Key Words: ‘We may be stupid’ for waiting on bitcoin futures, NYSE owner says

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The owner of the New York Stock Exchange said Tuesday he may end up regretting not jumping at the chance to offer bitcoin futures, unlike his competitors.

“We may be stupid for not being first on that.”

Jeff Sprecher

Speaking at an investment conference in New York hosted by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS, -0.93%   , Jeff Sprecher, chairman and chief executive of Intercontinental Exchange Inc. ICE, -1.23%  , said bitcoin and its brethren pose a conundrum.

“I don’t have the answers, I wish I knew” what will happen, he said, according to Bloomberg News. “I don’t know what to make of cryptocurrencies.”

Chicago-based CBOE Global Markets Inc. CBOE, +0.54%   will open the first U.S. bitcoin futures exchange Sunday, and CME Group Inc. CME, -0.85%   will open a similar exchange the following week. Nasdaq Inc. NDAQ, -0.53%   reportedly plans to get into bitcoin futures early next year.

Read: Gold bugs hope to tap bitcoin’s mother lode of profits

Sprecher said the NYSE is taking a wait-and-see approach, and expressed concern that futures trading could make it easier to short bitcoin, potentially undermining the current buyer-heavy market.

“I look at that and just say, is that going to work out well for me as a venue?” Sprecher said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Futures trading is seen by many as a key step in legitimizing bitcoin as an everyday investment, and could drive its red-hot demand even further.

Bitcoin BTCUSD, +3.00%   rose to another record Tuesday, most recently at $11,857, giving it a market cap above $200 billion.The cryptocurrency has gained more than 1,100% this year, leading many to predict the bitcoin bubble will inevitably pop.