Bitcoin futures trading on CBOE, the world’s largest futures exchange, just launched at 5pm CT.
Within a minute of the launch bitcoin spiked about 10% from ~$14,700 all the way up to $16,200 before settling a few minutes later to around $15,500, up about 5%. Now an hour after launching the actual price of bitcoin is still up, trading around $15,350.
Currently the settlement price of the January 1st, 2018 futures contract is pegging the digital currency’s future price at $15,700 with relatively little volume being traded. Each contract is pegged at one bitcoin, meaning volume exchanged has totaled about $7.7M with actual dollars traded being less since the contract only requires a 30% margin requirement.
The circuit breaker was hit at least once after trading started, which stops trading for 2 minutes after a 10% move and 5 minutes after a 20% move up or down.
516 contracts have traded for the January settlement date, with only a couple of contracts for the March 2017 settlement date have traded so far.
CBOE’s website went down as futures trading launched, but this was mainly because of a spike in interest and not necessarily trading volume. Trades need to be made through brokerage platforms, so CBOE’s site really only provides quotes and information and not the functionality to actually trade options.
In a statement provided to TechCrunch, CBOE 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. All trading systems are operating normally.”.
Regardless, volume has still been low in the 30 minutes since options launched.
While there’s a chance activity will spike tomorrow when the trading week starts, so far this volume is much less than most expected.
As a refresher, CBOE is launching three futures contracts, with the settlement price being bitcoin’s trading price on January 1st, February 1st and March 1st, respectably. The CME group will launch their futures product later in December, and as of now these two products will be the only way for investors to trade the digital currency without actually holding it themselves.
Many think that the futures product will help stabilize the price of bitcoin, as well as hasten its adoption by Wall Street. Others think it’s a sign regulators are easing their view on the digital currency, which could lead to approval for future products like a bitcoin ETF.
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