Abstract. We focus on estimating the integrated covariance of log-price processes in the presence of market microstructure noise. We construct a consistent asymptotically unbiased estimator for the quadratic covariation of two Itô processes in the case where high-frequency asynchronous discrete returns under market microstructure noise are observed. This estimator is based on synchronization and multi-scale methods and attains the optimal rate of convergence. A lower bound for the rate of convergence is derived from the local asymptotic normality property of the simpler parametric model with equidistant and synchronous observations. A Monte Carlo study analyses the finite sample size characteristics of our estimator.