If the XIV-buyers were "picking up nickels," then mysterious VIX trader '50-cent' was the "steamroller" as his cumulative P&L swung $400 million last week from a big loss to a $200 million plus gain in a year...
As a reminder, there are a number of infamous 'traders' that keep popping up in the volatility complex as Macro Risk Advisers' Pravit Chintawongvanich has detailed in the past:
Bloomberg reports that, after suffering the slow drip-drip-drip of losses throughout 2017, Pravit Chintawongvanich, head of derivatives strategy at Macro Risk Advisors, estimates that the trader dubbed “50 Cent” (a play on the rapper known as “50 Cent,” Curtis Jackson), has made nearly $200 million total on this trade since the start of 2017 -- thanks to a swing of $400 million in a single month.
"At one point, ‘50 Cent’ became ‘30 Cent,’ scrimping on his usual VIX option purchases, unwilling to pay up for the 50 cent VIX options that were his namesake," Chintawongvanich wrote.
"But in early February, when it seemed like Fiddy’s fortunes could go no lower, it came: redemption."
Meanwhile, Bloomberg points out that the so-called VIX Elephant has gone the way of its relative, the woolly mammoth: It’s now extinct.
This trader, who put on massive VIX call spread trades while selling puts to benefit from a rise in volatility, has closed out all of their positions to earn a net $40 million on the trade.
According to Bloomberg, Chintawongvanich offers a small silver-lining in that he expects some semblance of return to normal... but it will be a different normal.
“We expect lower realized volatility in VIX futures, and by extension lower implied volatility in VIX options now that the ‘blowup risk’ is gone,” he writes.
“On the flip side, VIX spikes may take longer to resolve, now that the VIX ETPs are not pressuring vol on the way down.”
Chintawongvanich recommends gaining exposure to an expected decline in the volatility of volatility by buying put spreads in the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN. Good luck...