Chris Sullivan began his career in 2007 (2010 as an entrepreneur) at some of the biggest investment banks in the world, back when Bitcoin was just making its debut on the heels of the Great Recession. Today, as the co-founder and portfolio manager of Hyperion Decimus, he’s a recognized expert in crypto investments and fintech—and the leader of a quant-driven diversified digital asset management firm that’s on a mission to bring digital assets to the masses. “Bitcoin is the most important asset in the history of humankind,” Chris says. “We wanted to bring digital assets to Main Street and everyone.” So it was that in 2017, Chris and his partners brought together a talented team with disciplines in high-frequency trading, market-making, algorithmic trading, technology, machine learning and alternative investments to do precisely that.
These passionate stewards of capital serve family offices, high-net-worth individuals, and institutional investors to help to protect and build their wealth. Through their Libertas Fund — self-funded by Chris and his partners—Hyperion Decimus trades over $1 billion a month in crypto, with their own money sitting right next to their clients. “We have significantly outperformed the underlying digital asset constituents we trade,” Chris explains. And in a period of runaway inflation and market volatility, this has never mattered more, particularly for pension funds, who hold in their hands the livelihoods of their members. “These are teachers, firefighters, steel workers, public servants who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of society, yet they are most often the unwitting victims of economic downturns, and excluded from the benefits of digital asset investments that could help mitigate this,” Chris shares. “It is our privilege to be able to help them protect and build their hard-earned money.”
Having just returned from sharing his insights on fintech as a panel member for the 2023 BattleFin conference, Chris spoke with us from Hyperion Decimus’ Winter Park, Florida, headquarters, to share more about their unique fund and how their “special sauce” is helping investors everywhere to thrive.
What compelled you to start the firm, Chris?
I was enamored with the decentralization possibilities, as well as the ability to be early on a trend that could change humanity for the better. Further, we wanted to apply our team’s skill sets, ethics, and values to a new space to welcome long-term investment.
How can digital assets help to protect capital against inflation and periods of market volatility?
Primarily through the conversion of fiat to bitcoin. As fiat is constantly devalued, bitcoin protects against that devaluation in purchasing power, similar to gold, but also is easier to use, store, and has greater limitations on supply. It is the embodiment of property rights, as well as freedom and liberty in a non-state-controlled asset.
Hyperion Decimus has significantly outperformed the underlying digital asset constituents that you trade. What’s your special sauce?
We tune our algorithms to be reactive in addition to being predictive, which assists in the accuracy of the trading. In addition, we proactively rebalance different strategies within the funds strategy matrix to be accretive, monetize any kurtosis events that occur, and drive further alpha via compounding. We’ve developed a rigorous qualitative process to identify assets to trade and invest in and, most importantly, which assets to avoid.
Tell us more about your Libertas Fund and who can benefit.
Our flagship fund, Libertas Fund, is a quant-driven multi-strat that has a long bias to capture the adoption and asymmetry of the space. Long term investors looking to deploy significant amounts of capital in the space can benefit from the risk management, rebalancing, and compounding embedded in Libertas Fund. Our newest fund, HD Digital Asset Income Fund, is designed to pay current income on a semi-annual basis. This fund is appropriate for income-seeking investors with lower volatility tolerance, who also see the value of diversifying their assets away from the traditional investment landscape as well fiat.
Pension funds are often underfunded and the hardest hit during economic downturns. How can adding digital assets to their portfolios help them mitigate this, and why is it important to you to help them?
Digital assets can serve as both a diversifier, a systemic hedge (in the case of bitcoin), and a significant driver of alpha. Oftentimes, pension funds absorb losses in the traditional markets from being structurally long bonds and stocks, as well as taking hits on their illiquid investments. Digital assets, if managed properly, can add both an alpha and income component to their portfolios. This is on the top of our list, as far as representation is concerned, as the end client of a pension fund is our fellow taxpayers. We are acutely aware that they are disproportionately affected from downturns, but perhaps most important, are underrepresented by the asset managers that serve as caretakers of their assets. As stewards of capital, we consider it a great honor and responsibility to represent those who desire honest and transparent representation.
What do you enjoy most about your work, Chris? What drives you?
Primarily two key things: the humility of representing our investors’ hard-earned capital, and the constantly changing and evolving landscape of digital assets. We’re really only scratching the surface at this point.
Chris is a CMT, a CRPC, an AWMA, an Emory University undergrad, and has completed the MIT Sloan Blockchain course.
Co-Founder & Portfolio Manager — Hyperion Decimus