Bitcoin has fallen back below $19000 as CME futures dropped

Giant CME exchange launches bitcoin futures to muted response

Bitcoin futures started trading last night on CME Group, the world's largest futures exchange, and prices so far signal traders think the digital asset could climb higher.

Large exchanges such as these have volatility protection in place, which means they will suspend trading if the contracts rise or fall 7% or 13%, and prices won't be allowed to move more than 20%. It was priced at $18,336 as CME's contract fetched $18,610 at 8:19 p.m. If Eurex were to execute a Bitcoin futures contract option, it would be the first of its kind on the continent.

The Cboe futures contract is based on a closing auction price of bitcoin from the Gemini exchange, which is owned and operated by virtual currency entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

For one, Eurex will likely need a more robust online platform as CBOE saw outages following its release on December 10.

Based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR), the new CME contract is cash-settled in U.S. dollars.

A January-expiry contract on Cboe's exchange was trading at $19,540, indicating that traders expect a slight increase in bitcoin's price over the next month from its current level of $19,195.

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More recognition for Bitcoin and its brethren will be awarded from the news that major regulated exchanges are getting into the crypto markets. "The prices are moving around pretty fast".

Futures open up arbitrage opportunities - the chance to bet prices of the derivatives and the underlying cryptocurrency will converge.

Last week, TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation said that it will offer CBOE's contracts starting today but will hold on the CME contracts until they demonstrate sufficient liquidity. "We have had a lot of customer interest, and we have spent a lot of time educating them as to the differences between the two products".

Banks and brokers who are offering access are being cautious. The bid-ask at the CME at both ranges from $20-$40.

It's not uncommon for a brokerage to impose steeper requirements than the exchange.

The price of one bitcoin (BTC) reached a new all-time high of $19,783.06 early Sunday before dropping back below $19,500, according to Coindesk's price index.

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