CBOE beats CME to bitcoin futures launch with December 10 start

(Reuters) - Cboe Global Markets Inc will launch its bitcoin futures contract on Dec. 10, just over a week ahead of rival CME Group Inc, as the exchange operator takes the next step toward launching an exchange-traded fund based on the digital currency.

Copies of bitcoins standing on PC motherboard are seen in this illustration picture, October 26, 2017. Picture taken October 26, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Bitcoin’s price has soared tenfold this year, prompting many market participants to warn of a bubble as it topped $11,000 for the first time last week.

Bitcoin futures and other derivatives would make it easier for more investors and speculators to trade the new asset class.

Cboe's bitcoin futures contract will trade under the ticker symbol 'XBT' and will be cash-settled based on the auction price from cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, Cboe said on Monday. (

CME’s bitcoin futures contract launches Dec. 18, available for trading on the CME Globex electronic trading platform, the world’s biggest derivatives exchange said on Friday.

Cboe and CME were given approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to list bitcoin futures on Friday after the rival bourses were able to show that their proposals met the necessary regulatory requirements.

The exchanges also had to agree to work together to monitor for manipulation, flash rallies, trading outages and other structural problems in the largely unregulated bitcoin cash market.

Once liquidity builds in the Cboe bitcoin futures contract and the exchanges are able to show how their oversight of the underlying market works, Cboe plans to reapply with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to launch a bitcoin ETF, Chief Executive Officer Ed Tilly said in an interview on Friday.

So far, the SEC has not allowed bitcoin-based ETFs on the CBOE or elsewhere, partly because of concerns around the unregulated aspect of bitcoin.

To help guard against excessive volatility, both Cboe and CME plan to have intraday price limits and initial margin rates of 30 and 35 percent respectively.

Nasdaq Inc also plans to list a futures contract based on bitcoin in 2018, Reuters reported last week.

The cryptocurrency was last up 0.4 percent at $11,290.

Reporting by John McCrank in New York and Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Andrew Hay