Good morning. It's a red letter day for bitcoin as the cryptocurrency makes its long-anticipated debut on the world's futures market.
Cboe, the first exchange in the USA to trade bitcoin futures, is expected to be followed by another Chicago-based stock market CME as early as next week.
It's a step forward for the bitcoin, which has soared this year despite concerns that the surge of investor interest has transformed it from a new-age currency into just the latest speculative bubble.
Dealers reported that there is more interest than expected, with a torrent of traffic hitting CBOE's website. Volume of the bitcoin futures was relatively low, trading less than 4,000 contracts compared with the tens of thousands that typically trade for more popular commodities like oil, gold, or wheat, or the hundreds of thousands of contracts for popular stock-based futures like the S&P 500.
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The jump in January's futures price provided strong support for Bitcoin in the early part of the day today, with Bitcoin gaining 12.01% to $16454.87 at the time of writing in what looks to be another move towards record levels from a weekend that saw Bitcoin fall to sub-$13,000 levels.
There have been other attempts to bring bitcoin investing into the mainstream. There's also a chance of it being turned into an exchange-traded fund, where the fund owns the underlying assets (Bitcoin, in this example) and divides up its ownership into shares. The NASDAQ is planning to launch bitcoin futures in 2018.
There has been a lot of critical sentiment over Bitcoin, mostly from Wall Street bankers who see it as a threat to their business model which largely revolves around controlling other people's finances. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has called bitcoin "a fraud". They were last quoted at $17,120, a more than $1,000 premium to the price on Gemini Exchange.
But it could be a volatile day, as traders in London trudge through the snow and sleet to their desks.
We'll be tracking all the economic and financial news through the day.
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