Nasdaq aims to launch next year a futures contract based on bitcoin, making it the third exchange operator to plan US derivatives contracts linked to the digital currency, according to Reuters.
The exchange has teamed up with New York-based money manager VanEck to develop the futures product, the news agency said, citing a source with knowledge of the matter.
Clearing services will be undertaken by the Options Clearing Corporation, which clears all Nasdaq futures products, the source was quoted as saying.
VanEck had applied to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this year to launch a bitcoin-related exchange-traded fund (ETF), but withdrew the request in September after speaking with SEC staff, according to a regulatory filing.
The SEC requested that VanEck wait until the underlying instruments in which the ETF planned to primarily invest – bitcoin futures contracts – become available for investment.
CME Group, the world’s largest derivatives exchange, and CBOE Holdings have both said they plan to launch futures products based on bitcoin this year, pending regulatory approval, helping fuel the cryptocurrency’s rally.
The price of bitcoin topped US$11,000 on Wednesday less than a day after passing the US$10,000 mark and has increased more than ten-fold in value so far this year, stoking concerns of a bubble.
One of the ways the Nasdaq futures product will differ from those of CME and CBOE is that it will be based on an index that takes in prices from more than 50 bitcoin exchanges, the source told Reuters.
CME has said its bitcoin future will be based on the CF Bitcoin Reference Rate, a once-a-day reference rate of the US dollar price of bitcoin, that unit takes prices from four bitcoin exchanges.
CBOE will price its bitcoin future off the Gemini Trust, the digital currency exchange founded by brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.
The SEC in March denied a request for CBOE to list what would have been the first US ETF built to track bitcoin.
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