The Impact of Covid-19 on the Cryptocurrency Market and the
Return of Ethereum
Hao Wen
, Xinpeng Cheng
, Zhengjun Lu
and Ruiyao Zhao
ShenZhen College of International Education, Shenzhen, 518043, China
St Joseph High School, Trumbull, CT, 06611, U.S.A.
Kimball Union Academy, Meriden, NH, 03770, U.S.A.
Keywords: COVID-19, Cryptocurrency, Ethereum, Stock, Abnormal Return.
Abstract: In this work, we carry out an investigation into the relationship of the cryptocurrency- Ethereum and the event
of COVID-19. We examine the impact of COVID-19 on the cryptocurrency stock market using a 2-sample
T-test. Moreover, we conducted an event study to analyze how COVID-19 has affected the individual stock-
Ethereum. The results from the T-test indicate that COVID has not affected the overall cryptocurrency stock
market. However, the results from the event study demonstrate that the return of Ethereum has been affected.
The significance of this research is to inspect whether cryptocurrency is favored by the public and economy
during the pandemic as a form of currency instead of traditional money.
Ethereum is known as the second most popular
cryptocurrency, the most popular one is Bitcoin. Both
Ethereum and Bitcoin are based on the blockchain
network. Literally, blockchain is a chain of “block”,
“block” is used to record transactions across
computers (“Blockchain”,
Wikipedia). These “blocks”
are decentralized which means that the network of
blocks isn’t owned by any entity— a company or a
government. Instead, the blockchain is managed by
all of the ledger holders. You can view blockchain as
a platform, Ethereum and Bitcoin use blockchain
technology to record transactions.
There are two important news about Ethereum
this month. Ethereum's "London hard fork" started on
August 5 (Camomile Shumba,
The term “hard fork” means an improvement of
protocols. After the "London hard fork", Ethereum
increases its scalability, thus increase the speed and
efficiency of transaction.
Another important news released on August 16.
In the white paper published by Microsoft, the firm is
planning to use the Ethereum blockchain to combat
digital piracy (Isabelle Lee, As
in the Ethereum blockchain, each transaction is
recorded and Microsoft can backtrack the source of
the pirated content.
Although Ethereum and Bitcoin both are based on
blockchain, there are many differences between
them, such as transaction speed, scripting language
(Nathan Reiff, Ethereum’s
transaction speed is about 4 transactions per second,
while it’s 15 transactions per second for Bitcoin.
Scripting language for Ethereum is more complicated
than Bitcoin because Ethereum needs to support more
complex logic, and this leads to the fact that there are
more wide range of bugs in code. Other differences
include the consensus algorithms that they run on
(Ethereum uses ethash while Bitcoin uses SHA-256),
the network upgrades they choose (Ethereum uses
hard forks, while Bitcoin uses soft forks) (Coinsider,
More importantly, the Bitcoin and Ethereum
networks are different in their overall aims. Bitcoin
was created as an alternative to national currencies,
Elon Musk even said Tesla accepts bitcoin as
payment. However, Ethereum was intended as a
platform aiming to allow different applications
working on it. I think this is the advantage of
Ethereum because it is not only used as digital
currency, but also as a platform. On this platform,
many decentralized apps can be used such as DeFi
(decentralized finance) and gaming. There are about
100 Ethereum apps you can use now
including Musci,
pooling and investments, etc (“100+ Ethereum Apps
You Can Use Right Now”,
There is another thing interesting about
Wen, H., Cheng, X., Lu, Z. and Zhao, R.
The Impact of Covid-19 on the Cryptocurrency Market and the Return of Ethereum.
