Coinbase Financial Markets has secured approval to offer regulated crypto derivatives products to its US customers. This move comes as a significant step towards providing a transparent and regulated environment for crypto enthusiasts and investors in the United States. 

In the crypto market, the volume of derivatives trading significantly surpasses that of spot trading. As of now, with Coinbase offering only spot trading, investors are limited to the “buy low and sell high” strategy. However, with derivatives trading, investors can employ a broader range of strategies, such as shorting and leveraging. It’s important to note, though, that derivatives trading typically carries higher risks.

In September 2021, Coinbase initiated the process by filing an application with the National Futures Association (NFA) to register as a Futures Commission Merchant (FCM). Since then, the company has been in close collaboration with regulators to ensure compliance with all necessary regulations and to meet the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) customer protection requirements. Coinbase’s decision to become a public company in the US was driven by their belief in the country’s potential to provide a robust regulatory framework that prioritizes consumer protection.

Coinbase stated, “We believe this is a watershed moment to be able to bring regulated crypto products to US customers.” The company emphasizes its commitment to working with regulators in regions where the regulations are clear and reasonable. Their aim is to offer products that resonate with their mission of leveraging crypto to modernize the financial system, thereby promoting economic freedom and opportunities.

The approval means that eligible US customers can now access regulated derivatives products via Coinbase Financial Markets. This will be in addition to the spot market offerings, all under the oversight of both the CFTC and the NFA. The company believes that this will pave the way for more Americans to safely engage with the cryptoeconomy, reinforcing the US’s position at the forefront of digital innovation.

Highlighting the significance of this development, it’s worth noting that the global crypto derivatives market accounts for approximately 75% of the total crypto trading volume. Derivatives offer traders the advantage of margin trading, which allows for greater market access with a smaller initial investment compared to traditional spot trading. Furthermore, derivatives enable investors to manage risks associated with their primary crypto assets.

In 2022, Coinbase acquired FairX, a CFTC-regulated futures exchange, which has since been rebranded as the Coinbase Derivatives Exchange. This exchange has already introduced nano Bitcoin and Ethereum futures contracts tailored for retail investors. On June 5, they expanded their offerings with larger contract versions targeting the institutional market. The Coinbase Derivatives Exchange boasts a substantial liquidity pool, with “$4.7bn BTC and $2.0bn ETH futures traded in notional volume so far in 2023.”

Coinbase has indicated that more details regarding how verified US customers can access their futures offerings will be shared in the upcoming months.

Image source: Shutterstock



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