Bitcoin Futures Launch on Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)

Giant CME exchange launches bitcoin futures to muted response

Bitcoin futures on the world's biggest derivatives exchange signal the boom isn't over yet

On Sunday, a week after Cboe Global Markets Inc. listed the first bitcoin futures contracts, CME Group Inc. debuted its own derivatives for the cryptocurrency.

The CME bitcoin front-month futures contract did open higher at $20,650, but dropped 6 per cent within the first half hour.

Cboe futures were at $19,010, up from $18,105 Friday.

"It's only one-lots", said Garrett See, chief executive officer of crypto trading firm DV Chain of the initial CME trades.

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Bitcoin futures are derived from the underlying value of Bitcoin, and allow traders to bet on what Bitcoin will be worth at a specified future date. CME is a much bigger player in futures, so many traders expect it to make a bigger splash in the nascent space. According to coin analysis website CoinMarketCap, Bitcoin reached $20,089 on December 17th at 12.19 UTC.

For one, Eurex will likely need a more robust online platform as CBOE saw outages following its release on December 10.

Bitcoin's continued surge does track some positive news, including the expected activation of a bitcoin futures product from CME Group.

That came as a blow after Cboe's contract rose more than 20 per cent after it was launched last week, crashing the exchange's website. Futures prices and bitcoin price The futures at CME traded about 2 percent about that of bitcoin's price this morning.

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"One of the biggest issues when it comes to investing institutionally in digital assets is banks and larger institutions can't hold an unregulated instrument in their balance sheet, and a futures contract is something they can hold", said Gabor Gurbacs, director of digital-asset strategy at VanEck Associates Corp.

"Introducing futures contracts in the USA was meant to give short-sellers access to the market and improve liquidity, but availability is still fairly restricted".

"The order book is thin". The company will not offer CME contracts until it demonstrates sufficient liquidity. The margin requirement is 35 per cent at CME and 40 per cent at Cboe, reflecting bitcoin's volatility.

Spot bitcoin eased 1.9 per cent on the Bitstamp exchange to US$18,650, after surging to a record high of US$19,666 on Sunday.

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