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Wall Street Banks Revolt Against Bitcoin Futures Contracts Launch

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:02 PM
Rebecca Campbell
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:02 PM

Wall Street banks are hitting back at the upcoming bitcoin futures contracts, claiming that the finance system isn’t ready with continuing rising prices.

It seems that each new day is bringing a new bitcoin price. Earlier today, it was reported that the digital currency had smashed through the $15,000 milestone, pushing its market cap to over $250 billion, for the first time. This was after news from yesterday that bitcoin had soared from $12,000 to $13,000, ahead of the upcoming futures launch.

On the 10th December, Chicago-based exchange, Cboe Global Markets will be launching their bitcoin futures, followed by fellow Chicago company, CME Group on the 18th. This was after both had received approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) last week.

Keen to follow in their footsteps is Nasdaq, which is, reportedly, planning to launch bitcoin futures contracts in the first half of 2018. However, it’s seeking to position its product different to both the Chicago exchanges. Taking its cue from its U.S. rivals and looking to get in on the frenzied rush of bitcoin trading is the Tokyo Financial Exchange. On Wednesday, it was reported that the Japanese exchange is set to support bitcoin as a financial product by launching its own bitcoin derivatives futures product.

Yet, despite these positive moves, which would enable keen investors to trade bitcoin as an asset via a regulated market, major brokers have taken to criticising the move.

In a draft letter from the Futures Industry Association – the industry lobby group whose members include banks such as JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs – to the CFTC, the implementation of bitcoin futures contracts ‘did not allow for proper public transparency and input,’ reports the Financial Times , who have reportedly seen the draft. It is expected to be sent to the CFTC today.

Both the CME Group and Cboe have agreed to function under a self-certified regime for their contracts. However, this means that regulators will have little time to review them. According to the letter, a self-certification regime for ‘these novel products does not align with the potential risks that underlie their trading and should be reviewed.’

According to the FIA, its members have reservations about the reliability of prices underlying the bitcoin futures contracts. This month alone the value of bitcoin is up more than 50 percent; however, its price can fall just as quickly too. At the end of November, the digital currency plunged nearly 20 percent in 90 minutes after reports of intermittent outages at cryptocurrency exchanges were struggling to keep up with demand.

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