In an otherwise unsurprising turn of events, Wall Street has become a lot richer with the addition of Bitcoin futures. The cryptocurrency launched on the CBOE Futures Exchange in Chicago this Sunday, surging as much as 25 percent and halting trading sessions in the process. According to dealers, the pauses were meant to regulate Bitcoin’s volatility. High online traffic caused delays and outages on CBOE’s website, however, the exchange company reported that all trading systems soon returned to normal.
Bitcoin futures opened up to trading at 23:00 GMT Sunday at $15,460 followed by a temporary fall to $15,460 and then rose to a whopping $18,700.
“It was pretty easy to trade,” said Joe Van Hecke, a managing partner at the trading firm, Grace Hall Trading LLC. “I think you’ll see a robust market as time plays out.”
Cryptocurrency exchange, Bitstamp, reported bitcoin prices to have surged 9.6 percent to $16,100. This means that the digital currency is up more than 1,500 percent so far in 2017, a symptom of the snow-ball effect bitcoin has been experiencing in the past months.
The futures contracts are based on the auction price of bitcoin in US dollars on the Gemini Exchange, a digital asset platform owned and managed by Internet entrepreneurs and brothers, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.
Cboe has circuit breakers in place meant to stop transactions for two minutes if the prices rise or fall 10 percent, and for five minutes if they dip 20 percent. Bitcoin’s first trading halt occurred at about two and a half hours into the session, while the second one came after four hours.
Some traders noted that, while circuit breakers are important in curbing a currency’s volatility, bitcoin futures would not necessarily tame the cryptocurrency.
“There are no ways to arbitrage between the market and other exchanges, CBOE cannot settle Bitcoin as far as I know,” stated Leonhard Weese, president of the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong.
Weese said that sharp differences in bitcoin prices across the globe will impact the overall market value and flow of the currency. He adds that both regular bitcoin traders and the trading desks that use the futures market don’t have access to bitcoin.
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