German exchange Deutsche Boerse has announced plans that could see SegWit1x (BTC) futures traded on European exchanges for the first time, following the launch of futures trading on two U.S. exchanges.
The Frankfurt-based exchange group said that it was reviewing early futures trading in the U.S., which began for the first time last week, admitting that it may be ‘some time’ before a final decision is made on whether to bring futures to European markets.
If Deutsche Boerse goes ahead with the decision to roll out futures, it would become the first time BTC futures have been sold on a European exchange, and could open up investment in BTC to a new class of large investor.
According to local press, Deutsche Boerse sees opportunities for both private and institutional investors to hedge their positions, as well as to capitalize on upwards and downwards movements in price.
“We are thinking about futures, with which private investors and institutional investors can protect existing investments in Bitcoin or set for falling prices of the cryptocurrency,” the exchange said.
If Deutsche Boerse confirms their plans, the futures contracts would be made available on their Eurex exchange platform, which would open up BTC futures to a much wider audience, including hedge funds, asset managers and investment banks.
BTC futures contracts went live on U.S. exchange CBOE last week for the first time, and are slated to go live on a second exchange, courtesy of exchange group CME, later in December.
The futures contracts allow institutional investors including hedge funds to speculate on price movements in the underlying market, without requiring ownership of any cryptocurrency—an important factor for some funds restricted by regulatory issues.
The debut of futures at CBOE saw BTC prices rise still further, breaching the $17,000 threshold for the first time. Investors will be hoping for a similar response when the contracts are first traded on CME, the world’s largest exchange group, later in the month.
The news marks the latest sign of BTC gaining mainstream financial acceptance, and any further movement on futures trading would further cement digital currencies as a legitimate investment for institutional money.