Published: Tue, December 05, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Cboe to Launch Bitcoin Futures Trading on Sunday

Cboe to Launch Bitcoin Futures Trading on Sunday

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has been beaten to the punch by the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) in bitcoin futures trading.

CME on Friday announced the launch of its bitcoin futures contract on december 18, available for trading on the CME Globex electronic trading platform. Cboe will waive trading fees for these products for the duration of December. Bitcoin's market capitalization reached $192.3 billion on Monday afternoon Beijing time, as the price of the cryptocurrency surged to $11,503, according to data provider CoinMarketCap.

The exchanges also had to agree to work together to monitor for manipulation, flash rallies, trading outages and other structural problems in the largely unregulated bitcoin cash market.

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Bitcoin hit a record above US$11,400 last Wednesday, but then lost 20% of its value in the following 24 hours.

Trading under the ticker symbol "XBT", CBOE's derivative is a cash-settled contract based on Gemini's auction price for bitcoin, denominated in United States dollars.

"We are pleased to bring Bitcoin futures to market after working closely with the CFTC and market participants to design a regulated offering that will provide investors with transparency, price discovery, and risk transfer capabilities", said Terry Duffy, CME Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Ultimately, the first bitcoin futures trade could be remembered as the event that secured bitcoin's entry into the mainstream financial services sector. CBOE will derive its bitcoin contract price from the Gemini bitcoin exchange, which is owned by the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler.

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The contracts will initially require a margin deposit of 35%, and will be subjected to "hard" price limits of 20% - the contracts won't be able to rise or fall by more than 20% on any given day, the statement said. The trade will be cash-settled on the basis of Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR), which is published on a daily basis by CME since November 2016.

The CME says bitcoin futures will be priced at a premium to standard Equity Index futures, but in line with the pricing conventions of other premium products.

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