Bitcoin Exchange Rates: How Integrated are Markets?
49 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2018 Last revised: 3 Jul 2019
Date Written: September 14, 2018
We study trading of Bitcoin against US dollar (BTCUSD) on exchanges in three continents, Bitfinex, Bitstamp and Coinbase Pro. We use a high frequency dataset that contains transactions and order book information. The BTCUSD market is highly liquid in terms of bid-ask spreads and order book depth. While spreads are even lower than in equity markets, prices are not integrated across exchanges. Persistent differences exist between the three exchanges in terms of trade prices and posted prices often violating no-arbitrage assumptions. The liquidity of the Bitcoin exchanges is predominantly determined by local factors and is essentially independent of liquidity in equity and FX markets. This suggests that despite the virtual nature of Bitcoin, local jurisdictional factors affect the flow of capital between low and high price jurisdictions.
Keywords: Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies, Market Integration, Liquidity, Bid-Ask Spread
JEL Classification: G10, G12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation