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Regulators Greenlight Bitcoin Futures

Bitcoin futures contracts to be offered by CME Group Inc. and Cboe Futures Exchange to mainstream investors.

CME Group, the world’s largest futures exchange, has announced that it has self-certified the initial listing of its Bitcoin futures contract. CME first announced its intentions to launch a Bitcoin futures product on October 31, 2017.

The new contract will be available for trading on the CME Globex electronic trading platform effective on Sunday, December 17, 2017, for a trade date of December 18.

At the same time, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) also announced that Cboe Futures Exchange (CFE) has self-certified new contracts for Bitcoin futures products, and that the Cantor Exchange (Cantor) has self-certified a new contract for Bitcoin binary options.

“Bitcoin, a virtual currency, is a commodity unlike any the Commission has dealt with in the past,” said CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo in a press release. “As a result, we have had extensive discussions with the exchanges regarding the proposed contracts, and CME, CFE and Cantor have agreed to significant enhancements to protect customers and maintain orderly markets.”

The exchanges assured the CFTC that the new products complied with the rules under a process of self-certification. While CFTC approval isn’t required, the regulatory body could have halted the CME’s plans if it wasn’t satisfied with the self-certification.

The press release stated: “Commission staff held rigorous discussions with CME over the course of six weeks, CFE over the course of four months, and had numerous calls with Cantor. CME, CFE and Cantor agreed to significant enhancements to contract design and settlement, and CME to margining, at the request of Commission staff.”

Cboe said they are “operational ready.” Both Cboe and the Cantor Exchange plan to announce a start date soon.

These new derivatives open the doors for institutional investors, as well as introducing the possibility of more cryptocurrencies becoming available in the future. After a record high on Wednesday for bitcoin price of $11,377, there was a 20 percent drop from profit takers down to $9,021; it has since fluctuated several times and is now selling at around $10,500.

Shawn Gordon

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