WTMF: The First Managed Futures ETF To Maintain Bitcoin Futures

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By Matthew Aydemir

The latest rise of cryptocurrencies as an asset class has been nothing in need of spectacular. Unbelievable returns have naturally led to a surge in demand from traders seeking to achieve entry to cryptocurrencies.

A cryptocurrency, in brief, is a digital foreign money that’s typically not managed by any central authority. Of those varied cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin (BTC-USD) has been the dominant token with a market cap of roughly $900 billion, at present accounting for roughly 40% of the worldwide cryptocurrency market cap.

CME Group started providing Bitcoin futures in late 2017 to capitalize on the rising demand for publicity. Almost 4 years later, we have now seen Bitcoin futures make their way into ETFs and have added them to our personal WisdomTree Enhanced Commodity Strategy Fund (GCC).

As a part of our aim to repeatedly innovate and improve our managed futures product, we allotted a 1.5% publicity to Bitcoin futures within the WisdomTree Managed Futures Technique Fund (WTMF) in early January 2022. WTMF won’t spend money on Bitcoin immediately.

WTMF is a scientific trend-following technique offering publicity to equities, commodities, currencies, and rates of interest by way of positions in futures contracts in looking for to realize optimistic complete returns in rising or falling markets that aren’t immediately correlated to broad market fairness or fastened revenue returns. We imagine that the addition of Bitcoin futures not solely additional distinguishes WTMF from different managed futures ETFs however supplies traders with Bitcoin publicity in a risk-conscious method.

Motivation

Finally, we imagine that what makes Bitcoin engaging to traders is the potential for vital absolute returns.

Nevertheless, there are different options of Bitcoin that make it a lovely addition to our managed futures product. Particularly, Bitcoin has traditionally been a superb diversifier from different conventional asset courses.

Within the beneath chart, we present the correlation of the Bitcoin spot price with different asset courses. We study the correlation of the Bitcoin spot price to different asset courses again to December 31, 2017, roughly the time when CME Bitcoin futures began buying and selling.

Though spot returns can differ considerably from futures returns, we count on that the spot price will present an inexpensive proxy for a front-month contract in Bitcoin when inspecting correlation.

We are able to see that over this era, Bitcoin was weakly correlated with different asset courses.

We imagine the low historic correlation between Bitcoin futures and different asset courses bodes properly for enhancing the risk-adjusted return profile of a multi-asset fund like WTMF. We made significant modifications to WTMF in June 2021 with the aim of bettering risk-adjusted return, and it will be worthwhile to look at the correlation between Bitcoin and the restructured Fund. We certainly see that the Bitcoin spot price is weakly correlated with the Fund for the reason that restructure on June 4, 2021.

Gaining Publicity

Bitcoin futures publicity in WTMF is achieved by way of futures contracts traded on the Chicago Mercantile Change (CME). CME Bitcoin futures at the moment are extremely liquid, with a 60-day common every day quantity (ADV) of roughly 7,700 as of November 30, 2021. Assuming a Fund AUM of roughly $155 million, buying and selling right into a 3% allocation would solely be 0.23% of the 60-day ADV.

Technique

It is very important have a well-defined goal when designing a technique. The unimaginable rise of Bitcoin costs in recent times is definitely trigger for pleasure. Warning have to be taken, nevertheless, as Bitcoin has been extraordinarily risky traditionally. Our goal is straightforward: present traders with Bitcoin publicity by way of a scientific technique designed to decrease volatility in comparison with a long-only technique whereas capturing a few of the upside potential that Bitcoin supplies.

As a consequence of Bitcoin’s excessive historic volatility, for now, we allocate a nominal publicity of solely 3% to Bitcoin publicity. The aim right here is to have the Bitcoin element contribute meaningfully however not dominate the Fund’s volatility profile.

