Nasdaq to Launch Bitcoin Futures Contracts in 2018: WSJ Report

Nasdaq to Launch Bitcoin Futures Contracts in 2018: WSJ Report

Dec 1, 2017

By Josiah Wilmoth

Nasdaq Inc., the world’s second-largest stock exchange, plans to launch bitcoin futures contracts during the first half of 2018.

Nasdaq to Launch Bitcoin Futures

Citing people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the New York-based exchange operator will list bitcoin futures on its Nasdaq Futures (NFX) marketplace by the end of next year’s second quarter.

Nasdaq Nordic, the company’s Scandinavian subsidiary, already offers access to XBT Provider’s exchange-traded notes (ETNs) that track the price of bitcoin. However, the firm has not provided direct access to cryptocurrency-derived products in U.S. markets.

The company joins Chicago-based exchange operators CME Group Inc. and CBOE Global Markets Inc. in the competition to list the first bitcoin futures on a regulated U.S. exchange. CME CEO Terry Duffy has stated that its products will launch during the second week of December, but the exchange has yet to set a definitive date for their listing.

According to the report, Nasdaq’s futures will track a broader index than CME’s, better capturing the global price of bitcoin, rather than its value in Western markets.

CEO Casts Shade on Timetable

Commenting on the report, Nasdaq president and CEO Adena Friedman avoided directly confirming that the exchange would list futures during the first half of 2018. However, she did not deny its accuracy.

“We actually haven’t announced anything. Really we are continuing to evaluate whether bitcoin can be an asset class that can exist in a more regulated market environment,” CNBC reports her as saying at a tech event in Helsinki.“I would just say that we have been having active dialogue with a lot of clients and with partners about what might be possible over time.”

Elsewhere, Friedman noted that exchange-traded bitcoin products could help bring cryptocurrencies into a more mainstream regulatory framework — the type of framework that would encourage increased investment from hedge funds and other institutional investors.

“There’s the future. That allows for hedging and other trading strategies, and there is also the ETF (exchange-traded fund),” she said.

Leo Melamed, chairman emeritus of CME Group, agrees with that sentiment. Earlier this month, he stated that the addition of bitcoin derivatives to a regulated exchange will “tame it into a regular type instrument of trade with rules,” enabling it to penetrate into the mainstream financial services sector.

With the addition of Nasdaq to the list of exchanges seeking to list bitcoin futures, Melamed’s prediction seems increasingly prescient.

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Featured Image from Nasdaq

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