The US Futures Exchange is 99 years old and male, at least according to its new MySpace page in what market experts view as the first move by the derivatives sector into the world of social networking.

The details provided by the Chicago-based exchange which, like its peers, prides itself on the transparency of its markets, could just catch the eye of regulators. The USFE is in fact less than one year old, formed in late 2006 when Man Group took over the US exchange formed by Eurex, the derivatives platform controlled by Deutsche Börse. Its sex was previously undisclosed.

The appearance of the USFE on a site beloved of teenagers and musicians comes as it launched its inaugural contract on Friday, based on the outcome of the two-way battle for control of the Chicago Board of Trade.

The ”binary” contract is viewed as an opportunistic move ahead of the formal launch of the USFE, target retail investors with the exchange’s initial product offerings before widening to attract institutions and hedge funds.

Binary futures offer an all-or-nothing pay-out on a range of defined outcomes, such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange or the Intercontinental Exchange winning the CBOT bid battle or the acquisition of CBOT by a third party.

The USFE has been working on its Myspace page for a number of weeks and was first reported by John Lothian, a Chicago-based trader who publishes a widely-followed blog and newsletter. “For the longest time I had only one [MySpace] friend, said Mr Lothian who, like many in the sector, was previously unaware of the social networking site before signing up to view the USFE offering.

Mr Lothian is now joined by 13 other friends on the USFE page.

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