1996: Online gaming site the Hollywood Stock Exchange is founded by former Wall Streeters Max Keiser and Michael Burns, who were exploring the idea of a derivatives market for movies. The Web 1.0 start-up raised $40 million in capital from 1996-98, Keiser told TheWrap.
2001: Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald buys the HSX and wants to use it as a model for real-life online movie-futures market, but is derailed when the company’s New York operation is destroyed in the September 11 attacks.
2007: Cantor resumes its quest to establish a movie-futures market, hiring Wall Street derivatives specialist Rich Jaycobs to lead the project. In Chicago, derivatives company Veriana, under the direction of CEO Rob Swagger, begins an effort to establish a similar market.
March 23: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is set to give Verian’s Media Derivatives the greenlight to begin setting up its market. But just two days before that eaxpected ruling, the Motion Picture Association of America sends a publicly CC-ed letter to the CFTC requesting that it slow down the process. More letters follow.
April 6: Congress gets involved. California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are among a number of legislators filing separate letters to the CFTC, calling for approval delays.
May 24: Arkansas Democratic Blanche Lincoln, head of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which oversees futures markets, submits that a ban be included to the larger finance bill already under consideration. The Senate – and later, the House of Representatives – take her up on it.
June 14: The CFTC gives Media Derivatives approval to begin trading. Both the House and Senate are mulling a ban that would supersede that ruling, however.
June 28: Cantor Fitzgerald announces that it will not go forward with the Cantor Exchange.
July 21: President Obama signs the 2010 Financial Reform Act, putting a formal ban on movie derivatives into law.