Nasdaq to launch bitcoin futures despite cryptocurrencies’ bear market

The Nasdaq is moving ahead with plans to launch bitcoin futures as early as next year, despite an ongoing bear market for crypto.

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VanEck has separately been vying for approval of what would be the first-ever bitcoin ETF. The SEC has turned down multiple other applications, including one by brothers Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss, citing risks of market manipulation and investor protection.

The U.S. financial watchdog has yet to approve one. It published a letter in January pointing to “significant investor protection issues that need to be examined” before sponsors can offer these funds to retail investors.

Bitcoin itself is struggling to find a bottom this week. The world’s largest cryptocurrency rose 13 percent, back above the $4,000 level after hitting a 14-month low on Sunday. Bitcoin is down more than 75 percent since its all-time high near $20,000 in December, according to data from CoinDesk.

Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman told CNBC in April that the exchange was closely watching the cryptocurrency sector. Once it matures, she said, the Nasdaq is open to becoming a platform for trading cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

“Certainly Nasdaq would consider becoming a crypto exchange over time,” Friedman told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in April. “If we do look at it and say ‘it’s time, people are ready for a more regulated market,’ for something that provides a fair experience for investors.”

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