Regulators at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have reportedly ordered several cryptocurrency exchanges to turn over trading data the agency wants to see as part of its investigation into potential price manipulation in the Bitcoin markets, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Friday.
The CFTC’s investigation comes in the wake of CME Group’s failure to obtain data-sharing cooperation from four exchanges that the company relies on to assess Bitcoin's price for its futures offerings. CME had reportedly asked Coinbase, Kraken, ItBit, and Bitstamp to provide comprehensive trading data in January, but the exchanges were only willing to share a very limited amount of information.
Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the WSJ reported that the exchanges' lack of cooperation frustrated the CFTC, which is tasked with regulating CME’s activities. The agency responded by issuing subpoenas for the data.
Regulators were apparently displeased with CME’s lack of foresight as well. Citing its unnamed sources, the Journal report noted:
“The CFTC was upset CME didn’t have in place agreements that would compel bitcoin markets to share trading data tied to futures contracts, these people said. Such agreements would detail what information the cryptocurrency venues would have to provide to CME, including the time of trades, unfilled or canceled orders, the size of orders, and traders’ identities.”
Those sources have also confirmed that the trading data issue is one of the concerns that led to the CFTC opening its own investigation into possible Bitcoin price manipulation. The agency is reportedly coordinating closely with the Department of Justice as federal law enforcement conducts a separate investigation of potential price manipulation in other cryptocurrency markets.