The Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (CME) and the CBOE Futures Exchange are launching new contracts for bitcoin futures products, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced Friday.
In addition, the Cantor Exchange has approved a new contract for binary options on bitcoin.
The launch date of CBOE’s bitcoin futures, which will trade under the ticker symbol XB, will be announced shortly. CME is planning to list its bitcoin futures contract on Dec. 18.
The CFTC has had extensive discussions with the exchanges over the past few months as they have developed these products, resulting in “significant enhancements to contract design and settlement”, among other changes, the regulator says in its announcement.
The regulator will monitor trading in these products and will assess whether any changes are needed to the contract design and settlement processes.
“Bitcoin, a virtual currency, is a commodity unlike any the commission has dealt with in the past,” says Christopher Giancarlo, CFTC chairman, in a statement. “Market participants should take note that the relatively nascent underlying cash markets and exchanges for bitcoin remain largely unregulated markets over which the CFTC has limited statutory authority. There are concerns about the price volatility and trading practices of participants in these markets.”
“We expect that the futures exchanges, through information sharing agreements, will be monitoring the trading activity on the relevant cash platforms for potential impacts on the futures contracts’ price discovery process, including potential market manipulation and market dislocations due to flash rallies and crashes and trading outages. Nevertheless, investors should be aware of the potentially high level of volatility and risk in trading these contracts,” Giancarlo adds.
The CFTC will also work closely with the National Futures Association, which has issued an investor advisory to its members, and will closely monitor its members trading in these products