Journal articles

The impact of transparent money flows: Effects of stablecoin transfers on the returns and trading volume of Bitcoin

Ante, L., Fiedler, I. & Strehle, E. (2021)
Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 170, 120851

Abstract: Stablecoins are digital currencies that peg to non-volatile values, most commonly a fiat currency. Unlike fiat currency, stablecoins are fully transparent—every transfer is recorded on a public blockchain. In this regard, they can serve as a valuable case study of the disruptive effect which transparent money flows could have on financial markets. We analyze how 1,587 stablecoin transfers of $1 million or more between April 2019 and March 2020 affected Bitcoin returns and trading volume. We find highly significant positive abnormal trading volume and significant abnormal returns in the hours around stablecoin transfers. The sender and receiver of each transfer are categorized as (1) unknown, (2) cryptocurrency exchange or (3) stablecoin treasury. The effects on trading volume and returns differ across the nine resulting subsamples, suggesting that market participants presume different transfer motives and varying degrees of information asymmetry for each sender-receiver combination. The findings illustrate the feedback effects between cryptocurrency markets and stablecoin usage and suggest that transparent money flows can increase market efficiency.

Keywords: Market efficiency; Informational efficiency; Price discovery; Asset pricing; Event study; Transaction activity; Tether; Cryptocurrency

Doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2021.120851

Other: Presented at The 2nd Crypto Asset Lab Conference (CAL2020) by the Crypto Asset Lab of Università Milano-Bicocca, organised jointly with the Joint Research Centre is the European Commission’s science and knowledge service. {Slides} {Video}

Wash trading at cryptocurrency exchanges

Le Pennec, G., Fiedler, I. & Ante, L. (2021)
Finance Research Letters 101982, in press

Abstract: Cryptocurrency exchanges allegedly use wash trading to falsely signal their liquidity. We monitored twelve exchanges for metrics of web traffic and for their administered user funds. The exchanges were clustered in three distinct groups based on previous findings: (1) accurately-reporting exchanges, (2) exchanges that engaged in wash trading, (3) exchanges with mixed evidence of wash trading. A comparison of the reported to the predicted trading volume, calibrated on the accurately-reporting exchanges, suggests that group 2 exchanges exaggerate their true volume by a factor of 25 to 50, and exchanges of group 3 by a factor of 1.25 to 33.

Keywords: Bitcoin; Ethereum; Blockchain; Trading volume; Fake volume; Market manipulation

Doi: 10.1016/j.frl.2021.101982

The influence of stablecoin issuances on cryptocurrency markets

Ante, L., Fiedler, I. & Strehle, E. (2021)
Finance Research Letters 41, 101867

Abstract: Stablecoins are digital currencies that are pegged to non-volatile assets. As alternatives to fiat currencies, they constitute an important aspect of cryptocurrency markets. We analyze returns of cryptocurrencies around 565 stablecoin issuances events for seven different stablecoins between April 2019 and March 2020. Our event study reveals market downturns in the week before issuance and positive abnormal returns in the twenty-four hours around the issuance. Effects differ and remain insignificant for some stablecoin subsamples and issuance size does not significantly affect the abnormal returns. We conclude that stablecoin issuances contribute to price discovery and market efficiency of cryptocurrencies.

Keywords: market efficiency; price discovery; asset pricing; tether; bitcoin; ethereum

Doi: 10.1016/j.frl.2020.101867

Pay-to-Win Gaming and its Interrelation with Gambling: Findings from a Representative Population Sample

Steinmetz, F., Fiedler, I., von Meduna, M. & Ante, L. (2021)
Journal of Gambling Studies, in press

Abstract: Pay-to-Win gaming describes a common type of video game design in which players can pay to advance in the game. The frequency and value of payments is unlimited, and payments are linked to players’ competitiveness or progress in the game, which can potentially facilitate problematic behavioral patterns, similar to those known from gambling. Our analyses focus on assessing similarities and differences between Pay-to-Win and different forms of gambling. Based on a survey among 46,136 German adult internet users, this study presents the demographic and socio-economic profile of (1) Pay-to-Win gamers who make purchases in such games, (2) heavy users who conduct daily payments, and (3) gamers who are also gamblers. Motives for making payments were assessed and participation, frequency and spending in gambling by Pay-to-Win gamers are presented. To assess the similarity of Pay-to-Win gaming and gambling, we tested whether Pay-to-Win participation, frequency of payments and problematic gaming behavior are predictors for gambling and cross-tested the opposite effects of gambling on Pay-to-Win. We find that Pay-to-Win gamers are a distinct consumer group with considerable attraction to gambling. High engagement and problematic behavior in one game form affects (over)involvement in the other. Common ground for Pay-to-Win gaming and gambling is the facilitation of recurring payments..

