estimated losses of $36 million. The CME leads price discovery. BTC leads Ethereum price adjustment.

Suggested Citation

  • Saketh Aleti & Bruce Mizrach, 2021. "Bitcoin spot and futures market microstructure," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 41(2), pages 194-225, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jfutmk:v:41:y:2021:i:2:p:194-225
    DOI: 10.1002/fut.22163

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