Bitcoin Is Becoming the Market’s Fear and Volatility Indicator, Investor Argues

Omar Faridi
  • Cryptocurrencies are “becoming a way to sort of de-risk yourself from credit risk in the banking industry”, according to Equity Armor CIO Brian Stutland.
  • Bitcoin and CBOE’s Volatility Index have a “huge correlation,” which indicates that Bitcoin can also be used to gauge fear and volatility in traditional financial markets.

Brian Stutland, Managing Member at financial planning and portfolio management firm Equity Armor Investments, has recently stated that Bitcoin is like the new VIX, referring to CBOE’s volatility index, which gauges market expectations “of near-term volatility” according to S&P 500 Index option prices.

Stutland’s comments came during CNBC’s “Fast Money.” During the show he claimed Bitcoin, like VIX, can now be considered an indicator of fear and volatility in traditional financial markets. Stutland stated:

"There is huge correlation right now between VIX and bitcoin 30 days ago, 30 trading days ago, that is starting to measure out credit risk in the market. That's what cryptocurrency is becoming. It's becoming a way to sort of de-risk yourself from credit risk in the banking industry."

Brian Stutland

Holding Crypto Is Like Storing Money Under A Pillow

Per Stutland, cryptocurrencies are still an unregulated way for investors to transfer capital. These can, for example, convert their fiat money into cryptocurrencies when banking institutions increase credit risks. He said:

“Bitcoin is a way to for investors to basically move their money off the balance sheets of banks and into their own wallets. Essentially storing their money under their pillow in the form of virtual currency."

Brian Stutland

The investment professional added that there’s a positive correlation between market volatility and credit risk, as when there’s an increase in credit risk, there seems to be a proportional increase in market volatility.

Notably, 2017 wasn’t a very volatile year for the stock market, especially if compared to the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Various analysts suggest institutional investors have not yet made their way into the crypto market because of challenges they’d face with safely and securely storing cryptocurrencies. The added liquidity is set to, presumably, reduce volatility.

Cryptocurrency custodian services and regulated crypto exchanges will reportedly help solve the problem, and some businesses are already looking into it. As reported, UK’s LMAX Exchange, which has facilitated the trade of $10 trillion in fiat currency, recently announced plans to launch a regulated cryptocurrency exchange

VIX rose to a high of 18.39 on Tuesday, after falling to a low of 12.59 last Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed almost 500 points lower on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is currently trading at around $7,520, down from almost $10,000 on May 5 according to data from CryptoCompare.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Explains Why He Is Such a Huge Believer in Bitcoin

Siamak Masnavi

In a recent interview, Jack Dorsey, the American billionaire who is the co-founder and CEO of microblogging platform Twitter and the CEO of payments solutions provider Square, explained why he is such a huge believer in Bitcoin, calling the white paper for the world's most valuable cryptocurrency "poetry".

This interview, which was with Lex Fridman, a research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was released on Friday (April 24) as Episode #91 of Fridman's "AI Podcast".

In this article, we focus on what Dorsey said during those parts of this highly interesting interview that were about cryptocurrency.

The Future of Square

"I believe that the currency reuse is a huge part of the answer, and I believe that the internet deserves and requires a native currency and that's why I am such a huge believer in Bitcoin...

"Our biggest problem as a company right now is [that] we cannot act like an internet company.

"To open a new market, we have to have a partnership with a local bank, we have to pay attention to different regulatory onboarding environments, and a digital currency like Bitcoin takes a bunch of that away, where we can potentially launch a product in every single market around the world because they're all using the same currency and we have consistent understanding of regulation and onboarding and what that means.

"So, I think, you know, the internet continuing to be accessible to people is number one, and then I think currency is number two, and it will just allow for a lot more innovation, a lot more speed, in terms of what we can build and others can build, and it's just really exciting...

"I want to be able to see that and feel that in my lifetime."

Thoughts on Bitcoin's Design and Ideals

"I think the most beautiful thing about it [i.e. Bitcoin] is there's no one person setting the direction, and there's no one person on the other side to can stop it.

"So, we have something that is pretty organic in nature and very principled in its original design... 

"I think the Bitcoin white paper is one of the most seminal works of computer science in the last 20-30 years -- it's poetry...

"The timing of when it was released is powerful. It was a total activist move. I mean, it's moving the world forward in a way that I think is extremely noble and honorable and enables everyone to be part of the story, which is also really cool."

The Pseudonymous Launch of Bitcoin

"Nakamoto might represent one person or multiple people, but let me ask you situational motto.

"A pseudonym is a constructed identity, and anonymity is just kind of like drop something off and leave, there's no intention to build an identity around it.

"And, well, the identity being built was a short time window. It was met to stick around I think and to be known and it's being honored in, you know, how the community thinks about building it, like the concept of satoshis, for instance, is one such example, but I think it smart not to do it anonymous, not to do it as a real identity, but to do it as a pseudonym because I think it builds tangibility and a little bit of empathy that this was a human or a set of human behind it and there's this natural identity that I can imagine."

Bitcoin's Future

"I think that the amazing thing is no one knows. And it can emerge and every person that comes into the ecosystem, whether they be a developer or someone who uses it, can change its direction in small and large ways.

"And that's what I think it should be because that's what the internet has shown is possible.

"Now, there's complications with that, of course, and there's certainly companies that own large parts of the internet that can direct it more than others, and there's not equal access to every single person in the world just yet, but all those problems are visible enough to speak about them and to me that gives confidence that they're solvable in a relatively short time frame.

"A global currency which a native currency for the internet is a proxy for, is a very powerful concept, and I don't think anyone person on this planet truly understands the ramifications of that. I think there's a lot of positives to it. There's some negatives as well...

"I think there are many positive ramifications outside of money. Money is a foundational layer that enables so much more.

"I was meeting with an entrepreneur in Ethiopia. And payments is probably the number one problem to solve across the continent, both in terms of moving money across borders between nations on the continent or the amount of corruption within the current system, but the lack of easy ways to pay people makes starting anything really difficult...

"So, I think, as we get a more durable, resilient, and global standard, we see a lot more innovation everywhere. And I think there's no better case study for this than the various countries within Africa and their entrepreneurs who are trying to start things within health or sustainability or transportation or a lot of the companies that we've seen here.

"So the majority of companies I met in November when I spent a month on the continent were payments oriented."


Lex Fridman's full interview with Jack Dorsey is available on both his website and his YouTube channel