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It’s a new era for investors hoping to get in on the bitcoin game. Cboe Global Markets, a top U. Sunday began offering bitcoin futures, allowing investors to speculate on whether the digital currency’s price will go up or down. In the first few hours, most were betting that bitcoin, which has experienced a spectacular rally this year, will rise even higher. It’s the first time a government-regulated exchange has given the green light to trading for a bitcoin-backed security.
Chicago-based Cboe tweeted Sunday that its website was receiving “heavy traffic” after trading began. But it also added that all trading systems were “operating normally. 3O722hoo may find that it is performing slower than usual and may at times be temporarily unavailable. All trading systems are operating normally. The start of trading was a historic move. Unlike traditional commodities, bitcoins aren’t physical assets. And unlike traditional currencies, there isn’t a central bank that backs bitcoin.
They are produced by complex algorithms and recorded in a digital ledger. Some leading economists and financiers are calling bitcoin a bubble and a fraud, but industry insiders say they think it’s only going to get bigger as it gains more widespread acceptance. Currently, bitcoins are bought and sold on unregulated virtual exchanges — and it’s been extremely volatile. 15,000 mark, spurring renewed warnings of a bubble. Is Bitcoin just ‘Tulip Mania’, Take Two?
Stephen Bielecki, an attorney with Kleinberg Kaplan, told CNNMoney this weekend that offering bitcoin futures may help “rationalize” the price. Futures are contracts that let investors buy or sell something at a specific price in the future. Offering futures contracts for bitcoin allows investors to speculate on the digital currency’s price without actually owning any bitcoin. That’s good news for mainstream investors who want to place their bets on bitcoin, but may be nervous about purchasing the actual currency. The option also gives investors an easy way to bet against bitcoin, which could snap its streak of nearly unfettered gains. There’s been a few sharp dips, but bitcoin’s rise has been stunning. Jethro Mullen and Daniel Shane contributed to this report.
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