A cryptocurrency exchange claiming to settle bitcoin futures contracts physically just landed $10 million in financing from Polychain Capital and Bitcoin.com chairman Roger Ver, among others.
The exchange, CoinFlex, launched in February of this year and says it is the first exchange to close futures contracts in bitcoin as opposed to a cash settlement. Speaking with the South China Morning Post, CoinFlex CEO Mark Lamb said the bitcoin futures market needs physical settlement due to price manipulation.
“Professional and retail traders alike are affected by price manipulation in the cash-settled futures market. In physically delivered contracts, anyone long at expiry receives the underlying bitcoin. There are no formulas involved,” he said.
Experienced traders are taking advantage of the lower bitcoin spot volume versus futures, Lamb says. Physical settlement helps alleviate manipulation.
Lamb told the SCMP that settling directly in bitcoin lowers the opportunity for price manipulation. Lamb says CoinFlex is shooting at top dog cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX, which trades the second most bitcoin futures contracts at $2.86 billion daily in volume.
CoinFlex is not alone in its futures settlement goal, however. Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt announced this month testing for its physical settlement of bitcoin futures contracts. The exchange has previously announced its launch this past winter but faces significant regulatory hurdles before it could open. In the United States, Bakkt, Ledger, and ErisX are currently sparring to launch the first bitcoin futures contract settled physically.
Futures image via CoinDesk archives