Avi Felman explains how he decides to make massive bitcoin trades

Episode 9 of Season 4 of The Scoop was recorded remotely with The Block’s Frank Chaparro and Avi Felman, Co-Portfolio Manager at Blocktower Capital.

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Avi Felman's eyes are glued to his trading screen, waiting for market-moving headlines that could be prime opportunities to put on a multi-million crypto trade. 

These past few weeks have been especially active for the portfolio manager, who joined crypto investment firm BlockTower in November 2019. Felman, who co-leads the firm's flagship fund, navigated price gyrations stemming from macro and industry news, ranging from headlines that government officials recovered funds from Bitfinex's 2016 hack to more recent news that Russia could invade neighbor Ukraine.

On this episode of The Scoop, Felman explained the decision-making process that goes into making a trade on headlines, using reports that Russia was on the verge of invading Ukraine as one case study example. 

"I know that the context is that the Biden administration has been warning about Russia for quite some time," he said. "I know that bitcoin doesn't like uncertainty. I read the headline as being extremely uncertain."

Whether a certain news event adds uncertainty is just one factor Felman considers. Timing is equally important. 

"Okay, I want to make a trade and this all happens in the span of, you have to think, about 15 to 30 seconds," he explained. "You need to make those connections. Then I need to start de-risking a little bit."


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In some instances, Felman takes a cue from the S&P 500, which has been moving very closely with bitcoin despite the crypto's reputation as a hedge asset.

"The vast majority of time the bitcoin decouples from the S&P, it's because of a delayed reaction," he said. "It's because bitcoin has some idiosyncratic crypto native bidder that isn't paying attention to broader risk."

On this episode, Felman and Chaparro also unpack:

  • How the Russia news "threw a wrench" in Felman's bullish thesis
  • How momentum and value are the two main considerations for putting on a big bitcoin trade
  • How large traders put on big positions without spooking the broader market
  • The degree to which Federal Reserve hikes impact his decision-making

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Frank Chaparro is Host of The Scoop podcast and Director of Special Projects. He also writes a biweekly newsletter. Chaparro started his career at Business Insider, where he specialized in the intersection of digital assets and Wall Street, market structure, and financial technology. Soon after joining Business Insider out of Fordham University, Chaparro was interviewing top finance and tech executives, including billionaire Mark Cuban, “Flash Boys” star Brad Katsuyama, Cboe Global Markets CEO Ed Tilly, and New York Stock Exchange President Tom Farley. In 2018, he become a sought after reporter in the crypto world, interviewing luminaries such as Tyler Winklevoss, the cofounder of Gemini, Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Circle, and Fundstrat head Tom Lee. For inquiries or tips, email [email protected].