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US Regulators Seek Trading Data From Bitcoin Exchanges: Report

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Investigators from the US government, who are probing allegations of manipulation in Bitcoin market pricing, have sought comprehensive trading data from Bitcoin exchanges, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Bitcoin futures, which was launched on CME in December, derives their final value from prices at four bitcoin exchanges including Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit, and Kraken. Such a link between the price of Bitcoin futures and these exchanges means that any manipulation in trading in these venues could impact the price of Bitcoin futures.

After the first contract settled in January, CME reportedly asked these exchanges to share trading data. Many exchanges denied the request, saying it was intrusive, the WSJ reported. Later, exchanges provided some data, but only on a revised request covering few hours of activity, instead of a full day, and restricted to a few market participants.

Out of frustration, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which is the regulator for the CME, subpoenaed these exchanges for the data. The watchdog reportedly supported the launch of Bitcoin futures as it found the project worthwhile, though risky.

However, the CFTC was not pleased with the CME not having in place agreements that would compel Bitcoin exchanges to share trading data, the WSJ report said.

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