CME Group chairman and CEO Terry Duffy has said that the planned bitcoin futures contract could launch by mid-December.
At the end of October, Duffy revealed that the company had decided to introduce a bitcoin futures due to ‘increasing client interest in the evolving cryptocurrency markets,’ pending regulatory approval.
“As the world’s largest regulated FX marketplace, CME Group is the natural home for this new vehicle that will provide investors with transparency, price discovery and risk transfer capabilities,” he said.
At the time of the announcement, bitcoin’s value was pushed along to over $7,300 for the first time in its history.
Now in recent developments Duffy has indicated when the futures contract could launch, reports CNBC.
“When can you be able to short this product, I think sometime in the second week in December you’ll see our contract out for listing,” he said.
The use of futures enables a trader to place a bet on the price of an asset in order to buy or sell it at a specified time in the future. If a trader feels that the price of bitcoin is going to drop they will sell a futures contract, locking in again if it does fall. Trading to profit off a price drop is called shorting.
Since the initial announcement from CME Group about the planned launch of a bitcoin futures contract, the digital currency has seen its value fall from a record high of $7,800 to $5,500 over the past weekend. This was due to the news that the organisers of SegWit2x had suspended the planned upgrade to bitcoin’s blockchain because of a lack of consensus, impacting the price of bitcoin. The digital currency has since made a steady recovery and is currently trading above $7,000, according to CoinMarketCap.
This recent price regain has been helped along by Duffy’s recent remarks. However, he has made it clear that this move is not attempting to control bitcoin’s volatility, adding:
“What I want to do is give it a place for other people to lay out that risk. Today you cannot short bitcoin. So there’s only one way it can go. You either buy it or sell it to somebody else. So you create a two-sided market, I think it’s always much more efficient.”
The new futures contract will be cash-settled, based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR), which serves as a once-a-day reference rate of the U.S. dollar price of bitcoin. Bitcoin futures will be listed on and subject to the rules of CME.
Many believe that with the launch of the futures contract it will provide bitcoin with a much-needed stepping stone to becoming a legitimate investment asset. The fact that bitcoin’s price is steadily rising again indicates that confidence remains with the currency and the future it’s heading toward.