Limits to Arbitrage in Markets with Stochastic Settlement Latency

  • Nikolaus Hautsch (Contributor)
  • Scheuch, C. (Contributor)
  • Stefan Voigt (Contributor)

Activity: Talk or presentationScience to science


Distributed ledger technologies rely on consensus protocols confronting traders with random waiting times until the transfer of ownership is accomplished. This time-consuming settlement process exposes arbitrageurs to price risk and imposes limits to arbitrage. We derive theoretical arbitrage boundaries under general assumptions and show that they increase with expected latency, latency uncertainty, spot volatility, and risk aversion. Using high-frequency data from the Bitcoin network, we estimate arbitrage boundaries due to settlement latency of on average 124 basis points, covering 88% of the observed cross-exchange price differences. We document cross-exchange flows chasing arbitrage opportunities only if we account for transaction cost and settlement latency. Settlement through decentralized systems thus induces non-trivial frictions affecting market efficiency and price formation.
Period9 Sept 201911 Sept 2019
Event titleVienna Congress on Mathematical Finance (VCMF)
Event typeUnkonwn
Degree of RecognitionNational