A Huge Arbitrage Opportunity Has Just Opened Up in Crypto

Crypto’s on sale in India.

News that that the country is preparing a bill to regulate cryptocurrencies appears to have sparked a sell-off on exchanges popular with Indian investors.

Altcoins including Shiba and Doge were at one point down more than 20% in trading on the WazirX platform, which bills itself as India’s “most trusted” cryptocurrency exchange, but appeared far less affected on trading platforms such as Binance or Kraken.

As of publishing time, Bitcoin was down almost 14% on WazirX but a mere 0.5% on Binance.

On Twitter, WazirX said that it was receiving reports of delays in its trading app and online, with some users tweeting that they’d been unable to move crypto out of their accounts. Other trading platforms used by India’s investors — such as Unocoin — appeared to display similarly dramatic drops in prices on Wednesday morning.

A description of the proposed bill posted on the Indian parliament’s website on Tuesday, states that it “seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India, however, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses.”

The prospect of buying altcoins in India at a steep discount would seem to be the perfect arbitrage opportunity, but Odd Lots listeners will know that moving money — even ostensibly decentralized money — between exchanges and across national borders can be more difficult than it might seem. 

Here’s FTX Founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried talking about one of the most famous pricing  discrepancies in the crypto universe — the Kimchi premium, or the difference between Bitcoin prices in the U.S. and South Korea —  in an Odd Lots episode earlier this year:

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