IEX co-founder Ronan Ryan on why bitcoin exchanges will eventually charge for market data

Episode 32 of Season 2 of The Scoop was recorded remotely with The Block’s Frank Chaparro and Ronan Ryan, president of IEX, the Investor’s Exchange.

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The cost of market data is an ongoing debate in the traditional finance world, but in crypto, not so much. But during this week's episode of The Scoop, Ronan Ryan, head of IEX, the Investor's Exchange, said that's going to change.

The method by which Wall Street exchanges make money hand over fist is all but nonexistent in the digital asset space, with none of the major digital asset exchanges charging for market data. This is because trading fees are more than high enough to keep the lights on. 

Still, Ryan told The Scoop that he'd seen this before in the U.S. equities market. Once, equities exchanges rarely charged for data. Now, it's the standard. Ryan saw the change first-hand, since IEX is a U.S.-based exchange dealing primarily in equities. Once a fledgling firm, it now does more volume than the London Stock Exchange.  

"Maybe U.S. equities is kind of like a litmus test and it was just slightly ahead of the grain in terms of what you'll see in your [the digital asset] space," he said. "But I wouldn't be surprised to see exchanges charging for data down the line like exchanges used to not charge for data in U.S. equities."

Regulators have also begun to take notice, with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice partnering to take a closer look at market data fees from exchanges like Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange. Ryan broke down the market data discussion from both the traditional and crypto viewpoints on this week's episode. He also explored:

  • What it's like to host a podcast and what value he hopes it adds 
  • Why crypto exchanges aren't charging for market data...yet
  • Why traditional finance giants like Fidelity are urging regulators to take a close look at market data fees
  • How regulators are slowly but surely coming up with parameters for rebates, fees and the selling of market data
  • How IEX led the way on the implementation of a speed bump, faced pushback from Nasdaq and others only to eventually have their idea go mainstream

Listen to this week's episode on Apple, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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