Coinbase starts trading options

Options on Coinbase Global Inc started trading in healthy volume Tuesday, less than a week after the U.S. cryptocurrency exchange’s closely watched market debut on Nasdaq.

Monthly options contracts on Coinbase shares started trading for the first time on all U.S. options exchanges, including ones run by Cboe Global Markets, the Nasdaq and the Intercontinental Exchange, on Tuesday.

About 12,000 Coinbase options contracts changed hands in the first two hours of trading, with calls outnumbering puts slightly, data from options analytics firm Trade Alert showed.

Puts convey the right to sell the stock at a set price at a future date, while calls provide the right to buy it at a certain price at a date down the road.

Coinbase recently went public in a high-profile direct listing on Nasdaq, where – unlike a traditional initial public offering – no shares are sold ahead of the opening. The company was briefly valued at more than $100 billion.

On Tuesday, Coinbase options trading volume was set to hit 30,000 contracts for the day, according to Trade Alert. While volume was robust, it was a far cry from other popular stocks’ options market launch.

For instance, Facebook Inc’s options traded about 360,000 contracts on their first day of trading in 2012.

A surge of interest in retail trading over the last year has sent a rush of volume to U.S. equity options markets over the last several months as traders look to speculate on the direction of heavily traded stocks.

Unlike traditional IPOs where existing shareholders typically have a lockup period of six to 12 months during which they cannot sell their shares on the market, Coinbase does not have a lockup.

Coinbase shares were down 4.2% at $318.83 on the Nasdaq.

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