We study the Bitcoin and Ether price series under a financial perspective. Specifically, we use two econometric models to perform a two-layer analysis to study the correlation and prediction of Bitcoin and Ether price series with traditional assets. In the first part of this study, we model the probability of positive returns via a Bayesian logistic model. Even though the fitting performance of the logistic model is poor, we find that traditional assets can explain some of the variability of the price returns. Along with the fact that standard models fail to capture the statistic and econometric attributes—such as extreme variability and heteroskedasticity—of cryptocurrencies, this motivates us to apply a novel Non-Homogeneous Hidden Markov model to these series. In particular, we model Bitcoin and Ether prices via the non-homogeneous Pólya-Gamma Hidden Markov (NHPG) model, since it has been shown that it outperforms its counterparts in conventional financial data. The transition probabilities of the underlying hidden process are modeled via a logistic link whereas the observed series follow a mixture of normal regressions conditionally on the hidden process. Our results show that the NHPG algorithm has good in-sample performance and captures the heteroskedasticity of both series. It identifies frequent changes between the two states of the underlying Markov process. In what constitutes the most important implication of our study, we show that there exist linear correlations between the covariates and the ETH and BTC series. However, only the ETH series are affected non-linearly by a subset of the accounted covariates. Finally, we conclude that the large number of significant predictors along with the weak degree of predictability performance of the algorithm back up earlier findings that cryptocurrencies are unlike any other financial assets and predicting the cryptocurrency price series is still a challenging task. These findings can be useful to investors, policy makers, traders for portfolio allocation, risk management and trading strategies.
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