Chicago derivatives exchange operator CME Group has announced that it has self-certified the initial listing of its bitcoin futures contract to launch on December 18.
A U.S. regulator cleared the way on Friday (Dec 1) for bitcoin futures to trade on major exchanges, but warned investors the digital currency is prone to elevated risk and volatility.
The Merc said it would launch its futures contract December 18. 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.
"This is a tacit approval for the industry as a whole; digital assets are now mainstream", said Charles Hayter, chief executive officer of interactive cryptocurrency platform CryptoCompare. It was last up 6.6 percent at $10,600.
"Bitcoin, a virtual currency, is a commodity unlike any the Commission has dealt with in the past", Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo said in the release.
The CFTC has had extensive discussions with the exchanges over the past few months as they have developed these products, resulting in "significant enhancements to contract design and settlement", among other changes, the regulator says in its announcement.
The agreement with the exchanges does not mean the CFTC endorses the digital currency or the various trading products, he said. "Nevertheless, investors should be aware of the potentially high level of volatility and risk in trading these contracts", Giancarlo adds. Instead, they only have to file a written self-certification with the regulator. The product certification is subject to regulatory review.
Nasdaq Inc also plans to list a futures contract based on bitcoin in 2018, Reuters reported earlier this week.
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