A Nasdaq official has confirmed that the New York-based exchange, the second largest in the world, will be launching a regulated cryptocurrency futures contract in partnership with investment management firm VanEck.
"Bitcoin Futures will be listed and it should launch in the first half of next year – we’re just waiting for the go ahead from the CFTC but there’s been enough work put into this to make that academic," Joseph Christinat, vice president of Nasdaq’s media team told U.K. daily tabloid the Express. "We’ve seen plenty of speculation and rumors about what we might be doing, but no one has thought to come to us and ask if we can confirm it, so, here you go – we’re doing this, and it’s happening."
The Nasdaq futures is set to arrive shortly after the Bakkt Bitcoin futures platform is rolled out. Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, is establishing Bakkt along with Starbucks, Microsoft, and BCG. The platform was initially scheduled to hit the market during November, only to be delayed by six weeks to January 24, 2019.
Like the Nasdaq offering, Bakkt is also awaiting a nod of approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
"We got into the blockchain game five years ago, and when the technology first popped up, we just leant out of the window and shouted 'hey come over here' right at it," added Christinat. "We’ve put a hell of a lot of money and energy into delivering the ability to do this and we’ve been all over it for a long time – way before the market went into turmoil, and that will not affect the timing of this in any way. No. Period. We’re doing this no matter what."
The director of Digital Assets Strategy at VanEck, Gabor Gurbacs, broke the news last week when he said they will be bringing "a regulated crypto 2.0 futures-type contract" to the market. It will be based off the Bitcoin’s price on numerous spot exchanges, although it is still unclear whether it will be cash-backed or physically settled.
In Bakkt, each purchase of a USD/BTC futures contract will be backed by a physical delivery of one bitcoin in the client’s account at the time of settlement. Existing Bitcoin futures on the CME and CBOE, which began trading last December, settle in cash.
The introduction of futures trading into the Bitcoin arena has garnered mixed responses. What was once hailed as a maturing process for digital currencies might have led to the burst of the Bitcoin bubble, according to research done by the San Francisco branch of the U.S. Federal Reserve.