International Exchange Inc. (ICE), the owner and operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is keeping an eye on the nascent cryptocurrency trading markets.
Speaking with Bloomberg, Jeffrey Sprecher, ICE’s chief executive, said that it is imprudent to discount cryptocurrencies and that he won’t rule out the possibility of launching cryptocurrency future contracts on one of the exchange operator’s trading platforms.
“There is a trend here we can’t ignore in my mind, so I don’t discount it,” Sprecher said. “People put more faith in a guy named Satoshi Nakamoto that no one has ever met than they do in the US Fed.”
“It’s early days,” but “People are more comfortable in technology than the institutions of government and society that I grew up with,” he said. “I wouldn’t rule out anything around currency.”
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It’s notable that the downturn has not caused ICE to view the cryptocurrency markets with incredulity.
While it’s true that the firm recently partnered with cryptocurrency startup Blockstream to launch a cryptocurrency data feed marketed at institutional clients, it had also been hesitant to jump on the Bitcoin futures bandwagon even at the height of the fourth-quarter market rally.
Currently, Bitcoin futures are available on two US exchanges — CBOE and CME, both of which are headquartered in Chicago — while the Colorado-based LedgerX has also launched a small line of Bitcoin derivatives. Other exchanges — including Nasdaq — are toying with launching cryptocurrency-based products, though such discussions have cooled off in recent months along with the overall cryptocurrency market.
Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) quietly began considering an ICE proposal from December 2017 that would allow the company to list two Bitcoin ETFs on NYSE Arca, a move that would likely introduce an entirely new class of retail investors to the cryptocurrency marketplace, albeit through vehicles that provide indirect exposure to the flagship cryptocurrency.