Bitcoin Price Dynamics: The Stark Contrast Between P2P and Exchange Trading

Year 2018
Author Jackie Johnson, Mark Holub
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Blockchain / Cryptocurrencies

With Bitcoin’s price reaching nearly US$20,000 in December 2017, the decision was made to examine, in monetary terms, the Bitcoin market in US dollars, the euro and the UK pound to highlight the fact that peer-to-peer (P2P) traders face a very different market to those trading via a Bitcoin exchange. We find that there are enormous differences in the premiums paid for bitcoins, especially at times of extreme price changes; not only are there massive differences between P2P and exchange trading but premiums also vary across currencies and exchanges. In addition, we are able to calculate the proportion of exchange trades above and below the market, potentially providing a useful tool for developing a low risk trading strategy by identifying exchanges where bitcoins are more frequently purchased below the market price and exchanges where the majority of trades are above the market. Allowing a buy low, sell high strategy to be developed.