CME Group and CF Benchmarks to Introduce APAC Reference Rates for Bitcoin and Ether

CME Group, a leading global derivatives marketplace, in collaboration with CF Benchmarks, a prominent provider of cryptocurrency benchmark indices, has announced the launch of two new APAC-specific reference rates for Bitcoin and Ether. These rates, named the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate APAC (BRRAP) and CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate APAC (ETHUSD_AP), are set to be introduced on September 11. They will offer a daily reference rate for the U.S. dollar value of these two digital assets, with the publication time slated for 4 p.m. Hong Kong/Singapore time.

Giovanni Vicioso, the Global Head of Cryptocurrency Products at CME Group, highlighted the significance of these new rates by stating, “Year-to-date, 37% of total crypto volume at CME Group has been traded during non-U.S. hours, with 11% of trades originating from the APAC region.” He further emphasized that these APAC reference rates would enable market participants to hedge cryptocurrency price risks more effectively, aligning closely with their portfolio timings.

These newly introduced rates will supplement the existing CME CF Bitcoin and Ether reference rates, which are published at 4 p.m. London and New York times, respectively. The primary purpose of these rates is to serve as benchmark rates for the settlement of all related CME Group futures contracts.

Sui Chung, CEO of CF Benchmarks, expressed enthusiasm about the launch, noting the ongoing rapid adoption of crypto. He mentioned, “As variants, these benchmarks will be calculated and administered to the same exacting standards enjoyed by their existing London and New York counterparts.” Chung emphasized the role of these benchmarks in bolstering investor and institutional confidence in crypto financial products.

This move by CME Group and CF Benchmarks is indicative of the growing institutional interest in cryptocurrency within the Asia Pacific region. The introduction of these reference rates is expected to cater to the needs of institutions and investors in the APAC region, providing them with accurate BTC and ETH prices during the Asia trading day.

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Three Metaverse Reference Rates From CME Group

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Derivatives marketplace CME Group is planning to develop reference rates in addition to real-time indexes for a total of three distinct crypto assets that are part of the metaverse. This would make it possible for investors to monitor price data in a more precise manner by using a method that is often used in traditional finance.

The company made the news on January 5 that CME Group and CF Benchmarks will begin offering reference prices for Axie Infinity Shards (AXS), Chiliz (CHZ), and Decentraland’s MANA commencing on January 30.

The reference rates and indexes are not products that can be traded, but investors can use them to “price sector-specific portfolios, develop structured products, and manage price risk around various Metaverse-based projects,” as explained by Giovanni Vicioso, head of cryptocurrency products at CME Group. The CME Group was kind enough to provide us with this information.

Calculations for the real-time indexes and reference rates for AXS, CHZ, and MANA will make use of price data from a minimum of two different cryptocurrency exchanges. In addition to LMAX Digital and itBit, the following exchanges are included here: Bitstamp, Coinbase, Kraken, and itBit.

Every day at 16:00 local time, the reference rates for the assets will be published with prices in United States dollars. These prices will be published (00:00 GMT). Each and every real-time index will be made accessible for use by the general public each and every second of each and every day.

CoinMarketCap estimates that Chiliz, the most successful of the aforementioned metaverse enterprises, now has a market worth of 742.1 million dollars. This information was obtained from the Chiliz website.

AXS is now valued at roughly $686.5 million, whereas MANA is currently at approximately $597.2 million according to the market.

The CME Group has been fairly active in the cryptocurrency sector, offering micro-sized options for Bitcoin and Ether at the end of the previous year.

The popularity of metaverse tokens increased during the most recent bull market in cryptocurrencies as dozens of projects promised to build digital replicas of the real world.


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CME Group Proposes Direct Crypto Derivatives Trading to Regulators

CME Group, a US-based financial derivatives exchange, has proposed to regulators its plan to offer derivatives trading directly to retail customers.

According to The Wall Street Journal’s report on Saturday, CME Group filed paperwork to register as a so-called futures commission merchant (FCM).

