CFTC Releases Statement on Three Exchanges’ Plans to List Bitcoin Contracts

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Stuart D. Levi

On December 1, 2017, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and CBOE Futures Exchange took the necessary regulatory steps to begin trading new bitcoin futures contracts this month. The Cantor Exchange took similar steps to begin trading new binary bitcoin options contracts. The regulatory process used is called self-certification. The exchange self-certifies in writing that a new product meets statutory requirements and the product may be listed for trading one business day after the self-certification unless the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC or Commission) objects.1 Also today, the CFTC released a statement detailing the steps that the Commission and the exchanges had taken to facilitate the offerings, while offering a cautionary note to investors on virtual currency. The Commission additionally issued an unprecedented fact sheet on self-certified contracts for bitcoin products.


1 See Press Release, “CFTC Statement on Self-Certification of Bitcoin Products by CME, CFE and Cantor Exchange,” CFTC (Dec. 1, 2017). CME’s contract will be available for trading on December 18, 2017; launch dates for the CFE and Cantor contracts are still to be announced. See Gillian Rich, “This Is When You Can Start Trading Bitcoin Futures,” Investor’s Business Daily (Dec. 1, 2017); CME Group, “CME Submission No. 17-417” (Dec. 1, 2017); CBOE Futures Exchange, “Submission Number CFE-2017-018” (Dec. 1, 2017); Cantor Futures Exchange, L.P., “New Contract Submission 2017-6” (Dec. 1, 2017).

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