Disclaimer: This article has been amended to remove quotations falsely attributed to the vice president of Nasdaq’s media team Joseph Christinat by the original source of the news.

The world’s second-largest stock exchange, Nasdaq, has confirmed it plans to launch Bitcoin futures in the first half of 2019, United Kingdom daily tabloid The Express reported Monday, Dec. 3.

As reported, two insider sources had already leaked the plans to Bloomberg in late November.

VanEck Director of Digital Asset Strategies Gabor Gurbacs told Cointelegraph, that the firm has been discussing futures with Nasdaq, MVIS Indices, and other market participants for “about 18 months.”

According to Gurbacs, the new offering will be be more transparent and resilient than other offerings, such as those trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

While futures allow an opportunity for bears to enter a market, the introduction of futures and other types of financial instruments are a signal of maturity in a market. Gurbacs noted, “There is an increased regulatory and institutional drive towards greater transparency into the digital asset space.” He added that, “we hope to inspire greater confidence among investors and foster more fair and orderly digital asset markets.”

While cash-settled Bitcoin futures contracts came to market on CBOE and CME 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 the operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), 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.