The CFTC has allowed the CME and CBOE to list bitcoin exchanges by year end after they were able to show their proposed contracts and trading arrangements met regulatory requirements. Nasdaq OMX Group is also eyeing a contract launch before YE.
CFTC regulations allow designated contract exchanges such as CME to list products for trading without prior CFTC approval by filing a written self-certification with the regulator. Under the self-certification process, which is a quirk of the futures market, the exchanges file a submission to the CFTC confirming the product complies with the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations - including a key provision that requires the contract is not susceptible to manipulation. The CFTC has the power to block the contract but will not do so in this instance.