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CME, Cboe, Cantor Fitzgerald file with CFTC for bitcoin derivatives

CME Group, Cboe Global Markets and Cantor Fitzgerald on Friday filed product certifications with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to offer bitcoin derivatives.

The firms filed the certifications after "extensive discussions" with the CFTC, said J. Christopher Giancarlo, CFTC chairman, in a news release. The companies "have agreed to significant enhancements to protect customers and maintain orderly markets," and have established "an appropriate standard for oversight over these bitcoin contracts given the CFTC's limited statutory ability to oversee the cash market for bitcoin."

Mr. Giancarlo said the commission will continue to assess whether further changes are required to the contract design and settlement processes after the contracts are launched.

According to separate news releases from CME and Cboe, CME's bitcoin futures contract will launch Dec. 18 on the CME Globex electronic trading platform; Cboe’s futures contract will launch Dec. 11 on the Cboe Futures Exchange.

Cantor filed a certification for bitcoin binary options, according to the CFTC news release. With binary options, the payoff is either an asset if the option expires in the money or nothing if it does not.

Officials at Cantor did not immediately reply to a request for further information.

On Friday, bitcoin was at $9,246.39 in midmorning trading, according to the NYSE Bitcoin index. That's up 755% from the start of 2017.