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Coinbase Launches Derivatives Product in Crowded—and Depressed—Market

Coinbase Global Inc. just launched a derivatives product, its latest attempt to move into a new field and offset weakness in its core spot-trading business. It has a lot of competition.

The largest U.S.-based crypto exchange acquired a U.S.-regulated derivatives exchange called FairX in February for $330 million, according to research firm PitchBook. This past week, it relaunched it with a focus on cryptocurrencies. Its first product is a “nano bitcoin” futures contract that will be offered through brokers while Coinbase awaits regulatory approval to offer them directly. Derivatives are financial instruments that are based on and allow traders to bet on the price of an underlying asset, like bitcoin.