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Bipolar Cryptocurrency Markets Return to Mania, up 17.71% in August

CTA Industry Grinds Out 0.17% Gain in August, Nudging Barclay CTA Index to 4.89% on the Year

Managed futures funds built on July’s gains in August, advancing 0.17% for the month, according to the Barclay CTA Index, compiled by BarclayHedge, a division of Backstop Solutions. August’s return brought the CTA sector’s year-to-date return to 4.89% through the end of the month.

All but one CTA subsector tracked in the Barclay CTA Indices were in positive territory for the month, although several appeared flat, or nearly so, month-over-month.

The standout story was the bounce-back of the Cryptocurrency Traders Index, which was up 17.71% in August—an emphatic uptick in a trend started in July with a +6.24% return.

Non-Crypto-focused CTAs ground out gains in August that were measured in basis points instead of percentage points. The Discretionary Traders Index was up 0.49%, the MPI Barclay Elite Systematic Traders Index gained 0.29%, and the Agricultural Traders Index advanced 0.12%. The Diversified Traders Index, Financial & Metals Traders Index and the Systematic Traders Index were all approximately flat.

The Currency Traders Index was the lone exception, losing -0.24% on the month.

All CTA sectors posted gains for the year to date, with the Cryptocurrency Traders Index again leading the way with a 119.82% cumulative performance. Beyond it, the MPI Elite Systematic Traders Index has returned 8.81% in 2021 so far, followed by the Diversified Traders Index (+6.85%) ,the Discretionary Traders Index (+6.37%) and the Agricultural Traders Index (+4.67%).

“Cryptocurrency’s bounce-back accelerated in August as we watched the Cryptocurrency Traders Index nearly triple its July result. Moving into September the Index had nearly returned to its previous peak which was reached in April 2021,” noted Ben Crawford, Head of Research at BarclayHedge. “Elsewhere traders with short positions were able to profit from retreating energy prices and declines in metals and minerals prices during the month. Volatility-contingent bets were mostly out of luck as vol-indicators remained muted or unremarkable throughout the month.”

The Barclay BTOP50 Index, which tracks the performance of the largest CTAs open for new investment, returned 0.41% in August. For the year to date interval the BTOP50 is up 7.72%.

For a complete table of Barclay CTA Index results as well as historical data, click here.

About Backstop Solutions

Backstop’s mission is to help the institutional investment industry use time to its fullest potential. We develop technology to simplify and streamline otherwise time-consuming tasks and processes, enabling our clients to quickly and easily access, share and manage the knowledge that’s critical to their day-to-day business success. Backstop provides its industry-leading cloud-based productivity suite to investment consultants, pensions, funds of funds, family offices, endowments, foundations, private equity, hedge funds and real estate investment firms.

BarclayHedge, a division of Backstop, currently maintains data on more than 6,900 hedge funds, funds of funds and CTAs. The BarclayHedge Indices are utilized by institutional investors, brokerage firms and private banks worldwide as performance benchmarks for the hedge fund and managed futures industries.


Janet Falk

(212) 677-5770