One of the senior figures at derivatives giant CME Group believes that bitcoin is on course to become its own tradable asset class.
In an interview with Reuters on Tuesday, the company's chairman emeritus Leo Melamed said bitcoin will likely come to trade in a similar way to how gold and stocks are exchanged today.
Notably, CME Group last week announced plans to launch a bitcoin futures contract, aiming to have the product available by the end of the year. The product is still contingent on approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the firm indicated at the time.
Melamed told Reuters that he expects institutional investors to take part in the futures contracts, rather than just speculators, and called the move a "very important step for bitcoin's history." The product will enable investors to bet on bitcoin, as well as short-sell the cryptocurrency.
He went on to say:
In the interview, Melamed explained he initially did not believe in bitcoin, but that his interest later grew.
"I’m still that same guy who believes in, at least examining change," he explained.
Disclosure: CME Group is an investor in Digital Currency Group, CoinDesk's parent company.
Leo Melamed image via Waseda University/YouTube
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