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CBOE will launch Bitcoin futures on December 10 - a week earlier than CME


Last Friday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission of the United States (CFTC) announced that it allows two exchanges from Chicago - CME and CBOE - to launch Bitcoin futures. The CBOE Chicago Option Exchange decided to outperform the CME and release futures first. The company said that the auction will be launched on December 10, what is 8 days earlier than CME, which announced the launch of cryptocurrency derivatives on December 18.

Cboe's Bitcoin futures will trade under the ticker symbol "XBT" and will be cash-settled against the auction price from Gemini Trust, the digital currency exchange founded by twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

In contrast, the CME Bitcoin futures contract will be cash-settled against an index that's currently weighted to four bitcoin exchanges: Bitstamp, GDAX, itBit and Kraken.

The launch of bitcoin futures by prominent exchanges is a significant step toward the legitimization of the digital currency that was once the focus of a handful of tech entrepreneurs and often associated with illegal activity in online marketplaces.

Bitcoin futures will allow institutional investors to buy into the digital currency trend, and likely pave the way for a bitcoin exchange-traded fund in the U.S., analysts say. The digital currency is prone to sharp gains and losses of several hundred dollars in only a few hours, and enthusiasts say bitcoin futures will help investors feel more comfortable with buying Bitcoin since they can use futures to protect against major losses.

"The prospective introduction of Bitcoin futures has the potential to elevate cryptocurrencies to an emerging asset class," Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, a global markets strategist at JPMorgan, said Friday.

Bitcoin has surged more than 1,000 percent this year to above $11,000, helped by increased interest from institutional investors. Twenty-four hour trading volume in bitcoin was $6.6 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

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