Image: Ethereum/US$, one-year chart. Source: CoinDesk
LONDON (Reuters) – Ethereum hit all-time highs on Wednesday, breaking above $1,500, as traders bought the cryptocurrency ahead of the launch of ethereum futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange next week
Ethereum has seen year-to-date gains of around 120%, compared with bitcoin’s 30%, and hit a new high of $1,576.7 in early London trading on Wednesday.
“The listing of ethereum futures on a regulated exchange should serve to enhance the crypto market structure by enabling investors to gain exposure to the second most important cryptocurrency as a diversifier to bitcoin, or for simply hedging existing ethereum exposures,” wrote JPMorgan strategists in a note to clients.
“It may be that this week’s listing of ethereum futures contracts will be followed by negative price dynamics by enabling some holders of physical ethereum to hedge their exposures,” they added.
But they continued: “a successful launch of ethereum futures this month is likely to be followed by options on ethereum futures, perhaps as early as 2022, in a similar manner to the launch of options on bitcoin futures in the first quarter of 2020”.
Led by bitcoin, cryptocurrencies are gaining traction with more mainstream investors. The euphoria boosted the total market value of all cryptocurrencies above $1 trillion for the first time earlier in January.
Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft. Editing by Mark Potter.