CME Group – the world’s biggest operator of financial derivative markets, including the Chicago Mercantile Exchange –  on Wednesday said it will offer options on Ether futures starting Sept. 12, pending regulatory review.

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Fast facts

  • The Ether futures will comprise 50 ETH per contract and are based on the CME CF Ether USD Reference Rate, according to the company’s statement. The new contracts will join Bitcoin options, as well as micro-sized Bitcoin and Ether options already offered by CME, the statement said.
  • The move comes ahead of the Ethereum Merge expected on Sep.15 or 16 that will move the network to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism from proof-of-work. The shift is expected to make the network more secure, faster and will reduce energy consumption.
  • “As we approach the highly anticipated Ethereum Merge next month, we continue to see market participants turn to CME Group to manage ether price risk,” Tim McCourt, CME’s global head of equity and FX products, said in the statement. 
  • The open interest on Ether options on crypto exchanges surpassed US$8 billion on Aug.12, according to Coinglass. For comparison, the open interest on Bitcoin options stood at US$5.56 billion on the same day.
  • Open interest is the total number of outstanding derivative contracts held by market participants at the end of the trading day and shows the rise and fall of money flows into the markets, an indicator of market sentiment and price trends.
  • Ether Future’s open interest in July was 3,900 contracts, up more than 7% from June, while the Micro Ether futures’ open interest was 47,000 contracts in July, up 43% from June, according to the CME announcement. 

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