Crypto-currencies have had a rough ride in 2018, with prices plummeting over 70% to their current levels.
Ether, which sits on Ethereum’s platform, has dropped over 30% in the last month alone. So now the world’s second most popular digital asset after Bitcoin is in need of some good news.
It might have found some, in the form of a plan for a futures market.
Last week it was revealed that CBOE Global Markets, the owner of the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the largest US-based options exchange, is looking at launching Ethereum futures. Business Insider reports that the product may even launch by the end of 2018.
A futures market allows investors to bet on the future price of an asset without having to hold the asset itself. Short selling has been cited as the reason for Bitcoin’s wild ride that saw it rise to $20,000 late last year before it proceeded to tank. This happened, say observers, because it was the first time investors could short a virtual currency.
Many other commentators are now saying the launch of Ethereum futures on a regulated US exchange will be a huge step for global recognition and will bring with it mainstream endorsement of the crypto asset.
Danny Kim, head of growth at crypto trading technology firm, SFOX, told Business Insider that CBOE’s offering could “enable crypto traders to take both long and short positions in Ether, and it’s another step forward to a new accepted asset class. With this, I think the new investment opportunity will take crypto out of the bearish market and reverse to a new bull.”
CBOE’s Ether futures would be based on the Gemini digital exchange’s underlying market. The New York-based crypto exchange, run by the Winklevoss twins, says it is currently waiting on the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to familiarize itself with the product before its official launch.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the main US financial regulator, declared that Ethereum was not a security back in June. Chris Concannon, CBOE Global Markets president, at that time commented, “This announcement clears a key stumbling block for Ether futures, the case for which we’ve been considering since we launched the first Bitcoin futures in December 2017.”
Concannon added that further crypto related products such as ETFs would be in the pipeline; “A healthy market is a healthy underlying market, derivatives markets, and an ETF. That will take time.”
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), CBOE’s main rival, has stated that Ethereum futures would not be happening in the near future and that it would be sticking with its existing Bitcoin contracts for now.