Nasdaq Inc. is seeking to join the cryptocurrency market and aims to launch bitcoin futures in the first half of 2018.

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The New York-based exchange operator would become the third major U.S. exchange to enter the market for cryptocurrencies.

The move will position Nasdaq against two larger competitors, CME Group, the largest derivatives exchange in the world, and Cboe Global Markets Inc., who has announced campaigns to present cryptocurrency derivatives.

Rich Repetto
Rich Repetto

“They’re a small futures exchange, so they possibly see the potential to get into a product that could be much larger someday,” Rich Repetto, an analyst at Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP. said.

The announcement makes Intercontinental Exchange Inc., owner of the NYSE, is the only major U.S. exchange operators without plans to present bitcoin derivatives.

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