PUNK Is Dead

Investors in Subversive ETF found no nirvana in the metaverse.

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Reviewed by: Lisa Barr
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Edited by: Ron Day

The Subversive Metaverse ETF (PUNK) is closing barely a year after it was issued, as investors and consumers soured on the virtual environment at the same time that bets on high-risk technologies and companies fell out of favor. 

The exchange-traded fund's price had slid nearly 30% since its January 2022 inception and had less than $1 million in assets. The fund had no inflows this year and $1.25 million last year. Big tech stocks like Nvidia Corp. and Apple Inc. are among its top 10 holdings, and so is Microsoft Corp., which closed its AltspaceVR virtual workspace platform in January. 

The fund closes and liquidates on May 31. Its issuer, New York-based Subversive Capital Advisors, said in a statement that it’s pivoting toward artificial intelligence as the way of the future. 

Subversive, which manages $13.8 million in six ETFs, appeared to place blame for the fund’s failure on Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. and its metaverse strategy. The company wrote in the statement that it “launched the fund with a skeptical view of Meta's imagining of what that world would look like, and to invest in other companies spearheading innovation in this new space.” 

“We continue to believe Meta's focus is misguided, and we've decided to pivot given the rapid advances in more promising technology such as Artificial Intelligence,” portfolio manager Christian Cooper said in the statement.  

The fund doesn’t own Meta shares, and said it took a short position in the stock limited to 5% of assets under management. That bet has worked out, with META’s stock down more than 19% since the fund’s inception. 

Subversive has launched a handful of funds with quirky tickers and focuses including the Subversive Mental Health ETF (SANE), the Unusual Whales Subversive Democratic Trading ETF (NANC) and the Unusual Whales Subversive Republican Trading ETF (KRUZ)

Actively managed PUNK invests in companies that produce products and services that support the metaverse, the name for the collection of ways people use augmented reality and virtual reality technology to interact with the internet and each other  

Meta Platforms has been one of the primary booster of the metaverse concept, having invested tens of billions of dollars into the technology. The results have been less than impressive, with its Horizon Worlds metaverse platform having dropped below 200,000 users by late last year based on internal documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal.  

 

Contact Gabe Alpert at [email protected] 

Gabe Alpert is a data reporter for etf.com with over seven years’ experience in financial journalism. He has previously contributed reporting and analysis to Barron’s Magazine, Investopedia and other publications.