Retail investors typically trade derivatives through third-party brokers such as TDAmeritrade. If regulators approve the CME’s plans, then individual consumers would be able to trade derivatives directly through CME rather than through brokerages.

Market participants talked about the new development. “This is notable and comes as no surprise. The CME Group has desired direct relationships with clients for as long as I can remember,” said CoinFund president Christopher Perkins, who commented on the Journal’s reporting via LinkedIn social media. 

Joseph Guinan, CEO of the FCM Advantage futures, also stated if CME’s application is approved. Its entry into the futures brokerage space would be not only a game changer but also a dramatic concern for all FCMs (Futures Commission Merchants) should CME sets fees lower than such brokers.

A CME spokesperson also commented that the company’s commitment to the FCM model and the significant risk management remains an unwavering benefit to all industry participants.

CME’s move is a turnaround plan which follows a similar service offering proposal launched by FTX.US in April. CME’s plan is similar to FTX.US’s proposal to allow consumers to post margins and trade crypto derivatives directly on its platform.

In May, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) sought public comment on a request from FTX.US to modify its derivatives clearing organization (DCO) license to offer a new type of crypto margin trading to U.S. retail customers.

CME Group and ICE both opposed FTX.US’ proposal to offer central clearing of margin products directly to retail customers, which was defended by the crypto industry and the FIA (Futures Industry Association) – a global industry organization for the futures, options, and listed derivatives markets – in a Congressional hearing. FTX US’s proposal was considered deficient and poses a significant risk to market stability and market participants.

In May’s hearing before the House Agricultural Committee, U.S. lawmakers were sceptical of the FTX’s proposal for an automated collateral system to be used for crypto and other digital assets in futures markets.

Cryptocurrency derivatives trading on centralized exchanges rose to $3.12 trillion in July, a 13% monthly increase, as crypto prices maintain efforts to gain recovery from the recent market crash. The crypto market plunged in May and June as worries about Federal Reserve interest rate hikes and high inflation prompted investors to ditch risky assets.

As of July, the derivatives market made up 69% of total crypto volumes, up from 66% in June, and helped push overall crypto volumes on exchanges to $4.51 trillion in July. The rise in derivatives trading volume indicates an increase in speculative activity as traders believe there is room for further upside in the crypto rally.

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CME Group Rolls Out Ether Options for Upcoming Merge

CME Group, a leading derivatives marketplace, has launched the options of Ether futures, given that the much-anticipated merge has been pushing demand.

Tim McCourt, the global head of Equity and FX products at CME Group, pointed out:

“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.”

Since the merge is slated for September 15, CME Group intends to offer more flexibility with the Ether options. Leon Marshall, the global head of sales at Genesis, stated:

“The launch of the new Ether options contract ahead of the highly anticipated Ethereum Merge provides our clients with greater flexibility to trade and hedge their Ether price risk.”

The merge is anticipated to be the largest software upgrade in the Ethereum ecosystem because it will change the consensus mechanism from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS).

Therefore, the new options will complement CME Group’s Ether futures, which have recorded a 43% surge in average daily volume year-over-year. 

Rob Strebel, the head of relationship management for DRW, said:

“As ether transitions through the anticipated merge this week, we expect we’ll continue to see strong demand for this Ether options contract.”

Since the Ethereum merge has been awaited with bated breath by the crypto community, the network’s speculative action has skyrocketed, Blockchain.News. The open interest shown in the ETH network highlighted that buying pressure outweighed selling. 

On the other hand, a hard-fork mechanism is expected to be deployed within 24 hours after the merge. 

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CME Group to Launch Euro-Denominated Bitcoin, Ether Futures on August 29

CME Group, the US leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, announced on Thursday that it will launch Bitcoin Euro and Ether Euro futures on August 29. The move is part of CME’s efforts to expand its cryptocurrency derivatives offering services.

The financial derivatives exchange termed the launch as important as enabling Bitcoin users to trade Euro-dominated Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) futures contracts on the regulated exchange.

