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Bitcointicker.co provides a very slick, very active display that purports to be all the ask/bid transactions on several exchanges (Gemini, Kraken, Coinbase, and others).

Where does it get its data? AFAIU all the bitcoin transactions inside an exchange are just bookkeeping they do and the only real blockchain-recorded transactions are when you send bitcoin into the exchange, take bitcoin out of the exchange, and all the balancing activity the exchange needs to do to buy and sell actual bitcoin to keep themselves balanced. So none of these can be actual bitcoin-network transactions (appearing in the mempool), right?

Only thing I can think of is that somehow when you become an SEC regulated exchange you've got to provide public visibility to the market - just like the NYSE or Nasdaq. Is that the case? Or is it something else?

I do see from the tag ticker that different exchanges provide different APIs for this. So my actual question is: Why? Are they required to? Because if it isn't a (legal, regulatory) requirement on them I can't see why they do it.

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Where does it get its data?

It gets it from the APIs of those exchanges. For example, here's the Coinbase/GDAX API for order book information: https://docs.pro.coinbase.com/#get-product-order-book

AFAIU all the bitcoin transactions inside an exchange are just bookkeeping they do and the only real blockchain-recorded transactions are when you send bitcoin into the exchange, take bitcoin out of the exchange, and all the balancing activity the exchange needs to do to buy and sell actual bitcoin to keep themselves balanced. So none of these can be actual bitcoin-network transactions (appearing in the mempool), right?

Correct, none of this data is from the actual blockchain. It's entirely from the exchange APIs.

Only thing I can think of is that somehow when you become an SEC regulated exchange you've got to provide public visibility to the market - just like the NYSE or Nasdaq. Is that the case? Or is it something else?

I don't think cryptocurrency exchanges are regulated by the SEC since they aren't securities exchanges. It's just a standard feature that traders will expect on an exchange, much like you'd expect a speedometer on your car as a given. Order book information is necessary for traders to make informed trades, and if the exchange didn't make it available it would be missing key functionality.

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  • I guess they thought they were regulated by the SEC because they're all (or most) trying to create ETFs and so on and that would be one of the steps ...
    – davidbak
    Feb 6 at 4:24
  • @davidbak It's not the crypto exchanges themselves creating ETFs, so those exchanges themselves are not regulated by the SEC. There are Bitcoin ETFs that are being created by other companies though, and the companies creating those ETFs would have to go through the SEC process and get them listed on a regular securities exchange.
    – ieatpizza
    Feb 6 at 4:27
  • ok. I thought Gemini had tried to create one (and failed to get it approved) but I am probably mistaken. thanks!
    – davidbak
    Feb 6 at 4:29
  • @davidbak Actually I've heard of that (forgot about it), but they would probably be doing it separately from their crypto exchange business. But regardless, the feature you're asking about is still just a standard feature, not something only for regulatory purposes.
    – ieatpizza
    Feb 6 at 4:32

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