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Federal Reserve Branch Adds Cryptocurrency Price Indexes [Yes, Really]

Josiah Wilmoth
federal reserve

The St. Louis branch of the US Federal Reserve has added four cryptocurrency price trackers to its extensive research database.

St. Louis Federal Reserve Adds Crypto Price Charts

Announced on Tuesday, the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED), a database curated by the St. Louis Fed, will now include pricing data for bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH), and litecoin (LTC), going back to as early as 2014 in the case of bitcoin.

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Data points are obtained from San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage platform Coinbase and updated daily at 5 pm PST.

Presumably, the St. Louis Fed could add pricing data for ethereum classic (ETC) once Coinbase formally lists it on its platform, a move that it has said will occur in the near future.

The Fed’s Complicated Relationship with Cryptocurrency

As CCN reported, the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve has been surprisingly open to cryptocurrency, both as a technology and an asset class.

St. Louis Fed. Governor James Bullard recently spoke at cryptocurrency conference Consensus, which was held last month in New York. While not exactly bullish, his comments envisioned a future in which cryptocurrencies play an important role. He expressed concern that cryptocurrencies could cause the monetary landscape to revert back to a “non-uniform currency system,” such as existed in past centuries.

“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,” he said.

Moreover, the St. Louis Fed published an article earlier this year in which it noted that bitcoin is not really all that different from “regular currency” such as the US dollar. Specifically, the Fed said that both BTC and USD are backed by nothing, scarce, and — at least in the case of cash — decentralized.

However, officials at other branches of the Fed have been less amicable toward cryptocurrencies.

Raphael Bostic, who heads the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, warned young people at a recent conference not to invest in cryptocurrencies, which he compared to hype-driven collectibles such as Beanie Babies.

Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari, similarly, said in May that the cryptocurrency market has “become a farce” and that blockchain technology is “probably more interesting and has more potential” than bitcoin.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco released a report which argued that the true value of bitcoin is $1,800, a figure that roughly correlates to the cost of mining one bitcoin. The bank arrived at this figure by valuing bitcoin by similar metrics as those often applied to entrenched commodities like gold and oil.

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