Ripple (XRP) excluded from CME Group’s huge move for broader crypto adoption

Rick Steves

CME Group is not to be expected to risk displeasing the US regulator by including XRP in the list of crypto reference rates and real-time indices. And even if they did, they wouldn’t be able to obtain much pricing data for the XRP benchmark in the US. 

CME Group plans to launch 11 new cryptocurrency reference rates and real-time indices, which will be calculated and published daily by CF Benchmarks, beginning April 25.

These are vital for the institutional adoption of crypto. Reference rates and indices are not tradable futures products. Each of them will provide the U.S. dollar price of each digital asset, published once a day at 4 p.m. London time, while each respective real-time index will be published once per second, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

The new 11 new cryptocurrency reference rates include Algorand (ALGO), Cosmos (ATOM), Solana (SOL), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), Stellar Lumens, Cardano (ADA), Polkadot (DOT), Cardano (ADA), Chainlink (LINK), Polygon (MATIC), and Uniswap (UNI).

The CME CF Reference Rates and Real-Time Indices have regular expert oversight and are designed to meet the growing need for transparent, regulated, and round-the-clock pricing.

Maybe that is the reason why XRP is not included in the list as the digital asset finds itself in the middle of a legal dispute between the SEC and Ripple Labs over an alleged unregistered sale of securities.

Since the complaint was filed on December 22, 2020, US-based cryptocurrency exchanges and trading platforms quickly moved to delist XRP in fear of retaliation from the SEC.

Likewise, CME Group is not to be expected to risk displeasing the US regulator by including XRP in the list of crypto reference rates and real-time indices. And even if they did, they wouldn’t be able to obtain pricing data for the XRP benchmark in the US.

Bitstamp, Coinbase, Gemini, itBit, and Kraken, as well as LMAX Digital will be providing pricing data for these new benchmarks, beginning May 3.

Much broader range of cryptocurrencies

Tim McCourt, CME Group Global Head of Equity and FX Products, said: “As the digital asset market continues to expand, there is an increasing demand for reliable, standardized cryptocurrency pricing information based on robust, regulated reference rates. These new benchmarks, which capture over 90% of the total investible cryptocurrency market cap today, are designed to allow traders, institutions and other users to confidently and more accurately manage cryptocurrency price risk, price portfolios or create structured products like ETFs.”

Sui Chung, CEO of CF Benchmarks, commented: “Extending the CME CF Cryptocurrency Reference Rates and Real Time Indices further underlines the commitment of both CF Benchmarks and CME Group to serving investors of all types with robust benchmark pricing across a wider range of cryptocurrency assets. This also further adds to the continued adoption of the digital asset class through regulated investment products and funds.”

Juthica Chou, Head of OTC Options Trading at Kraken, added: “Enhancing market infrastructure means a broader range of investors can easily engage in the digital asset class. The launch of 11 new indices opens the door for traditional investors to gain exposure to a much broader range of cryptocurrencies through a suite of products they are already familiar with.”

Elliot Johnson, Chief Investment Officer at Evolve ETFs, said: “Evolve’s physical-crypto ETFs rely on CME CF Reference Rates to provide liquidity, tight tracking and reliable NAV for investors. We’re very excited to see the CME CF index family expanding to lay the foundation for new, innovative ETFs in this highly coveted asset class.”

Joshua Lim, Head of Derivatives at Genesis Global Trading, commented: “The transparency and robustness of the new CME CF Reference Rates enable a much broader range of products representing the diversity of crypto assets. We’re excited to be a liquidity partner on the variety of instruments that will be built on top of them.”

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