CFTC Subpoenas BTC Exchanges over ‘Fixing’ Spot Prices

CFTC Subpoenas Leading Exchanges for Trading Data

Regulation 33 mins ago | By Samuel Haig

"Perhaps more impactful is the news that United States government investigators have ordered four major cryptocurrency exchanges - including Coinbase and Kraken - to hand over comprehensive information regarding trading in order to aid in its investigation over potential price manipulation", Crypto Experts wrote on Twitter. 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.

The CFTC, the regulatory authority tasked with overseeing CME's bitcoin futures markets, reportedly subpoenaed the exchanges for the data in response to the dispute. Several exchanges chose not to comply, claiming CME's request was invasive.

"All participating exchanges are required to share information, including cooperation with inquiries and investigations".

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This quarrel between the CME and the crypto exchanges provided an impetus to the CFTC to launch an investigation in this matter. But later when CME amended its request to a few hours of trading data, a few exchanges agreed by giving data os some participants. The exchanges did not wish to provide the data to the London-based company, a company that has its own cryptocurrency trading platform. The issue of the legal instrument to these exchanges makes it compulsory for them to respond with necessary data. Such an agreement would have detailed the type of trading information the CME would have received, including traders' identities, the time of trades, canceled or unfilled orders and size of orders. The department is said to be looking for ways in which traders can manipulate prices of cryptocurrencies through illegal activities like wash trading. As such, it acts as if it had the authority to look over potential fraud in the cryptocurrency's markets, even if exchanges trading it aren't subject to the regulations futures markets face. The CFTC is now said to be working along with the Justice Department to investigate the manipulation in the price of other digital currencies as well. "If there is any kind of attempted manipulation, whoever is doing it is taking a huge amount of risk for very little possible upside".

Neither Bitstamp nor Coinbase commented on the matter.

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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Jesse Powell, the Chief Executive Officer told the news portal, "newly declared oversight" of the CFTC "has the spot exchanges questioning the value and cost of their index participation". In spoofing, traders submit large orders that cause other traders to raise their buy price which, in turn, allows the spoofers to sell at higher prices.

To the CFTC, bitcoin is a commodity.

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