by Joseph Young
At the Futures Industry Association annual conference held in Chicago over October 17-19, US-based trading powerhouse DRW Holdings founder Don Wilson told reporters that the emergence of bitcoin derivatives and options trading platforms would inevitably lead to the approval of a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
“Once a derivative is launched, a bitcoin ETF will follow. That’s the common wisdom.”
LedgerX Bitcoin Derivatives Platform Launched With Government Regulation
LedgerX, an institutional trading and clearing platform approved by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to trade and clear swaps and options on digital currencies including bitcoin, successfully launched its bitcoin derivatives trading platform, clearing $1 million in orders within its first week.
In an official announcement, the LedgerX team admitted that the institution was expecting a “soft launch,” clearing minimal bitcoin derivatives and options trades for large-scale institutional investors and retail traders. The team further emphasized that it was planning on processing minimal volumes to test its platform and its infrastructure.
But, LedgerX ended up clearing over $1 million worth of swaps and options trades in its first week, which was unforeseen by the company and the cryptocurrency community. The LedgerX team said:
“As a new exchange and clearing house with technology built entirely from scratch, we were hoping for a quiet first week with minimal volumes to test the pipes. No press, no fanfare, just a laser-sharp focus on our customers, regulators and maybe we’d see a handful of small trades. Wow, were we mistaken — we ended up completing swaps and options trades worth over $1 million. Crucially, these trades were cleared through LedgerX, which is the only institutional grade, US federally regulated exchange and clearinghouse for digital currencies. And we are literally just getting started.”
Derivatives Trading Around Bitcoin Likely to Lead to ETF
As Wilson suggested, the probability of the emergence of bitcoin futures, options, and derivatives trading platforms leading to the approval of a bitcoin ETF is significantly high, because exchanges and clearing houses such as LedgerX are strictly regulated and overseen by financial regulators. All of its trades are protected, insured, and guaranteed, with regulatory oversight and trade surveillance.
“As a clearinghouse, we guarantee all the trades with the highest standard of oversight possible in partnership with the same US regulator that maintains the integrity of the foreign exchange, gold, and oil derivatives markets. There is no other platform in the world that can match the trade surveillance, regulatory oversight, and sophistication of financial instruments that we offer,” the LedgerX team explained.
Investor protection and trade surveillance of regulated platforms like LedgerX will play a vital factor in the approval process of bitcoin ETFs in the future. The SEC previously rejected the bitcoin ETF proposal of the Winklevoss twins in March due to lack of regulation in overseas markets and surveillance on trades.
Within the past seven months, major markets such as Japan and South Korea have significantly improved in terms of regulations. Specifically, the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) imposed a national licensing program for cryptocurrency exchanges, recognizing digital currency trading platforms as regulated financial services providers.
Hence, the two major concerns of the SEC in regards to the approval of bitcoin ETFs that include lack of overseas markets and trade surveillance have already been resolved, increasing the probability of an approval for the cryptocurrency instrument in the upcoming months.