In a vindication of cryptocurrency exchanges which have had their share of growing pains this year, CBOE launched Bitcoin futures trading at 5 PM Central time and their website went down within minutes. CBOE has confirmed that the slowness (and 404 errors) users are receiving are due to much higher than normal traffic:
Since the beginning of the year, digital currency adoption and price appreciation have been off the charts, causing virtually all major exchanges to face their share of slowdowns and crashes. Many had speculated that once Wall Street got involved, with robust servers capable (and used to) handling enormous amounts of traffic, they would blow away traditional Bitcoin exchanges. Apparently, even mainstream Wall Street firms are going to have difficult dealing with Bitcoin’s demand.
Facing the opening of futures today, Bitcoin’s price has been ever volatile. Within minutes of the futures markets opening, the price soared by over $1,000 only to immediately fall by half that. At press time, the price is back on the climb.
It’s hard to say how accurate “sentiment” is, but many on the /r/BitcoinMarkets subreddit were staying in fiat until the launch of the futures markets. In recent weeks, there has been a great deal of fear that the opening of regulated futures trading could make it easier for institutional investors to short the currency, driving the price down. Judging by the price action right now, those fears seem to have mostly abated, but traders remain jittery.