Chaos reigns as bitcoin debuts on Wall Street

Bitcoin futures debuted on a regulated exchange for the first time yesterday; price surges triggered 2 shutdowns in the first 3 hours.

December 12, 2017

Bitcoin futures started trading on Cboe Global Markets Inc.’s exchange yesterday — marking the first launch of crypto futures on a regulated exchange.

Fuzzy on futures? We published a quick explainer 10 days ago (back when bitcoin was worth a measly $10k), but essentially, it’s allowing investors to “bet” on the future price of bitcoin.

Within the first 3 hours of trading, heavy traffic caused slowdowns on Cboe’s website, and a 26% surge in trading price triggered 2 temporary trading stops designed to “calm the market…”


The hope was to give traditional investors a lower risk way to get in on the action, but if Monday’s skyrocketing prices are any indication, the only thing more volatile than bitcoin is bitcoin futures.

And the stakes are only getting higher: as it stands, there’s over a quarter-trillion dollars at risk if (when) bitcoin crashes.

And Cboe is just the first drop in the bucket

Cboe’s $41m bitcoin futures traded made up just 3% of the $1.2B global bitcoin trade in opening hours Monday.

And they’re only the first exchange to enter the fray — Nasdaq plans to offer bitcoin futures in 2018. Meanwhile, some brokers remain skeptical of the futures market, criticizing US exchanges for rushing to cash in on crypto… but maybe they’re just jealous they didn’t call it sooner.

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