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Monthly Cryptocurrency Market Report | April

  • Bitcoin decouples from Global tech stocks as longer duration bond yields rise      
  • Bitcoin has become the tech-CFO Kingmaker       
  • European asset managers are the last of the three major markets to embrace crypto

 

Bitcoin Price Performance

April

12 Month*

-3.64%

543.68%

Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Source: XBT, HANetf XBT Index in USD. *12 Month figures based on 30.04.20 -30.04.21.

 

Ether Price Performance

April

12 Month*

42.46%

1205.00%

Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Source: XET, HANetf XET Index, in USD. *12 Month figures based on 30.04.20 -30.04.21.

 

Litecoin Price Performance

April

12 Month*

9.14%

465.77%

Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Source: XLCUSD, HANetf XLCUSD Index, in USD. *12 Month figures based on 30.04.20 -30.04.21.  

 

Industry News

April saw a 3.6% fall in the Bitcoin Price. This is a modest contraction in comparison to recent performance and leaves Bitcoin still up 95.9% Year-to-date and over 485.0% since inception. Ethereum stole the limelight amongst digital assets and Ether posted a stellar +42.4% on the month as the blockchain’s daily transaction volumes went parabolic.  Ethereum currently settles c.$12bn in transaction daily, almost a third more than Bitcoin. 

ITI believes that Bitcoin has long-since won the Digital Gold mantra whereas Ethereum is increasingly perceived as the ‘Operating System’ of the decentralised future. Decentralised Finance (DeFi) continues to garner mainstream interest and one of the use-cases is allowing traditional savers to switch into stablecoins which can be farmed to generate a meaningful yield on deposits – a distant memory from before the Global Financial Crisis.  The potential reach and scale of this and other use cases is spurring fresh mainstream interest in Ethereum and hence ZETH. 

April was a broadly constructive month for risk assets. The second quarter got off to a strong start as the US 10 year Treasury yield contracted from the 1.75% ‘line in the sand’ for the first three weeks but then rallied again in the final week as inflation fears resurfaced.  The dovish Fed continued to signal that they were relaxed to let the economy ‘run hot’ whilst anchoring front-end rates.  The DXY Dollar index retraced much of its Q1 rally.  In equities, the Q1 earnings season got off to a strong start. 

By month-end c.60% of the S&P had reported with 85% of those beating expectations by a median 15%.  Tech stocks had closed much of the performance gap on the S&P as yields declined but lost ground again as yields rose and the ‘Great Rotation’ narrative resumed. Amongst traditional assets, commodities were the outperformers. Oil was strong and Copper made new 10-year highs, reflecting both the Reopening of the economy as well as positioning for the ESG megatrend via electrification infrastructure investments.  The ratio of Copper-to-gold made a record high which was interpreted by some as another warning flag of market euphoria and complacency. Agricultural commodities rallied 13% with corn up over 30%, the strongest rise since 1988.  Grains are a larger component of Asian inflation baskets and rising prices fuel the cultural grass-roots need to protect against inflation, reinforcing demand for Bitcoin. 

As yields rise, physical gold is constrained by its strong inverse correlation to real interest rates.  A number of strategists have echoed Blackrock CIO comments that gold’s inflation protection characteristics are most relevant over very long periods of time.  ITI believes that this narrative is gaining traction amongst multi-asset investors who are increasingly turning to Digital Gold for that inflation hedge.

 

Introducing ETC Group’s Physical Litecoin ETC (ZETH)

One of the more intriguing things about the long-term bullish growth of the cryptoasset market is the rise of highly liquid large-cap altcoins. Altcoin is portmanteau of ‘alternative’ and ‘coin’ and refers to every other cryptoasset than Bitcoin. The most enduring of these is Litecoin (LTC).

Once released, it quickly rose to prominence and has remained popular ever since. As of May 1st 2021, Litecoin has amassed a market cap of $18.1bn.

Litecoin is now one of the most recognised and utilised blockchain-based payment networks in the world. It is one of only two blockchains, the other being Bitcoin, that can boast 100% network uptime since its creation and lasting for a decade or more. This kind of longevity has been crucial to its incorporation onto all of the largest cryptoexchanges including Binance, Coinbase and Huobi Global, as well as mainstream recognition from major global payment processor Paypal.

Litecoin was created in 2011 by the MIT-educated software engineer Charlie Lee, who helped develop some of the early iterations of Chrome OS and Youtube at Google, before going on to become the Director of Engineering at Coinbase, leaving in 2017 to develop Litecoin full-time.

