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Cboe to Phase Out Digital Asset Trading Platform

Exchange Operator Cboe Global Markets, announced on Thursday its decision to integrate its digital asset derivatives, currently provided by Cboe Digital, into its existing Global Derivatives and Clearing business following a strategic assessment. Additionally, the company disclosed plans to phase out its Cboe Digital Spot Market asset trading platform by the third quarter of 2024, stating that this move would not significantly affect its net revenue for the year.

In the first half of 2025, subject to regulatory review and specific corporate approvals, the exchange intends to transfer cash-settled Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) futures contracts from the Cboe Digital Exchange to the Cboe Futures Exchange.

Fred Tomczyk, CEO of Cboe Global Markets, expressed confidence in these adjustments, highlighting their potential to enhance operational efficiency and strategic alignment across different regions and asset categories, thereby bolstering the company’s long-term growth strategy.

As part of the restructuring, the clearing arm of Cboe Digital, known as Cboe Clear Digital, will be brought under the leadership of Vikesh Patel, the president of Cboe Clear Europe, consolidating operations. The exchange clarified that these changes are prompted by its strategic evaluation, considering the regulatory uncertainties in the digital asset realm, and are consistent with its overarching strategy.

Cboe Digital currently offers various digital assets such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether, USD Coin (USDC), and Litecoin (LTC) products. The company acknowledges that the classification of Ether (ETH) as a security may influence the ongoing reorganization process.

Furthermore, the exchange anticipates significant cost savings from the discontinuation of its digital spot trading arm. While it anticipates an “immaterial impact” on net revenue for 2024, estimated savings range from $11 million to $15 million annually.

David Howson, global president of Cboe Global Markets, emphasized the increasing demand for exchange-traded digital asset derivatives to manage crypto exposure, hedge risks, and optimize capital and operational efficiencies.

Cboe significantly expanded its presence in the digital asset sector with the acquisition of ErisX in May 2022, which encompassed a spot market, derivatives market, and clearing platform, subsequently rebranded as Cboe Digital. However, the timing of the acquisition coincided with the onset of the crypto winter, leading to a $460 million goodwill impairment declared in Cboe’s second-quarter earnings for 2022. In November 2022, Cboe Digital welcomed 13 investor partners into the business.

Tomczyk previously indicated Cboe’s contemplation of venturing into new markets outside the United States as part of its strategic review. The company is scheduled to release its first-quarter results on May 3.

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