In somewhat of an unexpected twist, CME has released its Bitcoin Futures market specifications with the date being officially announced on November 19. The launch date is, however, still awaiting relevant regulatory approval, a situation that the CME Group elaborated in a recent update that read, “Effective Sunday 10 December 2017 for trade date Monday 11 December 2017, and pending all relevant regulatory review periods, please be advised that CME will launch Bitcoin Futures.” Thus, the market will certainly need to wait a little longer even though most of the relevant information has been dispensed – the contract unit for the futures is $25 or 5 index points to be quoted in Bitcoin per US dollar and will be listed on CME, CME’s Globex central standard time and Clearport.
With this year’s planned Bitcoin Futures product, CME, which is currently the largest Futures exchange in the world, intends to prevent extreme Bitcoin volatility. In a CNBC interview, CME Chairman and CEO Terry Duffy expressed his confidence in CME’s self-certification process and the application process. He further confirmed the launch dates by hinting at the possibility of trading beginning by the second week of December 2017. This comes after CME’s huge revelation in October that it had been seeking approval from regulators to launch a Bitcoin-related product. During the reveal, CME expected to keep the futures to be settled through cash and be dependent on existing of 2016’s prevailing price indices – this has since changed and will be based on the Bitcoin Reference Rate. CME’s Bitcoin futures will be capped at price limits of 20% above or below the settlement price. Similarly, there is going to be a spot position limit of 1,000 contracts.
CME has been preparing for the launch for quite a while now as portrayed by Duffy’s sentiments during the CNBC interview where he went ahead to explain;
“I’m going to implement something. If the market drops precipitously, we’ll stop trading, and if we think a product is going away, we have the longs, we have the shorts, we’ll match them up at a price and that’s the way our rules read today.”
This has drawn a lot of attention from the Bitcoin community and everyone is looking forward to seeing how CME’s involvement will impact Bitcoin’s ecosystem.
While some Bitcoin users are speculating that Bitcoin spot markets will be less volatile with CME’s Futures products, stabilizing the weighty fluctuations in the price of Bitcoin with Futures markets is more theoretical than practical. Bitcoin’s price has already transcended the $8000 mark – an upward momentum that is expected to lead the cryptocurrency to all-time highs by the end of the year. To be more specific, Bitcoin’s price is likely to extrapolate towards the $10,000 mark in December if investors from various institutions and hedge funds buy into it.