Argentina has approved what they say is the first regulated bitcoin futures index in Latin America.
A bitcoin futures index launched in Argentina
The National Commission of Value (CNV), Argentina’s securities regulator, said the index would debut on the Matba Rofex with bitcoin futures contract trading set for May 2023. The exchange was officially approved on April 11.
The launch of the bitcoin futures index is part of Argentina’s strategic innovation, which was announced in Q1 2022. The objective of this plan is to permit public-private collaboration for the release of innovative products in the country’s capital markets.
Bitcoin futures are a kind of derivative that track the performance of bitcoin (BTC), the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Usually, the average price of the index is aggregated from various regulated exchanges. In this case, the CNV-approved bitcoin futures index will be drawn from exchanges listing the BTC/ARG pairs.
Even so, CNV appears to have distanced themselves from any liability should prices be distorted from agents contracted by Matba Rofex exchange.
But, to protect clients, CNV is conditioning the exchange that the price provider should have a contract with the Payment Service Provider (PSP) and be “registered with the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic (BCRA) for the provision and use of their payment services in the country”. At the same time, Matba Rofex will have to publish a disclaimer highlighting the risks associated with trading bitcoin and crypto derivatives.
“Matba Rofex S.A. must incorporate alerts aimed at the investing public that warn about the risks associated with this operation and the possible contingencies in the formation of the aforementioned instrument (BTC/ARS).”
As of writing on April 12, it is not immediately clear which exchanges the index’s price feed will be aggregated from. Binance, Coinbase, and several other global exchanges, including OKX, have a presence in Argentina.
Settlement in Argentina pesos
Once trading begins, the CNV also said all bitcoin futures contracts would be settled in Argentina pesos. Accordingly, accredited traders must deposit funds through a bank transfer before posting positions. There will be no delivery of the underlying asset.
Andres Ponte, the president of Matba Rofex, said traders would have to deposit a guarantee of about 40% of the value of the contract.
Early this month, Binance, the world’s largest exchange by client count, expanded into Argentina. In a statement, an exchange representative said the country was strategically important to the exchange.