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Cryptocurrency, Imperfect Information, and Fraud

Author

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  • Li, Yiting
  • Wang, Chien-Chiang

Abstract

We study cryptocurrency in a monetary economy with imperfect information. The network imperfection provides traders opportunities to engage in double spending fraud, but the trackability of transaction messages allows us to impose proof-of-work (PoW), proof-of-stake (PoS), and currency exclusion to mitigate fraud incentives. However, PoW consumes energy, and PoS requires extra cryptocurrency to be held as deposits, so deterring fraud may not be optimal. We find that forks can serve as signals to detect double spending fraud and to trigger punishments. If the probability is high that forks appear under double spending, imposing PoW and PoS to deter fraud is optimal; otherwise, it is optimal to save the cost but allow for double spending. Finally, by endogenizing the incentives to double spend and the size of PoW and PoS, we show that cryptocurrency economy can achieve efficient allocation as the imperfectness of the internet is sufficiently low.

Suggested Citation

  • Li, Yiting & Wang, Chien-Chiang, 2019. "Cryptocurrency, Imperfect Information, and Fraud," MPRA Paper 94309, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:94309
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/94309/1/MPRA_paper_94309.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ricardo Cavalcanti & Ed Nosal, 2011. "Counterfeiting as Private Money in Mechanism Design," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43, pages 625-636, October.
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    3. Guillaume Rocheteau & Randall Wright, 2005. "Money in Search Equilibrium, in Competitive Equilibrium, and in Competitive Search Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 175-202, January.
    4. Yiting Li & Guillaume Rocheteau & Pierre-Olivier Weill, 2012. "Liquidity and the Threat of Fraudulent Assets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(5), pages 000.
    5. Shell, Karl & Wright, Randall, 1993. "Indivisibilities, Lotteries, and Sunspot Equilibria," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 3(1), pages 1-17, January.
    6. Chiu, Jonathan & Koeppl, Thorsten V, 2017. "The economics of cryptocurrencies – bitcoin and beyond," Working Paper Series 6688, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
    7. Jonathan Chiu & Thorsten V. Koeppl, 2017. "The Economics Of Cryptocurrencies - Bitcoin And Beyond," Working Paper 1389, Economics Department, Queen's University.
    8. David Andolfatto, 2007. "Incentives and the Limits to Deflationary Policy," Discussion Papers dp07-14, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    cryptocurrency; money; search; imperfect information; fraud;

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)

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