Bitcoin began trading on Sunday on the Cboe futures exchange, making its debut on a U.S. exchange and permitting investors to bet on whether the currency’s price will rise or fall.
In the first hours of trading the digital currency saw its value rise from $14,900 to $17,100, according to CoinMarketCap. The futures contract that expires in January is seen by many as a huge step toward legitimising bitcoin, pushing it further into the mainstream.
Even though Chicago-based exchange Cboe doesn’t involve actual bitcoin, it will track the price of the cryptocurrency via the Gemini exchange. The Gemini exchange, one of the largest, was set up by the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who have been early advocates of the digital currency. Interestingly, they were recently called the first bitcoin billionaires.
The launch of the Cboe futures contracts comes a week before the launch of fellow Chicago-based exchange, the CME Group. On the 18th December, it too will start trading bitcoin on its futures contract. Both of which received regulatory approval from the U.S. Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
The commencement of trading at 5 p.m. CST on Sunday overwhelmed the Cboe website. In a statement, the exchange said:
Due to heavy traffic on our website, visitors to www.cboe.com may find that it is performing slower than usual and may at times be temporarily unavailable.
However, it added that trading in the futures had not been disrupted. Aside from the CME Group, Nasdaq is planning to launch its own bitcoin futures in the first half of 2018. The Tokyo Financial Exchange has also revealed its intentions of launching its own bitcoin futures.
In a report, CEO Shozo Ohta, said:
Once the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act recognizes cryptocurrencies as financial products, we will list the futures as quickly as possible. To achieve that, we will launch this working group to study various aspects, including bitcoin’s present status, its outlook, and what form it will take root in Japan’s society.
Despite the increasing interest in the cryptocurrency market following the approval from the CFTC, the Futures Industry Association (FIA) has sent a letter to the CFTC criticising the move, arguing that not enough attention has been paid to the risks involved.
Cboe, however, has stated that it is keen to continue working with the CFTC in order to monitor and foster the growth of the bitcoin futures market.