CME Group on Monday launched two new indices to calculate the price of ether, the second most popular cryptocurrency after bitcoin by market capitalisation.
The CME CF ether-dollar reference rate provides a US dollar price for ether at 4pm London time daily, while the CME CF ether-dollar real time index quotes a dollar price for ether in real time. The indices are being calculated by cryptocurrency exchange Crypto Facilities, using data from Kraken and Bitstamp exchanges.
CME launched bitcoin futures last December, using CME’s Bitcoin reference rate as an underlying.
CME declined to comment on whether or not ether products would be released to complement the indices.
Ether is the cryptocurrency fuelling the ethereum computing network, which has recently been used to help raise capital by issuing cryptocurrencies to investors.
This capital raising method has become known as an initial coin offering (ICO), but regulators around the world remain unsure about how to police ICOs and the cryptocurrencies issued.
Tim McCourt, global head of equity products and alternative investments at CME, said the ether reference rate and real time index were “designed to meet the evolving needs” of the market place.
"Providing price transparency and a credible price reference source is a key development for users of Ethereum," he said.
Thompson Reuters made a similar announcement on Monday, revealing six new cryptocurrency real-time rates. Four of the rates will mark bitcoin in Japanese yen, dollars, euros and Hong Kong dollars. The other two will mark ether and bitcoin cash in Japanese yen.
The news comes as swap trading venue Trueex said it was building a market for digital assets including ether in March. Goldman Sachs recently said it would be making a market for bitcoin non-deliverable forwards and futures, even if the bank remains sceptical of the integrity of the underlying cryptocurrency spot market.
The market capitalisation of ether was roughly $70bn on Monday at 3pm, according to coinmarketcap.com.