CME to Roll Out Euro-Denominated Bitcoin and Ether Futures on Aug. 29

The launch of the contracts could accelerate the ongoing institutionalization of the crypto market.

AccessTimeIconAug 4, 2022 at 1:16 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:28 p.m. UTC

Bitcoin traders will soon have an option to trade euro-dominated bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) futures contracts on a regulated exchange.

Derivatives giant Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) announced on Thursday that it would roll out bitcoin euro and ether euro futures contracts on Aug. 29, pending regulatory approval.

The contract size for bitcoin futures will be 5 BTC while the ether contract will be sized at 50 ETH. Both contracts will be cash settled, based on the CME CF Bitcoin-Euro Reference Rate and CME CF Ether-Euro Reference Rate.

The launch of euro-denominated bitcoin and ether futures contracts could accelerate the ongoing institutionalization of the crypto market because the euro, the common currency of 19 out of the 27 member states of the European Union, is the second-most-desired currency in global currency reserves, according to the World Economic Forum. Further, daily turnover in the euro-dollar pair is the highest in the global currency market, which has an average daily volume of $6.6 trillion.

"Our bitcoin-euro and ether-euro futures contracts will provide clients with more precise tools to trade and hedge exposure to the two largest cryptocurrencies by market cap," Tim McCourt, global head of equity and FX products, CME Group, said in a press release.

"Euro-denominated cryptocurrencies are the second-highest-traded fiat behind the U.S. dollar. Year-to-date, the EMEA region represents 28% of total bitcoin and ether futures contracts traded – up more than 5% versus 2021," McCourt added.

The euro has been quite volatile this year and fell to parity with the dollar last month, the lowest in nearly 20 years.

The CME listed a dollar-denominated bitcoin futures contract in December 2017 and dollar-denominated ether futures contract in Feb. 2021. The exchange, considered a proxy for institutional activity, has also rolled out micro bitcoin and ether futures contracts sized at one-tenth of the standard contracts.

At press time, the derivatives giant was the fourth-largest bitcoin futures exchange, accounting for 1.5% ($1.6 billion) of the global open interest of $11.8 billion, according to data tracked by analytics firm Skew.

The CME futures heavily affected bitcoin's price discovery, as detailed in Bitwise's lead-lag analysis of the bitcoin market.


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Omkar Godbole

Omkar Godbole is a Co-Managing Editor on CoinDesk's Markets team.