As the Chicago Board Options Exchange launched cash-settled Bitcoin futures trading on December 11, and their rivals Chicago Mercantile Exchange followed suit six day later, prices of both BTC derivatives and the coin itself surged amid an unprecedented wave of publicity. Each Cboe contract was for one Bitcoin, while each CME futures represented five. Both enabled traders to take either long (agreement to buy) or short (agreement to sell) positions, meaning that investors could bet on both increase and decline of Bitcoin price.
At the time, the bulls were firmly behind the wheel. Under rosy skies Reddit’s co-founder predicted $20,000 bitcoin sometime this year; there were promising signs that Ethereum’s developers were successfully addressing some of the scalability issues associated with the Eth network; IOTA gave the world a sneak-preview into Qubic; and the market looked good, having recouped nearly $200bn in value since the start of April.
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While futures products still carry unique and often significant risks, they can potentially provide a more regulated and stable environment to provide some exposure to bitcoin as a commodity as well. You should carefully consider whether trading in bitcoin futures is appropriate for you in light of your experience, objectives, financial resources, and other relevant circumstances.