CME Group Launches First Euro-Settled Crypto Derivatives

  • Europe, Middle East and Africa region accounts for 28% of total bitcoin and ether futures contracts traded, CME Group exec says
  • Daily open interest in CME crypto products averaged nearly 127,000 contracts in July, up 59% from the previous month

Derivatives exchange CME Group is set to offer its first euro-denominated bitcoin and ether futures this month after its crypto derivatives posted record open interest volumes during the second quarter.

The upcoming cash-settled products are designed to match their US dollar-denominated counterparts. Bitcoin euro futures are set to be made up of five bitcoins (BTC) per contract, while ether euro futures are scheduled to start at 50 ether (ETH).

Tim McCourt, global director of equity and currency products at CME, said demand for risk management solutions from institutional investors outside the US is increasing as crypto market uncertainty persists.

Euro-denominated cryptocurrencies are the second most traded fiat currency behind the US dollar, McCourt added. The number of bitcoin and ether contracts traded in Europe, the Middle East and Africa account for about 28% of global totals, she said, representing an increase of more than 5% from 2021.

The upcoming launch comes after CME crypto derivatives posted record open interest (an average of 106,000 contracts per day) and above-average daily volumes of 57,000 contracts during Q2.

In July, daily open interest in the exchange’s crypto products averaged nearly 127,000 contracts, a spokesperson told Blockworks, up 59% from the previous month. Average daily volume for those products was approximately 62,000 contracts, approximately 11% higher than in June.

CME began offering bitcoin futures in 2017 and added an ether version in February 2021. The company launched cash-settled micro bitcoin futures contracts, worth 10% of a bitcoin, last year and moved in November to add micro ether futures, as Ethereum liquidity grew.

“At this time, we have no plans to introduce additional products,” a CME Group spokesperson told Blockworks. “We remain focused on continuing to grow our current set of crypto offerings.”

Micro ether futures in particular are gaining traction as more than 3.2 million such contracts have been traded in the past eight months, CME Group reported.

Average daily open interest for microether futures hit 47,000 contracts in July, while average daily volumes hit nearly 26,000 contracts, up 43% and 41%, respectively, from June.

A CME spokesperson attributed the increase in part to the rise in the price of ether, noting that its micro ether contracts settled at $1,014 on June 30. The price of ETH at 3 pm ET was about $1600.

The representative also called the upcoming Ethereum merger, the blockchain’s shift from a proof-of-work consensus mechanism to a proof-of-stake alternative, “one of the most anticipated events in the crypto space to date.”

The spokesperson said that 78% of micro ether options open interest expires in September or December, suggesting that traders are hedging risk ahead of the merger.

Get the top crypto news and information of the day delivered to your inbox every night. Sign up now for the free Blockworks newsletter.

  • ben strack

    Ben Strack is a Denver-based reporter covering crypto and macro native funds, financial advisors, structured products, and the integration of digital assets and decentralized finance (DeFi) into traditional finance. Before joining Blockworks, he covered the asset management industry for Fund Intelligence and was a reporter and editor for several local newspapers on Long Island. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Contact Ben by email at [email protected]

Leave a Comment