DOI: 10.5220/0011350800003440
In Proceedings of the International Conference on Big Data Economy and Digital Management (BDEDM 2022), pages 840-848
ISBN: 978-989-758-593-7
2022 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
Ethereum. As we need to make sure that everyone
agrees on the order of transactions, miners can help
this happen by solving computationally difficult
puzzles in order to produce blocks, which can secure
the network from attacks. Basically, the first miner
solves the problem and after he finish the problem
and the second miner can do the double check for him
and both of them can get the cryptocurrencies in
return as a bonus. Miners use graphic cards to mine,
and different graphics cards have different computing
power. Because mining consumes a lot of electricity,
some people steal electricity from the government or
universities to mine it. They also need a lot of
graphics cards, so the miners have affected the
market by raising the price of graphics cards. The
Chinese government doesn't want the economy to
flow out of the country, which is why mining and
cryptocurrencies are banned in China.
(1Point3Arces, 2020) The purpose of this paper is to
examine the effect of COVID-19 on the
cryptocurrencies market and the individual stock
2.1 Brief Review
COVID-19 outbreak in 2019, has rapidly spread all
over the world, affecting almost everyone on the
planet and causing thousands of deaths. The COVID-
19 epidemic not only has a huge impact on the overall
economy, but also has a huge impact on
cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
This review tries to answer the following
questions. Does the COVID-19 pandemic that
surrounds everyone also affects the price of Bitcoin
and Ethereum? What is the relationship between
COVID-19 pandemic Bitcoin and Ethereum? Can
investors increase the adoption of cryptocurrencies
such as Bitcoin and Ethereum? Some academic
studies have shown that the price of Bitcoin is
affected by political and economic uncertainty. In a
period of uncertainty around the world, many
investors hope to use Bitcoin and Ethereum to store
some of their assets, making it possible to use them
as financial assets.
2.2 How COVID-19 Pandemic Affects
Studies of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on
cryptocurrencies have emerged rapidly. Demir’s
study indicates that at first Bitcoin value and number
of reported COVID-19 cases and deaths shows a
negative relationship, however, as the
pandemic lasts,
the relationship becomes positive (Demir, et al,
2020). This shows that cryptocurrencies start to
become a hedge as the deepening of the COVID-19
effect. The reason behind this may be the fact that as
the number of reported COVID-19 cases and deaths
rise, governments around the world take additional
restrictions and this may increase the demand for
cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin and Ethereum can mitigate
some of the issues that the pandemic brought (Fang,
et al, 2019). Reminding that Bitcoin and Ethereum
can be used as a payment and money transfer
instrument between different countries, researchers
also found that demand for cryptocurrencies during
the pandemic increases (Hadar and Sarel, As a result, cryptocurrencies become
more attractive compared to other alternatives such
as the stock and gold. Furthermore, investors fear that
COVID-19 will push central banks or governments
to interfere with the market. This emotion may cause
investors to switch their investments into the crypto
market which is decentralized. As cryptocurrencies
are not managed by a central entity, they can help
investors to avoid some of the political risk. Hence,
investors should consider taking cryptocurrencies as
part of their assets depending on the cycle of COVID-
19. For market researchers, they should continue to
focus on the fluctuations in these cryptocurrencies
because as the number of observations increases, it
will provide new insights for the behavior of
cryptocurrencies in the market.
2.3 Bitcoin and Ethereum Can Serve as
a Short Term Safe-haven Asset
Before the invention of cryptocurrency, many studies
analyzed the properties of safe-haven assets. For
example, Baur and Lucey (Baur, Lucey, 2010)
proposed that an asset is safe if it is not correlated
with stocks during a market crash. Thus, gold is
considered as a safe-haven during the past economic
crisis. The cryptocurrencies market increased
significantly since the inception. Bitcoin has
increased its value from nearly $0 to more than $7000
in April 2020. Can Bitcoin serve as a safe-haven for
assets? Before the COVID-19, the answer is positive,
although many people pointed the potential bubble
in. However, as the pandemic of COVID-19 lasts
longer, Bitcoin’s price moves closely with S&P500
which shows that it is not a good safe-haven for
stocks. Ethereum is also investigated. The result
shows that both Bitcoin and Ethereum are suitable for
The Impact of Covid-19 on the Cryptocurrency Market and the Return of Ethereum
short-term safe-havens, but Ethereum is possible a
better safe-haven than Bitcoin as the pandemic lasts
(Mariana, et al, 2021) On the other hand, researcher
also found that before and during the COVID-19,
Ethereum shows the highest daily return volatility,
followed by Bitcoin, S&P500, and gold.
