Chicago’s CME Group bites on bitcoin, will publish daily price

CME Group, which has looked for ways to strengthen its digital foothold since closing most of its trading pits last year, plans to start publishing bitcoin market prices in real time.

The Bitcoin Real Time Index is set to launch in the fourth quarter of this year. It will be based on global demand to buy and sell bitcoin and reflect the market price in U.S. dollars, CME said in a press release.

Crypto Facilities, a London-based digital assets trading platform, will handle the calculations. CME will update the price about once every second, according to the release.

CME also plans to publish a daily settlement price, called the Bitcoin Reference Rate. That will also be calculated in U.S. dollars and will be released each trade day at 4 p.m. London time, or 10 a.m. in Chicago.

“These products are designed to allow bitcoin traders, companies and other users to rely on a credible reference rate price source,” said Sandra Ro, executive director and digitization lead at CME Group, in the release.

Reference prices will be calculated based on pricing data from several bitcoin exchanges and trading platforms, including Coinbase, Bitstamp and Kraken.

CME Group and Crypto Facilities plan to team up with Imperial College London to oversee the Bitcoin Reference Rate. They’ll develop a code of conduct for participants and make sure it maintains its integrity, according to the release.

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CME Group formed in 2007, when the Chicago Mercantile Exchange merged with the Chicago Board of Trade. Its futures trading pits — once a lively environment full of floor traders shouting out prices of livestock and other commodities — faded when electronic trading was introduced in 1992.

By early 2015, CME Group’s open outcry futures had shrunk to 1 percent of its total futures volume. The company had shut down most of its trading pits by last summer and has been looking more toward a digital future with a startup-focused investment fund.

amarotti@tribpub.com

Twitter @allymarotti

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