Nasdaq Inc. is said to be looking into launching future contracts to trade Bitcoins by mid-2018, according to sources familiar with the matter, reported first by the Wall Street Journal. Nasdaq is the third exchange to look into U.S. derivatives contracts linked to cryptocurrency.
Although many investors and financial institutes have been hesitant to get into bitcoins due to its history of volatility, money laundering, and criminal activity. But nonetheless, the cryptocurrency has made a huge name for itself.
Bitcoin rocketed past $11,000 on Wednesday, hitting yet another all time high of $11,273.89. Only two days before, the cryptocurrency broke $10,000. Bitcoin is moving at a remarkably rapid pace, now exceeding a market cap of $180.55 billion.
The sources say that Nasdaq will launch the bitcoin contract on Nasdaq Futures or NFX, a marketplace launched in 2015 that primarily focuses on energy trading.
CME Group and CBOE Holdings, two Chicago-based exchanges, have said they plan to launch cryptocurrency based futures within the year. But unlike the other two, Nasdaq is trying to differentiate itself by designing the futures to track the price of bitcoins better. Sources said that it’ll be based on an index that takes in prices from more than 50 bitcoin exchanges.
“The asset class is not going away,” said Shawn Matthews, chief executive of Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., the firm’s brokerage arm. “If you look at the next level, it will be the institutions coming in and being larger participants in the marketplace, especially as liquidity gets better.”