Bitcoin crosses $17,310 mark, heading towards $20,000

Just a couple of days after the launch of the first ever bitcoin futures on a U.S. exchange and ahead of the start of another futures contract next week, bitcoin crosses $17,310 mark, heading towards $20,000.

It so happened that Chicago-based derivatives exchange Cboe Global Markets launched bitcoin futures, enabling investors to get exposure to the currency via a large, regulated exchange.

The CME Group is expected to launch its futures contract on Dec. 17.

“We’re going to see bitcoin emerge as a payment network,” said Trevor Koverko, chief executive officer of Polymath, a securities token platform.

He added, “Currently bitcoin is being used as a speculative asset and store of value. But as scaling solutions…emerge, bitcoin’s utility dramatically increases along with its price.”

Bitcoin quoted at $17,310 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, up 5.1 percent on the day. Earlier on Tuesday bitcoin hit a record high of $17,428.42, registering a roughly 20-fold increase in its price for the year as it drew in millions of new investors.

The newly launched one-month bitcoin futures on the Cboe Futures Exchange were slightly tepid, with prices generally steady and volumes about a third of those seen on Monday. A total of $26.4 million was notionally traded so far on Tuesday, compared with around $73 million on Monday, as per the reports.

While on the one hand, market participants are still heavily divided over the digital currency’s utility, value and safety, on the other hand, they expect the futures contract to offer a legitimate means for institutions to bet on bitcoin. Some of the investors even expect the futures will offer markets an easier means to take short positions on bitcoin.