Bitcoin valuation leaps as derivatives go on sale in the US

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In a major step towards legitimising the virtual currency, the Bitcoin has begun trading on a major US exchange.

The digital currency launched on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) futures exchange in Chicago on Sunday night, allowing investors to bet on whether Bitcoin prices will rise or fall.

Prices of the CBOE Bitcoin futures contracts, which expires in January, jumped to $18,800 (£14,000) today morning, from $15,000.

This hike was followed by an increase in the price of Bitcoin, which jumped more than 20 per cent to a record high of $18,700. It later slipped back to around $16,900.

According to the Guardian, the CBOE futures don’t involve actual bitcoin. They’re securities that will track the price of bitcoin on Gemini, one of the larger bitcoin exchanges.

The move is expected to be followed next week, state media reports, by a listing on the rival Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Established in 2009 after the financial meltdown, Bitcoin has no central bank or regulatory authority backing it up. The digital coins are stored in a digital wallet or on the cloud and can be used in transactions.

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