CME Group launches options on Micro Bitcoin and Micro Ether futures

Rick Steves

“We are excited for CME Group’s new Micro Cryptocurrency options offering as it will better align the listed cryptocurrency options market with the average crypto investor’s exposure.”

CME Group has launched options on Micro Bitcoin and Micro Ether futures, further expanding its suite of cryptocurrency derivatives offerings.

Options on Micro Bitcoin and Micro Ether futures will complement CME Group’s diverse slate of more than 20 Micro products, which, together, have traded more than 1.2 billion contracts since their introduction.

Tim McCourt, CME Group Global Head of Equity and FX Products, said: “The launch of these micro-sized options builds on the significant growth and liquidity we have seen in our Micro Bitcoin and Micro Ether futures. Sized at one-tenth of their respective underlying tokens in size, these contracts will offer a wide range of market participants – from institutions to sophisticated, active, individual traders – greater flexibility and precision to manage their exposure to the top two cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.”

Robert Bogucki, Managing Director, Global Co-head of Trading at Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd., commented: “CME Group Micro Bitcoin and Micro Ether options are an important step in the development of a thriving marketplace for institutions and sophisticated investors who want crypto exposure in a regulated environment. The smaller contract sizes will give investors and traders greater flexibility in managing their exposure to the two biggest cryptocurrencies in the world, opening the market up to new participants. Galaxy Digital is excited to act as a liquidity provider for these options and other CME Group cryptocurrency products.”

Steve Sanders, EVP of Marketing and Product Development at Interactive Brokers, said: “We continue to see interest in cryptocurrency exposure from our active trader and institutional investor clients. CME Group’s Micro Bitcoin and Micro Ether options will certainly benefit our clients seeking enhanced flexibility to participate in cryptocurrency markets with less upfront cost, and we are excited to add these offerings to the wide range of global products currently available on our platform.”

Derek Devens, Senior Portfolio Manager, Option Group, at Neuberger Berman, added: “We are excited for CME Group’s new Micro Cryptocurrency options offering as it will better align the listed cryptocurrency options market with the average crypto investor’s exposure. We expect the pioneering exchange-traded, centrally cleared offering will appeal to over-the-counter cryptocurrency options market participants and facilitate increased market liquidity and price stability across cryptocurrency futures and options in U.S. listed markets. CME Group’s continued innovations represent an essential step towards building an enduring cryptocurrency ecosystem.”

Two new reference rates for Bitcoin and Ether

CME Group has recently launched two new reference rates for Bitcoin and Ether, which 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 new 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.

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.

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.”

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