Crypto Investors Step Up Bets Against Ether as ‘Merge’ Looms

Investors ramped up their bets against ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency, on the eve of the Ethereum network’s big software upgrade slated for early Thursday morning.

The cost of holding a short position—a bet that ether’s value will fall—in the perpetual futures market has risen ahead of the upgrade, a sign that investors are increasingly hedging their risk going into the network update. So-called funding rates for ether perpetual futures, a kind of futures contract that doesn’t have an expiry date, have been negative for more than a month, meaning that traders are paying a premium for pessimistic bets.