Bitcoin has just proven itself in the clearest way thus far: for the first time trading has begun on the cryptocurrency on a major exchange. The historic launch occurred on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) futures exchange in Chicago towards the end of Sunday at 23:00 GMT, and as bitcoin is performing stronger than ever, the recent buildup to this moment was marked with a surge in value.
The significance of this development is twofold: now investors have the possibility to bet on the performance of the digital currency through futures—a form of derivative contract that absolves investors of ownership, providing less liability. More importantly, it’s another crucial step in legitimizing bitcoin.
In terms of its performance, CBOE reported a 17% rise in a futures contract ending in January, from $15,000 to more than $18,000.
Another sign of bitcoin’s steady progress is the fact that the cryptocurrency is winning over the reluctant praise of its critics as well as some of its strongest opponents. Chris Ralph, of the UK-based wealth management company St. James’s Place, shared his reserved optimism about bitcoin’s impressive performance this year: "I refuse to use the word legitimate, but it's probably moved out of the shadows into the open," he said, adding about its future, "But what I think it means is more people in the conventional investment banking market will take a look at Bitcoin...It has been described as the asset class of 2017 but when we went into the year no one would have called it an asset class."
Bitcoin is even expected to enter the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) next week, and this move, as well the CBOE development, could not have occurred without the support and official recognition by the US Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Still, promoting transparency and avoiding wild fluctuations are the main concern of the CBOE: the exchange has promised to halt trading for two minutes if they spot a 10% rise or fall in prices.
Activity on the Asian market is definitely on the upswing. BitFlyer, which is currently the largest bitcoin exchange both in Japan and in the world has reported a feeding frenzy supported by a 15x leverage, is being reported, but officials report that they can accommodate the increased demand. Yuzo Kano, CEO and founder of the Tokyo-based exchange, explains how the philosophy of investors in Japan is part of this development: “Japanese people tend to be very conservative with their investments, but once they get triggered they go all in.”