Understanding Market-Neutral Strategies In Crypto Futures | by LBank Exchange | Jun, 2023

From the LBank blog.

Understanding Market-Neutral Strategies In Crypto Futures

Diversification continues to be a crucial method for mitigating market risk, yet in recent times, investors have questioned its effectiveness. The emergence of correlated movements among various forms of cryptocurrency trading has rendered conventional diversification techniques less effective. However, alternative approaches, such as market-neutral strategies, can potentially address this dilemma.

Market-neutral strategies play a significant role in managing risk and generating consistent returns in the world of crypto futures due to the highly volatile markets. These strategies aim to generate returns that are independent of the overall market direction. Unlike traditional investment strategies that rely on market appreciation, market-neutral strategies focus on identifying and exploiting relative price discrepancies between different assets or derivatives. Let’s explore how this works.

A market-neutral strategy serves as a hedging technique that strives to generate returns unaffected by market fluctuations. In essence, these trading strategies are specifically crafted to yield profits in both bearish and bullish market conditions. A portfolio achieves market neutrality when the correlation between its long and short positions is independent of the overall market state. Rather than being solely determined by market conditions, the returns are influenced by the trader’s expertise and skill.

A practical example of trading this is to seize the opportunity presented by the prevailing market conditions to maximize gains. To execute this, traders often employ different approaches to identify a potential arbitrage opportunity and ultimately exploit it by simultaneously entering into both long and short positions. To better understand this, let’s compare market-neutral trading with typical directional trading.

Let’s imagine a thrilling episode of Tom and Jerry’s iconic animated series, where the mischievous duo finds themselves in a high-stakes chase. Tom, the confident and experienced cat, is determined to catch Jerry, the clever and elusive mouse. He’s the reigning champion of this cat-and-mouse plot, and the odds are in his favor.

Viewers of the show can participate in a similar manner. They have the option to root for Tom, placing their bets in favor of his victory, relying on his athletic abilities and past successes. Alternatively, they might choose to bet against Tom, believing that Jerry’s determination to escape is stronger than ever and that he might outsmart the experienced cat this time.

That’s an example of directional trading: taking a long position by supporting Tom’s victory or taking a short position by betting against him.

Predicting the outcome of this intense chase can lead to significant excitement and satisfaction, especially if the unexpected occurs. However, there’s a notable risk involved. If the outcome goes against the expected result, fans who bet against Tom risk losing their “investment” in the form of the thrill and anticipation of a victorious Jerry.

The concept of a market-neutral strategy is simple yet powerful: by diversifying bets across multiple assets, the winnings have the potential to offset any losses. This approach aims to mitigate the risks associated with the non-occurrence of one of the events.

Let’s explore three different Market-Neutral strategies

The concept of basis trading involves strategically combining a long position in the underlying crypto asset with a short position in its derivative. This approach, often referred to as “cash and carry,” takes advantage of the price differential between the two markets.

Typically, basis trades comprise both open positions in the spot market and futures contracts. Since futures contracts are often priced higher or lower than the underlying spot market price, the basis can be positive or negative.

The fundamental arbitrage strategy is a powerful market-neutral approach that allows traders to profit in various market conditions, including uptrends, downtrends, or sideways movements. Opportunities for fundamental arbitrage tend to be short-lived, requiring quick responses to market movements, often achieved through a high degree of automation.

Statistical arbitrage is an extension of the fundamental arbitrage strategy applied on a broader scale. This strategy aims to exploit pricing inefficiencies in the market and generate profits by tracking divergences from correlation. Market-neutral funds specializing in statistical arbitrage employ algorithms and quantitative methods to identify price discrepancies between two or more crypto-assets. Based on these quantitative findings, investment managers simultaneously open long and short positions to speculate on the prices of selected crypto-assets reverting to their expected levels.

Market-neutral strategies help manage risk by combining long and short positions, reducing overall market exposure, and safeguarding against market downturns. It offers the advantage of generating potential returns regardless of market conditions, making it valuable in volatile markets. Diversification is another benefit, as holding both long and short positions spreads risk across different assets.

However, there are certain risks associated with market-neutral strategies. Execution risk arises during volatile market periods, making it challenging to execute two-legged spreads without slippage. Price filling is also a concern, particularly in low liquidity markets where orders may not be filled at desired prices when opening or closing positions in arbitrage opportunities.

Overall, while market-neutral strategies offer a solid approach to crypto futures trading as it helps in making profits regardless of the market direction, it is crucial to conduct thorough research and analysis before risking your funds.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the writer and not of this platform.

This article came directly from the LBank blog, found on https://lbank-exchange.medium.com/understanding-market-neutral-strategies-in-crypto-futures-13044b27af2f?source=rss-87c24ae35186——2

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