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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues

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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues

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Cryptocurrency has its critics, but it’s becoming an increasingly mainstream option for retail and institutional investors alike. In this Kenan Insight, we share some thoughts from former Co-president of Morgan Stanley Zoe Cruz and Rethinc. Labs Faculty Director Eric Ghysels on whether crypto has reached a tipping point for adoption by individual investors.

The tremendous growth in cryptocurrency trading has included frequent pump-and-dump (P&D) schemes. The resulting volatility has raised both excitement and concern about exploitation and fraud. Unlike the stock market, where P&D schemes can last for months, in the cryptocurrency market the price and volume inflations last just minutes, making it is almost impossible for those not in the pump group to participate. P&Ds are organized through pump groups who communicate through heavily encrypted message platforms. Investors learn about the groups through ads on social media.

Our research examines 500 cryptocurrency P&D schemes to better understand their timing, characteristics and impact. As cryptocurrency exchanges think about regulating P&Ds, our researchers seek to understand who is currently benefiting and what these “cryptobloggers” do to the health of the cryptocurrency market.

Faculty Director of the Rethinc. FinTech Lab, Eric Ghysels was featured as the keynote speaker at the 2nd Crypto Asset Lab Conference. The conference, which took place on Tuesday, October 27th, focuses on all aspects of bitcoin and crypto assets, especially those pertaining to investment, banking, finance, monetary economics, and regulation. Topics included cryptocurrency adoption and transition dynamics, digital cash and payment systems, economics and/or game theoretic analysis of cryptocurrency protocols, economic and monetary aspects of cryptocurrencies and the legal, ethical and societal aspects of (decentralized) cryptocurrencies.

Join Strategic Advisor to the CEO of Ripple and former Co-President of Morgan Stanley Zoe Cruz as she discusses the impact of adding cryptocurrencies to a traditional portfolio.

Pump-and-dump schemes (P&Ds) are pervasive in the cryptocurrency market. We find that P&Ds lead to short-term bubbles featuring dramatic increases in prices, volume, and volatility. Prices peak within minutes and quick reversals follow. The evidence we document, including price run-ups before P&Ds start, implies significant wealth transfers between insiders and outsiders.

This paper examines price discovery and liquidity provision in the secondary market for bitcoin -- an asset that has no observable fundamentals and is associated with a high level of speculative trading. Based on a comprehensive dataset of the full limit order book of BTC-e over the 2013-2014 period, we find that order informativeness generally increases with order aggressiveness within the first 10 tiers, but that this pattern reverses in the outer layers of the book. In a high volatility environment, aggressive orders seem to be more attractive to informed agents, as reflected by the increased information content of such orders, although market liquidity appears to migrate outward in response to the information asymmetry.

We use the GARCH-MIDAS model to extract the long- and short-term volatility components of cryptocurrencies. As potential drivers of Bitcoin volatility, we consider measures of volatility and risk in the US stock market as well as a measure of global economic activity. We find that S&P 500 realized volatility has a negative and highly significant effect on long-term Bitcoin volatility.