New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (ICE) is launching futures trading in Bitcoin on its cryptocurrency arm Bakkt Trust Co, from today.
Earlier in August, ICE had secured US government approval for futures trading in Bitcoin for Bakkt.
Bakkt will give investors the option to bring out futures contracts based on their opinion of an upward or downward trend in Bitcoin prices, just like in oil. Bakkt also has a virtual warehouse where customers have been depositing their Bitcoins since September 6.
Association with ICE gives legitimacy to Bitcoin and will go a long way in mainstreaming of cryptocurrencies in general. Investors shy away from Bitcoin because of volatility associated in general with all cryptocurrencies. ICE believes that it will provide the much-needed stable pricing to Bitcoin, which in turn will attract customers to trade in the cryptocurrency.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) also allows futures trading in Bitcoins, but Bakkt is different in that in Bakkt once the futures contract has expired the trader will be made payment in Bitcoins while in CME the payment is made in dollars at the exchange rate at that time with Bitcoin. Thus, when Bakkt’s one-day or one-month futures contract ends, the investor will be given Bitcoins instead of dollars.
In CME, traders have no control over their digital investment. Even if Bitcoin surges for 29 days of a futures contract, and records a large dip in price on the 30th day, a dip which may be nothing more than a correction; the trader will receive fewer dollars. He may even suffer losses and be able to buy lesser Bitcoins if the value of Bitcoin has fallen during the duration of his futures contract. Thus, losses and gains will be transferred simultaneously to both the digital and fiat currency.
Bakkt’s system provides stability by giving freedom to the investor to either convert Bitcoins to dollars at the end of a futures contract or keep it as Bitcoin. Thus, losses or gains are isolated to Bitcoins and not transferred to fiat currency.