Tim McCourt, Global Head of Equity and FX Products, CME Group, talked about the development: “Ongoing uncertainty in cryptocurrency markets, along with the robust growth and deep liquidity of our existing Bitcoin and Ether futures, is creating an increased demand for risk management solutions by institutional investors outside the U.S. Our Bitcoin Euro and Ether Euro futures contracts will provide clients with more precise tools to trade and hedge exposure to the two largest cryptocurrencies by market cap.”

CME will unveil Euro-denominated Bitcoin and Ether futures to help meet the rising demand for regulated and expanding, non-USD crypto derivatives.

According to CME, offerings of Euro-denominated Bitcoin and Ether futures contracts could accelerate increasing demand for crypto products from institutional investors.

The products will provide crypto derivative alternatives because the euro, the official currency of 19 out of 27 EU member countries, is the second-most-desired currency in global currency reserves.

CME designed the Bitcoin Euro and Ether Euro futures contracts to match their U.S. dollar-denominated counterparts.

The derivative exchange stated that it will size Bitcoin Euro and Ether Euro futures at five Bitcoins and 50 Ethers per contract. Such new contracts will be cash-settled, based on the CME CF Bitcoin-Euro Reference Rate and CME CF Ether-Euro Reference Rate, which serve as once-a-day reference rates of the euro-denominated price of Bitcoin and Ether.

Rising Infrastructure for The Crypto Investor

CME’s Bitcoin Euro and Ether Euro futures are the latest investment products to be launched tied to a cryptocurrency.

In March, CME launched Bitcoin and Ether options on the micro futures contracts of the two largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization: Bitcoin (BTCUSD) and Ether (ETHUSD).

Last year, the exchange witnessed interest in crypto assets from retail investors, especially Millennials and Gen Zs, reaching new heights.

That was the part of the reason that led CME, in March this year, to launch micro futures to offer more affordable options for investors seeking to gain exposure to Bitcoin and Ether derivative products.

And so far, the company has continued to expand its suite of cryptocurrency derivatives offerings further.

In October last year, the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO), the first ETF linked to Bitcoin, started trading, providing investors with the opportunity to gain exposure to Bitcoin returns in a convenient, liquid and transparent manner.

Shortly afterwards, several similar Bitcoin ETFs unveiled their trading services which track the future price of the coin.

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Google Makes $1B Equity Investment in CME Group, Both Firms Chart a Decade Long Partnership

Search engine and cloud service giant Google has invested the sum of $1 billion in taking up a non-voting equity stake in CME Group, the world’s largest derivatives marketplace. 

As the trading platform unveils, a decade-long partnership deal has been inked with the tech giant as it looks to migrate its operations to the cloud. 

The embrace of Google’s tech capabilities will help CME Group bring additional value into its ever-expanding derivatives marketplace. Starting from 2022, CME Group said it will start migrating its data onto the Google Cloud while also moving its clearing service and the entirety of its markets to the cloud.

“Through this long-term partnership with Google Cloud, CME Group will transform derivatives markets through technology, expanding access and creating efficiencies for all market participants,” said Terry Duffy, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer, CME Group.

“To ensure a smooth transition, we will work closely with clients to implement a phased approach. This partnership will enable CME Group to bring new products and services to market faster – all in a flexible and scalable environment that will create a wide range of opportunities for the marketplace.”

The partnership between both entities is not uncommon in the digital asset trading ecosystem and the broader blockchain industry. Back in October 2020, Google Cloud revealed it would join the EOS community and ventured into becoming a block producer candidate for Block. one’s EOS public blockchain network as reported by at the time.

The integration of cloud infrastructure by cryptocurrency exchanges is also a growing trend by the day. has also tapped Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its preferred cloud provider to provide enhanced scalability and security for its millions of users. 

While many crypto proponents believe blockchain and its accompanying innovations can directly threaten big tech, crypto-linked firms are notably exploring avenues to co-exist and return value as more growth initiatives are pursued across the board.

