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History of derivatives, Part 4: The Dojima Rice Exchange

History of derivatives, Part 4: The Dojima Rice Exchange  – Official Olymp Trade Blog

Find out how rice became a commodity asset in the first organized futures trading platform and what it led to. In this video, we tell the story of the Dojima Rice Exchange and its impact on the economic path of mankind. Happy viewing!

Subtitles for video are available in English.

It’s all about the grain

The first organized futures trading platform, called the Dojima Rice Exchange, was established in 1697 in Osaka, Japan.

It arose thanks to landowners primarily engaged in the cultivation and sale of rice. They sold warehouse receipts for rice and shipped the excess to Edo (present-day Tokyo) and Osaka.

Merchants who bought these receipts found a great way to make money: They loaned funds to other farmers in need of financial help in exchange for the farmers’ future rice harvest.

The first futures exchange

This led to the beginning of futures trading in Dojima’s market in 1730. Thanks to this, farmers could insure their livelihood by hedging against any price changes that may occur between harvests.

The futures market of the Dojima Rice Exchange followed all rules still upheld today in modern futures trading. Each contract had a fixed volume and a clear deadline for its expiration:

  • Spring contracts were from Jan. 8 to April 28
  • Summer contracts were from May 7 to Oct. 9
  • Winter contracts from Oct. 17 to Dec. 24

Settled in cash, the delivery dates, futures prices, parties’ names and rice volumes were recorded for each transaction, and suppliers were not obliged to physically deliver the rice at the end of the trading period.

The effect of rice contracts

Starting in the middle of the 18th century, trade in rice contracts left a strong impression on the history of the world economy. One century later, in the 1850s, the first contracts for livestock and crops appeared in America. A little later, futures for metals and energy appeared.

But the real revolution in the world of finance was yet to come — derivatives on financial assets. We’ll cover this one in our next video. Stay tuned!

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Risk warning: The contents of this article do not constitute investment advice, and you bear sole responsibility for your trading activity and/or trading results.