CME is about to open its doors to ETH futures trading

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CME Group is on the cusp of launching its long-awaited ether (ETH) futures product.

The derivatives exchange said in a Sunday morning tweet that ETH futures will go at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday "for a first trade date of Feb. 8." 

CME's ETH futures were announced in mid-December to much fanfare. Per contract details published on the CME website, the futures are cash-settled and based on the CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate. Each monthly contract represents 50 ETH -- an amount worth roughly $78,000 at press time -- with a minimum block trade size of five contracts.

The CME Group website lists a range of liquidity providers for its ETH futures, some of whom also provide liquidity for the exchange's bitcoin futures and options products. The firms providing liquidity for ETH futures include BlockFi, Galaxy, Genesis, CoinShares and NYDIG. 

The launch itself represents a significant step toward the creation of financial products built around cryptocurrencies and is the first product of its kind in the United States. 

Heath Tarbert, former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, predicted in 2019 that derivatives focused on Ethereum's native cryptocurrency would eventually hit the market. As reported at the time, Tarbert said he believed ETH falls under the definition of a commodity.

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