Online traffic to the Chicago Board Options Exchange’s website is surging , mirroring the growing public interest in bitcoin and the digital currency’s skyrocketing price. The price of January bitcoin futures, which the exchange started trading this weekend , fell $245, or 1.3 percent, on Tuesday to $18,300, highlighting the cryptocurrency’s extreme volatility. Such contracts let investors speculate on bitcoin by allowing them to lock in a price to sell the agreement at a future date. Bitcoin’s price has soared more than 1,600 percent in 2017, and as of early afternoon was at $17,285, according to Coindesk. Other digital currencies have seen an even bigger jump in price. Ethereum has risen more than 6,100 percent this year to $636.49, while Litecoin has soared more than 9,000 percent. A growing number of companies also are raising funds through “initial coin offerings,” or ICOs, complete with celebrity endorsements ranging from boxing legend Floyd Mayweather to Hollywood star Jamie Foxx . The startling run-up in prices for cryptocurrencies, which remain largely unregulated, has the Securities and Exchange Commission on its guard. The agency’s chairman, Jay Clayton, is advising potential investors on to exercise caution. “Investors should understand that to date no initial coin… Read full this story
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