ETC Group launched the Litecoin ETC on 22 March 2021 to offer a simple and easy-access investment vehicle giving investors exposure to this important asset class. ELTC has its primary listing on Deutsche Börse XETRA, providing investors with a central counterparty-cleared investment product on a recognised, regulated international stock exchange. All of the Litecoin in the ELTC product is professionally custodied with the institutional digital asset manager BitGo Trust Company, which removes the need for investors to custody their own cryptoassets, or hold or manage cryptographic keys. Units of ELTC are fully redeemable for the underlying ELTC currency. Its TER is 2.00%.

 

Crypto Performance Table

As of 30.04.2021

 

 

1M

3M

6M

YTD

12M

SI

Bitcoin* (Net)

29.09%

103.34%

450.67%

103.34%

809.69%

507.66%

Ethereum** (net)

42.46%

113.15%

612.15%

273.90%

1205.00%

80.29%

Litecoin*** (net)

9.14%

108.56%

374.68%

114.74%

465.77%

9.14%

* Bitcoin price is based off XBT daily performance from Bloomberg

** Ethereum price is based off XET daily performance from Bloomberg

*** Litecoin price is based off XLCUSD daily performance from Bloomberg

Past performance of XBT, XET and XLCUSD does not represent actual performance and should not be interpreted as an indication of actual or future performance. Past performance for XBT. XET and XLCUSD is in USD. The performance calculation is based on USD. If the currency in which the past performance is shown differs from the currency of the country in which you reside, you should be aware that due to exchange rate fluctuations, the performance shown may increase or decrease if converted into your local currency. Past performance is not an indicator for future results and should not be the sole factor of consideration when selecting a product. It is provided for illustrative purposes only. Investors should read the prospectus of the Issuer (“Prospectus”) before investing and should refer to the section of the Prospectus entitled ‘Risk Factors’ for further details of risks associated with an investment in these products. Source: Bloomberg / HANetf. Data as of 30.04.2021

 

Outlook

The 10-year yield continues to be the benchmark macro yardstick with expectations growing that it will rise to 2% by the end of 2021 based on 8%+ expectations for US GDP growth; the biggest gap on record between ISM data and the 10-year yield together with the Fed forecast to buy just a third of net bond issuance.  Hence ITI believes that bond markets will likely come under renewed pressure later in the year.  Yields will likely be driven primarily by inflation expectations.  The Fed remains very dovish, reflecting the desire to seek ‘maximum employment’ with the real unemployment rate currently triple the pre-pandemic level.  The Fed will likely tolerate core CPI rising to c.3% and will also be careful to avoid another ‘taper tantrum’.  Real bond yields need to be engineered around current levels to stabilise government debt and allow unemployment to fall.  The greater the degree of inflation uncertainty, the more investors will pay to hedge it and dare to explore new ways to protect portfolios from its erosion of wealth. 

ITI believes this will continue to draw increasing numbers of traditional multi-asset investors into Bitcoin, ‘better at being gold than gold’.  Many traditional allocators are understandably deterred by Bitcoin’s volatility.  However as prices have consolidated in recent weeks, the volatility of BTC has fallen markedly and it is becoming increasingly pallettable to institutional portfolio managers.  ITI believes that Bitcoin has established itself as the ‘Tech CFO Kingmaker’, having transformed the fortunes of several leading tech titans.  Tesla reported a greater Q1 revenue from its Bitcoin investment than selling cars.  ITI believes that as yields rise, challenging the terminal valuation of these growth-focused tech titans, more tech company will feel that the risk-reward lines cross in favour of allocating treasury reserves to BTC. 

Speculation continues to build about investments from Apple, Amazon, Facebook and others.  There is growing focus on Central Bank Digital Currencies as the geopolitical race between China’s digital Renmimbi and western nations intensifies.  A digitalised fiat currency allows direct-to-consumer deposits from the central bank – as well as the ability to tax every stage of every transaction.  This is attractive to governments in need of clawing back the trillions in stimulus and will become increasingly apparent to citizens as the ‘Great Taxation’ begins to bite.  Whilst a number of strategists have written bearish predictions for the impact on Bitcoin, ITI believes the opposite is true; that the exponential network effect and clamour for wealth preservation will fuel fresh demand for Bitcoin.

Visit the Bitcoin ETC Fund Page for more information

Visit the Ethereum ETC Fund Page for more information

Visit the Litecoin ETC Fund Page for more information 

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