Bitcoin’s dramatic fall in value from last night’s record high of more than $17,000 is down to uncertainty over whether a futures-market launch will go ahead.
The price of Bitcoin has slumped back to just under $15,000 – a fall of more than $2,000 since yesterday.
According to leading digital currency website Coindesk, markets are heeding the warnings of the world’s largest investment banks that the financial system is not ready for the launch of Bitcoin futures.
“Currently, it looks like the markets may be heeding the warning. Having shown signs of exhaustion near record highs earlier today, the sell-off is picking up pace,” said Coindesk’s Omkar Godbole.
In an open letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Futures Industry Association (FIA) chief executive Walt Lukken criticised the decision to allow clearing houses to self-certify Bitcoin futures.
He said FIA members were worried about their exposure to Bitcoin's price volatility.
“We believe that the launch of new exchange-traded derivatives in cryptocurrencies deserves a healthy dialogue between regulators, exchanges, clearing houses and the clearing firms who will be absorbing the risk of these volatile, emerging instruments during a default,” he said.
Lack of historical data
“Given the lack of historical data on these products, it is further concerning to clearing members that they will bear the brunt of the risk associated with them.”
Lukken said a more thorough process would have allowed for a “robust public discussion” to determine the correct margin levels, trading limits, stress testing and other procedures needed in the event of excessive price movements.
“The recent volatility in these markets has underscored the importance of setting these levels and processes appropriately and conservatively,” he added.