Keywords: Pay-to-Win; Online gambling; Problem gaming; Problem gambling; In-game payments; Consumer protection

Doi: 10.1007/s10899-021-10042-1

Blockchain and energy: A bibliometric analysis and review

Ante, L., Steinmetz, F. & Fiedler, I. (2021)
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 137, 110597

Abstract: Blockchain technology provides an immutable ledger for secure value transactions in a network. This base layer technology has the potential to boost the efficiency of various processes in the energy sector. In this article, the intersection of blockchain and energy is analyzed based on the underlying references of 166 publications via co-citation analysis. Using exploratory factor analysis, six distinct research streams are identified: I. energy market innovation and transformation (through blockchain technology), II. blockchain for data sharing and security, III. energy management in smart grids and scalable systems, IV. information transmission across networks and its applications, V. peer-to-peer energy microgrids, and VI. potential of blockchain technology. For each of these streams, the highest-impact articles are reviewed. In addition, social network analysis allows to reveal the relationships and dependencies between the streams. The results indicate a high degree of homogeneity in this field of research, as the six streams explain more than 71% of variance. The degree to which the streams are centered on blockchain technology varies. While the two most established discourses and the least established one focus at least in part on blockchain, the other three streams prioritize energy issues. It is postulated that specific research fields on this topic are only beginning to emerge, implications are discussed and areas for future research are derived.

Keywords: Distributed ledger; Energy markets; Smart grids; Electricity; Energy trading; Microgrids; Data privacy; Social network analysis; Bitcoin

Doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2020.110597

Smart contracts on the blockchain – A bibliometric analysis and review

Ante, L. (2021)
Telematics and Informatics 57, 101519

Abstract: Smart contracts are decentrally anchored scripts on blockchains or similar infrastructures that allow the transparent execution of predefined processes. Using smart contracts, business logic can be automated and assets such as money become programmable, which opens up previously inaccessible application potential. To date, smart contracts control billions in value. This paper analyzes 468 articles on the topic of smart contracts and their 20,188 references, providing a summary and analysis of the current state of research on smart contracts and identifying intellectual structures and emerging trends. Using exploratory factor analysis for co-citation analysis, six different strands of research are identified that concern technical, social, economic and legal disciplines: I) technical foundations, development and open questions of blockchain networks, II) blockchain and smart contracts for the Internet of Things, III) smart contract standardization, verification and security, IV) blockchain and smart contracts for the disruption of existing processes and industries, V) potentials and challenges of smart contracts, and VI) smart contracts and the law. The interrelations between these groups and individual high-impact publications are visualized using social network analysis. A structured overview of the main strands of research concerning smart contracts, their development over time, the relevance of smart contract platforms in research, and conceptual connections between publications and discourses is obtained. Based on the results, starting points for future research are derived, which offer researchers and practitioners a substantial basis for their work on smart contracts.

Keywords: Distributed ledger; Ethereum; Informetric analysis; Internet of Things; Social network analysis

Doi: 10.1016/j.tele.2020.101519

Abstract: Initial coin offerings (ICOs) represent a novel funding mechanism where digital tokens are issued on the blockchain and sold to investors. One major reason for the success of this financing model is the fact that the issued tokens can immediately be traded on secondary markets. This event study analyzes 250 exchange cross-listings of 135 different tokens issued through ICOs on 22 cryptocurrency exchanges. We find significant abnormal returns of 6.51% on the listing day and 9.97% over a seven-day window around the event. Further analysis shows that the results clearly differ for individual cryptocurrency exchanges, as listings on individual exchanges yield returns of up to 34% on the event day, while others are negligible. An investigation of liquidity-related metrics shows that lower prior trading volume and asset market capitalization have positive effect on listing returns. Investors use phases of high market liquidity to sell off positions around the period of cross-listing events. The results on the cross-listing effects of ICOs may be of relevance to investors/traders, ICO projects, cryptocurrency exchanges and regulators.

Keywords: CryptocurrencyM Cryptocurrency exchanges; Blockchain; Ethereum; Event study; Token sales

Doi: 10.1007/s10203-021-00323-0

Market reaction to large transfers on the Bitcoin blockchain – Do size and motive matter?

Ante, L. & Fiedler, I. (2021)
Finance Research Letters 39, 101619

Abstract: How does the market react to large Bitcoin transactions? We analyze effects of 2,132 transactions involving at least 500 Bitcoins. While results for all transactions are inconclusive, further analysis of transaction size and presumed transfer motives based on publicly known Bitcoin addresses of cryptocurrency exchanges reveals significant price effects depending on the type of transaction. The results indicate that the market recognizes the nature of the transfer and prices in new information.

