Bitcoin futures fly past $24,300

This article is more than 12 months old

NEW YORK Bitcoin surged past US$18,000 (S$24,300) after making its debut on a major global exchange but was trading lower later in the day, highlighting the volatility of the controversial digital currency that has some investors excited but others nervous.

Trading on a futures contract began at 6am Singapore time yesterday on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe) at US$15,000.

Heavy traffic made the Cboe website inaccessible in the first 20 minutes, but it said "trading runs on very separate systems and was totally unaffected by the website issues".

At 5pm Singapore time yesterday, bitcoin was trading at US$17,600 a unit for the futures contract expiring on Jan 17 after reaching a high of US$18,850, according to Cboe's website, meaning it exceeded the highest value reached on alternative non-regulated Internet platforms.

A futures contract is a financial product that allows investors to bet on whether the currency's price will rise or fall.

Bitcoin started this year at just around US$1,000.- AFP