And the winners of the 2022 Duke FinTech Trading Competition are…

May 5, 2022

The winners of the 2022 Duke FinTech Trading Competition have been announced! Many thanks to our sponsors FinVC, Horizen Labs, and Mesh for their support,

We’re excited to wrap up the Spring 2022 Duke FINTECH Trading Competition! We can’t thank our sponsors FinVC, Horizen Labs, and Mesh enough for their support of the competition and the Master of Engineering in FinTech program.

Winning this competition is a real achievement because the scoring focuses on the best risk adjusted return as measured by the Sharpe Ratio which, unlike simpler metrics such as “best overall return”, eliminates luck and rewards only those traders who efficiently earn large returns for a given level of risk.

Based on our scoring criteria, the official winners are as follows:
  • 1st Place $3,000 Prize: Hoppity (Richard Xu) of Harvard University
  • 2nd Place $2,000 Prize: bubbles (Tanner Hoke) of Texas A&M University
  • 3rd Place $1,250 Prize: Dennishhh ( Xuyang Hua) of Vanderbilt University
  • 4th Place $750 Prize: James Liao of Washington University in St. Louis
  • 5th Place $500 Prize: Nonfortissimus (Katie Baldridge) of UNC Chapel Hill


Highest returning traders (%/trading day) were: 
  1. Ironman (Cheney Li) of Washington University in St. Louis, Daily GMRR: 1.57%
  2. James Liao of Washington University in St. Louis, Daily GMRR: 0.756%
  3. jlau (Jack Lauinger) of Georgetown University, Daily GMRR: 0.682%
  4. Nonfortissimus (Katie Baldridge) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Daily GMRR: 0.287%
  5. Shaw (Xiao Han) of Duke University, Daily GMRR: 0.276%
Hoppity vs. Bubbles

After a few days’ worth of trading, it became apparent that two traders – one from Harvard and one from Texas A&M – distinguished themselves quickly with incredibly high Sharpe values of (~20) right off the bat. Sharpes that high are usually impossible to achieve in actual practice, but these two traders had a plan… every day.  It appeared that they watched for certain market signals, known only to them, and made precise trades calculated to yield small, but virtually guaranteed daily returns with a volatility of almost zero.

In other words, these traders created their own “virtual risk-free assets” out of normal, everyday financial instruments. The returns realized were not big, roughly 2% on an annualized CCR, but they accomplished this with almost zero volatility during one of the wildest semesters in financial market history…quite an accomplishment. 

As soon as Richard saw Tanner’ university and performance on the Competition leaderboard, he had his suspicions about “Bubbles’” identity. “There’s only one guy I know of from Texas A&M who works in finance and has the skills to do this”, Richard shared with Jake Vestal, the Competition architect, on the Competition’s private Slack channel. “And I bet I know who it is, because we worked together in our internship last summer”.  Richard, of course, was correct!