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(not sure this is the right stack exchange to ask crypto-economics questions, if not please direct :) )

Why are stable coin values not exactly the value they're pegged against?

For example as of this post:

If each token is pegged to a dollar in reserves (talking about collateralized stablecoins not algorithm ones like DAI), and at any time I can redeem my token for that $1, what's creating that difference in value?

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On an exchange, the quoted price is what someone is willing to pay to buy, or offer to sell, and mot fair value. Deviations from pegged values are common for pegged financial assets.

  • There is presumably a cost to buy/sell on the exchange. The trader providing the quote needs a spread to make the exchange profitable.
  • There can be costs or limits to transactions at the pegged price, and so the market price can get away from the peg. If the credibility of the peg is questioned, the deviations can get large.
  • It’s a market, and many market participants have no idea what the fair value of an instrument is, or they do not care.
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