Bitcoin futures trading gets the green light from US regulators



cme cbot tradersREUTERS/John
Gress

  • Bitcoin
    futures trading can go ahead on three US exchanges, the
    Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on
    Friday. 
  • Futures contracts give traders a way to bet on bitcoin
    prices and earn profits without buying the actual
    cryptocurrency. 
  • Bitcoin has surged nearly 1,000% against the dollar
    this year as its popularity has grown.
  • The Chicago Mercantile Exchange will launch its bitcoin
    futures contracts on December 18.

 

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Friday said
it would allow bitcoin
futures trading on three exchanges. 

In a statement, the CFTC said the Chicago Mercantile
Exchange and the CBOE Futures Exchange self-certified new
contracts for bitcoin futures products.  The Cantor Exchange
self-certified a new contract for bitcoin binary options.

The futures contracts will make it possible to bet on
bitcoin prices without buying the cryptocurrency. Both Cboe
and CME have said that their bitcoin futures products would
settle in cash.

Bitcoin
has gained nearly 1,000% against the dollar this year amid
growing interest from retail traders and big-money managers. The
futures contracts offered by establishment firms could open the
door to wider participation in bitcoin trading by other Wall
Street firms.

The CFTC’s decision came with the warning that bitcoin
remains a largely unsupervised market. 

“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 statement.

“We expect that the futures exchanges, through information
sharing agreements, will be monitoring the trading activity on
the relevant cash platforms for potential impacts on the futures
contracts’ price discovery process, including potential market
manipulation and market dislocations due to flash rallies and
crashes and trading outages.”

CME
said
its initial listing of bitcoin futures will launch on
Monday December 18.

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