2.4 Cryptocurrencies Can Drive a
Covid-19 Recovery in Emerging
Due to the pandemic of Covid-19, people have been
restrained to shop online and have moved away from
physical cash, obviously this will benefit
cryptocurrency. On the other hand, the rise of price
of Bitcoin and Ethereum is also attractive to investors
looking to hedge against inflation. The statistics firm-
Statista- confirmed that Nigeria was the leading
country for adopting Bitcoin and cryptocurrency
( Tomiwa Lasebikan is
the co-founder of Buycoins Africa which is a
company that facilitates cryptocurrency trade. He
said that cryptocurrency trade was enabling Nigerian
expatriates to avoid the country’s extreme high
exchange rate. Importantly, cryptocurrencies can be
used for buying many products such as mobile
devices. Statista firm also noted that the existing
popularity of peer-to-peer payments prompt many
Nigerians to explore cryptocurrencies. Emerging
markets usually has an instable political or economic
environment, Bitcoin and Ethereum is a more reliable
option than traditional currency by enhancing
investors’ confidence.
2.5 Summary
COVID-19 shows a strong impact on the global
market. However, Bitcoin and Ethereum show an
advantage being comparing to traditional assets and
play an increasing import role in emerging market,
making it a better alternative for asset allocation.
3.1 Event Definition
Our group decides to look at two different periods of
time and investigate the returns of the cryptocurrency
market and Ethereum. To do this, we take the
estimation window from 2019/1/1 to 2019/12/31,
which is approximately 1 year. The reason that we do
this is because we want to compare the data before
the pandemic with the data after the first state of
lockdown in the United States which is on
2020/03/18. And also, the more data we have for
estimation, the more accurate and more reliable it is.
We gathered the event data from two days before the
first lockdown to see the influence of pandemic to the
market of cryptocurrency and created a 8-sample size
window for the event window (2020/3/9-2020/3/18).
3.2 Selecting Criteria
We obtain the data of Ethereum’ s price from Yahoo
finance (Andrew, 2021), which is a reliable and
obtainable source for sole traders. It is one of the
biggest websites for traders to get the newest stock
price and data, provides financial news, data and
commentary including stock quotes, press releases,
financial reports, and original content. It also offers
some online tools for personal finance management.
In addition to posting partner content from other web
sites, it posts original stories by its team of staff
journalists. It is ranked 15th by similarWeb on the list
of largest news and media websites. We process the
data using Excel. The cryptocurrency market index
we are going to use later is the S&P Cryptocurrency
Broad Digital Market Index, which is an index that
indicates the performance of the broader digital asset
market (IndexS&P Dow Jones, 2021). The index
comes from Lukka Inc, who is an enterprise crypto
asset software and data provider. The Company
builds middle and back-office software and data
services on infrastructure made for the complexities
of blockchain data to businesses that interact with
crypto assets as part of normal business processes.
We have chosen this index because it reflects the
performance of cryptocurrency market and it suits in
the market model we are building, hence it is
appropriate for our research and attainable (Jake
Benson, Lukka introduction, 2021).
3.3 Calculating Normal and Abnormal
Our data analysis begins by calculating the normal
and abnormal returns, as we are going to analysis its
change later.
The normal return is calculated using natural
logarithm return, which subtracts the logarithm price
yesterday from the logarithm price today. The
property of logarithm transforms the equation to the
natural logarithm: price today divided by price
yesterday, as the figure below shows.
