CME explains why it waited three years for ETH futures

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The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, or CME, recently announced plans to add Ethereum (ETH) futures to its offering — three years after launching Bitcoin (BTC) futures. Market development has impacted the exchange’s decision to branch out. 

“Since we launched the CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate and Real-Time Index in 2018, there has been significant growth in ether transactions, and increased client demand for tools to manage price risk,” a CME representative told Cointelegraph.

Similar to CME’s Bitcoin Reference Rate, the CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate and Real-Time Index essentially show ETH’s going market price. “As with any new product or service, we made the decision to launch Ether futures based on strong client demand and a clearly articulated need,” the representative said. “Listing Ether futures on a regulated, time-tested exchange will help to create a forward curve for investors to hedge their exposure in the cash market.”

The CME made the announcement on Dec. 16, noting plans for the product’s market entrance in February of 2021. Regulation still factors into the equation, however. “We are engaged with the CFTF [Commodity Futures Trading Commission] and currently intend to certify in early Q1,” the CME representative said.

The CME’s Bitcoin futures trading product hit the market on Dec. 17, 2017 — just over three years ago. The exchange then launched Bitcoin options trading in early 2020. Both products have received notable volume numbers and attention.