According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) — best known as the operator of the NYSE — made the announcement on Thursday, adding that it has partnered with blockchain startup Blockstream to build the service, which will be distributed as a part of ICE Data Services’ Consolidated Feed and will go live by March.
The service will provide hedge funds and other institutional clients with the same types of data employed by high-speed stock traders and asset managers. In addition to simple pricing data, ICE will provide clients with detailed information about exchange order books, which will help them anticipate market moves and take advantage of arbitrage opportunities that occur as the result of pricing discrepancies between exchanges.
ICE Data Services President and chief operating officer Lynn Martin said in a statement:
“With the broad array of cryptocurrencies and exchanges, and given the price variances between exchanges, it’s critical that investors have a comprehensive source of pricing information. We’re excited to work with Blockstream, which is focused on bringing institutional-quality data to the market, and we look forward to expanding the feed and our strategic relationship with Blockstream over time.”
Initially, the Cryptocurrency Data Feed will provide real-time, end of day, and historical data for six cryptocurrencies: bitcoin, ethereum, ripple, bitcoin cash, litecoin, and dash.
Blockstream said that the service will launch with data from more than 15 cryptocurrency exchanges, including Bitbank, Bitfinex, BitMEX, Bitso, Bitstamp, BtcBox, BTCC, CEX, Coinfloor, Coincheck, ItBit, Gopax, OKEx, SurBTC, The Rock Trading, Unocoin, Vaultoro, and Zaif. Additional exchanges are expected to contribute data in the future.
Institutions eye entry into cryptoasset markets
The creation of the Cryptocurrency Data Feed is likely an indication that institutional investors, most of whom have been hesitant to make direct investments in the cryptoasset markets, are clamoring for the professional-quality tools that would enable them to navigate the ecosystem effectively.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Martin said that ICE had received numerous requests from institutional investors for a service that would increase the transparency of the spot markets, although she declined to name interested firms.
At present, most websites that provide cryptocurrency market data target retail investors, and their lack of transparency can create systemic risks for high-volume traders. Earlier this month, for instance, popular website CoinMarketCap triggered an apparent market selloff after it removed South Korean exchange data from its pricing algorithm without warning.
For ICE, the move represents yet another bid to position itself and its subsidiaries at the forefront of the burgeoning institutional cryptoasset marketplace. Although the company was hesitant to list bitcoin futures, it has made several attempts to list the first exchange-traded fund that tracks the price of bitcoin futures (Bitcoin ETF). However, these proposals have yet to earn approval from regulators.