Starting next week, you won’t have to trust your ballooning non-fiat imaginary wealth to some shady and apparently easily-hacked immaterial wallet, when the Chicago Board Options Exchange launches the first U.S. bitcoin futures contract just ahead of its crosstown rivals at the CME Group. Amidst the mad race to win the dubious plaudit, you may have noticed the conspicuous absence of the symbolic heart of American capitalism, the New York Stock Exchange, or at least its owner, Intercontinental Exchange.
Why, you may ask. Does the Big Board think itself too good for the people’s digital money? Is it taking a stand against the almost unspeakable waste involved in mining fake things? Is ICE CEO Jeffrey Sprecher, in spite of his firm’s investment in Coinbase, one of those ivory tower types droning on about tulip manias past?
No, Bitiots! Hear brother Sprecher out! The CBOE and CME may seem to be your allies now, offering a patina of legitimacy to your beloved intangible would-be means of exchange. But they are in fact tools of the fat-cat naysayers and skeptics, who will use their nefarious new tools to destroy your monetary paradise before it can bring peace and happiness to all the world!
Mr. Sprecher said the bitcoin market was currently dominated by buyers, not sellers, and it was unclear who would short bitcoin when given the chance. Bitcoin sellers, including “algorithmic guys,” could seize upon the launch of futures to exit big bitcoin positions, the ICE CEO said.
That could lead to blowback against futures exchanges, he added. “I look at that and just say, is that going to work out well for me as a venue?” Mr. Sprecher said.