A group of crypto exchanges is teaming up to form a task force that could bring the crypto markets to the next level.
The Winklevoss brothers’ Gemini and three other exchanges announced on Monday the creation of a new group called the Virtual Commodity Association Working Group, which could be a precursor to the formation of a self-regulatory organization or SRO for digital commodities like bitcoin and ethereum.
The hope is that it could bring to fruition new industry standards that currently don’t exist for crypto and make large investors more comfortable with the nascent market, market observers say.
In equities, securities exchanges have their own organization to come up with common standards and jointly respond to declarations by regulators. The new group could serve as the equivalent for the crypto world, by coming up with best practices for the industry, looking at ways to boost liquidity and stamping out market manipulation, according to a person familiar with the group.
“It is a great sign that multiple competing exchanges have recognized that working together, to improve the overall industry, in their mutual self interest,” Dave Weisberger, the founder of CoinRoutes, told Business Insider.
Patrick Rooney of Trading Technologies said the formation of such a group would help regulators engage with the crypto world.
“I’m sure D.C. would like to have a common voice speaking for them so it’ll certainly benefit communication to regulators as well as the trading community,” he said.
Aside from Gemini other exchanges in the group include Bitstamp, Bittrex, and bitFlyer USA.
Still, it is early days for the group that only includes a handful of exchanges and notably excludes Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the US. A spokesman for Coinbase declined to comment on the group.
The group’s first meeting will be held in September.
The opaqueness of the crypto markets is one problem the group could solve. In crypto, the price of different digital assets trade at widely different prices and there is no common host to audit all market data. In equities, stock exchanges are developing the so-called Consolidated Audit Trail to allow regulators and market participants to better track activities in US equities. The working group could develop a similar project, the person familiar with the group said.
“Institutions are genuinely skeptical today over the fairness and data quality in the crypto market,” Weisberger added. “At CoinRoutes, even though we help our clients consolidate the data, there is a lot of concern over the quality of the exchange data we aggregate as well as underlying manipulation. An industry SRO is a great start towards ameliorating those concerns.”