Bitcoin prices have climbed after Chicago's CBOE exchange launched cryptocurrency futures trading, following regulatory approval by U.S. authorities earlier this month.
The futures contracts may open the door to greater inflows of institutional money, while also making it easier to bet on bitcoin's decline.
Bitcoin was up more than 10% at $16,623 (£12,419) in morning trading on Monday, according to Coindesk.com, which is one of a number of exchanges tracking the digital currency's price.
When Bitcoin was first created in 2009 it was only worth a few cents.
Early this month, it jumped about 40 percent in 40 hours, smashing through five separate US$1,000-barriers and surging past US$16,000.
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Trading in the first-ever bitcoin futures began at 5 p.m. central time. According to CBOE, more than 800 Bitcoin futures contracts were traded in the first 2 hours of trading.
The CBOE's competitor exchange, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, will start trading its own futures on December 18.
The current price for Bitcoin futures is $18,630 for January 17 expiration date and $19,140 for February 14 expiration date.
It has received such a wild reception that heavy traffic crashed the exchange provider's website and high volatility halted trading for two minutes.
Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at online broker FXTM, said the futures launch marked a "new phase" for the cryptocurrency. At launch, CBOE tweeted to warn that its website was running slowly and could be temporarily unavailable.
The CBOE futures do not involve actual bitcoin; they're securities that will track the price of bitcoin on Gemini, one of the larger bitcoin exchanges. In another step toward legitimacy, it made its debut on a major global exchange on Sunday after gaining USA regulatory approval - a milestone for a controversial digital currency that has no central bank backing and no legal exchange rate.
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