If you’ve been following the cryptocurrency news cycle at all over the past year, you’ve likely heard the name “Bakkt” tossed about.
Bakkt, for those unaware, is a Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange and financial services platform backed by Microsoft, Fidelity, and the owner of the New York Stock Exchange — an all-star lineup of proponents, to say the least.
The thing is, Bakkt has a rival unveiled just a week or two after it was launched.
The competitor: ErisX, a yet-to-launch cryptocurrency exchange backed by a swath of Wall Street and crypto names, including but not limited to Bitmain, CBOE, CME, ConsenSys, Digital Currency Group, Fidelity Investments, Nasdaq, TD Ameritrade, and Pantera Capital. Arguably, its list of investors is just as good as Bakkt’s, if not better.
Bakkt, unfortunately, has stolen the spotlight for much of 2019. Yes, ErisX did earlier this year manage to procure the proper licenses from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to launch cryptocurrency futures on its platform, though the firm has been silent, offering little details on when it will actually release the derivatives it was approved to launch.
Though, it seems that the wait is over at long last.
ErisX May Finally Launch
According to a market notice published to ErisX’s official website dated December 16th under the premise of “Notification of Trading Hours for Futures Digital Currency Products,” the Exchange has “set forth the following trading hours for Future Digital Currency Products beginning Tuesday, 12/17/2019 (today, on the day of this publishing) until further notice.”
This largely implies that the exchange will start trading of its products on Tuesday.
This could be notable. TD Ameritrade, the American brokerage giant that recently revealed it will be merging with Charles Schwab, has long been reported to have plans to launch cryptocurrency support via its platform.
With the brokerage being an investor in ErisX and with reports indicating that TD Ameritrade has plans to work closely with the exchange, cryptocurrency products could soon be available through the platform.
Could ErisX Launch Ethereum Futures?
While it isn’t clear what products ErisX will be launching from the get-go, the exchange is seemingly looking to become one of the first regulated futures markets for Ethereum, something that investors have long craved for.
ErisX’s chief executive Thomas Chippas, Wall Street legend that once was on the C-suites/boards of Citadel, Citi, Barclays, and Deutsche Bank, wrote an extensive letter to the CFTC earlier this year on the importance of Ethereum futures.
The legacy markets veteran simply stated that the introduction of a “regulated futures contract” on Ether would have a “positive impact” both on the asset’s ecosystem and the underlying market. Chippas added that thus, the CFTC “plays an important and vital role” in enabling investors, whether they hail from institutional or consumer backgrounds, to participate in the Ethereum ecosystem and market.
Chippas continued that Ethereum futures on regulated markets would be consistent with the CFTC’s M.O. of facilitating “open, transparent, competitive, and financially sound derivative trading markets [and] to prohibit fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices in connection with derivatives and other products subject to the [Commodity Exchange Act] CEA.”
ErisX’s board also includes Joseph Lubin, the founder of ConsenSys and one of the minds behind Ethereum, further giving credence to the theory that the exchange will be focusing on Ethereum futures, not just Bitcoin.
The CFTC has been warming up to Ethereum, making futures for the cryptocurrency that much more of a possibility.
Per previous reports from Blockonomi, CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert called ETH a commodity earlier this year, before adding in separate comments made later that the Ethereum market could handle futures contracts.
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