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Google invests $1B in CME Group along with 10-year Cloud deal

Google’s parent company Alphabet has made a $1 billion equity investment in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group, the exchange responsible for many crypto derivatives products.

In a Nov. 4 notice to investors, the CME Group announced the $1 billion investment from Alphabet in addition to a 10-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud aimed at accelerating the exchange’s move to the cloud and changing the way global derivatives markets operate. Google made the investment through the company’s nonvoting convertible preferred stock.

“Through this long-term partnership with Google Cloud, CME Group will transform derivatives markets through technology, expanding access and creating efficiencies for all market participants,” said CME Group chair and CEO Terry Duffy. “This partnership will enable CME Group to bring new products and services to market faster.”

The CME Group was behind the first Bitcoin (BTC) futures contract launched in December 2017. Since that time, the exchange has continued expanding its offerings of crypto derivatives to include micro BTC futures, BTC options, and micro Ether (ETH) futures, expected to launch on Dec. 6.

Related: Cryptocurrency derivatives market shows growth despite regulatory FUD

According to data from CME Group, the average daily volume in its Bitcoin futures


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Google Invests $1B in Bitcoin Futures Provider CME Group

CME Futures, the futures-exchange giant that offers regulated bitcoin services, has secured a massive investment from Google worth $1 billion aiming to transfer its core trading systems to the cloud.

  • The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, and informs that the tech giant will provide its cloud services to CME to “power markets that handle trillions of dollars in trades each day.”
  • The two parties have agreed on a ten-year partnership. CME will strive to onboard new users faster and develop new features with Google technology, such as AI software.
  • CME is one of the world’s largest exchange operators with a market capitalization of nearly $80 billion, while Google Cloud is the fourth-largest cloud provider with 6.1% of the global market share last year.
  • Launched more than a century ago, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange provides its clients with exposure to numerous markets, from crude oil and gold to stock-market futures.
  • Since late 2017, CME has also been a part of the cryptocurrency space by launching Bitcoin futures trading. Since then, the company has facilitated deals for multiple giant institutions, including the world’s largest asset manager – BlackRock.
  • CME also released Ethereum futures trading and most recently doubled down by launching Micro Ether Futures contracts.


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Ethereum Hits New All-Time High Above $4,600 as CME Announced Micro ETH Futures

Ethereum prices have hit an all-time high of $4,635 during the Asian trading session on Wednesday morning, according to CoinGecko.

The world’s largest smart contract network has built on weekly momentum to tap the new peak and notch up a 6% gain on the day. Over the past seven days, ETH has added 10%, and it is up 34% over the past month. At the time of writing, Ethereum prices had cooled off to trade at $4,580.

PrimeXBT partner “₿yzantinΞ General” commented that there probably wouldn’t be many tokens that outperform ETH over the next couple of months.

Ethereum Fundamentals

The popular analyst believes Bitcoin could tap a new ATH first and suck liquidity from the rest of the market as has occurred in previous market cycles. But the momentum is currently with Ethereum as many new participants are being onboarded into DeFi and NFTs.


He added that there are two ways this market pumps, either BTC or ETH drags the rest of the market up.

“Right now it’s basically a tech (ETH) versus money (BTC) argument. I’m not saying tech is worth more, I’m just saying the market values the tech more at this point in time.”

Ethereum reserves on exchanges have dropped more than Bitcoin recently. This suggests investors are hodling ETH and using it to generate yields in DeFi. Naturally, there were plenty of arguments to his sentiment, with others stating that rival Blockchain tokens such as SOL, AVAX, DOT, and RUNE will outperform ETH.

As reported by CryptoPotato, the Ethereum network settled a record $536 billion during Q3, 2021.

Deflationary Economics

Ethereum’s monetary economic model is also likely to keep prices rising. Over the past week or so, Ethereum issuance has actually been deflationary because more has been burnt by EIP-1559 than has been mined.

