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It’s been a rough year for the crypto market. Amid an enormous pre-Christmas spike in 2017 came huge amounts of interest and promise from all conceivable avenues. Big business, government-level attention and mainstream finance all showed their interest despite remaining wary of Bitcoin’s ability to succeed long term.
One of the most intriguing births of 2017 was the Bitcoin futures contract. CBOE and CME raced to be the first to launch the contracts, which happened to coincide with the enormous rise in price at the end of the year. Of course, shortly after the launch, the downturn began. And in the midst of the slide, the US Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CTFC) launched a review of Bitcoin futures contracts, although self-certification remained an option.
Fast forward eight months, and the slide continues. Bitcoin and its counterparts continue to fall in value, with some cryptocurrencies trading at less than 15% of their end-of-2017 values. Despite the downturn, the futures contract has some life left in it. The latest major headline in this regard belongs to Nasdaq, which will reportedly launch new contracts in early 2019 – although there is yet to be an official confirmation.
According to a Bloomberg report, “The Nasdaq futures will be based off the Bitcoin’s price on numerous spot exchanges, as compiled by VanEck Associates Corp.” The news may come as a surprise in the current climate, but existing CBOE and CME futures continue to run with some interest. In fact, Bitcoin is showing some signs of stability amid a brief recovery today, coinciding with the expiry of CME futures contracts on Friday, November 30. This appears to be a pattern, with increased volatility and brief spikes having been reported around previous expiry dates.
On the flip side, Bitcoin futures issued by Bakkt, Intercontinental Exchange’s upcoming exchange, were delayed last week, although the company denies the decision is related to predicted price fluctuations, saying,
“As is often true with product launches, there are new processes, risks and mitigants to test and re-test, and in the case of crypto, a new asset class to which these resources are being applied. So, it makes sense to adjust our timeline as we work with the industry toward launch.”
However, the new launch date for these futures is January 24, 2019, similar to the reported timeline for the Nasdaq futures. This could be a significant boost for Bitcoin both before Christmas and at the actual time of launch – assuming these go ahead as reported.
Looking across the week, Bitcoin does seem to be showing signs of recovery. Its current bottom for the month was just above $3,600 on November 25, but prices started to recover, climbing to $4,224 today amid a broader market rally, according to data from CoinMarketCap.