CME Group announces reference rates for Bitcoin and Ether at 4pm NY time

Rick Steves

CME Group has plans to launch two new reference rates for bitcoin and ether on February 28, 2022, the world’s largest financial derivatives exchange announced. 

The CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate New York (BRRNY) and CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate New York (ETHUSD_NY) will provide a once-a-day reference rate of the U.S. dollar price of the two digital assets, published at 4 p.m. New York time.

Tim McCourt, Global Head of Equity Index and Alternative Investment Products, CME Group, said: “These new reference rates are designed to meet the ever-evolving needs of participants in the digital asset space. In Q4 2021, the New York calculation window was the second-most traded hour for Bitcoin futures behind the London rate.

“As we continue to see more institutional clients use our Bitcoin and Ether futures products in active portfolios or structured products like ETFs, these New York reference rates become increasingly important as they allow market participants to more accurately and precisely assess cryptocurrency price risk with timing more closely aligned to their portfolios and regions.”

Benchmark price for bitcoin and ether in U.S. dollars

These new reference rates will complement the existing CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) and CME CF-Ether Dollar Reference Rate (ETHUSD_RR), which provide a daily benchmark price for bitcoin and ether in U.S. dollars, published at 4 p.m. London time.

The BRR and ETHUS RR will continue to serve as the benchmark rates for settlement of all CME Group Bitcoin futures, Micro Bitcoin futures and Ether futures and Micro Ether futures contracts, respectively.

Sui Chung, Chief Executive Officer of CF Benchmarks, said: “The CF Benchmarks team is immensely proud to be able to provide these two new versions of the groundbreaking CME CF Reference Rates for bitcoin and ether that synchronize with the traditional market close in North America. This launch is testament to the joint commitment of CF Benchmarks and CME Group to deliver innovative solutions to investors in the digital asset space. Providing variants of two of the most trusted and liquid benchmarks in the space will serve only to further accelerate adoption for digital assets amongst institutional investors.”

Joe Hickey, Global Head of Trading, BlockFi, said: “CME Group’s new digital asset bitcoin and ether reference rates will add another risk management tool to the digital asset marketplace. When you run a 24/7 global crypto business, you need a regional end-of-day benchmark rate. This will help fill BlockFi’s institutional client demand for a liquid benchmark rate during New York hours, while also providing a new way for us to monitor the markets regionally.”

BlockFi pays $100 million to settle with SEC

This week, the SEC announced it has reached a $100 million worth settlement with BlockFi for offering unlicensed interest-bearing accounts for retail investors.

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce stated her concern that crypto lending in the United States is at risk over that settlement and criticized the SEC’s harshness towards innovators as well as the disproportionate fine.

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