According to the Ultrasound.Money fee burning tracker, 741,000 ETH, has been destroyed since early August. At current prices, this is equivalent to $3.4 billion going up in smoke. At current burn rates, the Ethereum network destroys 15,000 ETH, or $68.7 million, every day.

When central banks are still printing and devaluing fiat currencies, a deflationary one based on technology becomes very attractive.

CME Launched Micro ETH Futures?

The most recent price pump came shortly after the Chicago Mercantile Exchange announced a new ETH initiative. According to a press release from PR Newswire, Micro Ether futures are sized at a mere tenth of the asset’s size. However, they still retain the features and benefits of CME’s existing Ether futures.

The product comes months after CME’s launch of Micro Bitcoin futures, which are respectively sized at one-tenth the size of BTC. Over 2.7 million of those contracts have been traded since being launched in May. Meanwhile, Ether futures have traded 675 000 contracts since launch, amounting to about 33.8 million ETH.

Both Micro Ether and Micro Bitcoin Futures allow organizations to fine-tune their trading for each cryptocurrency. As both Ether and Bitcoin have recently reached all-time highs, trading each at full value can be rather imprecise.

Tim McCourt – CME Group Global Head of Equity Index and Alternative Investment Products.– recognizes why this makes Micro Ether futures necessary.

“Since the launch of Ether futures in February, we have seen steady growth in liquidity in these contracts, especially among institutional traders. At the same time, the price of ether has more than doubled since these contracts were introduced, creating demand for a micro-sized contract to make this market even more accessible to a broader range of participants.”

Micro Ether Futures will be cash-settled, as determined by the CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate, which adjusts daily.


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Citi Awaits Regulatory Approval to Start Trading Bitcoin Futures on CME: Report

US multinational investment banking giant Citigroup is reportedly considering trading bitcoin futures, stating that it has witnessed an increased interest in BTC from its institutional clients.

CME Looking to Trade CME Bitcoin Futures

According to a report by CoinDesk on Tuesday (August 24th, 2021), an anonymous source within the bank revealed that Citi is working on receiving the regulatory green light to begin trading bitcoin futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

A statement via an email from a Citi spokesperson to the media outlet reads:

“Given the many questions around regulatory frameworks, supervisory expectations, and other factors, we are being very thoughtful about our approach. We are presently considering products such as futures for some of our institutional clients, as these operate under strong regulatory frameworks.”

Apart from wanting to trade BTC futures, the investment bank is currently hiring people to be part of a cryptocurrency team based in London, according to another person familiar with the matter. Also, the unnamed source is optimistic that regulators would grant the approval to trade bitcoin futures and would later get a regulatory nod for bitcoin exchange-traded notes (ETNs).

The Wall Street banking giant, meanwhile, noted that it is witnessing rapid interest in bitcoin from institutional clients who seek exposure to the largest cryptocurrency. The latest development follows an earlier report in May, stating that Citi was mulling launching a cryptocurrency trading and custody service.


Later in June, the investment bank unveiled a new business unit called the Digital Assets Group, focused on crypto and blockchain. Back in March, Citi published a report which acknowledged the growing institutional adoption but stated that bitcoin had an uncertain future.

Wall Street Banks and Bitcoin

Interestingly, more Wall Street financial institutions are warming up to bitcoin, gradually shifting away from their former skeptical attitude towards the cryptocurrency. These organizations have noted that the crypto-related services they offer are in response to clients’ demands.

One of such institutions is banking giant JPMorgan, which became among the first major bank in the US to offer its wealthy clients access to crypto funds. Another banking behemoth Goldman Sachs allowed its institutional clients to buy and sell bitcoin derivatives. The company also started trading BTC futures in block trades on CME Group.

The Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon), America’s oldest bank, revealed that it would offer crypto custody services later in 2021.


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Bitcoin (BTC) $ 38,793.39 1.17%
Ethereum (ETH) $ 2,105.70 0.89%
Litecoin (LTC) $ 71.66 1.03%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 227.24 1.60%