Geographically Chicago made the most sense because it was the middle of the country & adjacent to large waterways. The two big futures exchanges date back 175 years, or pre-civil war. When you went to buy cotton or corn or wheat, they gave it to you to take home.
One day, an epiphany: “Let’s simplify this by creating a futures contract.” This would allow you to “own” corn or to hedge the price – without having to transport it back to Missouri.
Here we are today. Coins, tokens, wallets. Similar situation. At least some people want the exposure but not the head ache or risk to take “delivery”. The Eris exchange – a Chicago-based consortium – raised $27.5 million to build out infrastructure. Fidelity & Nasdaq were lead investors. Presumably, this deal centers around custodianship to some degree because that’s where this is all headed. Futures contracts aren’t going away; but “smart contracts” are on the rise. Exchanges will be central repositories for coins & tokens, allowing customers a chance to trade or hedge cryptos without assuming responsibility for physical assets. Some people will tell you this defeats the purpose: I’m sure farmers oft heard in the 1800s when buying cattle futures: “Where’s the beef?”