What Is Open Interest (OI)?

What Is Open Interest (OI)?


Open Interest (OI) is a tool that tracks the total number of open positions in a specific cryptocurrency contract. OI also provides information about the liquidity and interest in a contract, helping traders understand market trends. Changes in OI can indicate whether new resources are being allocated to the contract or if resources are being redirected elsewhere.

What Is Open Interest in Crypto Derivatives?

Open Interest is a vital indicator in cryptocurrency derivatives trading, including futures and options contracts. It denotes the total number of active positions within a particular contract, whether it's a Bitcoin Perpetual Futures contract, an Ethereum call option, or any other derivative contract in the crypto market.

OI tracks the total number of outstanding derivative contracts, including options and unsettled futures. Its primary function is to track the number of active participants rather than the overall trading volume, which accounts for both open and closed positions. This distinction is vital for traders as it reveals whether new capital is being invested in the contract or if funds are being reallocated to different areas.

The Influence of Open Interest on Market Trends

In the realm of futures and options trading, open interest is a key metric traders use, alongside other indicators, to gauge the strength of price trends. A rise in OI signifies the creation of new contracts, which many analysts interpret as a confirmation of the ongoing trend. In contrast, a decline in OI implies that traders are closing their positions, suggesting a potential end to the trend.

Consider a Bitcoin option with an initial open interest of 6. If an investor adds 10 new contracts, the open interest for that option increases to 16. If another trader then closes 3 contracts while the investor initiates 5 more, the net effect is an increase of 2, bringing the total open interest to 18. This example illustrates how closing positions reduce OI, whereas initiating new positions leads to an increase.

Open Interest vs. Trading Volume

In financial markets, open interest and trading volume are both vital metrics, each offering unique insights into market activity. Trading volume reflects the aggregate number of shares or contracts exchanged within a specific timeframe, shedding light on the market's liquidity and immediacy.

Conversely, open interest quantifies the total number of active contracts that remain open in the market, encompassing all existing trader obligations. Unlike trading volume, open interest exclusively tracks contracts that have not yet been settled through delivery or counteracting transactions.

The Significance of Open Interest in Crypto Trading

Open interest plays a crucial role in crypto trading, offering insights into market sentiment and potential trend shifts. It indicates the level of active participation among traders, highlighting the creation of new positions and changes in market dynamics based on participants' commitments.

Monitoring variations in open interest allows traders to gauge evolving sentiments and predict future movements in the cryptocurrency futures market. This metric is fundamental to developing trading strategies, as it provides valuable information on market sentiment and possible trend directions.

For instance, when prices rise along with an increase in open interest, it indicates a strong trend and potential upward momentum. This reflects a strong market sentiment and a consensus among traders. Conversely, if open interest rises while prices decline, it indicates persistent selling pressure and a bearish outlook shared by market participants. By analyzing and tracking open interest, traders can make more informed decisions, enhancing their trading strategies and potentially improving their outcomes.


Open interest serves as an essential tool for tracking the total number of open positions in cryptocurrency contracts, providing insights into liquidity and market trends. By observing changes in OI, traders can determine whether new capital is being invested in or withdrawn from specific contracts. This metric is invaluable for gauging market sentiment and forecasting potential trend shifts, as it reflects the level of active participation among traders. 

Open Interest (OI)