London broker gatecrashes crypto derivatives market

A division at the world's largest interbroker, TP ICAP, is now acting as an intermediary to customers who want to trade regulated Bitcoin futures to one another, Bloomberg writes. TP ICAP is also looking to add non-deliverable forwards tied to bitcoin.

Although firms like TP ICAP usually deal with handling trades for banks, the company lost 36 per cent in market value in a day last year after issuing a profit warning. The firm has therefore chosen to venture into bitcoin, launching in London but set to open desks in both Asia and the U.S.

“We want to be close to what’s happening within this nascent asset class because we believe it’s important to invest in the early stages of a growing market,’’ said Simon Forster, who is co-leading TP ICAP's new venture. “TP ICAP also understands that this technology could disrupt or impact other asset classes where we currently operate, so we feel it’s important to be informed.”

As of next week, CME will be the only US regulated platform issuing bitcoin futures, meaning TP ICAP will only trade cash-settled contracts shopped on CME.