Prepare for lift off!! Bitcoin futures trading is almost here. CBOE Global Markets said on Monday it will launch trading in bitcoin futures tracking the controversial cryptocurrency next week, giving many mainstream investors their first shot at speculating on its price. The group said trading will begin at 5pm in Chicago (11pm GMT) on Sunday, December 10, with Monday representing the first full trading day.

CBOE said trading will be free through December — a move likely aimed at drumming up interest ahead of the launch of bitcoin futures on December 18 by rival CME Group. Both exchange operators received a green light from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the primary US futures market regulator, to launch the contracts.

Nasdaq, the New York-based exchange operator, is to launch bitcoin futures next year. Futures let investors speculate on and hedge against the price of assets. The futures market is well developed for currencies, providing analysts with an important proxy for the $5 trillion a day global foreign exchange market.

“Given the unprecedented interest in bitcoin, it’s vital we provide clients the trading tools to help them express their views and hedge their exposure,” said CBOE chief executive Ed Tilly.

Bitcoin rallied in Asia trading on Monday to a new record high of $11,800 per coin, according to Reuters data. It is the best performing asset this year, having posted gains of around 12-fold, but many professional investors have warned that the frothy returns resemble bubbles of days past.


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