Europe prepares for first Bitcoin futures launch amid US ETF stalemate

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Europe’s first-ever Bitcoin (BTC) futures will launch next month on the continent’s largest derivatives market, Eurex, an announcement confirms.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, digital asset-backed securities provider ETC Group said that its Bitcoin ETN Futures product will commence trading on Sept. 13.

Europe highlights “growing institutional demand”

ETC Group already operates the world’s first centrally cleared Bitcoin exchange-traded product (ETP), known as BTCetc Physical Bitcoin (BTCE).

Launched in June 2020 on Deutsche Boerse, there are now several crypto ETPs from the firm, three of which will also begin trading on the Wiener Boerse — Vienna’s stock exchange — in the future, Cointelegraph reported.

The moves come amid increased investor demand for institutional products tied to Bitcoin and altcoins, with Europe traditionally providing a friendlier environment than the United States, which is dragging its heels over approval of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

Eurex will thus host the first European futures contract based on a crypto ETP starting next month.

“Given the growing institutional demand for secure exposure to Bitcoin, we are delighted to begin listing these Bitcoin ETN futures on our regulated trading and clearing infrastructure at Eurex,” Eurex executive board member Randolf Roth commented. 

“This move will allow a greater number of market participants to trade and hedge Bitcoin, with this new future being treated in the same way as any other derivatives contract in terms of central clearing, netting, and risk management.”

Bitcoin traded at $49,700 at the time of writing, down around 1% on the day after briefly passing the $50,000 mark.

Mixed institutional sentiment lingers

As Cointelegraph noted, institutional investor sentiment is slowly returning to favor crypto portfolio exposure.

Related: Pro traders are mildly skeptical about Bitcoin’s recent return to $50K

That said, institutional instruments such as the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) have lagged behind surging spot prices, signaling that uptake is not yet back at bull market levels seen before Bitcoin’s all-time highs in April.

The GBTC premium — the additional cost of the Trust’s shares compared to BTC’s spot price — continues to hover in negative territory, equating to the shares trading at a discount.

GBTC premium vs. BTC/USD chart. Source: Bybt