Crazy stat of the day: You can trade cryptocurrencies on over 170+ different exchanges throughout the world.
Compare this to the stock markets in the United States which have a whopping…2. You know them very well by now (NYSE and Nasdaq), but these markets have had decades of consolidation and mergers.
While this is not an apples-to-apples comparison, cryptocurrency exchange consolidation is a natural market force that will happen eventually.
However, we do not know if this will take months, years…or even decades.
The abundance of choices in exchanges presents a multitude of problems, one of which is a large distribution of prices across all platforms.
Many Exchanges Breeds Many Problems
New markets such as cryptocurrencies all experience the following problems:
- Transactional inefficiency
- Differences in prices
- Changing spreads
These problems exist due to imbalances in supply and demand. If there is a lack of sellers or buyers, the problems mentioned above are enhanced.
Complicating the matter even further, each pricing discovery process is silo’d within each different exchange.
Smart arbitragers recognize this as an opportunity, and they specifically hone in on #2: Differences in prices.