Fake Trading on Crypto Exchanges

11.February 2021

At Quantpedia, we acknowledge that cryptocurrencies offer numerous trading opportunities and include them in the Screener. Yet, each participant should be cautious. Cryptocurrencies are not black or white; they have their pros but also cons. Perhaps now, with all the positive sentiment around cryptos, it is the right time to advert also the cons. It is not that long time ago when we published a blog about the Bitcoin´s price manipulation, where the anecdotal evidence was supported by the Benford´s law which is related to the distribution of leading digits. 

The novel research of Amiram et al. (2020) expands the previous work about the manipulation of the BTC. The authors include a tremendous amount of currencies, study various exchanges, and most importantly, they use more methods to examine the manipulations. To be more precise, the authors utilize the Benford´s law, deviations from the log-normal distribution and the novel machine-learning algorithm E-Divisive with medians that identifies structural breaks in time series. Moreover, they aggregate the measures by computing their principal components. While the results are as always best shown by the included figures, there are numerous practical suggestions. The fake trading benefits exchanges in the short term; however, it is harmful in the long term. Lastly, exchanges with the highest popularity, some regulations and the oldest ones tend to have the lowest fake trading levels. 

 

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Basic Properties of Various Real Asset Portfolios

5.February 2021

Do not put all your eggs in one basket is a common phrase that resonates among investors worldwide. The errand of such a famous saying is simple, diversify! However, how to diversify, if in the crisis, everything seems to be highly correlated? Last week, we wrote a blog about the Macro Factor Risk Parity, but it certainly is not the only option. Real assets such as REITs, various commodities, and the ever-popular gold are commonly added into portfolios as diversifiers. However, Parikh and Zhan (2019) research examine a much bigger set of real assets than the aforementioned evergreens. Real assets like Timberland, Farmland, Infrastructure, Natural Resources and many others are presented in the paper. All those assets have different sensitivities to inflation, GDP growth, equities or bonds. Therefore, real assets could have a value in the portfolios to protect an investor from inflation, stagnation, or simply distributing the eggs mentioned above in many baskets. All these strategies are presented in the paper and compared to equities, bonds and traditional 60/40. 

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Quantpedia in January 2021

2.February 2021

Ten new Quantpedia Premium strategies have been added into our database, and ten new related research papers have been included in existing Premium strategies during last month.

Additionally, we have produced 12 new backtests written in QuantConnect code. Our database currently contains exactly 400 strategies with out-of-sample backtests/codes.

Also, four new blog posts, that you may find interesting, have been published on our Quantpedia blog.

Plus we continue to re-run some of our codes on a monthly basis systematically, over 230 codes are at the moment part of this activity.

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Macro Factor Risk Parity

29.January 2021

Risk and diversification are critical interests of every investor, especially when things go south since the correlations across assets tend to rise during stressful times. Therefore, in the asset allocation, the risk parity allocation is one of the key topics. Factors are commonly known as underlying sources of both risk and returns, and it is assumed that they can be utilized to achieve superior risk-adjusted returns and diversification. However, there seems to be a lack of research that would be related to the macro factors. This gap is quite striking since there is a general consent that macro factors (for example, inflation) largely influence the broad set of assets. Amato and Lohre (2020) research paper fills the gap and studies the usage of macro factors as diversifiers in asset allocation. 

The authors divide the macro factors to two groups, where the first consists of TERM, MARKET, USD, OIL and DEF (default risk), and the second group consists of CLI (a measure of output by OECD), G7.INFLATION, G7.Short.Rate and VIXThe research shows, that when the diversification matters the most, only the second group improves both the risk and returns, acting as a successful diversification during various economic regimes and particularly, during high economic uncertainty. Overall, the paper offers exciting insights into diversification and macro factors, accompanied by more complex mathematical models definitely worth looking into. 

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Probability Distributions of Bull and Bear Market States

22.January 2021

Numerous academic papers have shown that the options markets are not only the place where the supply and demand for options meets. For example, they might point out to the smart money positioning, help to assess risk in the form of implied volatility, or be base of the well-known fear index VIX. Novel research of Bhansali and Holdom (2021), uses information embedded in options markets to construct a probability-weighted mixture of two distributions of bull and bear market states for the S&P 500 index. The results show that the implied return distributions drastically change switching from normal to stressed market states and vice versa. Moreover, the uncertainty in both distributions changes in the same fashion.

An excellent example is the shift of distributions before and after the recent US presidential election, which can be found below. Many have feared that if the democrat candidate Biden wins the elections, it would be a bad signal for the markets. However, after the uncertainty has passed, the fear has seemed to disappear. Additionally, the paper also shows how to use the bimodality in return distributions for the asset allocation using various utility functions. Allocations are made using a risky asset, risk-free and even options. Indeed, this research is worth reading. 

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Crypto Covered Interest Parity Deviations

15.January 2021

Bitcoin and other currencies are nowadays frequently discussed again. The debate has emerged mainly because of the strong uptrend in the Bitcoin price. In this blog post, we will leave the price patters to others. We will instead present interesting novel research connected to the well known theoretical model in the fiat currencies – the Covered Interest Rate Parity (CIP). If the CIP holds, interest rates and both the spot and forward rates of two countries should be in equilibrium. Novel research of Franz and Valentin (2020) examines the CIP in BTC/USD pair. The CIP theory states that there should be no arbitrage opportunities, but how the CIP holds in such a volatile market, where individual investors/traders seem to dominate? According to research, there were significant CIP deviations in the past, but it changed with the launch of BTC/USD futures in CME and high-frequency traders’ market entry. Moreover, the second event was much more successful in the reduction of deviations.

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