Bitcoin leaped an astonishing $2,000 on Monday after investors flocked to Chicago's Cboe futures exchange to bet on price movements.
The digital currency was seen trading at a spot price of $16,571.09 at 10 a.m. ET, according to data on industry website CoinDesk, whose bitcoin price index tracks prices from cryptoexchanges Bitstamp, Coinbase and Bitfinex. It was up 10.22 percent for the session.
Trading at $14,557.07 just a minute before the introduction of Cboe's hotly anticipated futures contracts, bitcoin's price saw an immediate hike in value of more than $1,000 in the first five to 10 minutes of trading.
Bitcoin futures, meanwhile, were trading at $18,040, up more than 16 percent for the session.
Futures contracts allow investors to agree to buy or sell a particular asset at a predetermined price at a later date. This enables price movement speculation and the avoidance of volatility in the market.
Bitcoin's total market capitalization — which is calculated by multiplying the price by the volume of tokens in circulation — stood at $277 billion, higher than that of U.S. banking giant Citigroup.
A number of experts have praised the move toward derivatives investing for the digital currency — which has spiked more than 1,500 percent since the start of the year — under the belief that they could attract more institutional investors.
"Futures are the first phase in bringing the Wild West of digital currencies to the mainstream. Next steps are ETFs (exchange-traded funds) and other national stock exchanges adding their own flavors of derivative products," Charles Hayter, CEO of digital currency comparison site Crypto Compare, told CNBC in an email Monday.
"The bitcoin price has held up well as investors are looking beyond the immediate news to the continued demand and potential for institutional money to start entering the fray."
But several critics have slammed the move.
"I think it's reckless," Salman Ahmed, chief investment strategist at Lombard Odier Investment Managers, told CNBC Monday. "I think what we are doing is using the sophisticated financial machinery we have created over the last 15 years and fitting it to something which is highly questionable. It may look fancy and interesting but it is reckless."