Like bitcoin, Ethereum has increased significantly in value since its introduction in 2015. Photo: AFP

CME Group’s announcement that it is launching Ether futures in February is the “writing on the wall” that institutional players will start showing the same voracious appetite for the second-biggest crypto in 2021 as they have had for bitcoin this year, according to Ryan Watkins, an analyst at crypto data outfit Messari. Corporate investment in bitcoin this year has propelled it to record highs.

He tweeted: “2021 prediction: In 2021 we begin seeing institutions buy $ETH Once you accept that Bitcoin may be valuable, it opens your mind to the possibility that other cryptoassets may also be valuable. It’s a much easier jump from $BTC to $ETH from there.”

At the time of publication (5 am in Hong Kong), the price of Ether was $732, up 17% in 24 hours. It is the first time it has been over $700 since 2018 and many observers expect it to be worth several thousand dollars at the top of this cycle.