A comparison between the two leading perpetual swap markets

OKEx Perpetual swap is one of the most popular derivative products that hit the market this year. Since introduced, the trading volume of the never-expiring contract has continued to break its record high thanks to its well-received highly leveraged nature.

At the same time as the launch of perpetual swap, we also started to roll out a new, sophisticated risk management system in phases to support our perpetual swap trading service. Even after several global market swings throughout the year, we still have received plenty of positive feedback from the market about the system’s effective performance.

Despite BitMEX’s dominance in this space, we have been following closely in terms of trading volumes and market liquidity in the last few months by improving our trading environment and products.

Let’s have a comparison between the perpetual swap markets of OKEx and BitMEX in the following aspects.

I. Bid/Ask Spread

We point out this first since it is the de facto measure of market liquidity.

To carry out the comparison, we selected the 6-mins-bid/ask-spread data from Aug 15 – 21, 2019 of OKEx and BitMEX, each with 1680 data points, and concluded the data in the charts below.

It turns out that BitMEX’s spread varies from -5.5 to -0.5, and the average is -0.51; while OKEx’s spread varies from -8.8 to 0, with an average of -0.14, indicating a smaller average bid/ask spread.

A smaller average bid/ask-spread usually reflects higher market liquidity. Therefore, OKEx performs slightly better than BitMEX during the above period.

II. Spot-futures Basis

We’ve also compared the hourly spot-future basis between Aug 15 to Aug 21, 2019 on OKEx and BitMEX, each with 168 data points. OKEx’s basis is significantly smaller than BitMEX’s:

III. Trading Volume

The chart below is constructed by the hourly trading volume data on OKEx and BitMEX BTC perpetual swap contracts between Aug 15 to Aug 21, 2019, each with 168 data points.

In terms of trading volume, BitMEX beats OKEx with a remarkably high average of $159M, ranging from $29M to $682M; while OKEx’s volume averaged at $10M, ranging from $1M to $46M.


Although it is true that BitMEX leads the crypto derivatives market in term of trading volume, we do not compare any less favorably with BitMEX, particularly in terms of the bid-ask spread and spot-futures difference.

At OKEx, we respect authentic, and only authentic data when doing research and studies. Acknowledging the fact that BitMEX is leading the crypto derivatives market, we will continue to spare no effort to improve our trading experience, which, we believe, is the best way to attract quality traders and liquidity.

Disclaimer: This material should not be taken as the basis for making investment decisions, nor be construed as a recommendation to engage in investment transactions. Trading digital assets involves significant risk and can result in the loss of your invested capital. You should ensure that you fully understand the risk involved and take into consideration your level of experience, investment objectives and seek independent financial advice if necessary.

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