Essays on Decentralized Financial Markets

Ruslan Sverchkov, University of Pennsylvania


In the first chapter, To Pool or Not to Pool? Security Design in OTC Markets with Vincent Glode and Christian C. Opp, we study security issuers' decision whether to pool assets when facing counterparties endowed with market power, as is common in over-the-counter markets. Unlike in competitive markets, pooling assets may be suboptimal in the presence of market power --- both privately and socially --- in particular, when the potential gains from trade are large. In these cases, pooling assets reduces the elasticity of trade volume in the relevant part of the payoff distribution, exacerbating inefficient rationing associated with the exercise of market power. Our results shed light on recently observed time-variation in the prevalence of pooling in financial markets. In the second chapter, Selling to Investor Network: Allocations in the Primary Corporate Bond Market, I develop a model of the primary market for corporate bonds, in which an issuer optimally chooses an issuance price and allocations to investors based on their trading connections in the secondary over-the-counter market. Expected secondary market liquidity, which depends on the structure of the trading network in this market, determines investors' demands in the primary market and, in turn, the issuer's revenues. I show that trading by less connected investors has a relatively high negative impact on expected secondary market liquidity and disproportionately reduces the demands of all investors in the primary market. As a result, the issuer can increase her profits by restricting allocations of new bonds only to more connected investors. This explains the commonly observed exclusion of small institutional investors from the primary market, which is often coupled with seemingly underpriced bonds. In the third chapter, Initial Coin Offerings as a Commitment to Competition with Itay Goldstein and Deeksha Gupta, we model Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) of utility tokens, which are increasingly used to finance the development of online platforms where buyers and sellers can meet to exchange services or goods. Utility tokens serve as the sole medium of exchange on a platform and can be traded in a secondary market. We show that such a financing mechanism allows an entrepreneur to give up monopolistic rents associated with the control of the platform and make a credible commitment to long-run competitive prices. The entrepreneur optimally chooses to have an ICO, rather than operate as a monopolist, only if future consumers of the platform participate in financing. ICOs, therefore, endogenously require crowd-funding to be viable.

Subject Area

Finance|Management|Marketing|Business education|Entrepreneurship|Banking

Recommended Citation

Sverchkov, Ruslan, "Essays on Decentralized Financial Markets" (2020). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI28025343.