It looks like the CME will win the battle of Bitcoin futures

Essentially you can place a “bet” to buy or sell Bitcoins at a certain date. Source The Guardian

Bitcoin futures started trading Sunday night at CME Group Inc.'s venue, a week after Chicago rival Cboe Global Markets Inc. introduced similar derivatives on the volatile cryptocurrency.

X CME futures were at $19,100, after initially opening at $26,500 Sunday only to quickly drop below $19,000.

Financial market company CME Group has launched Bitcoin futures trading, as part of its efforts to support the expansion of digital currency.

Cboe's bitcoin futures contract had a relatively smooth first week of trading, although volume was on the light side.

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The cryptocurrency rose as high as $19,694 yesterday, according to Coindesk, which takes into account prices at several exchanges. Pricing was another factor that was more streamlined as the contracts are based on prices from four different exchanges unlike CBOE's which are only based on the one.

On the Cboe, the contract for delivery for January ended at $ 19,055, with 3864 contracts exchanged, a contract corresponding to a bitcoin. CBOE's future prices went as much as 13 percent above that of bitcoin in its first day of trading. JB Mackenzie, . the managing director of futures trading at TD Ameritrade said: "We look at the volume, the open interest and the spreads, and we want to make sure that all those conditions are maturing properly".

Volatility protection is in place with larger exchanges and CME stated they will suspend trading if the contracts rise or fall 7% or 13%, prices won't be allowed to move more than 20%. Gabor Gurbacs of VanEck Associates Corp. said: "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". Option Clearing has a margin requirement of 44 percent to clear contracts at CBOE. The margin for an S&P 500 futures contract, by contrast, is just 5 per cent, analysts said.

"Introducing futures contracts in the USA was meant to give short-sellers access to the market and improve liquidity, but availability is still fairly restricted". The margin requirement is 35 per cent at CME and 40 per cent at Cboe, reflecting bitcoin's volatility.

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