Both the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) have released details on the upcoming futures trading for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Both companies are planning launches of Bitcoin contracts barring any legal or regulation delays.
CME had previously announced that its Bitcoin futures product would be available for trading on December 11. However, according to Reuters, that was an error and the actual date has not yet been set. CME’s website now simply says that Bitcoin futures will come sometime before the end of the year. Contracts will be 5 BTC, and spot position limits will be set at 1000 contracts. Further, the tick (the smallest possible price fluctuation) is set at $5 for each BTC in a contract, or $25 total.
In a similar statement, the CBOE released details regarding their intention to begin offering Bitcoin futures products under the ticker XBT. While still under regulatory review, the CBOE blog contained specific details on the nature of the futures contracts. Unlike the CME contracts, CBOE contracts will be 1 BTC, and the tick will be set at $10.
Both announcements have made headline news and have driven the Bitcoin price to new all time highs. While the future remains somewhat unclear, adoption by institutions will certainly have positive benefits for the cryptocurrency. According to the CBOE CFA Russell Rhoads:
“The question I am constantly hearing is, “How will the futures prices relate to spot Bitcoin pricing,” and the best (and most honest) answer I can give is, “I don’t know.” I’ve done academic work on the launch of new listed products in the past and prior assumptions about new markets often are off the mark. I’ve heard arguments for the futures trading at both a premium and a discount to the spot price, personally I think the best strategy is to see what the market tells us when Bitcoin futures are available for trading.”