Nasdaq Inc. is charging into the race to bring bitcoin to a greater swath of investors, as the digital currency’s price barreled beyond $11,000.
The New York-based exchange operator plans to introduce bitcoin futures next year, according to a person familiar with the matter, becoming the third major U.S. exchange to dive into the red-hot market for cryptocurrencies. Nasdaq will introduce the products as early as the second quarter, and the contracts will trade on its NFX market, according to the person, who asked not to be named discussing a private matter.
The plan is yet another sign of a large exchange operator pushing bitcoin further into the mainstream investing universe. The offering will pit Nasdaq against two bigger competitors, CME Group Inc. and Cboe Global Markets Inc., both of which already announced plans to offer cryptocurrency derivatives. Nasdaq is a comparatively small player in the futures market, which may make it harder to cultivate an image as a destination for cryptocurrency derivatives trading.
“They’re a small futures exchange, so they possibly see the potential to get into a product that could be much larger some day,” said Rich Repetto, an analyst at Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP.
Allan Schoenberg, a Nasdaq spokesman, declined to comment.