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CME Group premiers ETH futures options trading as the world braces for The Merge

Derivatives marketplace Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group (CME Group) announced the launch of options trading for its Ether (ETH) futures products Monday — the same week as the expected Ethereum Merge.

The launch of the new futures contract is “well timed,” CME Group global head of equity and FX products Tim McCourt said in a statement. He not:

“As market participants anticipate the upcoming Ethereum Merge, a potentially game-changing update of one of the largest cryptocurrency networks, interest in Ether derivatives is surging.”

CME Group, the world's leading derivatives marketplace, announced its intention to launch futures options Aug. 18. The contracts will deliver one Ether future at 50 ETH per contract, based on a reference rate of the U.S. dollar price of Ethe updated daily.

The new contracts join a lineup of existing CME Group products. The group launched the first Bitcoin futures contract in December 2017. Its Bitcoin (BTC) and ETH derivatives contracts saw record-high interest in the second quarter of this year, despite the crypto winter.

CME Group introduced a BTC options trading product in January 2020. CME launched micro Ether futures contracts in December 2021 and in March 2022 launched options contracts for its existing micro BTC and ETH futures at 10% of the size of the tokens. It also offers euro-denominated BTC and ETH futures.

Related: The Merge: Top 5 misconceptions about the anticipated Ethereum upgrade

Ethereum developers have confirmed that the Ethereum blockchain is ready for “The Merge,” during which it will transition from a proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. The Merge is expected to be completed on Sept. 15.

At the time of writing, ETH is trading at $1,715, down 3.23% in 24 hours and down 11.14% in the last month. Anticipation of The Merge and the release of August U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) data Sept. 15 could lead to greater price instability.

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