Interactive Brokers launches bitcoin futures trading

Dec 11 (Reuters) - Electronic brokerage firm Interactive Brokers Group Inc said on Monday it has started allowing clients to trade bitcoin futures on the newly minted CBOE Futures Exchange.

The first bitcoin future trades kicked off on Sunday at 6 p.m. (2300 GMT) on CBOE Global Markets Inc’s CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE).

Interactive Brokers said it offers bitcoin futures under the ticker symbol “GXBT” on the CFE and plans to offer the same on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) from Dec. 18, a day after the exchange launches its own futures contract.

Interactive Brokers said its all-in commission rate, including exchange and regulatory fees, for bitcoin futures will be $5.01 per contract for the CBOE product and $15.01 per contract for the CME product.

But Interactive Brokers said that due to the extreme volatility of cryptocurrencies, clients would be unable to take a short position and that only limit orders would be accepted.

The company said that as of 9:15 a.m. ET on Monday, 201 of its accounts had placed 1,240 trades in bitcoin futures, totaling 1,429 contracts.

The one-month bitcoin contract on the CFE opened at 6 p.m. local time (2300 GMT) on Sunday at $15,460, dipped briefly before rising to a high of $18,700 and then slipping again.

By 1459 GMT on Monday, nearly 16 hours after it had began trading, the one-month future contract was trading at $17,820, just 10 percent above bitcoin’s “spot” price - the price at which it is currently changing hands - of $16,190 on the Bitstamp exchange. (Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)