© Reuters.  Bitcoin hits record highs as CME to launch bitcoin futures© Reuters. Bitcoin hits record highs as CME to launch bitcoin futures

Investing.com – The price of the digital currency bitcoin hit the highest level in its nine-year history on Tuesday after futures markets operator CME Group (NASDAQ:CME) announced plans to launch bitcoin futures later this year.

On the U.S.-based Bitfinex exchange, Bitcoin was trading at an all-time high of $6,391.00 by 10:41 AM ET (14:41 PM GMT), just over two weeks after first breaking through the $6,000 level.

Bitcoin started the year near $1,000 and at current prices has a total market capitalization of around $105 billion.

CME Group said on Tuesday it intends to launch Bitcoin futures in the fourth quarter of 2017, pending regulatory approvals.

It said the futures would be settled in cash and based on its CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate of the U.S. dollar price of bitcoin.

“As the world’s largest regulated FX marketplace, CME Group is the natural home for this new vehicle that will provide investors with transparency, price discovery and risk transfer capabilities,” Terry Duffy, CME Group chairman and CEO, said.

Meanwhile, the price of bitcoin offshoot Bitcoin Cash was last at $430.20, down 3.45% for the day.

Bitcoin cash has a total market cap of around $7.3 billion at current prices, making it the fourth most valuable cryptocurrency.

Elsewhere in cryptocurrency trading, Ethereum, the second biggest cryptocurrency by market cap after bitcoin, was down 0.49% to $305.51.

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