Bitcoin futures rallied Monday in their first full day of trading on the Cboe Futures Exchange.
The new futures contract, which expires in January, settled 19.9 percent higher at $18,545.
The digital currency itself rose more than 14 percent Monday to $17,261, according to CoinDesk's bitcoin price index. The index tracks prices from digital currency exchanges Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and Bitfinex.
Cboe launched the bitcoin futures under the "XBT" ticker symbol on Sunday following a giant leap in the digital currency's price this year and a surge of investor interest.
The debut of the first futures contract on an established exchange was relatively orderly, in contrast to expectations of high volatility and traders short selling, or betting against, bitcoin.
Initial interest in the new bitcoin futures product appeared to overload Cboe's website, but the issue was quickly resolved. "Due to heavy traffic on our website, visitors to http://www.cboe.com may find that it is performing slower than usual and may at times be temporarily unavailable," the exchange said in a statement Sunday. "All trading systems are operating normally."
The new futures also handled sharp price moves smoothly. About two hours after their 6 p.m. ET launch on Sunday, the new futures had climbed 10 percent, triggering a two-minute trading halt. By 10:05 p.m., the bitcoin futures had soared 20 percent, triggering a five-minute trading halt.
The halts followed the exchange's rules, similar to the way that trading in stocks is halted after sharp price moves.
However, price limits may be more relevant for bitcoin, which is notoriously volatile. Many cryptocurrency proponents see the launch of bitcoin futures as a step toward legitimizing the digital currency in the eyes of big, institutional investors.