- REUTERS/Scott Olson
- Cboe President Chris Concannon said the firm could launch more products, such as futures for ether and bitcoin cash.
- In August, Cboe announced it would launch a bitcoin futures contract.
- Two months later, CME announced its product, which is set to go live first, on December 18.
On Friday, the US Commodity Futures Commission gave exchanges the green light to roll out bitcoin futures, and Cboe President Chris Concannon says other cryptocurrency futures might be on the horizon.
Concannon told Business Insider that bitcoin futures, which will allow investors to bet on the future price of the digital coin, is a meaningful development for the scorching-hot cryptocurrency.
CME, Cboe’s cross-town rival, announced Friday it is set to roll out its futures product on December 18, whereas Cboe Global Markets is preparing for a launch as soon as the end of the year. Cboe will announce its launch day shortly, according to Concannon.
Still, he made sure to hint at the fact that Cboe was the first exchange to lean in on bitcoin by throwing a bit of shade at his rival, CME head Terry Duffy.
“I applaud Terry Duffy in joining us in this endeavor,” he said. “This is the beginning of what will become a major asset class over the next 10 years.”
Concannon said the exchange thinks a family of cryptocurrency products, including futures for ether and bitcoin cash, could come to fruition as the market continues to mature. A spokesperson for CME decline to comment on the launch of additional products in crypto.
“We started down this road in the form of an ETF,” he said. “A healthy market is a healthy underlying market, derivatives markets, and an ETF. That will take time.”
Bats Global Markets, which was acquired by Cboe earlier this year, attempted to list a bitcoin exchange-traded fund from the Winklevoss twins. That attempt was rejected by regulators, with the Securities and Exchange Commission citing the lack of “surveillance-sharing agreements with significant markets for trading the underlying commodity or derivatives on that commodity.”
As for CME, Duffy said the path forward is relatively uncertain.
“Though we have worked through a lengthy, comprehensive process with the CFTC to get to this point, we recognize bitcoin is a new, uncharted market that will continue to evolve, requiring continued collaboration with the Commission and our clients going forward,” he said in a statement.
Not all market participants think launching a futures market for bitcoin is wise.
In an open letter addressed to J. Christopher Giancarlo, the chairman of the CFTC, Thomas Peterffy, the chairman of Interactive Brokers, one of the largest derivatives traders and a provider of clearing services for hundreds of brokers, expressed his concerns about a proposal by CME to launch bitcoin futures this year.
“Cryptocurrencies do not have a mature, regulated and tested underlying market,” he said. “The products and their markets have existed for fewer than 10 years and bear little if any relationship to any economic circumstance or reality in the world.”