1. What is the relationship between Cryptocurrency futures and the underlying spot market?
  2. What Cryptocurrency futures are available for trading?
  3. Where can I open an account?
  4. How can I trade?
  5. Which platforms support Cryptocurrency futures trading?
  6. Do I need a digital wallet to trade Cryptocurrency futures?
Product details
  1. What are the contract specifications?
  2. Are Cryptocurrency futures available to trade 24/7?
  3. Are Cryptocurrency futures block-eligible?
  4. Are Cryptocurrency futures BTIC-eligible?
  5. Are Cryptocurrency futures EFP/EFRP-eligible?
  6. How are the Cryptocurrency futures daily settlement prices determined?
  7. Are Cryptocurrency futures subject to price limits?
  8. How are Cryptocurrency futures final settlement prices determined?
  9. What is the maximum order size for Cryptocurrency futures on CME Globex?
  10. What are the position limits for Cryptocurrency futures?
  11. What other Cryptocurrency products are available?
  12. Through which market data channel are these products available?
  13. What are the CME CF Cryptocurrency Reference Rates?
  14. When are the underlying Reference Rates published?
  15. To which CME CF Reference Rates do available Cryptocurrency futures contracts settle?
Fee and margin details
  1. What are the fees for Cryptocurrency futures?
  2. What are the margin requirements for Cryptocurrency futures?
  3. Are Bitcoin Euro and Ether Euro futures margined in euros?
  4. What are the available margin credits for offsetting positions between CME Group cryptocurrency futures?
Calendar spreads
  1. What calendar spreads does CME Group list?
  2. What are the ticker symbol conventions for calendar spread trading?
  3. What does the spread price signify? How are separate contracts priced when I do a spread trade?
  4. Do the EUR-denominated contracts follow a different spread convention?
Additional information
  1. What is CME Group’s policy regarding hard forks?
  2. What impact will the Ether Merge have on the ether-related futures contracts?
  3. On which exchange are Cryptocurrency futures listed?
  4. What regulation applies to the trading of Cryptocurrency futures?
  5. What accounting and other regulatory treatment is afforded to Cryptocurrency futures in my local jurisdiction?
  6. In which division do Cryptocurrency futures reside?
  7. Is there a cap on clearing liability for Cryptocurrency futures?
  8. Where do Cryptocurrency futures fall in CME Clearing’s guaranty fund?
  9. How can I access CME Globex?
  10. How can I access the reference data?
  11. Where can I find more information on CME Cryptocurrency futures?
  12. Where can I see prices for Cryptocurrency futures?

1. What is the relationship between Cryptocurrency futures and the underlying spot market?

Cryptocurrency futures from CME Group are based on and settle to their corresponding CME CF Reference Rate, which aggregates trading activity across major cryptocurrency spot exchanges between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. London time.


2. What Cryptocurrency futures are available for trading?

CRYPTOCURRENCY

Contract

Futures Contract Symbol

Contract Unit

REFERENCE RATE

Underlying Reference Rate Symbol

CALCULATION WINDOW

Bitcoin

Bitcoin futures

BTC

5 bitcoin

CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate*

BRR

3-4 p.m. London Time

Micro Bitcoin futures

MBT

1/10 bitcoin

Bitcoin Euro futures*

BTE

5 bitcoin

CME CF Bitcoin-Euro Reference Rate

BTCEUR_RR

Ether

Ether futures

 

ETH

50 ether

CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate*

ETHUSD_RR

Micro Ether futures

MET

1/10 ether

Ether Euro futures*

ETE

50 ether

CME CF Ether-Euro Reference Rate

ETHEUR_RR

*Available August 29, pending regulatory review


3. Where can I open an account?

To trade Cryptocurrency futures offered by CME Group, you need an account with a futures broker that is licensed to execute futures trades. In the derivatives business, brokerage firms are known as either a futures commission merchant (FCM) or an introducing broker (IB). A list of brokers that offer clients access to trade Cryptocurrency futures can be found here. Once the account is set up for cryptocurrencies and funded, you are ready to trade.


4. How can I trade?

If you have an existing relationship with a futures broker and do not see CME Group cryptocurrency tickers on your trading platform, reach out to your broker to enable trading. If you do not have a futures brokerage account, please see the previous question.


5. Which platforms support Cryptocurrency futures trading?

See the full list of Independent Software Vendors (“ISVs”) here.

Additionally, Cryptocurrency futures trading is supported via the CME Globex platform (central limit order book) and block trade submission for clearing via CME ClearPort and CME Direct.


6. Do I need a digital wallet to trade Cryptocurrency futures?

No. You do not need a digital wallet, because Cryptocurrency futures are financially settled and therefore do not involve the exchange of the underlying coin/token.


