In what many see as the first true test for Bitcoin’s price, one of the world’s largest future exchanges, CBOE, has launched a Bitcoin futures product on Sunday.
The result, so far, is good for Bitcoin: The price is at $16,939 according to CoinMarketCap, up roughly 23% in the last 24 hours. The market cap of Bitcoin is currently $283 billion.
Shortly after launch, the exchange’s site went down under heavy traffic. According to CBOE, more than 800 Bitcoin futures contracts were traded in the first 2 hours of trading.
The current price for Bitcoin futures is $18,630 for Jan. 17 expiration date and $19,140 for Feb. 14 expiration date. Due to the swift price rise of the futures, trading was automatically halted several times so far (this is called a circuit breaker and is a mechanism to calm extreme volatility).
Futures, which lets investors speculate on the future price of an asset, are often seen as a gauge of the asset’s future price. The launch of Bitcoin futures on major U.S. exchanges is especially important as it lets large investors (including institutional ones) to invest without actually buying Bitcoin.
So far, the outlook on Bitcoin appears to be positive. The cryptocurrency’s price reached a high of more than $18,200 on Dec. 8 before retracting to a low of $13,349 on Sunday.