Bitcoin's bullish proponents have had lots of opportunities to say "I told you so" this year, but none so poignant as when the king cryptocurrency broke the $10,000 barrier. The upward trend continues as crypto gains mainstream traction, and it was only a matter of time before Wall Street began to take the scrappy young commodity seriously—instead of calling it a "fraud" as JP Morgan's CEO Jamie Dimon said on September 20 per Reuters, shortly before JP Morgan began considering trading bitcoin futures itself as CNBC reported almost one month later, to the day.

With Wall Street's change of heart comes a new way to play for keeps with Bitcoin: Futures Trading.

Who will be first-mover in futures?

Bitcoin (BTC) has climbed to new heights after the turbulent period following the cancellation of the Segwit2x Fork on November 8 and the subsequent rise of another fork known as Bitcoin Cash (BCC). The week beginning Sunday, December 3 began with a bang for Bitcoin, with support forming at $11,000 before the climb to $12,000 started in earnest. Thus far, Bitcoin has exceeded the expectations of many analysts, who were calling for a more modest $10,000 finish for Bitcoin by the end of 2017. Much of the movement can be attributed to the recent announcements that several high-profile institutions—namely the Cboe Futures Exchange, CME Group, and the one and only NASDAQ—plan to introduce bitcoin futures trading in the coming months, each exchange offering their own rules, margin rates, and price limits.

Cboe Futures and the CME Group both look to beat NASDAQ to the punch, according to the launch dates on their websites, pushing futures live on December 10 and December 18 respectively while NASDAQ hopes to launch futures by the second quarter of 2018, according to Bloomberg. This means more mainstream attention for Bitcoin, as more investors enter the arena bringing more money to play with.

But whereas thus far investors have been betting on Bitcoin’s success, futures trading will attract others looking to bet against BTC, leveraging shorts and margin trades to capitalize on the dips. The market price won’t only see downward pressure due to selling activity or FUD in the news anymore. Now there’s money in the game with a vested interest in seeing Bitcoin fall.

The real question is whether the addition of futures will serve to temper or aggravate the volatile market. Will it smooth out the chart-spanning swings, or bring the dips even lower?

Looking to the future

The spotlight is on Bitcoin now. It’s been a rollercoaster year, and 2018 is shaping up to be even more exciting. With more institutional interest and mainstream support, volatile or not, Bitcoin is primed to capitalize on its gains and continue the climb. With $20,000 or $20 Bitcoin on the line, there’s a lot of action still to come.

Bitcoin isn't the only crypto that should be on your radar. Click here for an overview of other major cryptos or view this time capsule on the value of Bitcoin.