Product details

7. What are the contract specifications?

 

Bitcoin futures

Bitcoin Euro futures

Micro Bitcoin futures

Ether futures

Ether Euro futures

Micro Ether futures

CONTRACT UNIT

5 bitcoin

5 bitcoin

0.10 bitcoin

50 ether

50 ether

0.10 ether

Price Quotation

USD per bitcoin

EUR per bitcoin

USD per bitcoin

USD per ether

EUR per ether

USD per ether

MINIMUM PRICE FLUCTUATION

Outright: $5.00 per bitcoin = $25.00 per contract

Outright: €5.00 per bitcoin = €25.00 per contract


Outright: $5 per bitcoin = $0.50 per contract

Outright: $0.50 per ether = $25.00 per contract

Outright: €0.50 per ether = €25.00 per contract

Outright: $0.50 per ether = $0.05 per contract

Calendar Spread: $1.00 per bitcoin = $5.00 per contract

Calendar Spread: €1.00 per bitcoin = €5.00 per contract

Calendar Spreads: $1 per bitcoin = $0.10 per contract

Calendar Spread: $0.05 per ether = $2.50 per contract

Calendar Spread: €0.05 per ether = €2.50 per contract

Calendar Spread: $0.10 per ether = $0.01 per contract

TRADING HOURS

CME Globex:
Sunday - Friday 5:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. CT with a 60-minute break each day beginning at 4:00 p.m. CT

CME ClearPort:
Sunday 5:00 p.m. - Friday 5:45 p.m. CT with no reporting Monday - Thursday 5:45 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

PRODUCT CODE

BTC

BTE

MBT

ETH

ETE

MET

LISTING CYCLE

Six consecutive monthly contracts, plus four quarterly contracts and a second Dec contract if only one is listed.

Settlement Method

Financially settled

TERMINATION OF TRADING

Trading terminates at 4:00 p.m. London time on the last Friday of the contract month that is either a London or U.S. business day. If the last Friday of the contract month day is not a business day in both London and the U.S., trading terminates on the prior London or U.S. business day.

POSITION LIMITS

CME Position Limits

BLOCK MINIMUM

Block Minimum Thresholds

PRICE LIMITS

Price Limits 

SETTLEMENT

Settlement Procedures


8. Are Cryptocurrency futures available to trade 24/7?

Yes, eligible contract participants can trade blocks and EFRPs (Exchange for Related Positions) bilaterally or through a broker/ECN. Blocks can be negotiated pursuant to CME Rule 526 while EFRP transactions are covered by CME Rule 538.

On-screen trading is available through CME Globex, our electronic platform, 23 hours per day beginning Sunday evening at 6∶00 p.m. Eastern Time and ending at 5∶00 p.m. ET Friday afternoon, with a one-hour maintenance break Monday through Thursday between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time.


9. Are Cryptocurrency futures block-eligible?

Yes, block transactions are allowed for Cryptocurrency futures, subject to reporting requirements per CME Rule 526.  The minimum block thresholds may be found here.


10. Are Cryptocurrency futures BTIC-eligible?

Yes, except for the Euro-denominated contracts, our Cryptocurrency futures are BTIC eligible. Learn more about Basis Trade at Index Close (BTIC) eligible Cryptocurrency futures here.


11. Are Cryptocurrency futures EFP/EFRP-eligible?

Yes, Cryptocurrency futures are EFP/EFRP-eligible pursuant to CME Rule 538.


12. How are the Cryptocurrency futures daily settlement prices determined?

Daily settlement for our standard USD- and EUR-denominated contracts are based on their respective volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of CME Globex trades between 2:59:00 p.m. and 3:00:00 p.m. Central Time rounded to the nearest tradable tick. Settlement for our available Micro Cryptocurrency futures contracts are to the settlement prices of the corresponding standard contracts.

Additionally, a fixing price will be available for the EUR-denominated contracts.  Such fixing prices are for reference only and will be based on the 30-minute VWAP of CME Globex trades taken between 3:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. London time for the respective contract.


13. Are Cryptocurrency futures subject to price limits?

Yes, Cryptocurrency futures are subject to price limits on a dynamic basis. At the commencement of each trading day, Cryptocurrency futures, are assigned a price limit variant which equals a percentage of the prior day’s Exchange-determined settlement price, or a price deemed appropriate by the GCC. During the trading day, the dynamic variant is applied in rolling 60-minute look-back periods to establish dynamic lower and upper price fluctuation limits as follows:

  • The dynamic variant are subtracted from the highest trade and/or bid price during a look-back period to establish the lower price fluctuation limit.
  • The dynamic variant are added to the lowest trade and/or offer price during a look-back period to establish the upper price fluctuation limit.

