One of the largest exchange holding companies launched trading of bitcoin futures Sunday, as the value of the popular digital currency surges.
Trading on bitcoin futures through the CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE) started just after 6 p.m. ET, to coincide with the start of global trading hours.
In a tweet posted Sunday, CBOE said trading systems are operating normally, but heavy traffic is causing their website to perform “slower than usual and may at times be temporarily unavailable.”
Bitcoin will trade under the symbol XBT, with the value based on the auction price for the currency set by asset exchange firm Gemini Trust Company.
“Given the unprecedented interest in bitcoin, it’s vital we provide clients the trading tools to help them express their views and hedge their exposure,” said Ed Tilly, chairman and CEO of CBOE Global Markets, in a statement earlier this month.
Trading in bitcoin futures will be free through the end of December.
Bitcoin has enjoyed a gold rush among investors this year, surging more than 1,550%.
On Thursday, the price of bitcoin topped $16,000 after similar run-ups pushed the value of the currency past the $14,000 and $15,000-mark.
According to website coinmarketcap.com, the price of bitcoin sits at $15,500, with 16.73 million in circulation. The digital currency is valued at more than $259 billion.
Although bitcoin has been hailed by many as the currency of the future, others worry this surge is the sign of a bubble ready to burst.
Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s Mad Money, raised several concerns about the rise in bitcoin, including the lack of government oversight and its potential for hacking. Last week, NiceHash, a bitcoin mining company based in Slovenia said it was investigating a breach resulting in the loss of bitcoin.
“When, not if, but when, that happens, it will be a total loss as there’s no insurance and no fiat backing,” said Cramer.
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