Cboe chief on Jamie Dimon: He's welcome to try shorting bitcoin

Key Points
  • Cboe Global Markets is opening the first futures trading for bitcoin, starting Sunday.
  • JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has called bitcoin a "fraud" and threatened to fire anyone trading the cryptocurrency.
  • Cboe CEO Ed Tilly said Dimon or anyone else wanting to bet against bitcoin now will have the opportunity.
Cboe chief on Jamie Dimon: He's welcome to try shorting bitcoin

If JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon wants to bet against bitcoin, the head of Cboe Global Markets is only too happy to give him the venue to place his wager.

Ed Tilly, chairman and CEO at Cboe, is preparing for the exchange to open the first bitcoin futures exchange Sunday afternoon.

While evading questions over whether he thinks the cryptocurrency is legitimate, he said he's looking forward to giving traders the chance to express their own views.

"We're looking forward to the launch Sunday afternoon," Tilly said during an interview on CNBC's "Power Lunch." "It's been about six months of getting ready for the launch, a lot of preparation with our regulator."

CBOE CEO Edward Tilly on launch of bitcoin futures trading

While lurking on the periphery of financial markets for years, bitcoin has taken a more prominent place this year as its price has surged from less than $1,000 to more than $11,000. Its total market cap is hovering around $200 billion, making it one of 18 cryptocurrencies worth more than $1 billion.

Wall Street's upper echelon, though, has mostly frowned on the trend. Dimon famously called bitcoin a "fraud" and threatened to fire any of his traders dabbling in it.

"As everyone in any investment, you can have an opinion on any security, any commodity," Tilly said. "If Jamie Dimon would like to take the other side of our long, that's great. We'll provide a marketplace for him to do so."

Cboe announced Monday its Cboe Futures Exchange plans to offer trading in bitcoin futures beginning 6 p.m. Sunday. Trading will be free through December.

The news means Cboe will be the first major exchange to launch bitcoin futures. CME announced Friday it would launch bitcoin futures Dec. 18.

Tilly stopped short of agreeing that futures trading would "legitimize" bitcoin, saying rather that it will give traders an opportunity to decide that issue themselves.

"Legitimizing, I don't know," he said. "There's a suitability issue with every investment. Bitcoin should be no different. I don't think we're setting up bitcoin, saying it's for everybody."

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