The bitcoin craze is prompting regular investors to express interest in purchasing the digital tokens with their credit cards at an increasing rate.
Bloomberg, citing data from Google Trends, reported that in December, the number of people interested in using credit cards to purchase cryptocurrency has jumped. Searches for “buy bitcoin with credit card” hit an all-time high this month amid a huge increase in the price of bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency. The sharp rise in the price and the launch of bitcoin futures by CME Group and Cboe Global Markets is prompting attention from regular investors.
The increase in searches comes as CME’s bitcoin futures are live this week. Monday (Dec. 18) was the first day that trading bitcoin futures were down on the CME’s new exchange, according to reports in The Wall Street Journal. Futures for January came in at $19,100 in trading yesterday (Monday), which is a 2.1 percent drop on the CME-set opening price. They initially picked up – spiking to $20,650 – before declining to $18,345 over the next few hours. Bitcoin was trading close to $20,000 as of Sunday afternoon, and was selling for around $18,722.65 late Monday afternoon, according to CoinDesk.
CME reports that on day one, about $100 million in bitcoin contracts changed hands – a relatively small slice of the total market. But CME’s launch made a bigger dent than that of its competitor Cboe, which started the first-ever U.S. bitcoin futures a week earlier. On Cboe’s day one, about $75 million in contracts changed hands. Volume in Cboe’s bitcoin contracts was $81.3 million in the trading day that ended yesterday.
Both Cboe and CME are hoping to catch a bit of the bitcoin enthusiasm wave that has seen the price of the digital currency pick up a whopping 1,800 percent since the beginning of the year. The new futures markets allow traders to bet on the rise and fall of bitcoin in much the same way they would on any other commodity, like gold, grain or oil. They also give banks, hedge funds and other Wall Street firms a theoretical way to trade bitcoin in a regulated marketplace, though interest from those sources does not appear to have been overwhelming as of yet.