In a blog post released on Feb. 8, industry stalwart Arthur Hayes announced a u-turn on his current crypto investment plans.
Hayes changes tune on “risky assets”
Current macroeconomic conditions stemming from the United States Federal Reserve previously made Arthur Hayes keen to avoid what he calls “risky assets.”
As inflation slows in tandem with the Fed’s rate hikes, multiple new storms are brewing in the U.S., and the Fed, Congress and the Treasury will steer the economy as they see fit, he says.
The problem is guessing how these events will play out over the course of the year. For Hayes, 2023 could well be split into two halves, with H1 being an ideal investment environment for crypto.
This runs contrary to a previous thesis from mid-January, in which the former BitMEX CEO said that he was staying on the sidelines for fear of a Fed-induced capitulation event hitting risk assets.
“My concerns about this potential outcome, which I handicapped would most likely happen later in 2023, has led me to keep my spare capital in money market funds and short-dated U.S. Treasury bills,” he explained.
“As such, the portion of my liquid capital that I intend to eventually use to purchase crypto is missing out on the current monster rally we’re seeing off of the local lows. Bitcoin has rallied close to 50% from the $16,000 lows we saw around the FTX fallout.”
Hayes continued that Bitcoin is likely far from done with its rebound despite 40% gains in January alone, comparing the risk asset environment to 2009 and the start of quantitative easing.
This year, the picture is complex — quantitative easing has given way to quantitative tightening, where liquidity is removed from the U.S. financial system at risk assets’ expense.
However, H1 looks to be providing some relief, with some liquidity returning to avoid hitting the debt ceiling too soon. This could continue until Congress votes to raise the debt ceiling in the summer, which Hayes and others argue is inevitable.
Cash in the Treasury General Account (TGA) will be emptied to the amount of $500 billion, canceling the $100 billion monthly liquidity that the Fed is removing.
“The TGA will be exhausted sometime in the middle of the year. Immediately following its exhaustion, there will be a political circus in the U.S. around raising the debt limit,” the blog post forecasts.
“Given that the Western-led fiat financial system would collapse overnight if the US government decided to forgo raising the debt ceiling and instead defaulted on the assets that underpin said system, it’s safe to assume the debt ceiling will be raised.”
Looking out for macro “unwinding”
It is then that the tide will turn, and risk assets could become a thorn in the side of every investor once again.
It is all a matter of timing, Hayes believes. His plan is to move into U.S. dollar cash, from where a segue into select risk assets is possible. Top of the menu, it would appear, is Bitcoin.
“I’ll deploy over the coming days. I wish my size actually mattered, but it doesn’t — so please don’t think that when this happens, it will have any discernible effect on the price of the orange coin,” he told readers.
Going forward, however, altcoins represent a major opportunity, the blog post explains in its conclusion, with these likewise conditioned by timing.
“The key to shitcoining is understanding they go up and down in waves. First, the crypto reserve assets rally — that is, Bitcoin and Ether. The rally in these stalwarts eventually stalls, and then prices fall slightly,” Hayes wrote about crypto market cycles.
“At the same time, the shitcoin complex stages an aggressive rally. Then shitcoins rediscover gravity, and interest shifts back to Bitcoin and Ether. And this stair-stepping process continues until the secular bull market ends.”
Guiding the process in 2023, then, is the “unwinding” of the brief window of more accommodative economic conditions currently revealing itself in the U.S.
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