Keywords: Market efficiency; Informational efficiency; Price discovery; Cryptocurrency; Event study; Transaction activity

Doi: 10.1016/j.frl.2020.101619

Abstract: The Digital Twin (DT) concept is gaining increasing attention with the rapid growth of cyber-physical systems and smart manufacturing. DT comprises the digital reflection, replica or identity of physical systems, objects or assets, which, for example, can be used for industrial health monitoring or process optimization and tracking. This study provides an overview of the intellectual discourses of DT research. The 23,419 references of 647 publications on the topic of DT are empirically analyzed using bibliometric methods to identify underlying connections and research streams. Using explorative factor analysis, seven strands of research are objectively identified. These comprise i) DT as paradigm for the virtual representation of real systems, ii) DT for manufacturing processes and human-robot collaboration, iii) cyber-physical systems for coordination between physical and computational elements, iv) Industry 4.0 for the automation of manufacturing and industrial practice, v) relationship extraction and matching in a social manufacturing context, vi) advances in computing and communication technologies and vii) optimization of geometrical variation in spot welding sequences. An objective overview of the DT discourse, its underlying themes and high-impact publications is presented.

Keywords: Digital twin; Internet of things; Cyber-physical system; Product lifecycle management; Health monitoring; Authentication

Doi: 10.1016/j.mfglet.2021.01.003

Loot boxes are gambling-like elements in video games with harmful potential: Results from a large-scale population survey

von Meduna, M., Steinmetz, F., Ante, L., Reynolds, J. & Fiedler, I. (2020)
Technology in Society 63, 101395

Abstract: Loot boxes are a growing feature in the business models of video game production. They can be obtained through in-game purchases ranging from $0.5 to over $100 and contain chance-based virtual items that may offer an advantage in a video game making them gambling-like products. This study seeks to fill the current research gap with the analysis of a representative survey among 46,136 Internet users. Within this sample 1508 are Pay2Win users and more specifically, 586 of those Pay2Win users (38.9%) purchase loot boxes. Loot box users are an average age of 36.7 years and are predominantly male (55.3%). A high number (45.9%) meet the criteria for problem gambling measured by the PGSI. A significant negative age-effect exists, and a lower level of education has strong positive impacts on loot box participation. Loot box participation and purchasing frequency are positively associated with gambling problems and we argue that loot box purchasers are at risk of experiencing gambling problems.

Keywords: Gaming; Pay to win; pay2win; Problem gambling; Game purchases; Microtransactions

Doi: 10.1016/j.techsoc.2020.101395

Effects of initial coin offering characteristics on cross-listing returns

Meyer, A. & Ante, L. (2020)
Digital Finance 2, 259-283

Abstract: The low level of regulation and publication requirements in cryptocurrency markets leads to little information on cryptocurrency projects being publicly available. Against the background of high information asymmetry, the interpretation of the available information is all the more important. This paper examines how initial coin offering (ICO) characteristics affect cross-listing returns, i.e. whether or not available information is a valuable market signal of quality. For this purpose, we analyze 250 cross-listings of 135 different tokens issued via ICOs and calculate abnormal returns for specific samples using event study methodology. We find that cross-listing returns are driven by success in terms of token performance and project funding, as well as by jurisdiction-specific characteristics like the extent of regulation and domestic market size. Other characteristics such as the choice or change of blockchain infrastructure, token distribution across investors and the project team, campaign duration and whitepaper characteristics also seem to influence perceived project quality and thus cross-listing returns. The results contribute to the literature on cross-listings, cryptocurrency markets and entrepreneurial finance in the form of ICOs. They also make it possible to interpret the information available on the market and enable investors, project teams and cryptocurrency exchanges to evaluate probable market reactions to cross-listings.

Keywords: ICO characteristics; Cryptocurrency exchanges; Blockchain; Ethereum; Event study; Token sales

Doi: 10.1007/s42521-020-00025-z

Abstract: Blockchain technology has become an ubiquitous phenomenon. While the topic originated in computer science, the business and economics literature was comparatively slow to pick up on it. To better understand the academic basis, current developments and future research avenues of the discourse, 9672 cited references of 467 blockchain and cryptocurrency articles from the fields of business and economics are gathered from the Web of Science Core Collection and are analyzed. Five major strands of research are identified through factor analysis. They are reviewed and their interrelation is mapped using social network analysis. Research on (I) market efficiency and economics and (II) asset pricing and valuation is relatively mature and focuses on cryptocurrencies, while research on (III) the principles and applications of blockchain technology, (IV) transactions and anonymity and (V) monetary theory and policy lacks maturity. Potential paths for future research are pointed out and in conclusion, it is assessed that this young field of research still leaves plenty of room for manoeuvre. A scientific place next to Nakamoto (2008) is still available for existing, emerging and new research streams.

Keywords: Distributed ledger; Bitcoin; Informetric analysis; Bibliometric analysis; Social network analysis

Doi: 10.1007/s11192-020-03492-8

I’ll soon add the other publications and research projects. For now, you can find them on my Google Scholar profile.