From the standpoint of investors, the cornerstone of the virtual currency market is its volatility. With price fluctuations at every corner, arbitrage-savvy investors would consider the cryptocurrency market a paradise. However, a recent report from Bitwise suggests otherwise.
The report presented to the SEC by the crypto-centric investment firm, Bitwise Asset Management, captured the arbitrage in the Bitcoin [BTC] market over the past 18 months. However, the crux of the research was the difference between actual volume and reported volume, which recorded a deviation of a whopping 95 percent.
It must be noted that the “arbitrage” in question refers to the variance in Bitcoin prices on exchanges, including Binance, Bitfinex, Kraken, Bitstamp, Coinbase, BitFlyer, Gemini, itBit, Bittrex, and Poloniex. This is because these exchanges pose “actual volume”, according to a prior study done by Bitwise.
Looking at the monthly average price deviation based on the price listed by the ten aforementioned exchanges, a consistent decline was seen in 2018. The price deviation in December 2017, when the Bitcoin bull-run began, was over 0.7 percent and since then, the deviation has not crossed 0.5 percent.
January 2018 saw the highest deviation in 2018, accounting for over 0.45 percent, which soon fell to under 0.1 percent by July. As the market went into a freefall after the Bitcoin Cash [BCH] hardfork, the deviation increased to over 0.15 percent. February 2019 saw the lowest deviation in over 15 months when a deviation of 0.05 percent was recorded.
Additionally, the average spread of the 10 exchanges varied from Coinbase Pro’s $0.01 to Bitfiniex’s $0.10, indicative of the accurate tracking between exchanges and small margin for arbitrage trading.
Bitwise cited three main reasons for the consistency in BTC prices across major exchanges.