Topic: A Model of Cryptocurrencies
Speaker: Wei Xiong, Trumbull-Adams Professor of Finance and Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics and Bendheim Center for Finance, Princeton University
Date: September 12 (Wednesday)
Location: Building 1 Room 303
The surge in the number of initial coin offerings (ICOs) in recent years has led to both excitement about cryptocurrencies as a new funding model for innovations in the digital age, and to anxiety about a potential bubble. This paper develops a model to address several basic questions: What determines the fundamental value of a cryptocurrency? How would market trading interact with its fundamentals in an uncertain and opaque environment? In our model, a cryptocurrency constitutes membership in a platform developed to facilitate trans-actions of certain goods or services. The complementarity in the household’s participation in the platform acts as an endogenous, yet fragile, fundamental of the cryptocurrency. There exist either two or no equilibria, and the two equilibria, when they exist, have disparate properties. When the transaction demand for the platform is unobservable, the trading price and volume of the cryptocurrency serve as important channels for not only aggregating private information about its fundamental, but also facilitating coordination on a certain equilibrium.
About the speaker:
WEI XIONG is Trumbull-Adams Professor of Finance and Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics and Bendheim Center for Finance, Princeton University. His research interests center on capital market imperfections and behavioral finance. He has published in top economics and finance journals on a wide range of research topics, such as speculative bubbles, asset pricing with heterogeneous beliefs, asset market contagion, limited investor attention, non-standard investor preferences, rollover risk and other financing frictions faced by firms. His current research interests focus on financialization of commodity markets, belief distortions in the recent financial crisis, and China’s financial system.