Nasdaq Sticks to Crypto Plans, Pushes Back Bitcoin Futures Launch to 2019

Nasdaq is looking to offer a future contract that is totally different from what its counterparts are offering.

Nasdaq has not shelved its crypto-related plans and still hopes to launch bitcoin futures as early as the first quarter of 2019, becoming the third major US exchange to dive into the red-hot market for cryptocurrencies.

Sources told Bloomberg News today the New York-based exchange operator is waiting for approval from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to list bitcoin derivatives contracts on its trading platform.

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Nasdaq is looking to offer a future contract that is different from what Cboe and CME Group are offering now. One way Nasdaq seeks to differentiate itself and pit against the two bigger competitors seems to be in the amount of data it uses for pricing the digital currency contracts.

Nasdaq, which is a comparatively small player in the futures market, would base its price off of 50 bitcoin sources from around the world, while CBOE is currently using one and the CME is using four.

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Wall Street Warms to Crypto

The news is noteworthy as the second-largest exchange in the world is already supporting existing crypto exchanges which lends more credence to that notion. Further, the Nasdaq-powered exchange, DX Exchange, went on a marketing blitz and managed to onboard 500,000 registered users.

Also earlier this year, Nasdaq hosted a meeting in Chicago where about half a dozen cryptocurrency and mainstream companies discussed ‘how to encourage the cryptocurrency industry to do [a] thing that will improve its image and validate its potential role in global markets.’

Nasdaq has already collaborated with cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, which attended the meeting, to tap its SMARTS Market Surveillance, an industry benchmark technology used across Wall Street, to add more security and identify criminal trading behavior in its venue. It also partnered with San Diego based ETF firm, Reality Shares, to launch two blockchain-related funds.

Last week, Georgia-based Intercontinental Exchange, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange pushed back the start date for its physically-delivered bitcoin futures contracts to 2019.

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