14. How are Cryptocurrency futures final settlement prices determined?

The final settlement value is based on the underlying CME CF Cryptocurrency Reference Rate at 4:00 p.m. London time on the expiration day of the futures contract.


15. What is the maximum order size for Cryptocurrency futures on CME Globex?

 

Bitcoin Futures, Bitcoin Euro futures, Ether futures and Ether Euro futures

Micro Bitcoin futures

Micro Ether futures

Maximum order size

100

500

1,000


16. What are the position limits for Cryptocurrency futures?

Position limits are the maximum amount of contracts that a client may hold in the front month. The limits include both client’s standard and Micro-sized contract holdings, where Micro-sized contracts held are expressed in equivalent standard-sized contracts.

For example, an open position in ETH futures will count as one contract toward the limit while an open position in a MET contract will count as 1/500 of a contract:

Assume a client is long 1,000 ETH and long 1,000 MET, in this case, 1,002 contracts (1,000 ETH + 1,000 MET/500) will go toward the position limit test.

Position limits as of July 25, 2022:

Contract name

Maximum contracts

Bitcoin futures + Micro Bitcoin futures

4,000*

Ether futures + Micro Ether futures

8,000

*Three business days before expiration the position limit for Bitcoin futures lowers to 2,000 contracts

More on position limits may be found here: http://www.cmegroup.com/rulebook/files/position-limits-cme.xlsx


17. What other Cryptocurrency products are available?

Options on cryptocurrency futures are available on the following: Bitcoin futures, Micro Bitcoin futures, Micro Ether futures.

See more at cmegroup.com/bitcoinoptions and https://www.cmegroup.com/markets/cryptocurrencies/micro-bitcoin-and-micro-ether-options.html

We have not listed options on Ether futures but will reassess introducing options as customer demand evolves.


18. Through which market data channel are these products available?

Cryptocurrency futures real-time market data is available on MDP Channel 326, and Cryptocurrency futures historical data is available through CME DataMine.

Additionally, real time-market data for the underlying Reference Rates and Real-time Indexes are available through MDP Channel 213. Reference Rate and Real-Time Index historical data is available through CME DataMine.


19. What are the CME CF Cryptocurrency Reference Rates?

Designed by CME Group and CF Benchmarks around the IOSCO Principles for Financial Benchmarks, the Reference Rates are a daily reference rate of the USD or EUR price of one underlying token as of 4:00 p.m. London time. The Reference Rates are representative of the trading activity on Constituent Exchanges and are geared towards resilience and replicability. More than 15 CME CF Reference Rates are available providing market participants reliable price discovery across multiple cryptocurrencies. See the full list here.

Note: The Euro Reference Rates and Real Time indices are not converted from USD rates. Euro-denominated rates follow the same methodology as the existing rates.

Learn more about CF Benchmarks, calculation methodology, Constituent Exchanges, historical data, oversight, and more here.


20. When are the underlying Reference Rates published?

In general, CME CF Reference Rates are published at 4:00 p.m. London time. Some cryptocurrencies (bitcoin and ether, for example) have reference rates that are also published at 4:00 p.m. New York time.


21. To which CME CF Reference Rates do available Cryptocurrency futures contracts settle?

The available CME Group Cryptocurrency futures settle to the CME CF Reference Rates that are published at 4:00 p.m. London time – specifically:

Contract

Symbol

Reference Rate

Publication Time

Bitcoin futures

BTC

CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR)

4:00 p.m. London Time

Micro Bitcoin futures

MBT

Bitcoin Euro futures

BTE

CME CF Bitcoin-Euro Reference Rate (BTCEUR_RR)

Ether futures

ETH

CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate (ETHUSD_RR)

Micro Ether futures

MET

Ether Euro futures

ETE

CME CF Ether-Euro Reference Rate (ETHEUR_RR)


Fee and margin details

22. What are the fees for Cryptocurrency futures?

Fees can be found on the CME Fee Schedule. All Cryptocurrency futures fees are charged in U.S. dollars.


23. What are the margin requirements for Cryptocurrency futures?

Exchange margin requirements may be found at cmegroup.com. Note: clearing firms may require a margin level beyond CME Clearing’s minimum requirement.


24. Are Bitcoin Euro and Ether Euro futures margined in euros?

Yes, Bitcoin Euro and Ether Euro initial and maintenance margins will be processed in euros.


25. What are the available margin credits for offsetting positions between CME Group cryptocurrency futures?

Margin credits are indicative of their cryptocurrency counterparts; the below estimates are based on current market conditions and are subject to change.

CRYPTOCURRENCY FUTURES MARGINS OFFSETS

 

MBT

BTC

ETH

MET

MBT

X

1:50 (100%)

3:50 (50%)

30:1 (50%)

BTC

50:1 (100%)

x

3:1 (50%)

1500:3

ETH

50:3 (50%)

1:3 (50%)

X

1500:3 (100%)

MET

1:30 (50%)

3:1500

1:500 (100%)

x


Calendar spreads

26. What calendar spreads does CME Group list?

CME Group will list all possible combinations of the listed months.


