Investing.com – The price of the digital currency bitcoin was hovering near record highs on Monday as investors remained bullish after futures markets operator CME Group (NASDAQ:CME) last week announced plans to launch bitcoin futures this year.
On the U.S.-based Bitfinex exchange, Bitcoin was trading at $7,340.20 by 06:56 AM ET (11:56 AM GMT).
Prices rose to a peak of $7,595.00 on Sunday, the highest level in bitcoin’s nine-year history. Bitcoin started the year near $1,000 and at current prices has a total market capitalization of around $123 billion.
CME Group, the world’s largest derivative exchange operator, said last week it plans to launch bitcoin futures in the fourth quarter of this year, pending regulatory approvals.
CME is regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which would have to sign off on the launch of any bitcoin futures contract.
CME’s announcement is the clearest indication yet that the financial industry is starting to warm up to bitcoin. It came just weeks after Goldman Sachs said it was considering setting up a new trading operation focused on bitcoin and other digital currencies.
The launch of a bitcoin product by a major regulated exchange could help cryptocurrencies gain legitimacy in the financial world and represent a major step forward in mainstream adoption.
Meanwhile, the price of bitcoin offshoot Bitcoin Cash was last at $613.01, down 1.99% for the day.
Bitcoin cash has a total market cap of around $10.4 billion at current prices, making it the third most valuable cryptocurrency.
Elsewhere in cryptocurrency trading, Ethereum, the second most valuable cryptocurrency by market cap after bitcoin, was up 1.52% to $300.39.