Bitcoin jumps as CME unveils plan for futures contract

Bitcoin prices rose Tuesday after exchange giant CME Group announced it planned to launch a futures marketplace for the cryptocurrency in the fourth quarter.

Bitcoin prices rose Tuesday after exchange giant CME Group announced it planned to launch a futures marketplace for the cryptocurrency in the fourth quarter.

The move is a vote of confidence in the controversial virtual currency, which has not been listed on a major exchange previously. The CME operates a range of prominent exchanges around the world and handles three billion contracts a year. "Given increasing client interest in the evolving cryptocurrency markets, we have decided to introduce a bitcoin futures contract," said Terry Duffy, chief executive of the Chicago-based CME exchange group. "As the world's largest regulated FX marketplace, CME Group is the natural home for this new vehicle that will provide investors with transparency, price discovery and risk transfer capabilities."

The start of the exchange is contingent on regulatory approvals, CME said. The contract will be for bitcoin futures, a derivative product that sets pricing for a commodity or financial instrument at a future date. Some types of futures contracts rarely result in delivery of the underlying asset. Since November 2016, CME has published each day at 1600 GMT a bitcoin reference rate (BTT) based on the trade flow of major spot exchanges.

The announcement sets up a race between CME and its Chicago-based rival CBOE Holdings, which in August announced plans to launch a cash-settled bitcoin futures contract in the fourth quarter of 2017 or early 2018 with the Gemini Trust Company. The CBOE said the launch depended on a review by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The cryptocurrency market has growth to $172 billion, with bitcoin accounting for 54 percent, CME said. Near 1445 GMT, bitcoin was worth $6,367, up 4.3 percent compared with Monday's closing price, according to Bloomberg.

The value of bitcoin has risen rapidly since its launch in February 2009 from a few cents to about $1,000 at the start of 2017 before this year's surge. The currency has encountered some roadblocks. China barred its trade on virtual currency markets, and some prominent figures in finance, such as JPMorgan Chase chief executive have also sharply criticized bitcoin.

ARTICLE TAKEN FROM AFP/RELAX NEWS: NC - AFP Online News


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Poppy covers a wide range of topics at Billionaire, having spent the past 13 years at companies including Singapore Tatler, Her World Plus and Harpers Bazaar UK. She has a passion for fashion, jewellery and travel as well as an avaricious fascination with crime novels. Follow her at poppypskinner on Instagram.

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