With two of the most respected exchanges in the US about to launch bitcoin futures, CME and Cboe, American brokers now have little excuse not to offer the instruments. A few of the major players have already revealed their positions regarding retail trading clients, while most still remain on the sidelines.
Both TD Ameritrade (NASDAQ: AMTD) and Ally Invest (NYSE: ALLY) have publicly stated that they plan to offer access to bitcoin futures trading as soon as they become available to them. Together these two brokers serve over seven million retail US traders, Ameritrade with 6,950,000 funded customer accounts and Ally with 250,000.
“What’s exciting to us about it is it provides a two-sided market,” JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist TD Ameritrade said. “With natural buyers and sellers, that helps to put a more reasonable volatility on the product.”
“Ally Invest customers have specifically expressed interest in the futures product the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is planning to launch that is based on bitcoin,” said Rich Hagen, president of Ally Invest. “If the CME does launch this product, Ally Invest plans to offer it to current and new futures customers immediately.”
Maybe in the Futures
Possibly the most surprising announcement came from Fidelity Investments whose spokesman told Bloomberg they don’t have any plans yet to offer access to the instruments for their clients. Fidelity was the first major US broker to allow clients to track their bitcoin, ether, and litecoin holdings on its web portal. Considering that they now have regulatory cover to offer an actual form of trading, with CME and Cboe handling the compliance issues, it is likely just a matter of time until they jump on board.
The other major US brokers have either not had enough time to process the rapid developments, or are just waiting to see what will happen with Ameritrade and Ally before making any move.