Some retail equities traders, frustrated with recent restrictions on stock buying on trading platforms including Robinhood, are turning their attention to centralized and decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges (CEX and DEX, respectively), according to new data. That’s helping to drive several of these exchanges’ tokens to new highs.
Last week GameStop (GME) and and other stocks involved in a battle between a short-selling hedge fund and a Reddit group captured the imagination of the general public, a battle that drove these stocks’ prices higher and squeezed the short seller.
Now, some of that buying excitement has spilled over to crypto where CEX and DEX trading volumes have risen over the past week, according to several crypto trading data sites.
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CEX volumes rise, taking tokens with them
Trading volumes for bitcoin futures on Binance and FTX surged over the weekend, according to data site Skew.
Binance’s BNB token hit a new all-time high at $50.27 during early U.S. trading hours on Monday, while FTX’s FTT token logged a record price of $12.95 on Friday, according to data from Messari.
“ATH [all-time highs] on a few different matrices” [for BNB], Changpeng Zhao, chief executive of Binance, tweeted earlier Monday.
Through a spokesperson, Zhao told CoinDesk that Binance’s utility token’s price rally is driven by its multiple use cases.
“[BNB’s] use cases have expanded to hundreds of applications on numerous platforms and projects within the crypto ecosystem [and] these are reflected in its growing price,” said the spokesperson, quoting Zhao. “…To become a true mass-adopted application, BNB must be able to facilitate billions of transactions per day. In its current form, we still have a long way to go.”
The traffic spike last weekend pushing BNB and FTT to the record highs likely resulted from increased trading traffic by retail traders coming from the traditional stock market, according John Todaro, director of institutional research at TradeBlock. (Cryptocurrency analytics firm TradeBlock is a subsidiary of CoinDesk.)
“The recent retail trading saga has shown that trading platforms, brokerages and even exchanges can shut down aspects of the trade process without much notice,” Todaro said. “This pushed some retail traders into cryptocurrency markets, as we saw with dogecoin, xrp, and stellar lumens catching a bid on the week.”
Read More: Crypto Long & Short: GameStop, Dogecoin and a New Market Paradigm
In an effort to capitalize on the retail trading frenzy caused by the GameStop stock drama, FTX last week listed a WallStreetBets (WSB) index quarterly futures contract, named for the Reddit group involved with the GameStop drama. The basket of stocks in the contract include GameStop plus Nokia (NOK), BlackBerry (BB), AMC Entertainment (AMC) plus the iShares Silver Trust (SLV) because of recent interest in silver.