X CME futures were at $19,100, after initially opening at $26,500 Sunday only to quickly drop below $19,000. Despite the lower volume, CME's start may be seen as a win because its contracts, which are for five bitcoins compared with a single bitcoin on Cboe, had over $61 million in value traded - about $12 million more than its rival. Being a much larger exchange it was predicted that this would have a bigger effect on the market than last week's CBOE offerings. Interactive Brokers Group Inc., which has said it handled 53 per cent of the first day's trading in Cboe's bitcoin futures, will require a margin of 50 per cent for long investments, and about 240 per cent for short selling, based on current rates, according to Interactive Brokers spokeswoman Kalen Holliday.
For one, Eurex will likely need a more robust online platform as CBOE saw outages following its release on December 10.
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Bitcoin futures got underway at 10am AEDT on the Chicago-based CME exchange. It was priced at $18,336 as CME's contract fetched $18,610 at 8:19 p.m. The contracts may be bought by institutional investors who are not allowed to purchase bitcoin directly. Around $50m of contracts changed hands in the first three hours of trading.
The reference price, from which price limits are set, is US$19,600 for the February contract, US$19,700 for March and US$19,900 for June, according to CME.
Disclosure: CME Group is an investor in Digital Currency Group, CoinDesk's parent company.
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The general sentiment in the market remains one of caution and that has been reflected in margin requirements for the contracts.
"One of the biggest issues when it comes to investing institutionally in digital assets is banks and larger institutions can't hold an unregulated instrument in their balance sheet, and a futures contract is something they can hold", said Gabor Gurbacs, director of digital-asset strategy at VanEck Associates Corp.
In the futures market, margin refers to the initial deposit made into an account in order to enter into a contract. The bid-ask at the CME at both ranges from $20-$40.
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