A Prospect Theory Model for Predicting Cryptocurrency Returns
25 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2021
Date Written: December 08, 2020
This paper investigates the risk and return properties of a trading strategy for the cryptocurrency market. The main predictive power for portfolio formation comes from a simple prospect theory model that only uses price information readily available. The dataset consists of a large body of cryptocurrencies from 2014 to 2020. I find a strong outperformance over the market, even after controlling for known predictors. Factor regressions with a cryptocurrency three-factor model further reveal significant alphas. Robustness test emphasize the legitimacy of the strategy. On average, cryptocurrencies with a high (low) prospect theory value earn low (high) subsequent returns. Interestingly, traders in the cryptocurrency market seem to assess the attractiveness of cryptocurrency in a way described by prospect theory. Mechanical tests of the model show that probability weighting is a main driver behind this assessment. Cryptocurrencies with a high prospect theory value tend to be highly positively skewed. This skewness could be the reason why the cryptocurrency seems attractive to traders, similar to lottery-like gambles.
Keywords: Asset Pricing, Behavioral Finance, Cryptocurrencies, Cryptocurrency Markets, Cryptocurrency Trading, Herd Behavior, Loss Aversion, Portfolio, Portfolio Choice, Prospect Theory
JEL Classification: G10, G11, G13, G40, G41
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