Cryptocurrency derivatives exchange BIT on Thursday launched options tied to payments-focused cryptocurrency XRP.
The new product will allow users to trade XRP options without having to hold the cryptocurrency, the exchange said in a press release, adding that profits and losses will be settled in the U.S. dollar. Institutional liquidity provider OrBit Markets is tasked with creating order book liquidity.
The new product expands BIT's existing suite of options on bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), Cardano's ADA, Toncoin (TON), and Milady Coin (LADYS).
Options are derivative contracts that give the purchaser the right to buy or sell the underlying asset at a predetermined price on or before a specific date. A call option gives the right to buy, and a put option gives the right to sell.
Traders typically use options as hedging tools to mitigate bearish/bullish risks or generate additional income by "writing" options on top of their spot market holdings.
"We are proud to become one of the first exchanges making XRP options trading accessible to both institutional and retail traders, enabling long and short for options traders at the same time. We look forward to bringing this product to more traders and investors alike across the globe," Justin Buitendam, global head of institutional sales at BIT, said in the press release.
XRP is the world's fifth largest cryptocurrency, boasting a market capitalization of $30.88 billion at press time. The cryptocurrency, just like other alternative coins, tends to be more volatile than bitcoin and ether.
BIT's decision to list XRP options comes weeks after a U.S. District Court, in a highly anticipated hearing in the U.S. SEC's case against Ripple Labs for violating securities law through XRP sales, said that XRP is not a security when offered over centralized exchanges, but is one when sold directly to institutions. The distinction threw a spanner in the SEC's attempts to paint all alternative cryptocurrencies with the same brush.
XRP surged over 70% to nearly 95 cents following the July 13 court ruling. Since then, it has retreated to trade at 65 cents at press time, CoinDesk data show.
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