The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) today announced that it will offer Ethereum micro futures on December 6. This will allow investors to make much smaller trades than with current futures contracts, the marketplace said.
Right now, CME's Ethereum futures contracts—launched in February—allow investors to bet on contacts priced at 50 ETH, or $224,780-worth of the cryptocurrency. But the micro Ethereum contracts will be priced at one-tenth of one ETH: around $449.56 at the time of writing.
At the moment, Ethereum is trading at an all-time high of $4,486, having broken past its previous all-time high of $4,467 earlier this morning, per data from CoinGecko.
CME launched Bitcoin micro futures back in May due to the rising price of the asset. The idea, the marketplace said, is that retail investors or institutional investors wanting flexibility can get involved by making smaller investments.
Futures contracts are obligations on traders to buy or sell an asset at a certain price on a given future date. It's a huge market, and the futures 24-hour volume on exchanges is much higher than the spot volume (the buying and selling of a cryptocurrency.) For example, on Binance, the world's biggest exchange, the 24-hour spot trading volume stands at $34 billion. Its derivatives operation, though, stands at $80 billion.
Tim McCourt, CME group global head of equity index and alternative investment products, said: "Since the launch of [ETH] futures in February, we have seen steady growth in liquidity in these contracts, especially among institutional traders."
"At the same time, the price of [ETH] 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 [ETH] futures will offer even more choice and precision in how they trade [ETH] futures in a transparent, regulated and efficient manner at CME Group," he said.
CME currently has over 20 micro products—including micro crude oil and micro E-mini equity futures. Its Bitcoin micro futures offering has done well, with 2.7 million contracts traded since it launched in May. While micro crude futures contracts, for example, have traded 4.6 million contracts since their July launch.