IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/awi/wpaper/0690.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Does mining fuel bubbles? An experimental study on cryptocurrency markets

Author

Listed:
  • Lambrecht, Marco
  • Sofianos, Andis
  • Xu, Yilong

Abstract

Recent years have seen an emergence of decentralized cryptocurrencies that were initially devised as a payment system, but are increasingly being recognized as investment instruments. The price trajectories of cryptocurrencies have raised questions among economists and policymakers, especially since such markets can have spillover effects on the real economy. We focus on two key properties of cryptocurrencies that may contribute to their pricing. In a controlled lab setting, we test whether pricing is influenced by costly mining, as well as entry barriers to the mining technology. Our mining design resembles the proof-of-work mechanism employed by the vast majority of permissionless cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. In our second condition, half of the traders have access to the mining technology, while the other half can only participate in the market. This is designed to model high concentration in cryptocurrency mining. In the absence of mining, no bubbles or crashes occur. When costly mining is introduced, assets are traded at prices more than 200% higher than fundamental value and the bubble peaks relatively late in the trading periods. When only half of the traders can mine, prices surge much earlier and reach values of almost 400% higher than the fundamental value at the peak of the market. Overall, the proof-of-work mechanism seems to fuel overpricing, which is further intensified by concentration in mining.

Suggested Citation

  • Lambrecht, Marco & Sofianos, Andis & Xu, Yilong, 2020. "Does mining fuel bubbles? An experimental study on cryptocurrency markets," Working Papers 0690, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0690
    Note: This paper is part of http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/volltextserver/view/schriftenreihen/sr-3.html
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn/resolver.pl?urn=urn:nbn:de:bsz:16-heidok-288937
    File Function: Frontdoor page on HeiDOK
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/volltextserver/28893/1/Lambrecht_Sofianos_Xu_2020_dp690.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bossaerts, Peter & Suzuki, Shinsuke & O’Doherty, John P., 2019. "Perception of intentionality in investor attitudes towards financial risks," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 189-197.
    2. Schilling, Linda & Uhlig, Harald, 2019. "Some simple bitcoin economics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 16-26.
    3. Angerer, Martin & Szymczak, Wiebke, 2019. "The impact of endogenous and exogenous cash inflows in experimental asset markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 216-238.
    4. Füllbrunn, Sascha & Rau, Holger A. & Weitzel, Utz, 2014. "Does ambiguity aversion survive in experimental asset markets?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PB), pages 810-826.
    5. Brice Corgnet & Mark Desantis & David Porter, 2018. "What Makes a Good Trader? On the Role of Intuition and Reflection on Trader Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 73(3), pages 1113-1137, June.
    6. Charles N. Noussair & Steven Tucker, 2016. "Cash Inflows And Bubbles In Asset Markets With Constant Fundamental Values," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(3), pages 1596-1606, July.
    7. Utz Weitzel & Christoph Huber & Jürgen Huber & Michael Kirchler & Florian Lindner & Julia Rose & Lauren Cohen, 2020. "Bubbles and Financial Professionals [Margin, short sell, and lotteries in experimental asset markets]," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 33(6), pages 2659-2696.
    8. Biais, Bruno & Bisière, Christophe & Bouvard, Matthieu & Casamatta, Catherine & Menkveld, Albert J., 2018. "Equilibrium Bitcoin Pricing," TSE Working Papers 18-973, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Nov 2021.
    9. Nengjiu Ju & Jianjun Miao, 2012. "Ambiguity, Learning, and Asset Returns," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(2), pages 559-591, March.
    10. Corgnet, Brice & Hernán-González, Roberto & Kujal, Praveen, 2020. "On booms that never bust: Ambiguity in experimental asset markets with bubbles," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 110(C).
    11. Ben Greiner, 2015. "Subject pool recruitment procedures: organizing experiments with ORSEE," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(1), pages 114-125, July.
    12. Zengjing Chen & Larry Epstein, 2002. "Ambiguity, Risk, and Asset Returns in Continuous Time," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1403-1443, July.
    13. Sean Foley & Jonathan R Karlsen & Tālis J Putniņš, 2019. "Sex, Drugs, and Bitcoin: How Much Illegal Activity Is Financed through Cryptocurrencies?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 32(5), pages 1798-1853.
    14. KiHoon Hong, 0. "Bitcoin as an alternative investment vehicle," Information Technology and Management, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-11.
