The owner of the New York Stock Exchange and some of the world's largest futures markets said he regretted not having created a bitcoin-based futures contract as competitors CME Group Inc., Cboe Global Markets Inc. and Nasdaq Inc. made.
"We may be stupid for not being the first to do that," said Jeff Sprecher, CEO of Intercontinental Exchange Inc., at an investor conference sponsored by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in New York. "I do not have the answers, I wish I knew" how the investments will evolve, he said. "I do not know what to do with cryptocurrencies."
Cboe plans to start trading bitcoin futures on December 10, while CME Group set December 18 as the start date. The movements can attract more operators and professional investors to join the cryptocurrency market by switching transactions to regulated exchanges. Currently Bitcoin is bought and sold on platforms that are practically unregulated, which has made some money managers feel uncomfortable with the market even when prices go up.
Sprecher questioned the existence of natural sellers of bitcoin futures or investors that cut the contract. Much of the wealth in the bitcoin world has been accumulated by data miners in China and algorithmic operators, he said.
"In short, that means they are deciding to exit" the market through a future market, Sprecher said. He decided that maybe it is not a good stage for one of his exchanges.
Still, he said that Intercontinental Exchange has not necessarily missed an opportunity. He said that it is not prudent to rush into the market with a product whose underlying price is based on an index of bitcoin exchanges that are not transparent.
The CME contract will be settled in cash and will use a daily price of the CME CF Bitcoin reference rate, which is compatible with Bitstamp, GDAX, itBit and Kraken digital exchanges. Gemini list missing, one of the other major global exchanges, which reached an agreement with Cboe for bitcoin pricing.