There must have been a great deal of confusion, apprehension, and even ridicule in ancient times when people moved from directly trading goods to the abstraction of wealth we call “money”. We might now be entering such times again with the birth and growth of cryptocurrency, specifically bitcoin. Although already nearly a decade old, bitcoin has yet to be taken very seriously by major financial institutions, something that might finally happen now that bitcoin futures have begun trading on Wall Street, thanks to Cboe, one of the world’s largest exchanges.
Is it going to drastically change the face of money really soon? Probably not yet. Just like bitcoin itself, bitcoin futures trading is still rather unstable, going up and down quickly in the span of a day. It also started slow, though the interest was still so great that it brought Cboe’s website to a crawl. Its trading, however, was unaffected.
This fluctuation and uncertainty indicative of bitcoin are what made the cryptocurrency a bit unreliable in the eyes of investors. Just last week, bitcoin went for $19,340, a record high but then fell 20% or more. This and the still rather shaky legal foundations, not to mention cybersecurity fears, have hampered bitcoin’s adoption in general.
Futures trading is the movement’s attempt at establishing some legitimacy. But it isn’t going to happen overnight, Cboe concedes. That said, the figures are still impressive. Within the first hour of trading, 600 contracts were already traded. Contracts that will be expiring next month were already priced at $15,800 by the end of the day, though it did fluctuate before that.
Being on Wall Street does put a certain stamp of approval on bitcoin. If anything, it finally gives investors and traders a better legal basis for using and trading bitcoin. Not everyone is convinced, though, but even the naysayers are taking small, cautionary steps forward, just in case.