Inside CME Group's journey to launch an ETH futures product

Episode 7 of Season 3 of The Scoop was recorded remotely with The Block’s Frank Chaparro and Tim McCourt of CME Group.

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"It's been number one on the ask list for a long time."

That's Tim McCourt, global head of equity products for CME Group. Speaking about the reception of the more than hundred-and-seventy-year-old exchange's latest product -- futures based on ETH, the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network -- McCourt characterized the response as "overwhelming."

"People have been really excited ... I think for a long time customers have really been demanding ether futures. They're really excited about the bitcoin futures and the success they've had," he said on the most recent episode of The Scoop.

CME Group saw 388 contracts traded on the first full day of trading for the product, which was announced at the end of last year.

That's about 19,000 ETH, or $33 million. The launch of ether futures followed the launch of bitcoin options at the end of 2019 and its bitcoin futures product in 2017. 

At last check, open interest in CME's bitcoin futures product stood above $2 billion. 

McCourt said that unlike products trading on other venues, CME's crypto products trade on a venue to which professional market participants are already connected.

The firm's crypto products "widgets through the machine” in the same way as its thousands of other contracts, he said. "Your brokers are familiar. Your clearing members are familiar. So you don't have some of those barriers to enter that you have on the spot side."

In this episode of The Scoop, McCourt unpacks the growth of CME's crypto products, the development of the overall crypto trading ecosystem, and what might come next for his company's crypto offerings.

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