The world’s second largest stock exchange Nasdaq has confirmed it plans to launch Bitcoin futures in the first half of 2019, U.K. daily tabloid the Express reported Monday, Dec. 3.
As reported, two insider sources had already leaked the plans to Bloomberg in late November.
Yesterday’s confirmation from Joseph Christinat, vice president of Nasdaq’s media team, clarified the launch remains subject to approval from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), although reportedly “there’s been enough work put into this to make [the question of regulatory approval] academic […] we’re doing this, and it’s happening.”
Christinat told the Express that the stock market giant has been eyeing the crypto space “for years” and has been working on its Bitcoin (BTC) futures product for “most” of 2018. He added:
“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.”
Chrisinat’s interview did not confirm whether Nasdaq’s Bitcoin futures contract will be cash-backed, or physically settled (i.e. with returns paid out in BTC rather than fiat currency).
While cash-settled Bitcoin futures contracts came to market on CBOE and CME Group as early as December 2017, the first physically-delivered Bitcoin futures are targeted for launch in January 2019 on Bakkt, the digital assets platform created by New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) operator, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).
In November 2017, Nasdaq had first indicated it would be launching BTC futures by mid-2018, but soon said it would be deferring rollout in order to create a “unique enough” offering.
As reported, Nasdaq’s planned futures contract will purportedly be the first of a set of “transparent, regulated and surveilled” digital assets products to be jointly launched as part of its recently-announced partnership with U.S. investment firm VanEck.
VanEck is also currently awaiting a final decision from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on its joint proposal for a physically-backed Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) together with blockchain software and financial services firm SolidX.