The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE)'s website became unavailable just as it launched its first bitcoin futures contracts at 6 p.m. EST on Sunday.
The website downtime – which CBOE attributed to significant traffic around the futures launch in a post on Twitter – coincided with a sudden surge in the price of bitcoin, which jumped from $14,509 at 22:59 UTC to $15,732 at 23:06 UTC according to CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).
Yet as of press time, CBOE's website is becoming more available – delayed information about the contracts being offered can be found here – and the price of bitcoin has maintained a somewhat steady pace since that initial jump, trading at $15,226.29 per the BPI.
The data coming in thus far suggest that buyers are indeed moving to purchase contracts. Activity has been largely centered around the first contract to expire, dated January 17, 2018, with social media posts pointing to purchases of contracts scheduled to expire on March 14.
According to CNBC, 672 January contracts have been sold as of 7:10 pm EST, with the news service reporting a price of $15,800.
In all, the tumultuous start is perhaps a fitting start to the trading of the new contracts. CBOE's is the first to be traded on a major regulated exchange in the U.S., and it's set to be followed next week by CME Group, which has announced that it will launch its own products on Dec. 18.
According to executives from the firm, CBOE is hoping that the futures launch will lead to other products and services centered around cryptocurrencies, including a possible shift into exchange-traded funds and notes – provided that the SEC gives its approval.
Disclosure: CME Group is an investor in Digital Currency Group, CoinDesk's parent company.
Bitcoin and dollars image via Shutterstock