The Amnesiac Lookback Option: Selectively Monitored Lookback Options and Cryptocurrencies
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This study proposes a strategy to make the lookback option cheaper and more practical, and suggests the use of its properties to reduce risk exposure in cryptocurrency markets through blockchain enforced smart contracts and correct for informational inefficiencies surrounding prices and volatility. This paper generalizes partial, discretely-monitored lookback options that dilute premiums by selecting a subset of specified periods to determine payoff, which we call amnesiac lookback options. Prior literature on discretely-monitored lookback options considers the number of periods and assumes equidistant lookback periods in pricing partial lookback options. This study by contrast considers random sampling of lookback periods and compares resulting payoff of the call, put and spread options under floating and fixed strikes. Amnesiac lookbacks are priced with Monte Carlo simulations of Gaussian random walks under equidistant and random periods. Results are compared to analytic and binomial pricing models for the same derivatives. Simulations show diminishing marginal increases to the fair price as the number of selected periods is increased. The returns correspond to a Hill curve whose parameters are set by interest rate and volatility. We demonstrate over-pricing under equidistant monitoring assumptions with error increasing as the lookback periods decrease. An example of a direct implication for event trading is when shock is forecasted but its timing uncertain, equidistant sampling produces a lower error on the true maximum than random choice. We conclude that the instrument provides an ideal space for investors to balance their risk, and as a prime candidate to hedge extreme volatility. We discuss the application of the amnesiac lookback option and path-dependent options to cryptocurrencies and blockchain commodities in the context of smart contracts.