IG Markets trading floor
IG Markets trading floor. IG Markets

IG Group, one of the world's biggest online trading outfits and a global market leader in contract for differences (CFDs), has launched trading on cryptocurrency Ethereum.

Confirming the move on Monday (21 August), IG said trading had commenced on Ether, the token of the Ethereum network.

The move would enable traders to take a position on whether the value of the cryptocurrency will rise or fall, without having to take the risks associated with buying and storing it, akin to spreads on a range of asset classes from equities to commodities.

Ethereum is a digital platform on which a whole range of applications can be built, including identity software, security programs and methods of payment. While the cryptocurrency itself is often referred to as 'ethereum', its more accurate name is 'ether'.

IG Group already offers spreads on Bitcoin, the most widely used cryptocurrency, which has seen its value soar in recent weeks. The prices of cryptocurrencies are always quoted against another global currency, most commonly the US dollar.

The inherent volatility of cryptocurrencies makes them attractive to traders with a steady nerve. Trading at around $300 for the last few months, ether is probably the most undervalued of all cryptocurrencies at the moment.

Around two years ago Bitcoin was trading at around $500 where it had stabilised for a number of months. With all the initial coin offering (ICO) activity happening in the crypto-space, a surge in the value of Ether is possibly overdue.

Rupert Osborne, Deputy Head of FX and Futures at IG, said: "As the acceptance and popularity of cryptocurrencies has grown around the world, IG has been at the forefront of giving people the opportunity to trade them.

"We launched bitcoin trading for our clients three years ago and are happy to make ethereum the second cryptocurrency to trade on the platform."