CME Group to Launch Bitcoin Options in Q1 2020
The One New Change building, in which CME Group has its London offices. Bloomberg

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group is planning to add options to its Bitcoin futures contracts some time in the first quarter of 2020, the company announced in a press release on 20 September.

According to the announcement, the launch of Bitcoin options is aimed at providing CME’s clients with “additional tools for precision hedging and trading”, even though the launch is still pending regulatory review. CME Group’s Head of Equity Index and Alternative Intestment Products, Tim McCourt, said in the press release:

“Based on increasing client demand and robust growth in our Bitcoin futures markets, we believe the launch of options will provide our clients with additional flexibility to trade and hedge their bitcoin price risk. These new products are designed to help institutions and professional traders to manage spot market bitcoin exposure, as well as hedge Bitcoin futures positions in a regulated exchange environment.”

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The press release also stated that, since the launch of its Bitcoin futures in 2017, the exchange has seen 20 successful futures expiration settlements, and more than 3,300 individual accounts trading the contracts. The company also added that since the beginning of 2019, close to 7,000 CME Bitcoin futures contracts, which is roughly 35,000 BTC, have been traded each day.

Bakkt, on the other hand, is planning to launch physically-delivered Bitcoin futures, meaning customers will receive actual Bitcoin, in response to the CME and CBOE cash-settled Bitcoin Futures. It recently revealed the initial margin requirements for its Bitcoin futures contracts, and announced that the Bakkt Warehouse has started accepting customers Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals.

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