𝑁𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑙 𝑟𝑒𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑛
=𝑙𝑛 𝑙𝑛 𝑃
−𝑙𝑛 𝑙𝑛 𝑃
BDEDM 2022 - The International Conference on Big Data Economy and Digital Management
𝑙𝑛 𝑙𝑛
We decided to use the natural logarithm return
because of two reasons: the additivity property of it
and its trait of following log normal distribution. Log
return can be added for time-series perspectives,
unlike the percentage return. Also, stock return is
assumed to follow a Log normal distribution.
Therefore, log return is used for this statistical
To calculate abnormal return, we used the model
of risk-adjusted return. This is equal to the actual
return minus expected return.
𝐴𝑏𝑛𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑙 𝑟𝑒𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑛=𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑢𝑎𝑙 𝑟𝑒𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑛
𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑟𝑒𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑛
We constructed a market linear regression model
that relates individual stock ETH return and the
synchronous cryptocurrency market return. R
for the normal return at time t. The parameter α
represents the ‘idiosyncratic return of the individual
stock’. This is typically related to the company’s
performance or in other terms, the return coming
from the investment’s own interest that cannot be
explained by common factors, the parameter ẞ is the
systematic risk level of the stock, the parameter σ
measures the variance of α.
=𝛼+ 𝛽𝑅
+ 𝜀
We can obtain the value of α and ẞ from the past
data in the estimation window. Hence, we can predict
the returns during the event window based on the
return of market using this model.
= 𝛼+ 𝛽𝑅
Then we can compute the difference between this
estimated return and the actual return. This will give
us the equation for abnormal return.
−(𝛼+ 𝛽𝑅
3.4 Estimation Procedure
Table 1 In this procedure, the first thing we need to
do is to obtain the values for normal stock return and
market return, using Equation 1.
Table 1: Formulae calculating normal return.
Date ETH Price Cryptocurrency Index
01/01/2019 140.819412 344 Stock Return Market Return
02/01/2019 155.047684 361.43 =LN(B6/B5) =LN(C6/C5)
03/01/2019 149.13501 351.42 =LN(B7/B6) =LN(C7/C6)
04/01/2019 154.58194 352.93 =LN(B8/B7) =LN(C8/C7)
07/01/2019 151.699219 368.34 =LN(B9/B8) =LN(C9/C8)
31/12/2019 129.610855 507.17 =LN(B265/B264) =LN(C265/C264)
After this we have to compute the values of
Alpha, Beta and Standard error using the data of
normal return we have in the estimation window,
which is approximately 1 year. These values are
essential to our calculation later in the market model.
It serves the purpose of calculating abnormal return.
To calculate α, we use the INTERCEPT function in
EXCEL, which calculates the point at which a
regression line will intersect the y-axis, to calculate
ẞ, we use the SLOPE function that returns the slope
of the linear regression through the given data points,
and to calculate the standard error of XY, we use the
STEYX function that returns the standard error of the
predicted y-value for each x in a regression.
Table 2: Formulae shown in Excel.
Mean =AVERAGE(Stock_Return)
Standard deviation =STDEV(Stock_Return)
of days (Size) =COUNT(Stock_Return)
Moreover, the mean model used later requires the
value of mean, standard deviation and sample size for
stock return. These values can be found using the
following equations.
Table 3: Formulae shown in Excel.
Beta =SLOPE(Stock_Return,Market_Return)
standard error
of XY
Now we have all the data and values we need:
The Impact of Covid-19 on the Cryptocurrency Market and the Return of Ethereum
Table 4: A section of values from estimation window.
