BitMEX is launching new ether/USD futures, which settle in bitcoin

Crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX is launching new ether (ETH)/ USD futures contracts on May 5.

The new contracts, ETHUSD, allow traders to speculate on the future USD price of ETH. Traders who think that the price of ETH will rise will buy the futures contract, while those who believe the price will drop will sell it.

The new contracts offer leverage of up to 50 times and require margin to be posted in bitcoin (BTC). It means traders can go long or short on these contracts using only BTC.

These futures have a fixed bitcoin multiplier of 0.000001 bitcoin per 1 USD, meaning for each 1 USD move, the contract pays out 0.000001 bitcoin regardless of the USD price of ETH. This allows traders to go long or short the ETH/USD exchange rate without ever touching ETH or USD. 

The first ETHUSD contract (ETHUSDM20) will expire in June.

Notably, BitMEX already offers ETH perpetual contracts and ETH futures contracts. The former have no settlement (being perpetual), while the latter allows traders to speculate on the future value of the ether/bitcoin exchange rate rather than the ether/USD exchange rate.

The launch of new contracts comes at a time when BitMEX is facing significant liquidations since the “Black Thursday” event, which saw bitcoin’s price tank by ~50% in just one day in mid-March.