World's First Bitcoin Futures to Start Trading

Tammy Harvey
December 5, 2017

But one factor that did help to boost the prices was the news that the CME and the CBOE are looking to launch futures trading in bitcoins. The futures will begin trading at 5 p.m. CT under the ticker symbol "XBT". Bitcoin's market capitalization reached $192.3 billion on Monday afternoon Beijing time, as the price of the cryptocurrency surged to $11,503, according to data provider CoinMarketCap.

"We are pleased to bring Bitcoin futures to market after working closely with the CFTC and market participants to design a regulated offering that will provide investors with transparency, price discovery, and risk transfer capabilities", said Terry Duffy, CME Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. The cryptocurrency is now trading at roughly $11,400, as per CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).

CME's bitcoin futures will be based on a "Bitcoin Reference Rate", which will be a "a once-a-day reference rate" based on the US-dollar price of the coins.


Cboe and CME got approval from the US derivatives regulator to list bitcoin futures on Friday, after the rival bourses were able to show that their proposed contracts and trading arrangements met the necessary regulatory requirements. Bitstamp, GDAX, itBit and Kraken are the constituent exchanges that now contribute the pricing data for calculating the BRR. But there are a couple of differences between bitcoin futures trading at the two exchanges.

"If the Commission determines that the margin the DCOs hold against bitcoin futures positions is inadequate, it can take measures to require that the margin levels be increased", CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintez said in a speech last week.

However, despite the cash-settlement process, some institutional investors have expressed concern at the addition of bitcoin-derived products to CME.

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