After Much Speculation, Nasdaq Set to Launch Bitcoin Futures Market

Nasdaq Inc., the world’s second-largest stock exchange, is planning to launch its very own bitcoin futures product no later than Q1 2019. The announcement serves as a subtle reminder to investors that, despite the recent price collapse, institutional appetite in cryptocurrency is only growing.

Nasdaq Joins the Futures Race

According to Bloomberg, Nasdaq is currently working with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the nation’s main swaps regulator, to develop a new bitcoin futures product that could begin trading early next year. VanEck Associates Corp will be the unit responsible for compiling bitcoin’s spot price from various exchanges to be used in the futures contract. This is just one way Nasdaq is planning to differentiate its product from the ones offered by its competitors in Chicago.

Hacked first reported Nasdaq’s intention to enter the race for bitcoin futures last November. At the time, institutional interest in cryptocurrency was just ramping up as bitcoin and the broader market was enjoying an unprecedented record run.

Since that report was published, CBOE and CME Group have each launched their very own bitcoin futures product while Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the world’s largest stock exchange operator, has announced plans to provide physically settled bitcoin futures through a proprietary platform called Bakkt. Deutsche Borse, Germany’s larges stock exchange operator, has also set up an internal blockchain unit to develop a new cryptocurrency trading platform.

Market Shrugs Off News

The cryptocurrency market was largely unaffected by the news, as traders continued to focus their attention elsewhere. Cryptoassets were down across the board on Tuesday, offsetting most of the gains made during the previous session. The combined market cap of all coins in circulation reached a low of $118 billion before recovering north of $122.6 billion, according to latest available data.

Most major assets in the top-ten had reported sizable losses, with bitcoin’s price falling nearly 3% to $3,758. XRP, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, fell 2.9% to $0.3502. Ethereum lost 4.5% to $106. The post-fork bitcoin cash declined 6.7% to reach $176.

Cryptocurrencies have shed roughly $90 billion in market cap over the past two weeks in a selloff that was triggered by the pending hard fork of bitcoin cash. The hard fork split the bitcoin cash community into two camps, with the ABC chain retaining the BCH ticker symbol. Bitcoin SV is currently trading on major exchanges. Its price is down 10.5% over the past 24 hours to trade at $97, according to CoinMarketCap.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi