CME Announces Ether Futures Contracts

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) announced Wednesday it will launch a futures contract on ether, the world's second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, in February.

AccessTimeIconDec 16, 2020 at 3:05 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:43 a.m. UTC

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) announced Wednesday it will launch a futures contract on ether, the world's second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, in February 2021.

  • Ether futures will be listed on Feb. 8, more than three years after bitcoin futures went live.
  • Each contract will have 50 units of ether and the derivative product will be open to trade between 5:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m CT from Sunday to Friday, according to the official announcement.
  • The new contracts will use the CME CF ether-dollar reference rate from CF Benchmarks, the FCA-approved crypto indices provider. 
  • "Building on the success of bitcoin futures and options, CME Group will add ether futures to the cryptocurrency risk-management solutions available to trade in February," the exchange said.
  • Futures are derivative financial contracts that obligate parties to buy and sell a particular asset of a specific quantity and at a predetermined price, at a specified date in the future.
CME: Ether futures contract specifications
CME: Ether futures contract specifications
  • CME's announcement of an ether futures contract has coincided with bitcoin's much-anticipated break above $20,000.
  • The exchange rolled out bitcoin futures three years ago after the cryptocurrency reached a record price of $19,783. The derivative contracts were reportedly approved by the Trump administration to prick the bitcoin bubble.
  • However, since then, CME has steadily climbed ranks to become the third-largest bitcoin futures exchange by open interest. Many observers consider it to be synonymous with institutional trading.
  • "Today's CME news shows institutional demand continues to spill into other leading digital assets, such as Ether," CF Benchmarks CEO Sui Chung told CoinDesk in an email. "CF Benchmarks' regulated, replicable and robust indices will now act as the foundations for leading providers, like CME, to develop cryptocurrency markets fully fit for the 'institutionalization' of crypto."
  • While bitcoin is currently trading near $20,600, ether is changing hands near $600, still down 50% from record highs.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.