    15. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, in: Charles R. Plott & Vernon L. Smith (ed.), Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 113, pages 1061-1073, Elsevier.
    16. Rainer Böhme & Nicolas Christin & Benjamin Edelman & Tyler Moore, 2015. "Bitcoin: Economics, Technology, and Governance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 213-238, Spring.
    17. Plott, Charles R. & Gray, Peter, 1990. "The multiple unit double auction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 245-258, March.
    18. Guo, Feng & Chen, Carl R. & Huang, Ying Sophie, 2011. "Markets contagion during financial crisis: A regime-switching approach," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 95-109, January.
    19. Ernan Haruvy & Charles N. Noussair, 2006. "The Effect of Short Selling on Bubbles and Crashes in Experimental Spot Asset Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(3), pages 1119-1157, June.
    20. Adam S. Hayes, 2019. "Bitcoin price and its marginal cost of production: support for a fundamental value," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(7), pages 554-560, April.
    21. Andreas Hefti & Steve Heinke & Frédéric Schneider, 2016. "Mental capabilities, trading styles, and asset market bubbles: theory and experiment," ECON - Working Papers 234, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    22. Vernon L. Smith, 1962. "An Experimental Study of Competitive Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 111-111.
    23. Bruno Biais & Christophe Bisière & Matthieu Bouvard & Catherine Casamatta, 2019. "The Blockchain Folk Theorem," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 32(5), pages 1662-1715.
    24. Steven Tucker & Yilong Xu, 2020. "Nonspeculative Bubbles Revisited: Speculation Does Matter," Working Papers in Economics 20/09, University of Waikato.
    25. Baur, Dirk G. & Hong, KiHoon & Lee, Adrian D., 2018. "Bitcoin: Medium of exchange or speculative assets?," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 177-189.
    26. KiHoon Hong, 2017. "Bitcoin as an alternative investment vehicle," Information Technology and Management, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 265-275, December.
    27. repec:zbw:bofrdp:2017_027 is not listed on IDEAS
    28. Brice Corgnet & Mark Desantis & David Porter, 2018. "What Makes a Good Trader? : On the Role of Reflection and Intuition on Trader Performance," Post-Print hal-02312062, HAL.
    29. Manaa, Mehdi & Chimienti, Maria Teresa & Adachi, Mitsutoshi & Athanassiou, Phoebus & Balteanu, Irina & Calza, Alessandro & Devaney, Conall & Diaz Fernandez, Ester & Eser, Fabian & Ganoulis, Ioannis & , 2019. "Crypto-Assets: Implications for financial stability, monetary policy, and payments and market infrastructures," Occasional Paper Series 223, European Central Bank.
    30. Razen, Michael & Huber, Jürgen & Kirchler, Michael, 2017. "Cash inflow and trading horizon in asset markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 359-384.
    31. Cueva, Carlos & Rustichini, Aldo, 2015. "Is financial instability male-driven? Gender and cognitive skills in experimental asset markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 330-344.
    32. Charles Noussair & Stephane Robin & Bernard Ruffieux, 2001. "Price Bubbles in Laboratory Asset Markets with Constant Fundamental Values," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 4(1), pages 87-105, June.
    33. Max Raskin & David Yermack, 2018. "Digital currencies, decentralized ledgers and the future of central banking," Chapters, in: Peter Conti-Brown & Rosa M. Lastra (ed.), Research Handbook on Central Banking, chapter 22, pages 474-486, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    34. Cheah, Eng-Tuck & Fry, John, 2015. "Speculative bubbles in Bitcoin markets? An empirical investigation into the fundamental value of Bitcoin," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 32-36.
    35. Oechssler, Jörg & Schmidt, Carsten & Schnedler, Wendelin, 2011. "On the ingredients for bubble formation: Informed traders and communication," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 1831-1851.
    36. Antoine J. BRUGUIER & Steven R. QUARTZ & Peter BOSSAERTS, 2010. "Exploring the Nature of 'Trader Intuition'," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 10-02, Swiss Finance Institute.
    37. Catherine C. Eckel & Sascha C. Füllbrunn, 2015. "Thar SHE Blows? Gender, Competition, and Bubbles in Experimental Asset Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(2), pages 906-920, February.
    38. Easley, David & O'Hara, Maureen & Basu, Soumya, 2019. "From mining to markets: The evolution of bitcoin transaction fees," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 91-109.
    39. Mark van Boening & Vernon L. Smith & Charissa P. Wellford, 2000. "Dividend timing and behavior in laboratory asset markets," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 16(3), pages 567-583.
    40. Smith, Vernon L & Suchanek, Gerry L & Williams, Arlington W, 1988. "Bubbles, Crashes, and Endogenous Expectations in Experimental Spot Asset Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1119-1151, September.
