‘Bitcoin Will be a New Asset Class,’ Says CME Group’s Leo Melamed

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by Bhushan Akolkar · 3 min read
‘Bitcoin Will be a New Asset Class,’ Says CME Group’s Leo Melamed
Photo: Becker Friedman Institute / Flickr

Chairman of CME Group, Leo Melamed believes that Bitcoin is all poised to become a new asset class of the future similar to stocks and gold.

Bitcoin has been the talk-of-the-town with its valuations soaring in with a meteoric rise in the past one year. During the past year, Bitcoin has single-handedly dominated the now $200-billion cryptocurrency market hands-down and has received both – appreciation and serious criticism from well-known personalities from the world of finance. But the latest bull-run that has catapulted Bitcoin to new high levels shows that the odds remain in favor of Bitcoin supporters and one thing has been clear by now that you can either like or dislike Bitcoin, but you just can’t ignore it!!

The latest rally in the Bitcoin prices is attributed to the announcement of coming up with cash-settled Bitcoin futures contacts by the CME Group. This is most likely to bring a lot of liquidity as more investors will participate in the daily trading process without any need to actually own Bitcoins. As a result, analysts believe that the huge fluctuations and volatility in the prices of Bitcoin will be minimized and would rather bring in more predictability, accountability, and stability.

Chairman Emeritus of CME Group, Leo Melamed is quite confident about his group’s decision and says Bitcoin is all set to become another asset class in the near future, just similar to stocks and gold. In an interview with Reuters, Melamed said “That’s a very important step in bitcoin’s history… We will regulate, make bitcoin not wild, nor wilder. We’ll tame it into a regular type instrument of trade with rules.” Melamed further said that with starting of the bitcoin futures contracts by the year-end, he expects more investors to participate.

Melamed believes that with the introduction of futures, trading in Bitcoins will not be merely speculative in nature as it is currently. The futures will also allow investors to short-sell bitcoins thereby making two-way bets possible and such a development will certainly attract a large number of institutional investors.

Melamed believes that just like currency futures gained legitimacy when introduced by CME in the 70s, Bitcoin too will follow this path. He says “The world in the 1970s didn’t look at currency trading as a valid instrument of finance. I too went from not believing (in bitcoin) to wanting to know more.”

As per Melamed, Bitcoin in future will just not be a mere cryptocurrency but a true asset class of the blockchain technology. Many financial institutions and banks are slowly realizing the merits of blockchain technology which provides a more faster and secure way of making payments across the globe at reduced costs. One of the reasons though banks have been quite a skeptic about blockchain technology is that it being decentralized in nature will pose a big threat to banks autonomy. However, with more people showing their confidence in blockchain technology, banks are likely to be left with no option but to willingly accept the change.

Melamed also says that he has always been supportive of new technological developments. He says “My whole life is built around new technology. I never said no to technology. People who say no to technology are soon dead. I’m still that same guy who believes in, at least examining change. That’s what bitcoin represents.”

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