Since WTMF is a scientific trend-following Fund, the Bitcoin technique also needs to be capable of dynamically regulate exposures relying on how sturdy the worth development is. To raised defend in opposition to extended drawdowns, we make use of a momentum sign that reacts extra rapidly to latest info. The quantity of the nominal 3% we make investments relies on how sturdy the development sign is.

Lastly, since Bitcoin has proven an inclination to development upward over the long run, for now, we limit the mannequin from taking quick positions. As an alternative, we merely allocate to money. This doubtlessly reduces the volatility of the mannequin. The lengthy/flat mannequin for the Bitcoin element is illustrated within the determine beneath.

Present Positioning

For a present listing of holdings, click on here.

For the January rebalance, the fund will take a 1.5% lengthy place in Bitcoin futures (represented underneath the Cryptocurrencies sector within the above chart). Notably, the fund stays internet lengthy in a lot of the commodity sectors, equities, and the US Greenback Index. The fund can be quick charges contracts.

Conclusion

As a part of our aim to repeatedly enhance our managed futures product, WTMF is now the primary systematic trend-following ETF to supply traders with entry to Bitcoin futures publicity. The Fund is at present lengthy 1.5% Bitcoin futures following the January rebalance. We imagine that including Bitcoin futures publicity has the potential to boost the risk-adjusted return of the Fund in addition to additional diversify the Fund parts. Our goal is to supply traders with this publicity in a risk-controlled method through a scientific lengthy/flat trend-following technique that reacts rapidly to altering market circumstances.

Vital Dangers Associated to this Article

There are dangers related to investing together with attainable lack of principal. An funding on this Fund is speculative, entails a considerable diploma of danger, and mustn’t represent an investor’s whole portfolio. One of many dangers related to the Fund is the complexity of the various factors which contribute to the Fund’s efficiency, in addition to its correlation (or non-correlation) to different asset courses. These elements embody use of lengthy and quick positions in commodity futures contracts, foreign money ahead contracts, swaps, and different derivatives. Derivatives might be risky and could also be much less liquid than different securities and extra delicate to the consequences of assorted financial circumstances.

As well as, bitcoin and bitcoin futures are a comparatively new asset class. They’re topic to distinctive and substantial dangers, and traditionally, have been topic to vital worth volatility. Whereas the bitcoin futures market has grown considerably since bitcoin futures commenced buying and selling, there might be no assurance that this development will proceed. The worth of bitcoin might drop precipitously (together with to zero), which might be anticipated to have an analogous impression on the bitcoin futures worth. The Fund shouldn’t be used as a proxy for taking lengthy solely (or quick solely) positions in commodities or currencies. The Fund might lose vital worth during times when lengthy solely indexes rise (or quick solely) indexes decline.

The Fund’s funding goal relies on historic worth tendencies. There might be no assurance that such tendencies might be mirrored in future market actions. The Fund typically doesn’t make intra-month changes and subsequently is topic to substantial losses if the market strikes in opposition to the Fund’s established positions on an intra-month foundation. In markets with out sustained worth tendencies or markets that rapidly reverse or “whipsaw” the Fund might endure vital losses. The Fund is actively managed thus the power of the Fund to realize its targets will rely upon the effectiveness of the portfolio supervisor. Because of the funding technique of this Fund, it might make larger capital achieve distributions than different ETFs. Please learn the Fund’s prospectus for particular particulars relating to the Fund’s danger profile.

Matthew Aydemir, Analysis Analyst

Matt Aydemir started his profession at WisdomTree as a Analysis Analyst in January 2020. He’s answerable for quantitative analysis on WisdomTree’s merchandise, in addition to the upkeep and reconstitution of WisdomTree’s indexes. Previous to becoming a member of WisdomTree full-time, Matt labored within the analysis workforce as an intern, the place he developed instruments for portfolio analytics. Matt obtained his Grasp’s in Monetary Engineering diploma from Columbia College in 2020, and his Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering diploma from the College of Waterloo in 2016.

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Editor’s Observe: The abstract bullets for this text have been chosen by Searching for Alpha editors.

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