Crypto Arbitrage

I wasn’t looking for it.

Last week sometime, I noticed that the price for ETC was $3 more on one particular source, but listed $3 cheaper on every other list and exchange.

I didn’t want to at first, but I thought that this would be a good instance for some hot arbitrage action. I have never done this before with any security or commodity, let alone crypto currency, but it’s all digital, more or less, right? So off I went. I first exchanged some Bitcoin for some litecoin. I’m not sure if this was necessary, but I had heard that litecoin is faster to transfer. I didn’t really keep track of the exchange rate like I should have, but I don’t think I lost any money. Keep in mind that this was for just $3 per unit! It was all about the experience so I didn’t really care if I bled out a little.

From where my initial crypto was, I transferred the litecoin to a crypto-only exchange, and exchanged it to ETC to then send it back to the original source. There the problem reared its ugly head.

Usually you only need to wait for 4, 6, or a few more confirmations, which takes a matter of minutes to at most an hour, to have your funds transferred, but 5465?! Spoiler alert: it took two days to get back to the initial exchange.

arbitrage (ärˈbĭ-träzhˌ)

  • n.The purchase of securities on one market for immediate resale on another market in order to profit from a price discrepancy.

Hour by Hour

I waited as the price fell back to its optimal condition. Normally this is not the case. But it was stated beforehand that there would be a long transaction time. I didn’t read that of course until it was too late. At the end that price caught up to nearly what it supposed to be and I ended up only making less than a dollar I think. Still, for the experience, it was worthwhile because I now know that bank-like transaction times can occur in the crypocurrency space. This was a fascinating experience, but I will think twice before trying it with anything greater than just a couple of dollars!


Converting BTC to an equivalent amount of LTC does make transfers faster due to the lighter network use. Bitcoin takes 6 confirmations which can be up to or beyond an hour depending on traffic.

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