CME Group (Chicago Mercantile Exchange & Chicago Board of Trade) has partnered with digital asset marketplace Crypto Facilities Ltd., to launch the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR), and the CME CF Bitcoin Real Time Index (RTI).

According to today’s press release, the BRR will provide a daily settlement price of the digital currency in US dollars at the close of each trading day (4pm London time), and the RTI will provide a reliable source of real-time bitcoin exchange rates.

The BRR works by a sampling data from all major bitcoin exchanges at a specific time interval once per day, which is then converted into the daily-published reference rate. The RTI – calculated by Crypto Facilities – is sourced in the same manner as the BRR, however, data is sampled from major exchanges (Bitfinex, Bitstamp, Coinbase, Genesis Global Trading, itBit, Kraken) every second and aggregated into one giant order book that will serve as an indicator of global supply/demand for the digital currency.

With these offerings, the CME Group is positioning itself as a market leader in the rapidly-growing digital currency space, “Delivering innovative products and services that meet the market’s evolving needs is at the core of CME Group’s business, and we are proud to lead the way for the industry as digital assets develop.” said Sandra Ro, Executive Director and Digitization Lead at CME Group.

Former Goldman Sachs trader Dr. Timo Schlaefer, who currently heads Crypto Facilities, sees this partnership as an important step in establishing bitcoin as a legitimate asset, on par with stocks and commodities.

Schlaefer explained:

“The availability of robust reference prices with independent oversight is key to the professionalization of bitcoin trading and further establishes digital assets as a new asset class,”

The BRR will be overseen by Crypto Facilities, CME Group and Imperial College London. The three outfits will act as “core members” of an oversight committee that will be developing a code of conduct charter, in order to protect the integrity of the service, “We are delighted to participate on the oversight committee during this transformational time.” said William Knottenbelt, Professor of Applied Quantitative Analysis at Imperial College London.

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