Bitcoin Exchanges Must Turn Over Comprehensive Information in Manipulation Investigation

CFTC Demands Trading Data From Bitcoin Exchanges In Price Manipulation Probe

CFTC Demands Trading Data From Bitcoin Exchanges In Price Manipulation Probe

In fact, CME is dependent on a third-part index data provider which receives market data, calculates the index price for Bitcoin, and routes it to the exchange.

The government's investigation has been spurred on by fears that bitcoin futures on CME Group Inc.'s CME exchange have caused the price of the first and foremost cryptocurrency's futures to be manipulated - something which falls underneath the government's regulatory umbrella.

USA government officials have ordered multiple cryptocurrency exchanges to fork over comprehensive trading data in order to aid in their investigation of whether or not cryptocurrency markets are being manipulated.

Four major cryptocurrency exchanges have received subpoenas from the CFTC for the release of the trading data. Although the exchanges in the end did submit some trading data, their compliance only came after CME had compromised by limiting the range of its access from a full-day's activity to just a few hours, and to limited market participants. CME is said to be forming its Bitcoin futures prices based on information and data obtained from four crypto exchanges: Coinbase, ItBit, Kraken, and Bitstamp. To get the data, the CFTC purportedly subpoenaed the exchanges. The exchanges did not wish to provide the data to the London-based company, a company that has its own cryptocurrency trading platform. People who know the matter well told the Journal that CFTC was carrying the investigation together with the US Department of Justice. The contract prices are determined the last Friday of the month and take into account the four bitcoin exchanges' average price over an hour. And in the futures market, this has even more relevance as investors bet on bitcoin price in different time frames.

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Investigators from CFTC were not happy because CME did not have an agreement with the exchanges to share data which is related to a futures contract.

While Bitstamp and Coinbase declined to comment and weren't available to respond to WSJ's requests respectively, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell stated the CFTC's "newly declared oversight" saw spot exchanges question "the value and cost of their index participation". He stated earlier this week that bitcoin market manipulation concerns were overstated, and that anyone attempting to manipulate the market is taking a big risk for minimum benefit.

"We have definitely entered an unknown area where it is clear there is a desire for tightened oversight."
Price fluctuation is high in this space while illegal trading is not a simple matter that can be pushed aside.

The investigation is legitimated by bitcoin's designation as a commodity, juridically granting the CFTC jurisdiction over the commodity markets underscoring derivative markets overseen by the regulator.

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