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CBOE to start bitcoin futures trading Sunday

UPDATED: Mon., Dec. 4, 2017

One bitcoin was worth less than $1,000 at the start of the year. (Tribune News Service)
One bitcoin was worth less than $1,000 at the start of the year. (Tribune News Service)
By Samantha Bomkamp Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO – The CBOE Futures Exchange will start trading bitcoin futures Sunday, making it the first traditional exchange to allow investors to bet on the future price of the cryptocurrency.

The exchange announced last week that it would begin offering bitcoin futures trading, but it didn’t specify a start date.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange also Friday that it will start offering bitcoin futures trading Dec. 18.

Bitcoin has been a hot commodity for investors. Its price has jumped more than 10 times. But because it is not regulated by a single country or entity like the U.S. or the European Union, it can be extremely volatile. And many observers fear that the currency’s bubble could burst, especially if governments move to crack down on its use or otherwise regulate it.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission said it had discussions with the exchanges to protect consumers from extreme price swings. The exchanges have agreed to “self-certification,” or a pledge that the new instruments will not break federal securities laws.

Bitcoin was created in 2009 as an alternative to government-issued currency, and can be purchased through online marketplaces. One bitcoin was worth just a fraction of a penny when it started trading in 2010, and by the start of this year was worth $1,000. It is now worth more than $11,000.

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