Bitcoin futures surged more than 20 per cent to above US$18,000 as they launched on the CBOE futures exchange on Monday, with huge leaps in price triggering several brief suspensions of trading.

Prices for contracts expiring in January for the virtual currency briefly jumped to US$18,700 on the Chicago exchange, up 25 per cent from their opening level of US$15,000. By 1.15pm, they were priced at US$17,840.

Trading volume was 2,278 January contracts, seven for February futures and 23 for March contracts.

Separately, bitcoin prices traded at US$16,356, up 9 per cent from the previous day, according to an index by specialist virtual currency news site CoinDesk that tracks prices from exchanges such as Bitstamp, Coinbase and Bitfinex.

As trading started 7am Hong Kong time on Monday, CBOE’s website went down briefly.

“Due to heavy traffic on our website, visitors to cboe.com may find it is performing slower than usual and may at times be temporarily unavailable,” the exchange said in a statement earlier in the day.

After trading started, the so-called circuit breaker, designed to reduce price volatility, was triggered several times. Under CBOE rules, a 10 per cent movement in prices triggers a two-minute trading halt, while a 20 per cent move triggers a five-minute halt… see more

source: scmp