The supposed launch of LedgerX’s Omni platform turned into a farce Friday as claims, accusations, legal threats, departures, and begrudging clarification buried the news of the platform’s arrival. What was supposed to be a joyous occasion ended in LedgerX’s PR company resigning and an embarrassing climbdown from LedgerX themselves, who were forced to announce that, in fact, the jewel in Omni’s crown, physically settled futures, wasn’t legally ready for launch.
Futures License “Not Yet Approved”
LedgerX announced earlier this week that they had launched Omni, a platform offering options, swaps, and physically settled Bitcoin futures following Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFT) clearance in June. Shortly after the announcement however it was discovered that the physically backed futures element had not yet been approved by the CFTC, throwing the launch into confusion. LedgerX CEO Paul Chou took to Twitter to decry the CFTC’s comments, stating that a lawsuit would be coming the department’s way if it didn’t “do the right thing”, whilst separately claiming that the CFTC had asked the company to censor its tweets which he called a “disaster to democracy”:
Things took a stranger turn when the CEO of the press agency working with LedgerX, Ryan Gorman, tweeted that his agency would no longer represent LedgerX following “concerns over the events of the past 24 hours”. One can only imagine what that conversation looked like.
LedgerX Fails to Clarify License Award
Shortly after the CFTC’s comments were made, LedgerX spoke to outlet CoinDesk to state that the Wednesday launch was for the swaps and options parts of the Omni platform only, with the confusion being put down to one of correct licensing: LedgerX was only granted a Designated Contract Market (DCM) license which allows it to offer swaps and options, but an upgraded Derivatives Clearing Organization (DCO) license is required to offer futures. LedgerX filed for this in November last year, with the CFTC stipulating a 180-day deadline for a decision. This deadline came and went with no news either way, which LedgerX amazingly took as approval and announced the futures aspect along with the swaps and options. The CFTC were understandably confused by this, having issued no such edict, which set off 36 hours of chaos.
With the dust now settled somewhat, LedgerX will be hoping beyond hope that they do eventually get their DCO license upgraded, or Paul Chou’s Twitter feed might soon feature more bad language than a John Mcafee rap album.