3 Essays in Empirical Finance
In the first essay, I examine the role of cross-listings in the digital token marketplace ecosystem. Using a unique set of publicly available and hand-collected data from 3,625 tokens traded in 108 marketplaces, I find significant increases in price and trading activity around the date of a token’s first cross-listing. Tokens earn a 49% raw cumulative return in the two weeks around the cross-listing date. Global token-trading volume is almost 50 times higher after cross-listing. Using the uniquely heterogeneous characteristics of token marketplaces, I am able to identify specific value-creation channels. I provide the first evidence supporting value creation through network externalities proposed by recent token-valuation models. Consistent with equity cross-listing theory, I find higher returns for cross-listings that reduce market segmentation and improve information production. In the second essay, we analyze a dataset of 4,003 executed and planned ICOs, which raised a total of $12 billion in capital, nearly all since January 2017. We find evidence of significant ICO underpricing, with average returns of 179% from the ICO price to the first day’s opening market price, over a holding period that averages just 16 days. After trading begins, tokens continue to appreciate in price, generating average buy-and-hold abnormal returns of 48% in the first 30 trading days. We also study the determinants of ICO underpricing and relate cryptocurrency prices to Twitter followers and activity. In the third essay, I examine reputation building by activist hedge funds and document two new findings with regard to hostile activism. First, there is evidence of a permanent reputation effect to hostile activism. Activist hedge funds that have engaged in hostile tactics, receive on average a 3% higher CAR [-10,+10] on their subsequent non-hostile campaigns, compared to hedge funds that have never engaged in hostile tactics. This abnormal return is positively correlated with the level of hostile reputation of the campaigning hedge fund. Second, I find that activist hedge funds with more hostile reputation modify their non-hostile activism style to engage “hostile-like” targets and pursue “hostile-like” objectives, but withhold the use of hostile tactics. These findings imply that hedge funds are able to build reputation using their past engagement tactics and that market participants value such reputation as evidenced by the higher announcement return observed in their targets.