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Andrew Left, Jon Najarian Debate Bitcoin Futures

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Andrew Left, Jon Najarian Debate Bitcoin Futures

Bitcoin futures began trading for the first time ever Sunday evening, which begs the question: will the inclusion of the digital currency in a recognized exchange further support the currency or scare investors away?

The Experts

Citron Research's Andrew Left and CNBC's Jon Najarian.

The Strategy

Left's Thesis

Bitcoin's trading debut on a futures exchange may be off to a slow start, Left said Monday during CNBC's "Halftime Report." Specifically, the total value of all contracts traded totaled $50 million, which seems very small when considering Blue Apron Holdings Inc (NYSE: APRN)'s IPO resulted in $400 million worth of shares trading hands the first day.

"The amount of media attention that the futures is getting is not parallel with the money towards it," he said.

The case for continued appreciation in bitcoin's value is flawed, Left said. For instance, one of the widely held beliefs is that bitcoin is held "in the hands of a few people and we could just put out media stories and have others buy it." The problem is if this logic applies to a strategy Left uses, he expects no less than to be "thrown in jail. It's almost like manipulation. Low float, let's get it going higher and has nothing to do with any fundamental reason."

Najarian Responds

Left's beliefs that bitcoin's value is going up because it's held by a few number of people may not necessarily be wrong, Najarian responded. If anything, this shows that "more people are scrambling into this is why it's going higher." After all, the investors who have been holding bitcoin this whole time aren't the ones selling.

Another reason why the price of bitcoin is moving higher could be attributed to various brokers who aren't allowing their clients to short the bitcoin future contracts, he said.

"I don't buy the idea that people are holding this back and trying to manipulate the market," Najarian said.

"It's designed to not be manipulated by the Federal Reserve," he later said. "It's designed not to be manipulated by 'Green, Inc. and paper' the way the Fed could just print money. There's a limited amount of this stuff and that's why people scramble in to try and buy it."

At the end of the day, the fact that a major exchange allows trading of bitcoin doesn't validate bitcoin but shows there is merely demand for the trading of bitcoin, Left countered.

From 8-9 a.m. Dec. 19, Benzinga's PreMarket Prep Show will devote its entire broadcast to the fascinating new topic of cryptocurrency. The podcast will include background information and the upcoming changes in the marketplace that will have a long-term impact on bitcoin’s true value.

Related Links:

Bitcoin Price Analysis: First BTC Future Launch Brings Down CBOE's Website

PreMarket Prep Trade Of The Day: Bitcoin Futures

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