CME Readies Bitcoin Futures in One Small Step for Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin smashes a new record after CME announces plans for bitcoin futures

CME Group Inc, the world's biggest exchange operator, plans to introduce bitcoin futures, a development that could help professional traders and investors finally get serious about the cryptocurrency.

CME Group Chairman and CEO Terry Duffy said in a statement the company's decision was driven by the "increasing client interest in the evolving cryptocurrency markets".

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The cryptocurrency marked a high at 6,416.39 after the CME said it will start offering trading the derivatives in the fourth quarter. The reference rate aggregates the trade flow of major bitcoin spot exchanges - Bitstamp, GDAX, itBit and Kraken - during a calculation window. The Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) is once-a-day reference rate of Bitcoin in U.S. Dollar as of 4:00 p.m. London time. LedgerX launched bitcoin derivatives earlier this month and has already experienced higher-than-expected volumes.

With Bitcoin futures becoming mainstream, the next logical step seems to be a bitcoin exchange-traded fund, as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had cited the lack of derivatives as one of the reasons for rejecting approval of the funds. Previously, the largest US options exchange - Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) said that its Futures exchange is planning to offer cash-settled bitcoin futures maximum by early 2018. Big investors have been wary of getting into digital currencies like bitcoin in part because it's been hard to find the liquidity they need to do big trades that move the needle on their performance. While some are highly pessimistic others have preferred to grow with the optimism.

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