Estimation Window (2019/1/1 - 2019/12/31)
Date ETH Price
01/01/2019 140.8 344 Stock Return
Standard deviation 0.046961462
02/01/2019 155 361.43 0.096254405 0.049426728
Number of days
03/01/2019 149.1 351.42
04/01/2019 154.6 352.93 0.035872309 0.004287648 Alpha
07/01/2019 151.7 368.34
0.042736688 Beta 0.81110673
08/01/2019 150.4 368.36
5.42962E-05 standard error of XY 0.029758636
3.5 Testing Procedure
Before we start testing our null hypothesis, we need
the value of mean, standard deviation and sample size
for stock return in the event window as well. They
can be calculated using the similar equations as
above. Also we calculated the normal return too.
Table 5: Formulae shown in Excel.
Mean =AVERAGE(Stock_Return_Event)
Standard deviation =STDEV(Stock_Return_Event)
Size =COUNT(Stock_Return_Event)
Table 6: All Values from event window.
Window (2020/3/9 - 2020/3/18)
Date ETH Price
Stock Return Market Return
09/03/2020 201.986328 584.02 -0.187020823 -0.168233538 Mean -0.093957652
10/03/2020 200.767242 593.9 -0.006053775 0.016775726 Standard deviation 0.218134168
11/03/2020 194.86853 581.37 -0.029821111 -0.021323568 Size 8
12/03/2020 112.347122 441.12 -0.550731744 -0.27607044
13/03/2020 133.201813 398.15 0.170271987 -0.102488129
16/03/2020 110.605873 367.26 -0.18589218 -0.080758775
17/03/2020 113.942749 392.35 0.029722932 0.066084254
18/03/2020 114.84227 390.7 0.007863501 -0.004214297
With all of these values available, we can use our
2-sample mean model now. The mean model is to test
whether the mean of 2 sample is the same or not. Our
null hypothesis is the following:
=𝐶𝑂𝑉𝐼𝐷 − 19 ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑛𝑜 𝑒𝑓𝑓𝑒𝑐𝑡 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝐸𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒𝑢𝑚
Therefore, we can obtain the following equation:
− 𝑥
=0 5
Now, we can carry out the test for the mean
model, using the formula below:
 
As we already obtained the values in the
estimation window and event window that
we needed,
all we have to do now is just plug in all the values
into this formula.
Table 7: Mean model.
-value =ABS((P5-G4)/SQRT((P6^2)/P7) + ((G5^2)/G6))
Mean -0.000319007
Standard deviation 0.046961462
of days (Size) 260
Mean -0.093957652
Standard deviation 0.218134168
Size 8
BDEDM 2022 - The International Conference on Big Data Economy and Digital Management
Table 8: Critical values from the estimation window.
Mean -0.000319007
Standard deviation 0.046961462
of days (Size) 260
Table 9: Critical values from the event window.
Mean -0.093957652
Standard deviation 0.218134168
Size 8
If the absolute value of t is greater than 1.96, we have 95% of confidence to reject our null hypothesis.
Table 10: Testing significance of t-value in Excel.
Significant? =IF(Y5>1.96,"Yes","No")
After examining the effect of the event on the
market, we will now consider its impact on the
individual stock ETH using the event study method.
For event study, we do the following steps:
Find the abnormal return using:
−(𝛼+ 𝛽𝑅
Table 11: Calculation of Abnormal Return.
Abnormal Return
Adjusted Return
Table 12: Values of G8 and G9.
Alpha -0.001530066
Beta 0.81110673
Table 13: Values of M5-M12 and N5-N12.
Return Marke
-0.187020823 -0.168233538
-0.006053775 0.016775726
-0.029821111 -0.021323568
-0.550731744 -0.27607044
The Impact of Covid-19 on the Cryptocurrency Market and the Return of Ethereum
0.170271987 -0.102488129
-0.18589218 -0.080758775
0.029722932 0.066084254
0.007863501 -0.004214297
Table 14: Values of abnormal return.
