CFTC approves LedgerX crypto futures trading

It looks like the future is finally happening. While Bakkt may still be waiting to offer its cryptocurrency futures products, a rival has taken the lead. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has approved an application by LedgerX to offer physically-backed futures contracts for SegWitCoin (BTC).

The contracts will be available to both institutional and retail investors. There has not been an indication of when the products will be offered, but LedgerX Chief Operating and Risk Officer Juthica Chou expects it to happen soon and asserts, “There’s no doubt that we’re looking to be first, we’re looking to be the incumbent. We think we’re better positioned and we want to be there to serve customers of all sizes.”

This will be the first time that futures are offered in the U.S. where they are paid in crypto—CBOE and CME began offering futures a little more than a year and a half ago, but they are settled in fiat. The CFTC announcement explains, “LedgerX has been registered with the CFTC as a swap execution facility and derivatives clearing organization (DCO) since July 2017. Effective June 24, 2019, LedgerX is also registered as a designated contract market (DCM) under Section 5 of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and Part 38 of the CFTC’s regulations. With registration as a DCM, LedgerX will be required to demonstrate continued compliance with all applicable provisions of the CEA and CFTC regulations, including Part 38.”

Bakkt is expected to be able to launch its version of the futures products in July, but no date has been specified. It faced several delays of the launch as the company continued to refine the platform and work with the CFTC to ensure that it was in compliance with all rules and regulations.

LedgerX’s rollout won’t take place overnight, so investors need to be patient. The company will gradually introduce its products, one of which will be the retail-focused Omni platform. Chou explains, “We want to be careful and conservative so we’ll soft-launch the Omni product. We’ll take customer feedback and we’ll make sure it works.” Chou adds, “We have a pretty extensive waitlist and we’ll work through that until we feel comfortable.”

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