With the launch of the new ICE futures contract, the physical delivery of bitcoin is now possible.
The futures contract launched on Sunday at 8 p.m. EDT falls under Bakkt, which is a joint venture of ICE, Microsoft and Starbucks established last year.
Bakkt aims to attract more institutional participation for trading cryptocurrencies by providing solutions to the common issues percolating crypto assets such as regulation, market quality, reliability, fees and liquidity.
Two types of futures contracts are available: daily and monthly futures. This means that the physical settlement of bitcoin can take place as soon as twenty-four hours when the contract expires.
ICEs futures will be the first one to offer physical delivery of cryptocurrencies either through online or through Bakkt’s secure warehouse, and this wasn’t available even with CME Group’s version in 2017 which is cash-settled. However, CME plans to launch options contracts by 2020.
Futures contracts help shield investors from the volatility of certain assets by locking in prices for future transactions and, in conjunction with options, it may help in better price discovery.
Due to the few transactions that the Bitcoin can process per second and the controversies affecting it, it is not well-received as a mode of payment. But with the Bakkt venture, Bitcoin is positioned to be a more conventional monetary exchange. Starbucks even plans to have customers pay for coffee with Bitcoin.
In spite of this, Crypto enthusiasts are divided when it comes to the success of Bakkt futures and whether it will be good for the whole industry or not. Some see it beneficial as it boosts trust from institutions, but others think that it may lead to greater market manipulation. Some also look back at the launch of CMEs futures that provided a way for traders to short Bitcoin that contributed to the drop in price in 2018.
Traders and investors have a whole week to observe how the contracts will affect trading and how much volume it will attract to Bitcoin.
Bitcoin has rallied from $3,689.56 on the first day of the year going up to as high as $12,575.90 on July 10.