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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Opinion: How Bitcoin Options Might Help Survival amid the Bear Market?

The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates at the most aggressive rate in nearly 30 years. With inflation at an all-time high and a looming recession, protecting capital is at the forefront of every investor’s mind.


Cash and government bonds were once safe assets during bear markets, but with inflation running amok and central banks struggling to stabilize bond yield curves, these traditional safe havens are looking shaky.

Options contracts can be a good way to hedge some of your risks, as they give you the right, but not the obligation, to trade an asset in the future at a predetermined price. A call option is the right to buy, and a put option is the right to sell.

There are two styles of options contracts. A trader using American-style options can exercise his or her contract at any point during the lifetime of the contract, whereas European-style options can only be executed only at the expiry date.

If it is not profitable to exercise your put or call option at the date of expiry, you can let it expire and take no action. In this scenario, your cost is limited to the amount of money you paid for the options contract when you bought it.

Multiple trading strategies use options contracts. But in this article, I’d like to share some approachable strategies that allow a certain amount of protection without needing to sell your assets.

Let’s take Bitcoin as the underlying asset. If you buy a put option at a strike price equal to or higher than the current price, it gains value as Bitcoin moves lower.

So, if your Bitcoin is in the red, your options contract will be green. And, if the market trends higher, nullifying your option, then Bitcoin will have appreciated covering some of the cost of the contract.

This strategy is best suited to traders who hold Bitcoin as long-term investments and do not wish to sell. This allows them to avoid a worst-case scenario: cascading liquidations that drag Bitcoin down dramatically. Buying a put is like buying insurance for downside risk. 

So, if you suspect a further leg down is on the horizon, you can buy a put option as a type of insurance that pays out should the market move lower. Timing is crucial, especially during a bear market.

For example, if you believe the market will trend lower very quickly in the following days, buying a put may well be worth the initial investment, but if the market moves down slowly. You may not be able to recover the premium you paid to buy the put option. The same principle applies to call options as well.

Another popular use of options contracts is selling call options while holding the underlying asset. You can be paid immediately by selling a call option to another party, giving them the right to buy your Bitcoin should the price increase to or beyond a certain amount.

For example, if you sell a call option agreeing to sell 1 BTC at $30,000, you collect the price of that contract — the premium — right away, which acts as a hedge against the downside. Your only risk would be missing out on any gains beyond the strike price, which would be owned by the buyer of the option.

If Bitcoin doesn’t hit the strike price, then the option expires, and you keep the premium. The main risk with this strategy is that the underlying price of Bitcoin falls in the interim.

The bear market affecting crypto and other capital markets is a time to protect capital, so when the good times return, there will be plenty of opportunities to reallocate. Bitcoin price could whipsaw traders in troubled times. By using the options hedge, you can create a more robust portfolio while still HODLing your Bitcoin stack.

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Strong Bitcoin and stocks rally position bulls for victory in Friday’s $860M options expiry

Bitcoin (BTC) bulls have good reason to celebrate the 22% gain in the past week. The price is pushing toward $46,000 and to the surprise of many, the $43,000 level held steady despite the volatility caused by the United States inflation data released on Feb.10.

There have been mixed feelings on the macroeconomic side. For example, retail sales in the Eurozone disappointed on Feb. 4 when the figure showed a 2.0% year-on-year growth versus the 5.1% expectation. while the United States nonfarm payroll abruptly showed a 467,000 jobs increase.

Investors are clearly increasingly concerned about corporate earnings despite the stronger than expected China and U.S. economic growth. In the past few weeks some big names took a hit, including Meta (FB), Delivery Hero (DHER-DE), and Paypal (PYPL).

Today’s 7.5% yearly U.S. consumer price index growth will likely reinforce the Federal Reserve’s expectations of at least two interest rate hikes throughout 2022 and not many investors can seek protection in treasuries because the 5-year Treasury yield currently stands at 1.9%.

Bitcoin is still a risky asset, but its price is discounted

Considering that the S&P 500 is only 5% shy of its all-time high, Bitcoin’s recent strength should not come as a surprise. Curiously, put (sell) option instruments dominate the Feb. 11 options expiry, but bears were caught by surprise after Bitcoin price stabilized above $43,000 this week.

Bitcoin options aggregate open interest for Feb. 11. Source: CoinGlass

A broader view using the call-to-put ratio shows a 14% advantage to Bitcoin bears because the $400 million call (buy) instruments have a smaller open interest versus the $460 million put (sell) options. However, the 0.86 call-to-put indicator is deceptive because most bearish bets will become worthless.

For example, if Bitcoin’s price remains above $44,000 at 8:00 am UTC on Feb. 11, only $55 million worth of those put (sell) options will be available. That effect happens because there is no value in the right to sell Bitcoin at $40,000 if it’s trading above that level.

Bulls are aiming for a $300 million profit

Below are the three most likely scenarios based on the current price action. The number of options contracts available on Feb. 11 for bulls (call) and bear (put) instruments varies depending on the expiry price. The imbalance favoring each side constitutes the theoretical profit:

  • Between $42,000 and $44,000: 4,550 calls vs. 1,750 puts. The net result is $120 million favoring the call (bull) instruments.
  • Between $44,000 and $46,000: 6,380 calls vs. 860 puts. The net result favors bulls by $250 million.
  • Between $46,000 and $48,000: 7,860 calls vs. 50 puts. The net result favors the call (bull) instruments by $350 million.

This crude estimate considers the call options used in bullish bets and the put options exclusively in neutral-to-bearish trades. Even so, this oversimplification disregards more complex investment strategies.

For instance, a trader could have sold a call option, effectively gaining a negative exposure to Bitcoin above a specific price. But unfortunately, there’s no easy way to estimate this effect.

Related: Exchange stablecoin reserve hits $27B as Bitcoin rises toward $50K ‘fair value’

Bears best case scenario remains unkind

Bitcoin bulls need a small pump above $46,000 to score a $350 million profit on Feb. 11. On the other hand, bears’ best case scenario requires a 4% price drop from the current $45,600 to reduce their loss to $120 million.

Bitcoin bears currently have no reason to add short positions, considering the recent weak corporate data numbers. Therefore, bulls should continue to display strength by pushing the price to $46,000 or higher during Friday’s options expiry.

A $350 million profit might be just what’s needed for bulls to regain confidence and re-open long leverage futures, causing further upward pressure.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.