CME Group's long-awaited bitcoin futures began trading today with a bullish signal, as the sale price for its Jan. 18 contracts opened above $20,000.
Coming months after the Chicago-based derivatives exchange operator first revealed plans for dedicated bitcoin offerings, the launch took place at 6 p.m EST. At that time, the opening price for the January contract was $20,650, $1,150 over the last price on CME's reference rate ($19,500).
All told, more than 200 Jan. 2018 contracts were bought during the first hour, CME data reveals.
The operator's site shows that one Feb. 2018 contract and one March 2018 contract were sold, along with two scheduled to expire in June. Prices for the latter three are above $20,000 at press time.
Since the opening, contracts have also notably continued trading at a premium against the price of bitcoin, which according to CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index (BPI) was $19,400 when CME launched trading of the bitcoin futures.
Along with last week's bitcoin futures kick-off from Cboe, the past week has now seen the launch of multiple products aimed at institutional investors. And, as previously reported, other institutional giants including Nasdaq and Wall Street's Cantor Fitzgerald are expected to launch products around bitcoin in 2018.
However, CME's launch also showed signs of market fatigue.
In a departure from the initially rocky launch for Cboe, which saw its website become briefly inaccessible due to significant traffic, CME's site remained stable after the open. Further, over the course of the first hour, bitcoin saw a sell-off, with the price declining to a low of $18,424.
For more information about bitcoin futures, read Level Trading Field CEO Lanre Sarumi's three-part CoinDesk series exploring the topic.
Disclosure: CME Group is an investor in Digital Currency Group, CoinDesk's parent company.
CME image via Shutterstock