Nasdaq to Launch ‘Bitcoin Futures 2.0’ in Early 2019

Nasdaq — the world’s second-largest stock exchange — plans to roll out bitcoin futures in the first quarter of 2019 through a partnership with investment management firm VanEck.

Gabor Gurbacs, VanEck’s director of digital asset strategy, said the companies will launch a variety of bitcoin derivatives in early-2019, including a “regulated crypto 2.0 futures-type contract.”

Gurbacs made the announcement during the Consensus: Invest conference in New York on November 27, CNBC reported.

‘Transparent and Regulated’

In a follow-up tweet, Gurbacs said Nasdaq and VanEck will unveil “transparent, regulated and surveilled digital asset products, such as bitcoin futures contracts.”

Nasdaq has been working with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to make sure it fully complies with any lingering regulatory concerns the country’s main swaps regulator has.

Gurbacs confirmed that VanEck also “ran a few extra miles working with the CFTC to bring about new standards for custody and surveillance.”

The CFTC, which regulates bitcoin as a commodity, has so far approved just two crypto futures products: one from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), and another from the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE)

ICE Will Launch Bitcoin Futures In Q1

Meanwhile, Nasdaq’s rival ICE (Intercontinental Exchange) — the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange — is also charging ahead with its own plans to launch a physically-settled bitcoin futures product in the first quarter of 2019.

Bakkt, a cryptocurrency exchange built by ICE, plans to roll out its bitcoin futures market on January 24, after scrapping the original launch date of Dec. 12, 2018.

As reported, ICE cited an unforeseen increase in demand for its futures product, the Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract, for the delay.

VanEck: SEC Will Approve Bitcoin ETF Soon

Separately, VanEck is still trying to win approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch the first-ever bitcoin ETF.

In August 2018, the SEC rejected nine bitcoin ETF applications, dashing the hopes of crypto evangelists like the Winklevoss twins, who have repeatedly failed to win SEC approval.

In its order rejecting the latest round of bitcoin ETFs, the SEC said the applicants failed to demonstrate how they could prevent fraud and market manipulation.

Despite the recent SEC rejections, VanEck’s Gabor Gurbacs said he believes SEC approval is around the corner, as reported.

“We are the closest that we can be,” Gurbacs told Fox Business. “It is very clear to me that America wants a bitcoin ETF and we are here to build it.”

Despite the recent market slump, Gurbacs is supremely confident about the long-term future of the crypto industry. “I say bitcoin is digital gold, and we should not dismiss a potential opportunity for the next financial system,” he said.

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Last modified: March 4, 2021 3:12 PM

Samantha Chang

Samantha Chang is a New York City-based financial editor who writes about crypto and business at CCN. She is a law school grad and an alum of the University of Pennsylvania. You can reach her on Twitter at Samantha Chang or email her at