FTX Seeks to Launch Coinbase Futures Market Ahead of Public Listing

Launching the new futures market depends on regulatory clarity.

AccessTimeIconDec 18, 2020 at 2:32 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:45 a.m. UTC

Cryptocurrency exchange FTX is “working on” a pre-listing futures market for Coinbase after the U.S.-based exchange announced its S-1 filing Thursday.

In a direct message with CoinDesk, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said his team has plans to offer Coinbase futures once it gains clarity from regulators, which is not assured.

FTX is currently in discussions with Munich-based financial firm CM-Equity to gain regulatory clarity from non-U.S. authorities on if or how the market could launch. FTX first partnered with CM-Equity for compliance reasons when launching its tokenized stock spot and futures markets in October.

Bankman-Fried’s plans for Coinbase futures likely won’t surprise FTX users given the exchange’s large portfolio of other novel and rapidly launched markets, including presidential election prediction markets and bitcoin hashrate futures.

FTX also launched a pre-IPO market for Airbnb the day before the online vacation property marketplace’s Dec. 10 stock trading debut. 

As with its other markets, however, FTX would prohibit U.S.-based traders from accessing Coinbase futures, if launched, even though the San Francisco-based exchange's trading debut is expected on an American stock market. 

Without regulatory clarity, when Coinbase futures would launch is a wide open question.

Bankman-Fried said his team will probably launch the market as soon as they receive positive legal clarity. But that “could be very soon" or it "could also never happen.”

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