10:29 GMT28 February 2020
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    Bitcoin futures contracts have reached over $18,000. The futures are believed to further increase its value and result in wider acceptance of the cryptocurrency on the financial market.

    Contracts soared during the first of hours of trading as bitcoin  made its debut on  the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE).

    Trading in the first-ever bitcoin futures began at $15,000 and at 1:30 a.m. central time (7:30 GMT) on Sunday and the future contracts that expire in January were trading at $18,590, according to CBOE’s data.

    ​The CBOE futures do not involve actual bitcoins, but are securities that will track movements in its price on Gemini, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges.

    ​The start of trading overwhelmed the CBOE website. The exchange warned that its website was running slow and might be temporarily unavailable, but trading was not disrupted.

    ​Another large futures exchange, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, will start trading its own bitcoin futures on December 18.

    The start of futures is likely to open bitcoin to additional market players.

    READ MORE: 'New Standard of Value': Why There is a Real Place for Bitcoin in Global Economy

    "The launch of futures traded on a regulated exchange is a watershed for bitcoin – testing infrastructure that will make it easier for legions of professional traders and mainstream investors to bet on the cryptocurrency’s rise or fall, potentially helping to steer its price," Bloomberg reported.

    In 2017, Bitcoin has been on the rise, from below $1,000 at the beginning of the year to hitting a peak of $18,000 on December 7.


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