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CME Group To Launch Bitcoin Options In Early 2020, Cites Client Demand

Tanzeel Akhtar

CME Group Inc (NASDAQ: CME) announced Friday that it will launch options on its Bitcoin futures contracts in the first quarter of 2020 due to client demand.

In December 2017, the CME and the Chicago Board Options Exchange were the first to initiate BTC futures trading.

In March 2018, the CBOE stopped offering the product, which leaves CME as the only provider of BTC futures.

Bitcoin was trading at $10,169 at the time of publication Friday. 

"Based on increasing client demand and robust growth in our Bitcoin futures markets, we believe the launch of options will provide our clients with additional flexibility to trade and hedge their Bitcoin price risk," Tim McCourt, CME’s global head of equity index and alternative investment products, said in a statement.

"These new products are designed to help institutions and professional traders to manage spot market Bitcoin exposure, as well as hedge Bitcoin futures positions in a regulated exchange environment." 

Since the launch of BTC futures in December 2017, market users have rapidly adopted CME Bitcoin futures for their hedging and trading needs, according to CME. 

More than 20 successful futures expiration settlements have occurred, and more than 3,300 individual accounts have traded the product since inception, according to the exchange.

Year-to-date, nearly 7,000 CME Bitcoin futures contracts — equivalent to about 35,000 bitcoin — have traded on average each day. Institutional interest continues to build, with the number of large open interest holders reaching a record 56 in July.

Bakkt, a subsidiary of New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange, has also set a Sept. 23 launch date for its physically delivered Bitcoin futures.

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