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Firms to Seek Regulators’ OK to Launch Bitcoin Futures Contracts

CME Group, a CFTC-regulated derivatives marketplace and exchange group, announced it will launch a futures contract based on bitcoin by the end of the year, subject to regulatory approval.  According to the Wall Street Journal, listing bitcoin futures on CME or another U.S. exchange would make it easier to trade the digital currency by allowing market participants to bet on whether its price will rise or fall, and the move could also pave the way for retail investors to get more involved in cryptocurrency. The SEC has rejected bids to launch ETFs based on bitcoin, partly because of a lack of an established trading market and uncertainties around market manipulation. If a major U.S. exchange launches futures tied to bitcoin, investing in the digital currency would become similar to trading commodities, with investors able to use popular retail brokerages, according to the Wall Street Journal. Another exchange Cboe Global Markets said in August it was planning to launch bitcoin futures by the end of 2017 or early 2018, pending regulatory approvals.

Meanwhile, the SEC’s Enforcement Division and OCIE warned the public about possible unlawful celebrity endorsements of initial coin offerings and encouraged investors to be wary of investment opportunities that sound too good to be true.