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Following the launch of Bitcoin futures contracts on the CME and Cboe, Nasdaq is looking into ways that they can make their own Bitcoin derivatives while offering something different to investors. The first indications that Nasdaq might be interested in Bitcoin futures came in November, with June 2018 suggested as a launch date.

In a recent interview Adena Friedman, Nasdaq’s CEO, says the exchange is “working with the industry” to see if there’s a place for a Nasdaq futures contract. As of now, they are “still evaluating that.”

Rather than trying to capture the day-trading market, any Nasdaq contract would be aimed at retail investors looking for a long-term store of value; the Bitcoin as “digital gold” model. Expanding on Nasdaq’s plans in an interview with the Financial Times, Ms Friedman said that they were “looking to create a product geared to investors… as an investible asset”.

Any such product would have to fulfil certain criteria. There would need to be demand, there would have to be adequate risk management, and the contract would need to be distinct from existing offers like the CME and Cboe contracts. Only if they get all of those right would they, “look to go to the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission)“.

Nasdaq has already dipped a toe into cryptocurrency derivatives, listing exchange traded notes (ETNs) for Bitcoin and Ethereum in its Scandinavian exchanges. Ms Friedman confirmed that rather than focus on Bitcoin, the exchange “would look more holistically at cryptocurrencies, not just at one.”

Whether or not Nasdaq manage to launch something this year Friedman is convinced that the underlying cryptocurrencies are here to stay. “Our view is that digital currencies and cryptocurrencies will have a role in the global economy,” she said.

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