CFTC Chair Says Ether Futures 'Likely' in 2020

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Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Heath Tarbert believes the crypto world will see ethereum futures contracts sometime in 2020.

Speaking at Georgetown University in a fireside chat during the first day of DC Fintech Week, Tarbert told moderator Chris Brummer that he "Absolutely" believes ether futures could trade in the next six to 12 months.

"I'd say it is likely that you would see a futures contract in the next six months to a year," he told Brummer, though he cautioned that simply launching a futures contract isn't the be-all and end-all.

Tarbert first declared ether a commodity earlier this month, announcing that his agency would be willing to approve futures contracts on the world's second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

It remains unclear who might actually be interested in offering ether futures contracts to the U.S. market.

Spokespeople for Cboe and the Intercontinental Exchange - which offer or offered bitcoin futures contracts - did not immediately return requests for comment.

"Right now, we are focused on bringing options on CME bitcoin futures to market in Q1 2020 and continuing to grow our CME CF Reference Rates and Real-Time Indices," the spokesperson said.

On the CFTC's side, approving an ether futures product will depend on the application itself, Tarbert said.

The process would be similar to approving bitcoin futures contracts.

In the U.K., Kraken Futures offers residents access to bitcoin cash, litecoin and XRP futures contracts, all of which have grown in popularity after the U.S.-based Kraken acquired the company.