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BitMEX changes settlement date on Bitcoin ETF approval contract

The COIN contract is a prediction futures contract. The futures contract is binary, meaning it will either settle at 0 or 100 (all or nothing).

Cryptocurrency derivatives exchange BitMEX put out a notice today regarding a change in the settlement date of its futures contract that lets traders bet on whether or not U.S. financial regulators will vote to approve digital currency ETFs for listing on American stock exchanges. The contract is being used by some to hedge against a price drop if the ETFs will not be approved, or vice versa, to lock in extra profits should the price climb on news of approval.

Currently, the contract is trading at 43 with price action pushing a non-approval outcome as more likely at the time of writing as seen by BitMEX traders, yesterday, the contract briefly pushed above 50 with traders speculating that an approval was more likely.

BitMEX made the following announcement:

The SEC decision regarding the Bats exchange rule change is due by 11 March 2017. This decision, if positive, will allow the COIN ETF to list. Because this is a Saturday, there is a possibility that no public announcement will be made until Monday 13 March 2017.

The COIN Prediction Futures contract, COIN_BH17, will now settle on Tuesday 14 March 2017 at 00:00 UTC. If a public announcement regarding the rule change is made by the SEC prior to the settlement date, BitMEX will settle the contract early pursuant to the contract’s payout guidelines.

The COIN contract is a prediction future on the proposed rule change to BZX Rule 14.11(e)(4), Commodity-Based Trust Shares, to list and trade Winklevoss Bitcoin Shares (COIN ETF) issued by the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust. The SEC file number is File No. SR-BatsBZX-2016-30.

  • COIN will settle at 0 if the SEC does not approve the proposed rule change.
  • COIN will settle at 100 if the SEC approves the proposed rule change. (Note: this includes the scenario in which the SEC does not disapprove the rule change by March 11, as this implies an automatic approval).

Trade Example:

A trader believes that the proposed rule change will be approved. He goes long 100 COIN contracts at a price of 50.

On the settlement day, the rule change is approved, and the contract settles at 100.

The trader’s profit will be: 100 * 0.0001 XBT * (100 – 50) = 0.50 XBT

A trader believes that the proposed rule change will not be approved. He goes short 100 COIN contracts at a price of 50.

On the settlement day, the rule change is denied, and the contract settles at 0.

The trader’s profit will be: -100 * 0.0001 XBT * (0 – 50) = 0.50 XBT

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