Bitcoin futures fall amid very low trading volume

Bitcoin futures fell in low volume Tuesday in their second day of trading on the Cboe Futures Exchange.

Trading volume in the most popular contract, which expires in January, was less than half what it was the prior day at 471 as of 8:24 a.m., ET. Volume had already topped 800 about two hours after the futures launch Sunday night and was near 3,000 by 9:30 a.m. Monday morning.

The Cboe bitcoin futures, listed under the ticker XBT, traded about 0.8 percent lower near $18,400 after earlier falling more than 3.5 percent. The contract had soared nearly 20 percent in its Monday debut, with a total 4,127 contracts traded and about 20 firms participating, according to Cboe.

Bitcoin itself traded about 2.5 percent higher Tuesday near $17,146, according to CoinDesk’s bitcoin price index, which tracks prices from digital currency exchanges Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and Bitfinex. The digital currency has surged about 1,700 percent this year as investor interest has grown despite criticism that bitcoin is in a bubble.

Cboe’s bitcoin futures launch comes a week ahead of CME’s own product in a race by major exchanges to launch bitcoin derivatives. Cantor Fitzgerald and Nasdaq are also planning their own derivatives products.

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts say the launch of bitcoin derivatives will allow institutional investors to buy into the digital currency trend, helping establish bitcoin as a legitimate asset class and pave the way for an exchange-traded fund. VanEck refiled for a bitcoin ETF on Monday.

Evelyn Cheng

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