– CME Group (NASDAQ:CME), which operates the world’s largest options and futures exchange, announced plans on Tuesday to launch a Bitcoin futures product by the end of the year, pending regulatory approval.
Bitcoin surged to a new record high above $6,400 on the news. It has more than quintupled in value so far this year. At current prices bitcoin has a market cap of around $100 billion.
The launch of a bitcoin product by a major regulated exchange could help cryptocurrencies gain legitimacy in the financial world. Volatility and uncertainty over their legal status have kept cryptocurrency trading on the margins of financial markets for years.
Bitcoin futures could also become the basis for an exchange-traded fund based on bitcoin.
Earlier this year the Securities and Exchange Commission rejected efforts to launch the first ETF based on bitcoin amid concerns over insufficient regulation and oversight.
CME is regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which would have to approve the launch of any bitcoin futures contract.
In July, the CFTC gave a startup called LedgerX approval to clear bitcoin options, making it the first U.S. federally regulated platform of its kind.

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