12.11.2017
By Rob Daly

Bitcoin Futures Become Reality

During CBOE Futures Exchange’s overnight trading session, which lasts from 6 pm ET to 9:30 am ET, approximately 20 trading firms took positions in roughly 3,000 contracts for the exchange’s newly minted bitcoin futures contracts (XBT).

Edward Tilly, CBOE

Edward Tilly,
Cboe Global Markets

“Our regulated market experienced a smooth operational open and orderly markets throughout the evening trading session,” said Ed Tilly, chairman and CEO of Cboe Global Markets. “We look forward to the growth of this new derivatives market.”

From his trading screen, Sam Gaer, the founder, chairman, and CEO of five-year-old hedge fund Katana Financial as well as former New York Mercantile Exchange and FINRA CIO, noted the same behavior.

“I observed the opening and trade activity last night, and I must say, that it went very smoothly for a widely watched/hyped event,” he told Markets Media.

From a trading perspective, Katana Financial is waiting to see how the digital currency future trades in a week since most new products trade heavily upon launch.

“I can promise that we do not know what we do not know about how it will develop, but we are very interested and will be along for the ride,” said Gaer. “Maybe not ‘all in’, but certainly getting our feet wet.”

However, some back-office concerns likely will come to the fore once competitor CME Group launches trading its bitcoin futures offering, which it is slating for December 17.

If settlement times for the respective offerings do not change, there will be a five-hour and 15-minute gap between when the CME Group settles its contracts (4 pm GMT/ 11 am ET), and the CBOE Futures Exchange settles its trades (3:15 pm CT/4:15 ET).

This is a little problematic given the volatility swings that the market is seeing, according to Gaer.

“You could be trading CME versus Cboe, be completely hedged, and have a huge margin call due to the timing of the daily close,” he said. “I think this scenario–a huge intrude move that catches a firm that is over their ski tips– is what clearing firms are, and should be, fearful of. But you know the old saying: ‘The price of excellence is eternal vigilance.’”

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