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You Can’t Rain On Our Parade: Cboe’s Big 2017 Includes Bitcoin Futures. Can It Overcome Regulatory, Margin and Volatility Headwinds? Standard

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To hear Cboe Global Markets Chairman and CEO Ed Tilly tell it, his exchange group is firing on all cylinders and adding new ones to the engine. The exchange boasts the top US equity options market and has a lock on volatility products with the VIX futures and options and related exchange traded products. Cboe now has the top pan-European equity market and the second ranked US stock market, as well as a burgeoning FX business. As the migration of its exchanges onto the Bats trading platform continues, with Cboe Futures Exchange due up next month, its technology is taking…

Don’t Get the Munchees! A Lesson from the SEC Standard

The Securities & Exchange Commission (“SEC” or the “Commission”) has made good on its promise to pursue companies that engage in what it views as unregulated offerings of securities by way of initial coin offerings or “ICOs.” Specifically, the Commission recently pursued a company called “Munchee” that created an iPhone application for people to review restaurant meals. To fund the creation of its app, Munchee began an ICO seeking to raise $15 million and, in return, issue its token known as a “MUN.”  The company issued a white paper in connection with its ICO. In that document, Munchee indicated that…

Blockbuster – CME looks to increase back month activity in ag futures Standard

Twenty years ago, block trading of agricultural commodity futures never would have seen the light of day. There was no way the locals in the pit would have let block trades in corn or wheat or any of the other ag products happen. They would have demanded a piece of the action. Markets sure don’t look like they did two decades ago, though, and on Monday, block trades – large, privately negotiated trades executed off the floor or electronic market but cleared by the exchange – were executed in hogs, Black Sea wheat and urea fertilizer. Tuesday saw some corn…

On Your Radar: Roy Saadon’s Firm Aims To Provide A View On Risks Across The Board Standard

If you could monitor all of the operations issues at your firm, how would you do it? And not just tracking problems in the back office, but those in the order routing, middle office, regulation and compliance areas, too – all of it. As much as CEOs and compliance officers want to know where problems and risks are cropping up, most firms now run 20 to 30 or more systems internally. Roy Saadon says monitoring all of those systems is a daunting task, and it’s what his young firm, Access Fintech, is trying to address. Saadon, who co-founded Traiana, launched…

Top Options Stories of 2017 Countdown Standard

Listicles are occasionally the butt of jokes – Buzzfeed knows – but what about listideos? With 2017 in the bag, we at JLN thought we’d recap the year in options with a list of the big stories and trends – and there were a number. Below are links to stories referenced in the countdown. When a theme is addressed, the linked story is indicative of the theme.  11) Development of crypto derivatives 10) BOX opens a trading floor 9) Nasdaq to launch VIX alternative 8) MIAX opens second exchange, Pearl 7) Broker fee wars 6) Vela acquires OptionsCity 5) Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT)…

The Spread – Week of 1/1/18 Standard

A new year, a new Spread! The Spread is a brief recap of some of the notable activity in the options world. The following are stories referenced in this week’s episode of The Spread: Bloomberg – Five Things We Learned About MiFID II on Its First Day at Work OCC – OCC 2017 Total Cleared Contract Volume Up Four Percent, Third Highest Volume Year Ever The New York Times – When Forecasters Get It Wrong: Always See It Market – SKEW Index Continues To Diverge From VIX Index Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management – How Do Traders Respond to Off-Hour…

The Spread – Week of 12/18 Standard

The Spread is a brief recap of some of the notable activity in the options world. This is Episode 3 and an improvement on “Revenge of the Sith.” The following are stories referenced in this week’s episode: WSJ – A Million-Dollar Bet That Bitcoin Will Hit $50,000 JLN – Seed CX Swaps Hemp For Cryptocurrencies OCC – Advocating for a stronger U.S. options market Reuters – LCH begins credit options clearing Bloomberg – Trader Turns $60 Million Profit in Sharpest Bond Selloff of 2017

Seed CX Swaps Hemp For Cryptocurrencies Standard

Bittrex takes majority stake in Chicago fintech firm Seed CX. Bitcoin hit the derivatives mainstream, but what about its other crypto cohorts?   On Tuesday, it was announced that Bittrex, a U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange handling some $3 billion notional of transactions daily, took a majority stake in two-year-old Chicago fintech startup Seed CX for an undisclosed amount. Seed CX was originally launched with plans to trade industrial hemp derivatives on its CFTC-approved swap execution facility (SEF).   Now, Seed will apply its technology to spot and derivative crypto trading alongside corresponding settlement services for an institutional crowd. Notably, by using…

Cash and Futures in Bitcoin Are a Different Story Standard

The high margins charged by the CME and Cboe for bitcoin futures, and the additional margins required by the futures commission merchants to trade the products, have turned the normal dynamics of futures trading versus cash trading upside down. With the CME charging 47 percent margins, and some firms charging double margins on bitcoin futures, the cost of trading is nearly 100 percent of the underlying contract value. Normally futures contracts allow traders to control higher notionally valued contracts for much lower margin amounts. Margins of 3 percent to 10 percent are the norm, depending on the commodity or instrument…