(Dow Jones) Nasdaq and broker Cantor Fitzgerald are looking to join the rush on Wall Street to trade bitcoin, which powered above $11,000 on Wednesday.
Nasdaq aims to launch bitcoin futures in the first half of 2018, according to people familiar with the situation.
Separately, Cantor said it is seeking to launch bitcoin derivatives on an exchange it owns, also in the first half of next year. The moves come after two major Chicago exchange operators announced similar plans for the digital currency.
Many financial institutions have been reluctant to get into bitcoin due to its notorious volatility and its lingering association with money laundering and other criminal activity.
Investor interest has grown as the digital currency has exploded in value. Bitcoin is up more than 10-fold since the start of the year and was recently trading at $11,273.89, reaching a new high less than a day after it crossed the $10,000 mark, according to CoinDesk.
The emergence of bitcoin futures would be a big step toward maturity for the cryptocurrency, which is less than a decade old. By letting traders bet on whether bitcoin rises or falls, a futures market would make it easier for both big banks and retail investors to trade bitcoin.