CME to gauge interest for ether futures but commodity/security classification looms
CME has launched an index tracking prices of ether
Yesterday the CME started publishing a real-time ether-USD reference rate on its website using data from Kraken and Bitstamp in what looks like a foray into launching a futures contract.
"We'll continue to gauge with them to ascertain the demand for futures," Tim McCourt, CME's head of equity products, told Bloomberg. "There are no plans at the exchange to launch one currently."
The CME launched Bitcoin futures about a month after starting to track reference rates. Volume on CME Bitcoin has been disappointing but it's steadily risen to above 3000 contracts changing hands per day.
In a related story, a CFTC commissioner said yesterday that exchanges have expressed interest in ether derivatives and that it needs clarification on the status of the cryptocurrency. The problem is that it's unclear if ether will be classified as a commodity or a security. Bitcoin is classified as a commodity but ether had an ICO that benefitted the Ethereum Foundation so there's a possibility that's declared an illegal securities sale. More on that question here.
Expect a big move in ether and broader cryptocurrencies once the classification is settled.