The CBOE Futures Exchange for bitcoin is open for the business — and bitcoin’s price is up as a result.
After about two hours of trading after the 6 pm (EST) launch December 10, futures were up 10 percent, which stopped all trading for two minutes. When futures shot up 20 percent at around 10 pm, another trading halt went into effect, this time for five minutes. The halts are a feature built to slow the market down in the event of sharp move in either direction.
“The futures are behaving as expected and designed,” said Tom Lehrkinder, senior analyst at TABB Group, who says the halts are “not surprising based on the volatility of the underlying [asset].”
The price of bitcoin liked the launch — and popped back up to $16,300, according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index.
There were issues with the system reportedly overloading on a surge of interest early in trading.
“Due to heavy traffic on our website, visitors to http://www.cboe.com may find that it is performing slower than usual and may at times be temporarily unavailable,” the exchange said in a statement. “All trading systems are operating normally.”
It is notable, however, that for all the fanfare, traders are being cautioned about buying or selling bitcoin futures. According to analysts, about 800 contracts had traded roughly two and a half hours into the launch.
“There aren’t that many market participants,” said Bobby Cho, head trader at leading cryptocurrency bitcoin trading company Cumberland. “People are just going about trading very thoughtfully, very mindfully.”
Just over four hours after the futures launch, however, the number of contracts had risen above 1,500.
“It works. There’s buyers and sellers,” TABB’s Lehrkinder said. He noted that some funds may not have access to trading cryptocurrencies yet and that shorting is still a factor to be considered now that futures are in play.