Abnormal Return
Adjusted Return
Do a t-test to test the significance of the abnormal return
 
 
>1.96,𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝐴𝑅 𝑖𝑠 𝑠𝑖𝑔𝑛𝑖𝑓𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑛𝑡 7
Table 15: T-test and significance.
t-test Si
5 =S5/$G$10 =IF
6 =S6/$G$10 =IF
7 =S7/$G$10 =IF(ABS(T7)>1.96,"Yes","No")
8 =S8/$G$10 =IF(ABS(T8)>1.96,"Yes","No")
9 =S9/$G$10 =IF(ABS(T9)>1.96,"Yes","No")
10 =S10/$G$10 =IF
11 =S11/$G$10 =IF
12 =S12/$G$10 =IF
Table 16: Value of standard error of XY.
of XY 0.029758636
Calculate the cumulative abnormal return inside event window.
Table 17: Formula of CAR shown in Excel.
𝐴𝑅 ~ 𝑁(0,2𝑁𝜎
) 8
Compute the confidence interval for CAR.
(−1.96 ×
,1.96 ×
) (9)
BDEDM 2022 - The International Conference on Big Data Economy and Digital Management
Table 18: Confidence interval.
Confidence interval (-2,5)
Compare CAR and its confidence interval and see
whether if it exceeds it. Based on this comparison,
state whether we can reject the null hypothesis. (If it
exceeds, we have 95% confidence to reject the
Table 19: CAR and its confidence interval.
CAR (-2,5) Confidence interval
-0.27690 (-0.23331, 0.23331)
|-0.27690|> 0.2331
3.6 Empirical Results
Using the mean model, we can cannot reject our
hypothesis that COVID-19 has no effect on the
market of cryptocurrency.
Table 20: Calculation from the Mean Model.
Mean model
-value 1.214152901
-critical 1.96
Comparison 1.214< 1.96
Significant? No
Conclusion Canno
the null hypothesis
However, from the event study, we can reject our
hypothesis that COVID-19 has no effect on the
individual stock return of ETH.
Table 21: Significance of CAR.
CAR (-2,5) Confidence interval
Comparison Significant? Conclusion
-0.27690 (-0.23331, 0.23331)
|-0.27690|> 0.2331 Yes Reject the null hypothesis
In a nutshell, the event of COVID-19 does not have a
significant impact on the performance of
cryptocurrency market, however, COVID-19 has
affected the abnormal return of Ethereum.
The cryptocurrency market is composed mainly
by the largest bitcoin. A possible explanation to the
question above may be that bitcoin has not been
affected as hard, so the overall cryptocurrency market
isn’t affected as much. But the individual
performance of Ethereum is influenced. Though,
when reflecting on the logic behind this, we should
consider the difference between bitcoin and
Etheruem. The reality is, however, apart from the
existence of smart contracts (Ethereum allows users
to create smart contracts- computer code stored on a
blockchain that automatically execute when
beforehand conditions are reached) and some
functional differences (e.g. the block time of
Ethereum is only 12-15 seconds whereas the block
time of bitcoin is 10 minutes), there aren’t any major
differences (
“Difference Bitcoin and Ethereum”, 2020).
In terms of evaluation, we may only imply that after
periods of consideration, investors and the majority
of the public believe that Ethereum, due to its
advantages on technology, is a better investment and
perhaps, more likely to take over the status of fiat
money. As the generations of our epoch encounter
The Impact of Covid-19 on the Cryptocurrency Market and the Return of Ethereum
the approach of a new form of money, scientists and
experts have to think carefully in order to decide
whether to accept it or not. The answer to this
question, indeed, needs further investigations and
Franky, Wen Hao, is responsible for doing data
analysis, including calculating abnormal returns,
estimation & testing procedure, and empirical results,
plus inspection and modification of this paper.
Stefan, Cheng Xin Peng, is responsible for doing
background information and event definition Eric, Lu
Zheng Jun, is responsible for doing selecting criteria
and conclusion & interpretations Maisie, Zhao Rui
Yao, is responsible for doing literature review and
background information
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BDEDM 2022 - The International Conference on Big Data Economy and Digital Management