CME Group announced plans to offer a bitcoin futures contract this year. This brings it in line with Cboe Global Markets, which announced similar plans in August, and LedgerX, which began trading in bitcoin options and day-ahead swaps two weeks ago. These contracts are important steps toward integrating bitcoin with the global financial system. I see three plausible scenarios, though only one leads to bitcoin becoming more mainstream.All three exchanges are regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which appears willing to treat bitcoin as a commodity such as wheat and oil. The Securities and Exchange Commission has been less accommodating, and without a friendlier SEC, institutions will be reluctant to offer bitcoin-related retail products or to include bitcoin in institutional portfolios like pension funds.  (Full disclosure: I own bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.)  The concern of bitcoin skeptics is that it's a Ponzi scheme. The concern of true believers is that ...

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