Ether Derivatives Are Coming


Look out bitcoin – there’s going to be another crypto currency derivative coming to the market.

First, there were bitcoin derivatives courtesy of the CME Group and Cboe. Slated for a December release, these futures are designed to promote trading and confidence in the fledging crypto markets. Now, according to CDS Pioneer, the second-biggest cryptocurrency, ethereum or “ether”  is poised to get into the derivatives market, thanks in part to a pioneer of trading credit-default swaps, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Contracts on the ether digital currency will be offered by an as-yet-unnamed exchange going by the code name “Virtuoso,” according to one of the people, who asked not to be named discussing private information. One of its co-founders is Sunil Hirani, who sold the CDS brokerage he co-founded, Creditex Group, to Intercontinental Exchange Inc. in 2008 for about half a billion dollars, the person said.

Derivatives on bitcoin and ether could help lure professional traders and investors, who’ve been hesitant to dive into unregulated digital currency markets.

Though bitcoin gets much more press coverage, ether is presence in the marketplace too. It’s linked to the ethereum blockchain. When Wall Street banks and big corporations like IBM tout blockchain innovations, they’re usually cribbing technology from ethereum, not bitcoin’s blockchain.  Ether, which has soared more than 4,000 percent in 2017, hit record highs after CME Group announced its bitcoin futures project last month.

According to the report, Virtuoso will be overseen by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and aimed at institutional investors and corporations that have exposure to ether’s price swings, according to one of the people familiar with the matter. By the first or second quarter, it plans to offer futures, non-deliverable forwards, swaps and forwards, and it’s possible — though this is not yet decided — that some of the contracts will deliver ether to holders if held to expiration, the person said.

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