CME Group Launches Ether Futures, Crypto Goes Further Mainstream

CME Group has announced the launch of ether futures, further mainstreaming the digital asset class after first launching Bitcoin futures in Q4 2017. CME Ether futures are cash-settled and based on the CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate.

Tim McCourt, CME Group Global Head of Equity Index and Alternative Investment Products, said: “As institutional demand for transparent, exchange-listed crypto derivatives continues to increase, we are pleased to launch our new ether futures contract. The addition of Ether, along with our liquid Bitcoin futures and options, will create new opportunities for a broad array of clients, whether they are looking to hedge ether positions in the spot market or gain exposure to this cryptocurrency on a regulated derivatives marketplace.”

Derivatives have become the avenue of choice for institutions to access cryptocurrencies. The second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap is now available via a US-regulated futures contract and investors will be able to add it to their portfolios. CME has been a key player in the institutionalization of cryptocurrencies as the ecosystem matures.

TradeStation Securities, a subsidiary of Monex Group, has already announced the inclusion of Ether futures contracts – through CME Group – to its offering. “The broker community has played an important role in not only facilitating trading but educating institutional and professional traders on the benefits of crypto derivatives”, said CME Group’s Tim McCourt.

“The addition of CME Ether futures will provide market participants with a valuable tool to trade and hedge this growing cryptocurrency, and we look forward to continuing to work with TradeStation and others to expand the trading ecosystem around this new hedging tool”, he added.

While CME Group only now launched Ether futures, the company introduced CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate (Ether Reference Rate) in partnership with Crypto Facilities in 2018. Crypto Facilities is responsible for calculating both the Ether Reference Rate and Ether Real-Time Index.

The price of Ethereum has exploded since late 2020 from the $400-$450 area to $1,700 where it currently stands.