Representatives of two Swiss banks that offer bitcoin products, Falcon Private Bank and Vontobel Holding AG, are high on bitcoin’s future due to the pending introductions of bitcoin futures in the U.S., according to Bloomberg. The banks believe the futures contracts will usher in more digital currency products.
Cboe Global Markets Inc. will introduce its bitcoin futures on Sunday, while CME Group Inc. will offer a similar product on Dec. 18. Bitcoin hit a $17,000 record price on Friday, marking a 1,500 percent gain for the year.
Vontobel customers offer mixed opinions about the futures contracts, said Heiko Geiger, executive director of the Frankfurt-based bank. Some see the futures contracts as a path to mainstream financial markets, while others believe bitcoin is a bubble that will collapse.
Some investors want more liquidity in the market, which futures contracts support, while others plan to short sell bitcoin, he said. Overall, he said customers are bullish.
Vontobel offers a type of derivative called participation certificates that permit bets on the action of digital currency. Geiger said there is a lot of turnover in its bitcoin products.
Falcon allows customers to invest in bitcoin directly.
Switzerland has become known as a cryptocurrency hub. It is the home of the Ethereum Foundation. One Swiss city, Zug, has piloted a project allowing people to pay for government services in bitcoin.
This past March, the Crypto Valley Association launched, backed by the government, to support cryptocurrency startups and establish companies through policy recommendations, organizing conferences and hackathons, enabling researching programs and more.
Also read: Cboe to launch bitcoin futures trading on Sunday
The futures contracts are viewed as a game changer for bitcoin since professional investors in general have not been willing to engage in the unregulated platforms that bitcoin currently trades on. Both Cboe and CME are regulated, addressing the concerns of some investors.
Ivo Sauter, Falcon’s head of operations and trading, said the bank will double down on bitcoin products next year.