The biggest news of the week surrounding blockchains and cryptocurrency was CME Group (CME  ) launching its new product of Bitcoin (BTC) options contracts on January 13. The Bitcoin derivative instrument was highly anticipated, after Intercontinental Exchange's (ICE  ) Bakkt Bitcoin options debuted in December to disappointing investor appetite. JPMorgan Chase (JPM  ) analysts led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou wrote that interest in CME's existing Bitcoin futures contracts spiked in the days prior, reflecting high anticipation among market participants for liquid options. Within a few days of the launch, open interest on CME's Bitcoin futures reached a monthly record of 5,328 contracts worth $237 million, and global futures trading volume topped $25 billion. CME stated the options launch was a success and it is clear the crypto industry is closer than ever to institutional adoption.

Here is the rest of the week in review:

Bitwise Asset Management withdrew its application with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for its proposed Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). The firm requested the withdrawal in a filing posted with the SEC on Tuesday, and the ETF's sponsor New York Stock Exchange Arca also withdrew the associated 19b-4 filing for the fund. Bitwise's global head of research Matthew Hougan stated: "This is the next step towards our long-term goal of bringing a Bitcoin ETF to market, and we plan to refile our application at an appropriate time. We are currently working hard on answering the questions that the SEC raised in its 112-page response to our initial filing." The SEC previously rejected Bitwise's application in October, noting concerns over market manipulation and other illicit activities, but then said it is reviewing the rejection. After the Bitwise withdrawal, only the Wilshire Phoenix Bitcoin & U.S. Treasury Bond ETF proposal is under review by the SEC, which has already rejected a dozen applications.

Major exchange Binance is considering opening a new trading platform dedicated for the Japanese market, in partnership with Japan-based exchange TaoTao and Z Corporation. In a blog announcement, Binance said on Thursday it is discussing a strategic partnership with SoftBank (SFTBY  ) subsidiary Z Corporation and TaoTao to work together to provide trading services in Japan. The statement claims the 3 firms would leverage Binance's technologies in order to build out the new service, according to the announcement. The two Japanese firms will bear the responsibility of talking with the Japanese regulator the Financial Service Agency to ensure the new project is compliant with the country's rules. The announcement came days after Binance revealed it invested in South Korean stablecoin firm BxB in the form of creating a support center.

Crypto prices rose this week to above $236.5 billion. For the majors, Bitcoin SV (BSV), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Stellar (XLM) made outsized gains, while Tether (USDT) slipped. In the top 100, the biggest losers were MaidSafeCoin (MAID), down 21%, Nervos Network (CKB), down 21%, and Seele (SEELE), down 19%. The biggest gainers were Bitcoin SV, up a whopping 61%, Bitcoin Gold (BTG), up 56%, and Bitcoin Diamond (BCD), up 55%. Next week traders will see if crypto continues its winning streak.

The author owns a small amount of BTC.