Bitcoin futures seize the spotlight

The dollar probed four-week highs against the yen on Monday, underpinned by expectations of higher US interest rates, while bitcoinseized the spotlight as futures of the cryptocurrency began trading.

US employment data on Friday showed a bigger rise in jobs than expected in November, but the dollar’s gains were capped by disappointing wage data that analysts said could weigh on the pace of interest rate hikes next year.

Bitcoin was up 7.6 per cent at $15,755.08 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.

The first bitcoin futures began trading at 6 p.m. (2300 GMT) on CBOE Global Markets Inc’s CBOE.O CBOE Futures Exchange. The futures are cash-settled contracts based on the auction price of bitcoin in US dollars on the Gemini Exchange, which is owned and operated by virtual currency entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

The most-traded futures contract opened at $15,460 before leaping to a high of $18,700 – a gain of 21 per cent . They last stood at $17,770.

The acting governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand on Sunday said bitcoin appeared to be a “classic case” of a bubble.

“With a bubble you never know how far it is going to go before it comes around,” Grant Spencer told TVNZ.
Investors continued to weigh the gist of Spencer’s remarks and assess whether the cryptocurrency was in a bubble that was in danger of bursting, even as some charged ahead with positions.

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