US Federal Reserve Launches Cryptocurrency Index

US Federal Reserve Launches Cryptocurrency Index

This week the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis added cryptocurrency to their Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) database. It’s a seemingly small gesture, but one that signals to most observers crypto’s maturation, at least in the eyes of arguably the most important central banking institution in the world.  

Also read: Troll Slayer: Derek Magill Defends Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash Against Defamation

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Adds Four Cryptos to its FRED Database

“FRED has added four series on the prices of different cryptocurrencies,” the St. Louis Federal Reserve posted without much fanfare this week, including “Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The price data are updated daily and span from as early as 2014 to the present. All data were obtained from Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange company, whose overall digital asset performance is depicted in the above graph (Coinbase Index).”

The St. Louis Fed is one of 12 regional banks within the system, collectively constituting the most powerful central bank on the globe. Known to be part of the 8th District, which includes midwestern Fed banks, it is also considered an economic research powerhouse.

US Federal Reserve Launches Cryptocurrency Index

It maintains its FRED database at its famed research division. The bank uses more than half of a million data points, derived from 81 sources. Exchange rates, GDP, interest rates, consumer indexes, banking, producer price indexes, among other sectors, comprise its focus. FRED-published statistics carry massive weight in the professional financial world.

That some government agency creates yet another index isn’t particularly newsworthy. However, that both proponents and opponents frequently set cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin cash (BCH) as distinctly operating in defiance of central banks, and how the Fed appeals to crypto bank Coinbase for its metric, means decentralized currencies have come of age.

Out Ahead

Going forward, it would also appear as Coinbase adds more currencies perhaps FRED would be compelled to monitor them as well. Whatever the case, the St. Louis Fed has been consistently out ahead of most central banks and economists when it comes to crypto.US Federal Reserve Launches Cryptocurrency Index

That’s a marked contrast to its brethren. Atlanta’s Fed bank openly chastised younger investors to steer clear of crypto. The San Francisco branch pegged bitcoin core’s (BTC) price considerably lower than its near $6,000 present figure, insisting one BTC is probably worth around the cost of mining, slightly under $2,000 per coin. Even the Minneapolis Fed, in trying to be charitable, urged ignoring the currency aspect altogether and instead look toward ‘blockchain technology.’

Again, the St. Louis Fed thinks differently. Just a few months ago it caused a stir within the ecosystem by publishing a meditation on BTC, putting forth the idea it can be considered alongside the dollar. Its Governor James Bullard, however, is much more cautious. Acknowledging crypto as being a real future of money, he explained, “Cryptocurrencies may unwittingly be pushing in the wrong direction in trying to solve an important social problem, which is how best to facilitate market-based exchange.”

Is the arrival of a FRED crypto index important? Let us know in the comments. 


Images via the Pixabay, FRED.


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Federal Reserve Pres: People Want Dollar, Not Volatile Crypto

Federal Reserve Pres: People Want Dollar, Not Volatile Crypto

St. Louis Federal Reserve President, James Bullard, was recently interviewed at this year’s Consensus conference in New York City. That a top US economic policy maker was in attendance is victory enough; however, he was asked his opinions on cryptocurrency going forward by CNBC Global Markets Reporter Seema Mody. He explained he found the phenomenon “interesting,” and how more cryptos being issued all time necessitates keeping an “eye” on them. Mr. Bullard also compared the use case for cryptocurrencies with that of the dollar, and whether the former posed a threat to the latter.  

Also read: Bitpay Enables Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin Core (BTC) for Tax Payments

Federal Reserve President Attends Crypto Conference

Federal Reserve President, James Bullard, gave a presentation at this year’s giant Consensus conference in New York City. Reread that sentence. A sitting Fed policy maker thought it important enough to attend a crypto soiree. That’s news enough. But more importantly, President Bullard gave a presentation on the government’s current thinking about cryptocurrency.

In his talk, he acknowledged crypto is facilitating trade that might otherwise not occur. He couldn’t help himself by mentioning illegal activity (and we all know fiat currencies are never used in illegal activity), but he did describe decentralized money’s lean toward frictionless transactions (especially with regard to costs/fees) as being an advancement.

Federal Reserve Pres: People Want Dollar, Not Volatile Crypto
Mr. Bullard and Ms. Mody

The Fed policy maker reserved the bulk of his comments, both in the presentation and during a post-game interview with CNBC, to talk about the problems in crypto as he sees them. One issue is simply the number of currencies being offered. The 12th St. Louis Fed President feels this over complicates matters, especially with regard to exchange rates and volatility.

Asked if cryptocurrencies pose a threat to the dollar, Mr. Bullard, 56, answered he didn’t think so. Global Markets Reporter Seema Mody, who is covering Consensus for CNBC this year, quickly followed up with a “but it could be?” The Fed President was noncommittal, choosing instead to shrug and give the pat answer about no one really knowing what the future holds. He emphasized how since its creation the US dollar has vanquished nearly all currency competition due to its being backed by the world’s strongest economy. It’s abundantly clear, Mr. Bullard suggested, people want the dollar and not crypto … at least at the moment.

Fed Coin on the Horizon?

Ms. Mody pressed Mr. Bullard about his presence at the conference, asking if this was a hint of things to come with regard to a future coin birthed by the Fed, a Fed Coin? Interestingly he didn’t dismiss the idea outwardly, and instead said they’d for sure look at the possibility, as the Fed does with many different types of financial innovations. He also assured there wasn’t any plan being hatched at the moment, no imminent Fed Coin coming. Mr. Bullard also wondered aloud what the gains would be by creating such a coin. He smiled subtly, assuring he’s keeping an “open mind.”

Federal Reserve Pres: People Want Dollar, Not Volatile Crypto

His comments seem to be less strident than statements issued by the St. Louis Fed on the very subject not even one month ago. “The St. Louis Federal Reserve has published an essay critically evaluating the notion of cryptocurrencies that are issued by central banks,” we detailed. “The article is highly dismissive in presenting what it describes as ‘the non-case for central bank cryptocurrencies,’ concluding that ‘a central bank will not issue cryptocurrencies in the sense of a truly decentralized and permissionless asset that allows users to remain anonymous.’”

A rather curious fact about the St. Louis Fed, one of twelve jurisdictions in the Federal Reserve system (the 8th district serves Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas), is how it has recently become very chatty about crypto. As these pages reported back at the beginning of this year, “Aleksander Berentsen and Fabian Schär of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis have recently published an article that emphasizes many of the benefits of cryptocurrencies. The article states that ‘cryptoassets are well suited to become an important asset class,’ in addition to offering praise regarding a number of the major applications associated with cryptocurrencies.”

Do you think a Fed president attending a crypto conference is meaningful? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Twitter.


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Cryptocurrencies Pushing US Currency to ‘Non-Uniform’ System: Fed’s Bullard

James Bullard, who is at the helm of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, is concerned that cryptocurrencies are complicating the markets. As an official of the centralized government the cryptocurrency market is designed to avoid, Bullard may have stood out at Consensus 2018, which is a blockchain technology summit hosted by CoinDesk. But that didn’t

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