The FT reports that Coinbase, an online bitcoin trading service, became the most-downloaded free app on Apple’s App Store over the weekend.  Combined with the fact that trading on at least one exchange (in Tokyo) is being fueled in part by 15x leverage,  an accumulating number of red flags should give regulators some pause.  Futures are, by their nature, risky instruments—and are envisioned to be the tools of more professional investors.  To the extent to which mainstreaming the digital currencies onto futures infrastructures draws retail investors—who may themselves furthermore opt to fuel their speculation with credit—the prospects for bigger bubbles and more volatility increase, despite the fact that futures should, at least in theory, enable a greater influx of short sellers to contain price booms.

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