Author

Samuel Grone

Date Approved

2020

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Computer Science

First Advisor

Weitian Tong

Second Advisor

S. Maniccam

Third Advisor

Augustine Ikeji

Abstract

Since the introduction and proliferation of the blockchain-based cryptocurrency Bitcoin, alternative cryptocurrencies also based on blockchain technology have exploded in number. It was once believed that one, or very few, cryptocurrencies would eventually dominate the market and drive out competitors. This assumption, however, was incorrect. Thousands of cryptocurrencies exist concurrently. The vast number of cryptocurrencies leads to a problem—what if the cryptocurrency that an individual possesses does not meet their current needs as well as another cryptocurrency might? The attempt to solve this problem has led to the rise of many cryptocurrency exchanges and exchange schemes. In this paper, we will discuss the motivations for an individual to be interested in exchanging two or more cryptocurrencies by describing and comparing various popular cryptocurrencies with different desirable attributes. While we will discuss these attributes, this paper will give special focus to arbitrage in particular. In addition, we will describe various cryptocurrency exchange schemes and their advantages and disadvantages. Finally, we contribute to the understanding of cryptocurrency exchangeability and interoperability by comparing the historical price data of several cryptocurrencies to determine how often arbitrage has been possible in the past.

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