Centralised Markets & Price Discovery, Cryptocurreny’s Archilles Heal?

Centralised markets are a win-win situation for both merchants and buyers. When merchants have free and fair access to a market from which they can sell their goods the result will be that more merchants will participate in the market. The downside for the merchant, of course, is that they will suffer much stiffer competition there. Buyers benefit from a central marketplace because all that merchant competition tends to drive down the purchase price. But a central market increases the competition for the buyer as well.

The main component a central market has going for it is publicity. As a central market grows in use then its very existance becomes common knowledge and its operation becomes an expectation. It becomes understood that if I go there as a buyer I will find items for sale and if I go there as a merchant I will find buyers. But my topic is about price discovery and that is where the central market really shines (assuming it is a free market of course).

Crptocurrency stresses DE-centralisation and I’m beginning to question the wisdom of that. It almost appears being anti free market? If the whole crytocurrency experience is intended to be devoid of any central place of aggregating then how would price discovery ever be conducted? Neither party to the transaction would have any way of knowing what the currency is worth unless they happened to have a number of alternate sources that they could shop with. But that is basically what a central market provides the opportunity for but in a generally more efficient manner.

Fortunately with digital currencies everything can be done in an online marketplace. But again, the point is, an online marketplace is a centralised market and it is vital to price discovery. I think we may want to be careful with how far we want to take the “de-centralising” idea.

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