The company’s contract guidelines are presently under regulatory review, so as long as all goes well, CME’s Bitcoin options product is set to launch in the new year and will give traders a new way to hedge against their exposure in spot and futures markets.
“We’re very excited to confirm that date for the marketplace,” Tim McCourt, global head of Equity Index and Alternative Investment Products at CME Group, told Decrypt. “Options has been a product that’s been in high demand from customers ever since we launched the futures back in December 2017.”
“We’re certainly excited to see what happens,” McCourt said. “The feedback this morning has been great from customers. Folks are excited about it and we’re happy to bring this new risk management tool to the market.”
CME launched its Bitcoin futures product at the height of the crypto market as Bitcoin approached an all-time high of nearly $20,000 per coin. Other firms like CBOE and Cantor Exchange were also quick to follow in CME’s footsteps and undergo a self-certification process that allowed them to offer bitcoin futures contracts of their own.
At the time, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo explained to CNBC that bitcoin was unlike any other commodity the organization had ever dealt with, but that they were comfortable with the steps CME Group and its competitors had taken to ensure their customers’ safety would be maintained.
“We have had extensive discussions with the exchanges regarding the proposed contracts,” he said. “And CME, CFE and Cantor have agreed to significant enhancements to protect customers and maintain orderly markets.”
According to a statement from CME, the average daily volume for Bitcoin futures contracts on its platform in 2019 is up to 6,500—the equivalent of roughly 32,500 bitcoin, or $285 million at today’s prices.
Additional reporting by Tim Copeland.