Proof-of-What? Detecting Original Consensus Algorithms in Cryptocurrencies with a Four-Factor Model
9 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2019
Date Written: May 21, 2019
This study applies Fama-French-style factor loading analysis to cryptocurrency financial performance data to determine the originality of 32 reportedly novel consensus algorithms (“proofs”) and 20 hybrid consensus mechanisms as compared to conventional proof-of-work and proof-of-stake using a sample of 302 cryptocurrencies. Only 14 out of 32 new consensus algorithms and 12 out of 20 hybrid mechanisms are found to be truly original. Innovative consensus protocols are not associated with superior returns while original hybrid solutions are. The findings allow investors to select coins with original “proofs” and to explore performance implications of consensus algorithms. For future research, the applicability of market, size, proof and age factors for risk and attribution analysis of cryptocurrency markets is evidenced.
Keywords: cryptocurrency, consensus algorithm, proof-of-work, proof-of-stake, risk factor, factor portfolio
JEL Classification: C22, G12, O33
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