The New York Stock Exchange is working on its own bitcoin trading platform. According to a new report from The New York Times, the NYSE’s parent company is developing an online exchange geared toward large institutional investors — the kind of financial heavyweights that the cryptocurrency community is waiting for with bated breath.
Details of the plan are not yet locked in and the whole undertaking could still “fall apart,” according to the report. The initiative is being spearheaded by Intercontinental Exchange, the NYSE’s parent company.
Unlike the two bitcoin futures markets that opened late last year, “the new operation at ICE would provide more direct access to Bitcoin by putting the actual tokens in the customer’s account at the end of the trade.” Still, that process would be executed through swaps that ultimately deliver bitcoin to a client’s account.
As the report explains:
The swap contract is more complicated than an immediate trade of dollars for Bitcoin, even if the end result is still ownership of a certain amount of Bitcoin. But a swap contract allows the trading to come under the regulation of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and to operate clearly under existing laws — something today’s Bitcoin exchanges have struggled to do.
These kind of swap contracts are currently offered by cryptocurrency startup LedgerX, which might appeal more to cryptocurrency investors looking to eschew institutional banking’s entrenched players.
While the NYSE project is still under wraps, it follows news from earlier this month that Goldman Sachs would open its own bitcoin trading operation, though one that will deal in contracts linked to rises and falls in the price of bitcoin rather than bitcoin itself, for the time being.
While Goldman Sachs already clears trades for clients participating in Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) bitcoin futures markets, the bank will soon offer its clients non-deliverable forward contracts for bitcoin. For Goldman Sachs, the choice came as a response to overwhelming interest on behalf of its clients.
After a crash from December’s dizzying highs, bitcoin’s price has struggled upward toward the critical psychological milestone of $10,000 in recent weeks, sitting at $9,145 at the time of writing. Many longtime bitcoin investors and traders believe that a clearer regulatory path paired with institutional involvement — however convoluted — could make all the difference in 2018.