Bitcoin had its best ever showing this November. Pic: Reuters

Bitcoin measures new heights with fresh November numbers

THE FIRST OF NOVEMBER proved to be very fruitful for bitcoin, as the cryptocurrency surged past the US$6,400 mark during the day’s trading amidst announcements from CME Group – one of the world’s biggest exchange operators – that they would introduce bitcoin futures. 

While CME Group’s announcement had a noticeably positive effect on bitcoin’s valuation, the cryptocurrency has already been on a roll this year. Since the beginning of 2017, the price of bitcoin has gone up more than 500 percent, starting at the sub-US$1,000 level and now surging past the US$6,400 mark, as noted in a CoinDesk report.

Data from the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI) placed the average of the cryptocurrency at US$6,415.28 across global exchanges at around 14:00 UTC on November 1. The virtual currency broke through the US$6,300 barrier last October 29, when bitcoin rose to US$6,306.58. The cryptocurrency has not gone down since.

In a lot of ways, however, the CME Group’s commitment to the cryptocurrency is a huge deal. The Chicago-based financial firm, after all, is one of the world’s most prolific exchanges, trading products including futures on the S&P 500, as well as commodities like oil and gold.

According to a statement released by CME on Tuesday, the financial company is aiming to introduce contracts by the end of the year, pending regulatory approval.

By bringing bitcoin futures into a mainstream exchange, they’re introducing cryptocurrency to wider audiences. Source: Shutterstock

Interestingly, CME’s decision to introduce futures for bitcoin is a complete 180-degree turn from its stance on the cryptocurrency last month. In a previous statement to Bloomberg Television, CME president Bryan Durkin explicitly stated that he does not see his company pursuing a futures contract with bitcoin in the near future, according to a report from The Straits Times.

In a lot of ways, CME’s significantly different stance on the cryptocurrency seems to be partially affected by the upcoming bitcoin futures contract of rival financial firm Cboe Global Markets Inc. Earlier this year, Cboe Global announced that it was starting a futures contract for the virtual currency by the end of 2017 or early 2018.

In a statement to Bloomberg, CME Group chief executive officer Terrence Duffy expressed his optimism about his firm’s upcoming bitcoin futures contract. According to the chief executive, CME’s resources would provide investors of the cryptocurrency with enough security and transparency to make trades and transactions far more attractive.

“As the world’s largest regulated FX marketplace, CME Group is the natural home for this new vehicle that will provide investors with transparency, price discovery and risk transfer capabilities,” Duffy said, according to a Bloomberg report.

With bitcoin’s most recent hike, the market capitalization of the cryptocurrency now stands at roughly US$106 billion, and if its pace this year is any indication, it is bound to get even higher.