    41. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Lambrecht, Marco & Sofianos, Andis & Xu, Yilong, 2021. "Does mining fuel bubbles? An experimental study on cryptocurrency markets," Working Papers 0703, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    2. Corgnet, Brice & Hernán-González, Roberto & Kujal, Praveen, 2020. "On booms that never bust: Ambiguity in experimental asset markets with bubbles," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 110(C).
    3. Utz Weitzel & Christoph Huber & Jürgen Huber & Michael Kirchler & Florian Lindner & Julia Rose & Lauren Cohen, 2020. "Bubbles and Financial Professionals [Margin, short sell, and lotteries in experimental asset markets]," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 33(6), pages 2659-2696.
    4. Zhengyang Bao & Andreas Leibbrandt & ple391, 2019. "Thar she resurges: The case of assets that lack positive fundamental value," Monash Economics Working Papers 12-19, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    5. Marquardt, Philipp & Noussair, Charles N & Weber, Martin, 2019. "Rational expectations in an experimental asset market with shocks to market trends," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 116-140.
    6. Ciril Bosch-Rosa & Thomas Meissner & Antoni Bosch-Domènech, 2018. "Cognitive bubbles," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 21(1), pages 132-153, March.
    7. Te Bao & Edward Halim & Charles N. Noussair & Yohanes E. Riyanto, 2021. "Managerial incentives and stock price dynamics: an experimental approach," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 24(2), pages 617-648, June.
    8. Stéphane Robin & Kateřina Strážnická & Marie Claire Villeval, 2021. "Bubbles and incentives: an experiment on asset markets," Economic and Political Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 68-89, January.
    9. Shinichi Hirota & Juergen Huber & Thomas Stock & Shyam Sunder, 2018. "Speculation and Price Indeterminacy in Financial Markets: An Experimental Study," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2134, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    10. Owen Powell & Natalia Shestakova, 2017. "Experimental asset markets: behavior and bubbles," Chapters, in: Morris Altman (ed.), Handbook of Behavioural Economics and Smart Decision-Making, chapter 21, pages 375-391, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Giamattei, Marcus & Huber, Jürgen & Lambsdorff, Johann Graf & Nicklisch, Andreas & Palan, Stefan, 2020. "Who inflates the bubble? Forecasters and traders in experimental asset markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 110(C).
    12. Stephen Cheung & Stefan Palan, 2012. "Two heads are less bubbly than one: team decision-making in an experimental asset market," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 15(3), pages 373-397, September.
    13. Debapriya Jojo Paul & Julia Henker & Sian Owen, 2019. "The aggregate impacts of tournament incentives in experimental asset markets," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 22(2), pages 441-476, June.
    14. Palan, Stefan, 2010. "Digital options and efficiency in experimental asset markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 506-522, September.
    15. Michael Kirchler & Jurgen Huber & Thomas Stockl, 2012. "Thar She Bursts: Reducing Confusion Reduces Bubbles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 865-883, April.
    16. Cary Deck & Maroš Servátka & Steven Tucker, 2020. "Designing Call Auction Institutions to Eliminate Price Bubbles: Is English Dutch the Best?," American Economic Review: Insights, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 225-236, June.
    17. Anthony Newell & Lionel Page, 2017. "Countercyclical risk aversion and self-reinforcing feedback loops in experimental asset markets," QuBE Working Papers 050, QUT Business School.
    18. Christoph Huber & Parampreet C. Bindra & Daniel Kleinlercher, 2019. "Design-features of bubble-prone experimental asset markets with a constant FV," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 5(2), pages 197-209, December.
    19. Ferri, Giovanni & Ploner, Matteo & Rizzolli, Matteo, 2021. "Trading fast and slow: The role of deliberation in experimental financial markets," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(C).
    20. Cueva, Carlos & Rustichini, Aldo, 2015. "Is financial instability male-driven? Gender and cognitive skills in experimental asset markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 330-344.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cryptocurrency; financial market experiment; Bitcoin; bubbles;
    All these keywords.

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0690. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/awheide.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Gabi Rauscher The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Gabi Rauscher to update the entry or send us the correct address (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/awheide.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.