>> Bitcoin, recently labeled a fraud by America's most powerful banker, is on the verge of becoming the first cryptocurrency to join the financial mainstream. The world's largest derivatives exchange, the CME Group, announcing it will launch Bitcoin futures by the end of this year. Sending the digital currency soaring past the $6,600 mark Wednesday.
All time high for the famously volatile currency. And boosting the aggregate value of all cryptocurrencies to roughly $184 billion Wednesday, making the reported market value worth about the same as Goldman Sacks and Morgan Stanley combined. Futures contracts which exist for assets ranging from corn, to oil, to orange juice, allow primarily large investors and businesses to speculate on future movement or hedge against drops in the value of other holdings.
CME's CEO in a statement saying that decision was spurred by quote, increasing client interest in the evolving cryptocurrency. It will now give institutional investors a way to buy into the Bitcoin market, pending regulatory approval. The move comes during what's been a banner year for Bitcoin, the digital currency increasing almost 800% in the past 12 months.
In August the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the largest options exchange in the US, said it's planning to launch Bitcoin futures by early 2018. It's working in tandem with Gemini Trust, a digital currency exchange founded by twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who famously sued Mark Zuckerberg, alleging he stole their idea for Facebook.
In September, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon called Bitcoin a fraud and threatened to fire any employee who trades it. He's not alone among masters of the universe. Larry Fink, CEO of investment firm BlackRock, which controls roughly $6 trillion in investment assets called Bitcoin quote an index of money laundering.
And Warren Buffett, the world's second richest man, said he wouldn't touch Bitcoin with a ten foot pole.