Pretty soon, the Cboe and CME might have competition when it comes to offering bitcoin futures.
During an interview with Bloomberg this week, Jeffrey Sprecher, the chief executive of ICE - owner of the New York Stock Exchange - refused to rule out offering derivatives for digital currencies like bitcoin.
The reason? If people are willing to trust an anonymous individual (or group of individuals) named Satoshi Nakamoto more than they trust central banks, then this probably isn't a trend that a major financial services company can afford to ignore.
"There is a trend here we can’t ignore in my mind, so I don’t discount it," Jeffrey Sprecher, ICE’s chief executive officer, said in an interview on Bloomberg TV.
"People put more faith in a guy named Satoshi Nakamoto that no one has ever met than they do in the U.S. Fed," he said, referring to the founder of bitcoin.
Of course, dozens of independent exchanges have sprung up to offer trading in cryptocurrencies - something that mainstream financial institutions are still reluctant to enter directly, beyond the two futures contracts in circulation.
"People are more comfortable in technology than the institutions of government and society that I grew up with," Sprecher said.
The Cboe and CME launched their bitcoin futures contracts in December.
Watch the full interview below: