Canada: Bitcoin Futures Expected To Begin Trading On Two Major U.S. Exchanges This Month

Last Updated: December 6 2017
Article by Carol E. Derk, Julie Mansi and Michael Taylor

Most Read Contributor in Canada, November 2017

Amid a surging price for bitcoin, the CBOE Futures Exchange ("CBOE") has announced that it will list bitcoin futures for trading starting on Sunday, December 10, 2017, making it the first regulated U.S. exchange to support the trading of bitcoin futures (or any other cryptocurrency-derived futures product). According to CBOE, the bitcoin futures will trade under the ticker symbol 'XBT' and will be cash-settled contracts based on Gemini Trust Company, LLC's U.S. dollar auction price for bitcoin. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange ("CME") will also be listing bitcoin futures for trading, beginning on Monday, December 18, 2017. The CME's bitcoin futures will also be cash-settled, based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate ("BRR"), which serves as a once-a-day reference rate of the U.S. dollar price of bitcoin and relies on the global average price of bitcoin based on four cryptocurrency exchanges.

These developments are seen by many as "legitimizing" bitcoin — moving it from a virtually unregulated environment to a regulated one, and bringing more oversight and safeguards to the developing digital currency market.

Measures Undertaken by the U.S. Regulator

The December launch of bitcoin futures trading on CBOE and CME follows the announcement by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission ("CFTC") on December 1, 2017 that CBOE and CME self-certified the bitcoin futures contracts under the Commodity Exchange Act ("CEA"). The CFTC also announced that the Cantor Exchange ("Cantor") self-certified a new contract for bitcoin binary options.

Under the CEA, prior to listing new contracts, designated contract markets ("DCMs") must either:

  • submit a written self-certification to the CFTC that the contract complies with the CEA and CFTC regulations, or
  • voluntarily submit the contract for CFTC approval.

When a DCM self-certifies a new contract, it must determine that the offering complies with the CEA and the CFTC's regulations, including that the new contract is not readily susceptible to manipulation. This is the same standard that the CFTC uses when reviewing products for approval.

According to the CFTC, prior to the self-certifications, CFTC staff engaged in many discussions with CBOE, CME and Cantor, as well as the derivatives clearing organizations ("DCOs") that will be clearing the bitcoin futures for CBOE and CME. Each DCM also provided CFTC staff with advanced draft contract terms and conditions for their bitcoin contracts, which CFTC staff evaluated to determine whether any aspect of the contracts raised questions regarding compliance with the CEA and CFTC's regulations. CFTC staff also assessed potential risk of defaults in these futures contracts on the DCOs.

Further Developments on the Horizon

Not to be left behind, there are plans for an as-yet-unnamed exchange, currently going by the code name Virtuoso, to offer trading of contracts based on the ether digital currency. According to reports, Virtuoso will be overseen by the CFTC and aimed at institutional investors and corporations that have exposure to ether's price swings. Virtuoso plans to offer futures, non-deliverable forwards, swaps and forwards on ether, and may be operational as early as the first quarter of 2018.

It is also expected that Nasdaq will launch bitcoin futures for trading in 2018. According to media reports, Nasdaq may introduce the products as early as the second quarter of 2018, with the contracts trading on its NFX market.

Impact on Canadian Investment Funds and Other Investors

Over the last few months we have seen a number of players in the cryptocurrency asset class entering the investment fund space. Currently, these cryptocurrency funds are only available to accredited investors and may not be held by Canadian mutual funds. Canadian regulators do not appear ready to allow cryptocurrency funds to be available to retail investors until certain issues, such as custody, valuation and anti-money laundering, have been adequately addressed.

With the launch of bitcoin futures and other derivatives based on cryptocurrencies, Canadian mutual funds and other regulated investment funds will now have full access to this digital currency asset class, subject, of course, to the rules and investment restrictions that govern these types of funds. Similarly, other investors may now have an easier way to access the performance of bitcoin and other digital currencies.

We expect that listed futures are just the beginning. Over the next few months, it is likely that we will see the launch of a number of other investment products based on, and trading platforms for, cryptocurrencies, as investors in Canada and globally try to benefit from this new asset class.

Registration Requirements for Securities Registrants — Dealers, Advisers and Investment Fund Managers

For registered firms that plan to establish, manage, advise and/or trade in securities of investment funds with portfolios of bitcoin and/or other cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrency assets and coins and token offerings, we remind you of the requirement to report such changes to your business activities to your principal regulators by completing and filing Form 33-109F5 Change of Registration Information and updating information previously reported in Form 33-109F6 Firm Registration to include cryptocurrency products and/or services.

For IIROC-regulated firms, we would note that any new venture in the digital asset space is also likely to trigger a Change in Business Model submission with IIROC.

Please contact us if you need assistance with this disclosure and developing policies and procedures to minimize regulatory risk.

About BLG

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

    Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of www.mondaq.com

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

    Disclaimer

    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

    Registration

    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

    Cookies

    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

    Links

    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

    Mail-A-Friend

    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

    Emails

    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .

    Security

    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions