Editorial: The Winner Takes it All

Editorial: The Winner Takes it All

The countdown to Christmas has begun, but it’s nevertheless been a busy week at FOW HQ. On Wednesday, we hosted our annual awards dinner in London.

The surprise winner of the global exchange of the year award was the Taiwan Futures Exchange, Taifex. The comparatively small derivatives hub saw volumes increase by 5.7% year-on-year, as the exchange launched a suite of foreign exchange options, as well as offshore equity index futures on the S&P 500 and the DJIA. In addition the exchange implemented a new trading system that doubled capacity and cut latency to quarter of its previous level. Taifex also launched an after-hours trading session 

Other winners included Xavier Rolet, who walked away with this year’s lifetime achievement award. John Phizackerley was named chief executive of the year for his work at TP ICAP. The award for bank of the year went to Citi, whereas proprietary traders once again elected ABN Amro as their clearing firm of the year.

The week ahead looks no less busy, with Cboe launching its bitcoin future on Sunday. The exchange announced the launch date for the cryptocurrency futures on Monday, in a bid to outrun the CME, who is launching a similar product on the 18th of this month. Both exchanges have launched incentive schemes for those who will trade the products, but the sentiment in the market remains mixed.

Bitcoin and its future(s) were a hot topic during the FOW Awards and the debates that preceded it. We have our little debate going on in the office over whether the cash that has poured into bitcoin to push it to its current $14,000 levels, is institutional or retail money. The current consensus is “probably both,” but this is set to change next week.

Everyone seems to have their eyes on the price of the cryptocurrency and everyone has an opinion on whether it will go up and when it will go down. Some have argued that it will not be that big of a deal when the price drops, as bitcoin is a currency, and currency prices fluctuate. However there are those who would argue that bitcoin is not a currency but a commodity, and sharp increases and drops in its price are far more worrisome.

In Korea, meanwhile, the financial regulator has banned securities firms from intermediating in bitcoin futures transactions, because the Korean government does not recognise the cryptocurrency as an underlying asset. With this, Korea follows the Chinese ban on initial coin offerings. Meanwhile, the Japanese government has said that it will accept bitcoin as legal tender, while the Tokyo Financial Exchange is also reportedly working on its very own bitcoin derivative.

Everyone, everywhere in the market has an opinion on bitcoin, and most of us are probably wrong in one way or another. All that remains to be done is wait, see, and keep a stash of preservative-heavy marshmallows ready to roast above the fire of the inevitable crash. 


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