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NASDAQ jumps on the cryptocurrency futures train

The world’s second largest exchange will launch Bitcoin futures in 2019

Nasdaq

The Nasdaq is an electronic marketplace. When reporters go on TV and say, “We’re live at the NASDAQ!” they are really at a studio set up in Times Square. This is the studio. It’s much better than looking at just a bunch of wires (photo by Luis Villa del Campo, via Wikimedia Commons).

The NASDAQ stock exchange will launch Bitcoin futures trading early next year, a spokesperson confirmed to Britain’s Daily Express on Monday.

“Bitcoin Futures will be listed and it should launch in the first half of next year,” NASDAQ’s Joseph Christinat told the paper. “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.”

The world’s No. 2 stock exchange is awaiting approval from the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Christinat told the British tabloid, adding that NASDAQ is confident it will receive approval and begin trading in the first half of 2019.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and Cboe Futures Exchange began futures trading in late 2017. These trades are settled in cash rather than in Bitcoin.

With the confirmation of the long-rumored news, NASDAQ joins Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), owner of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which has confirmed plans to launch its Bakkt platform in late January. Bakkt is more than just a futures exchange, also offering tools to allow merchants including Starbucks to accept cryptocurrencies, Modern Consensus reported in August. Bakkt’s Bitcoin futures contracts will be physically settled in Bitcoin.

Jeffrey Sprecher, CEO of ICE and chairman of the NYSE, was bullish about cryptocurrencies at Coindesk’s Consensus: Invest conference in New York last week, CNBC reported. When asked if cryptocurrencies will survive, CNBC reported, he said, “The unequivocal answer is yes.”

Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler, Sprecher’s wife, was on stage with him at Consensus: Invest, and explained that Bakkt’s launch was pushed back from its planned November launch to January 2019 “to give people more time to get on board,” CNBC reported.

Leo Jakobson is a New York-based journalist who has spent much of the last 15 years covering the employee engagement and recognition business. Before that he covered the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and wrote about politics in New York City. Disclosure: Jakobson owns no cryptocurrencies.

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