27. What are the ticker symbol conventions for calendar spread trading?

Buying the spread is equivalent to buying the deferred contract month, for example:

BTCF3 – BTCH3 is the Jan 23/Mar 23 spread. Buying this spread means buying the Mar 23 contract and selling the Jan 23 contract.

If you are long the Jan 23 contract, buying the Jan/Mar spread will extend your expiration into March.


28. What does the spread price signify? How are separate contracts priced when I do a spread trade?

The price of the spread trade is the price of the deferred expiration less the price of the nearby expiration.  After the spread trade is done, the price of the two contracts will be determined using the following convention: 

The nearby contract is priced at its daily settlement price on the previous day. The deferred contract is priced is nearby contract’s assigned price plus the spread price.

For example:

  • Bought BTCF3-BTCH3 @-100
  • Assuming BTCF3 prior settle = 9455
  • Price of the two legs: sold BTCF3 @ 9455, bought BTCH3 @ 9455 + (-100) = 9355.

29. Do the EUR-denominated contracts follow a different spread convention?

No, the EUR-denominated contracts will follow the same convention as the USD-denominated contracts whereby, buying the spread is equivalent to buying the deferred contract month.


Additional information

30. What is CME Group’s policy regarding hard forks?

In the event of a hard fork, Cryptocurrency futures shall continue to settle to the underlying CME CF Reference Rate corresponding to the original token pair. The Exchange may, in its sole discretion, take alternative action with respect to hard forks in consultation with market participants as may be appropriate.


31. What impact will the Ether Merge have on the ether-related futures contracts?

The Ether Merge is an update to the Ethereum blockchain. Ether Futures and Micro Ether Futures will continue to trade throughout the Merge. Such contracts will continue to trade throughout the Merge.


32. On which exchange are Cryptocurrency futures listed?

Cryptocurrency futures are listed and cleared on CME, a U.S.-registered designated contract market (DCM) and derivatives clearing organization (DCO).


33. What regulation applies to the trading of Cryptocurrency futures?

The trading and clearing of Cryptocurrency futures is regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the regulatory body with exclusive jurisdiction over U.S. Cryptocurrency futures markets.


34. What accounting and other regulatory treatment is afforded to Cryptocurrency futures in my local jurisdiction?

As with any other derivatives product, the accounting treatment of positions in Cryptocurrency futures, and the general local regulatory treatment of trading in Cryptocurrency derivatives, may differ by country and between competent jurisdictions. Market participants are responsible for complying with all applicable U.S. and local requirements. Market participants, particularly those with no experience in trading Cryptocurrency derivatives, should seek professional counsel as necessary and appropriate to their circumstances.


35. In which division do Cryptocurrency futures reside?

Cryptocurrency futures are listed on CME and reside in the IOM Division.


36. Is there a cap on clearing liability for Cryptocurrency futures?

We are using a range of risk management tools related to Cryptocurrency futures. CME Clearing retains the right to impose exposure limits, additional capital requirements, and other targeted risk management tools if we see exposures that we determine might become a concern in any product or market. Note that our Cryptocurrency futures products are cash-settled futures contracts. As such, margins will be set in line with the volatility and liquidity profile of the product. Further, we also have the ability for clearing members to impose trading or exposure limits on their clients. Other tools may include increased capital or margin requirements in cases where exposures increase beyond reasonable levels.


37. Where do Cryptocurrency futures fall in CME Clearing’s guaranty fund?

Cryptocurrency futures fall into CME’s Base Guaranty Fund for futures and options on futures.

For all other inquiries regarding margins or CME Clearing’s approach to risk management, please contact clearing.riskmanagement@cmegroup.com.


38. How can I access CME Globex?

To access CME Globex, you must have a relationship with a CME Clearing member firm.


39. How can I access the reference data?

There are three ways to access the data:

  • CME Group website
  • Market Data Platform (MDP) through channel 213
  • CME DataMine

40. Where can I find more information on CME Cryptocurrency futures?

Visit cmegroup.com/cryptocurrencies for the latest information on Cryptocurrency futures.


41. Where can I see prices for Cryptocurrency futures?

Delayed quotes will be available on cmegroup.com. You can also access quotes through major quote vendors.


All examples in this report are hypothetical interpretations of situations and are used for explanation purposes only. The views in this report reflect solely those of the author and not necessarily those of CME Group or its affiliated institutions. This report and the information herein should not be considered investment advice or the results of actual market experience.

CME Group is the world’s leading derivatives marketplace. The company is comprised of four Designated Contract Markets (DCMs). 
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