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Cboe is racing to launch bitcoin futures trading ahead of rival CME

Scott Olson/GettyTraders in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index options pit at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) fill orders.
  • Cboe Global Markets announced Monday it will offer trading of bitcoin futures on December 11.
  • Chairman and CEO Ed Tilly told Business Insider that the firm is prepared to “redesign and relaunch” bitcoin futures, if appropriate.

Cboe Global Markets, the Chicago-based options and derivatives exchange, announced Monday it will offer trading of its bitcoin futures product on December 11.

Cboe and its cross-town rival CME Group got clearance from the US Commodity Futures Commission on Friday to launch bitcoin futures, which would allow investors to bet on the future price of the red-hot digital currency. CME announced Friday it would launch bitcoin futures on December 18.

Ed Tilly, chairman and chief executive officer of Cboe Global Markets, described the interest in bitcoin futures as unprecedented.

“It has really been the driving force,” Tilly told Business Insider.”We are not new to launching new products so this is remarkable.”

Tilly declined to comment on the degree to which that interest will translate into trading volume. Still, he said the firm designed the product to ensure it will provide the best, most liquid market.

“We dedicated significant time hardening our systems, talking with market makers, and this will continue to be a work in progress,” he said. “With other products we’ve gone back, we’ve redesigned, we’ve relaunched.”

Tilly said the firm is being intentional and taking a “disciplined and measured approach.”

Trading for bitcoin futures on Cboe will be free throughout the month of December and will trade under the symbol “XBT.”

Terry Duffy, the CEO of CME, said the path forward for bitcoin futures is relatively uncertain.

“Though we have worked through a lengthy, comprehensive process with the CFTC to get to this point, we recognise bitcoin is a new, uncharted market that will continue to evolve, requiring continued collaboration with the Commission and our clients going forward,” he said in a statement.

As for bitcoin, the cryptocurrency itself is up more than 1,000% at $US11,389 at last check.

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