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Coinbase Applies to List Crypto Futures Products

The company filed to become a member of the National Futures Association.

Sep 15, 2021 at 9:23 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 16, 2021 at 1:26 p.m. UTC

Coinbase has taken the first step to try to list crypto futures products.

The San Francisco-based crypto exchange filed to become a member of the National Futures Association and register as a futures commission merchant (FCM), according to a search of the NFA website and a tweet by the company.

“This is the next step to broaden our offerings and offer futures and derivatives trading on our platforms,” Coinbase tweeted.

Coinbase Inc. appears as “not an NFA member,” but Coinbase Financial Markets Inc. is “a pending NFA member.”

According to the NFA website, Coinbase Financial Markets’ CEO is Joseph Nikolson, who joined the exchange in 2018.

He has been a registered broker with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for over 20 years, according to FINRA’s BrokerCheck.

The NFA website makes note of Coinbase’s past run-ins with federal regulators. While Coinbase Financial Markets appears to be a relatively recent entity, Coinbase itself settled charges with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) earlier this year on allegations it “self-traded” digital assets and allowed a former employee to wash trade litecoin.

It’s unclear whether Coinbase has also applied for any of the necessary licenses with the CFTC, the federal regulator that oversees futures products in the U.S. The company will need different licenses from the regulator to list futures.

“We anticipate that this may be a long process to approval but are looking forward to working with the NFA as they review our application. Coinbase is excited to be taking this next step to broaden our crypto offering and further growing the crypto-economy,” an exchange spokesperson told CoinDesk.

Zack Seward and Danny Nelson contributed reporting.

UPDATE (Sept. 15, 2021, 21:47 UTC): Updated with additional information.

DISCLOSURE

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.

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