TD Ameritrade to Offer CBOE Bitcoin Futures

The Bitcoin futures market has been well-received by institutional investors so far. Although the trading volume may not be all that impressive yet, big things are expected in this regard. Moreover, it seems CBOE’s futures will be offered to more clients in the near future. TD Ameritrade will soon give its customers access to this new trading vehicle, assuming they adhere to a few specific guidelines.

More Access to Bitcoin Futures is a Good Thing

When the CBOE Bitcoin futures launched not too long ago, it became apparent very few people had access to this trading vehicle. A lot of institutions still do not allow their customers to access Bitcoin futures, although things are changing for the better. TD Ameritrade is one of the latest brokerages to offer Bitcoin futures beginning this week. That is a pretty significant development, to say the least.

As of Monday, TD Ameritrade will grant specific clients access to CBOE Bitcoin futures. As one would expect, this new trading vehicle is still only accessible to people who have US$25,000 or more in their accounts. For most customers of TD Ameritrade, that will not be much of a problem, as the company focuses on accredited investors rather than the average person on the street.

Interested parties must also put up a collateral of one and a half times the amount required by CBOE in order to trade Bitcoin futures. That is a rather unusual requirement, although it goes to show the institution doesn’t want people to spend money they cannot afford to lose. Whether or not this particular requirement will be a hurdle remains to be determined.

What is perhaps the most surprising catch is that TD Ameritrade will not allow its users to access the competing CME Bitcoin futures for the time being. There is no indication as to whether or not the CME product, which launches today, will be made accessible at a later date, but it seems safe to assume that will be the case.

TD Ameritrade’s managing director of futures trading JB Mackenzie commented as follows:

Right now we are taking the same approach we did with the CBOE product, to wait and see how it goes. We want to watch that market open and become an orderly marketplace and see who the participants are in that marketplace. This is the same process we use with any new product. We want to see how the market reacts.

Whether or not all this will be beneficial to the Bitcoin price remains to be seen. So far, the impact of Bitcoin futures has been rather minimal, although it is still too early to tell whether or not that situation will change over time. Moreover, there are still a fair few institutions which could provide customers with access to the CBOE futures, but it remains unclear if and when they will do so. All things considered, this is a positive step by TD Ameritrade, although it may not affect the wider market all that much.