WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 (Reuters) - The regulator of derivatives markets in the United States announced Friday its intention to allow two competing operators, CME Group and CBOE Global Markets, to launch futures on bitcoin.
This announcement by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) allows CME and CBOE to become the first traditional markets to rate virtual currency contracts, the success of which drives calls for stricter supervision.
The listing of these futures on these two markets, where prices will be calculated on the basis of the "cash" bitcoin market and where settlement will be in cash, should begin by the end of the year, specified a CFTC official.
The CME, based in Chicago as the CBOE, announced Friday, shortly after the announcement of the CFTC, he would launch his own contract on the cryptocurrency on December 18.
The bitcoin rebounded to 10,500 dollars (8.845 euros) Friday after the announcement, after falling to 9.500. The best-known virtual currency surpassed $ 11,000 this week for the first time in its history, after gaining more than $ 1,000 in just 12 hours, fueling worries about bubble formation.
To protect investors against the extreme volatility of the digital currency, the WEC and CBOE will set stricter coverage rules than usual, including the requirement for initial margin deposits between 35% and 40%.
Market operators have also agreed to sign information sharing agreements and send the CFTC data on the end-of-day settlement process so that the regulator can conduct its own oversight.
CFTC Chairman Christopher Giancarlo, however, warned investors that the bitcoin cash market remained largely unregulated and out of the control of the CFTC.
"We expect futures markets, via information exchange agreements, to monitor trading activity on the relevant cash platforms as to the potential impact on futures contracts, including including potential market manipulation and market disruption related to sudden flight and price collapses, and interruptions of transactions, "he said in a statement.
"Nevertheless, investors need to be aware of the high level of potential volatility and the risk attached to trading these contracts," he added.
Created in 2008, bitcoin uses blockchain technology to quickly and anonymously transfer funds without using a centralized payment system.
It is the asset that has appreciated the most this year and its valuation has accelerated in recent months, the announcement that the CME and the CBOE intended to launch futures contracts attracted a new demand for institutional investors.
But his critics, including JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon, see it as a speculative bubble, disconnected from the real economy and the functioning of financial markets. (Michelle Price and John McCrank, Juliette Rouillon for French Service, edited by Bertrand Boucey).