Cryptocurrency derivatives exchange LedgerX has launched the first bitcoin savings account regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (SEC).
The new product, unveiled by the New York City-based firm on Tuesday, allows institutional investors to earn USD interest on their bitcoin holdings over three-month, six-month, and 12-month maturity periods, with target yields of up to 16 percent per annum.
As Forbes explains, the product essentially mimics a call overwrite, a trading strategy through which an investor deposits bitcoin on the platform and then sells a call option at a longer date with a higher strike call.
Juthica Chou, a LedgerX co-founder who also serves as its chief operating and risk officer, told the publication that the firm decided to build the product after noticing that a large number of its customer were already using the platform to execute call overwrites — albeit through a much more complicated process.
For that reason, the company expects this product to immediately see high volumes, even though it’s unlikely to see much interest from bitcoin bears.
“This interface will definitely be skewed to the long bitcoin holders,” said Chou, a former derivatives trader in Goldman Sachs’ securities division, “who will likely only deposit bitcoin who will want to earn interest off of that bitcoin.”
LedgerX was the first regulated US exchange to offer bitcoin derivatives, and it currently holds two different CFTC licenses. Trading volume is much lower than in the bitcoin futures markets on fellow US exchanges CME and CBOE — which thus far have attracted more bitcoin bears than bulls — but the firm reports that volume has increased to $30 million per month over the past quarter, with individual trades averaging $60,000 in notional value.
The bitcoin savings product is one of a number institutionally-focused services that have been timed to coincide with “Blockchain Week” in New York City.
As reported, cryptocurrency brokerage Coinbase unveiled a slew of products aimed at institutional traders, while Japanese financial holding company Nomura partnered with cryptocurrency wallet manufacturer Ledger (no association with LedgerX) to provide institutional traders with access to secure cryptoasset custody.