So here it is, three more days and October begins, which marks one year of trading for me. I figured I would contribute to the forum and share some of my experience, a little about me, and what I've learned so far. Whoever wants to listen, that's great. This might get long so buckle up.. Three years ago, I was visiting Toronto. I don't get out much, but my roommate at the time travels there occasionally. He asked everyone at our place if we wanted to come along for a weekend. My roommate has an uncle that lives there and we didn't have to worry about a hotel because his uncle owns a small house that's unlived in which we could stay at. I was the only one to go with. Anyways, we walk around the city, seeing the sights and whatnot. My friend says to me "where next?" "I don't know, you're the tour guide" "We can go check out Bay Street" "what's 'Bay Street?'" "It's like the Canadian Wall street! If you haven't seen it you gotta see it!" Walking along Bay, I admire all the nice buildings and architecture, everything seems larger than life to me. I love things like that. The huge granite facades with intricate designs and towering pillars to make you think, How the fuck did they make that? My attention pivots to a man walking on the sidewalk opposite us. His gait stood out among everyone, he walked with such a purpose.. He laughed into the cell phone to his ear. In the elbow-shoving city environment, he moved with a stride that exuded a power which not only commanded respect, but assumed it. I bet HE can get a text back, hell he's probably got girls waiting on him. This dude was dressed to kill, a navy suit that you could just tell from across the street was way out of my budget, it was a nice fucking suit. I want that. His life, across the street, seemed a world a way from my own. I've worn a suit maybe twice in my life. For my first communion, it was too big for me, I was eleven or whatever so who gives a shit, right? I'm positive I looked ridiculous. The other time? I can't remember. I want that. I want the suit. I want the wealth, the independence.I want the respect and power, and I don't give a shit what anyone thinks about it. Cue self doubt. Well, He's probably some rich banker's son. That's a world you're born into. I don't know shit about it. \sigh* keep walking..* A year later, I'm visiting my parents at their house, they live an hour away from my place. My dad is back from Tennessee, his engineering job was laying people off and he got canned... Or he saw the end was near and just left... I don't know, hard to pay attention to the guy honestly because he kind of just drones on and on. ("Wait, so your mom lives in Michigan, but your dad moved to Tennessee... for a job?" Yea man, I don't fucking know, not going to touch on that one.) The whole project was a shit show that was doomed to never get done, the way he tells it. And he's obviously jaded from multiple similar experiences at other life-sucking engineer jobs. My mom is a retired nurse practitioner who no longer works because of her illness. I ask him what he's doing for work now and he tells me he trades stocks from home. I didn't even know you could do that. I didn't know "trading" was a thing. I thought you just invest and hope for the best. "Oh that's cool, how much money do you need to do that?" "Ehh, most say you need at least $25,000 as a minimum" "Oh... guess I can't do that..." Six months later, I get a call and it's my dad. We talk a little about whatever. Off topic, he starts asking if I'm happy doing what I'm doing (I was a painter, commercial and residential) I tell him yes but it's kind of a pain in the ass and I don't see it as a long term thing. Then he gets around to asking if I'd like to come work with him. He basically pitches it to me. I'm not one to be sold on something, I'm always skeptical. So I ask all the questions that any rational person would ask and he just swats them away with reassuring phrases. He was real confident about it. But basically he says for this to work, I have to quit my job and move back home so he can teach me how to trade and be by my side so I don't do anything stupid. "My Name, you can make so much money." I say that I can't raise the $25,000 because I'm not far above just living paycheck to paycheck. "I can help you out with that." Wow, okay, well... let me think about it. My "maybe" very soon turned into a "definitely." So over the next six months, I continue to work my day job painting, and I try to save up what I could for the transition (it wasn't a whole lot, I sucked at saving. I was great at spending though!). My dad gives me a book on day trading (which I will mention later) and I teach myself what I can about the stock market using Investopedia. Also in the meantime, my dad sends me encouraging emails. He tells me to think of an annual income I would like to make as a trader, and used "more than $100,000 but less than a million" as a guideline. He tells me about stocks that he traded that day or just ones that moved and describes the basic price action and the prices to buy and sell at. Basically saying "if you bought X amount of shares here and sold it at X price here, you could make a quick 500 bucks!" I then use a trading sim to trade those symbols and try to emulate what he says. Piece of cake. ;) Wow, that's way more than what I make in a day. He tells me not to tell anyone about my trading because most people just think it's gambling. "Don't tell your Mom either." He says most people who try this fail because they don't know how to stop out and take a loss. He talks about how every day he was in a popular chatroom, some noob would say something like, "Hey guys, I bought at X price (high of day or thereabout), my account is down 80% .. uhh I'm waiting for it to come back to my entry price.. what do I do??" Well shit, I'm not that fucking dumb. If that's all it takes to make it is to buy low, sell high, and always respect a stop then I'll be fantastic. By the end of September, I was very determined. I had been looking forward everyday to quitting my painting job because while it used to be something I loved, it was just sucking the life out of me at this point. Especially working commercial, you just get worked like a dog. I wasn't living up to my potential with that job and I felt awful for it every minute of every day. I knew that I needed a job where I could use my brain instead of slaving my body to fulfill someone else's dream. "Someone's gotta put gas in the boss's boat" That's a line my buddy once said that he probably doesn't know sticks with me to this day. It ain't me. So now it was October 2018, and I'm back living with Mom n' Pops. I was so determined that on my last day of work I gave away all of my painting tools to my buddy like, "here, I don't need this shit." Moving out of my rental was easy because I don't own much, 'can't take it with ya.' Excited for the future I now spend my days bundled up in winter wear in the cold air of our hoarder-like basement with a space heater at my feet. My laptop connected to a TV monitor, I'm looking at stocks next to my dad and his screens in his cluttered corner. Our Trading Dungeon. I don't trade any money, (I wasn't aware of any real-time sim programs) I just watch and learn from my dad. Now you've got to keep in mind, and look at a chart of the S&P, this is right at the beginning of Oct '18, I came in right at the market top. Right at the start of the shit-show. For the next three or four weeks, I watch my dad pretty much scratch on every trade, taking small loss after small loss, and cursing under his breath at the screen. Click. "dammit." Click. "shit." Click. Click. "you fuck." Click. This gets really fucking annoying as time goes on, for weeks, and I get this attitude like ugh, just let me do it. I'll make us some fucking money. So I convince him to let me start trading live. I didn't know anything about brokers so I set up an account using his broker, which was Fidelity. It was a pain and I had to jump through a lot of hoops to be able to day trade with this broker. I actually had to make a joint account with my dad as I couldn't get approved for margin because my credit score is shit (never owned a credit card) and my net worth, not much. Anyways, they straight up discourage day trading and I get all kinds of warning messages with big red letters that made me shit myself like oooaaahhh what the fuck did I do now. Did I forget to close a position?? Did I fat finger an order? Am I now in debt for thousands of dollars to Fidelity?? They're going to come after me like they came after Madoff. Even after you are approved for PDT you still get these warning messages in your account. Some would say if I didn't comply with "whatever rule" they'd even suspend my account for 60 days. It was ridiculous, hard to describe because it doesn't make sense, and it took the support guy on the phone a good 20 minutes to explain it to me. Basically I got the answer "yea it's all good, you did nothing wrong. As long as you have the cash in your account to cover whatever the trade balance was" So I just kept getting these warnings that I had to ignore everyday. I hate Fidelity. My fist day trading, I made a few so-so trades and then I got impatient. I saw YECO breaking out and I chased, soon realized I chased, so I got out. -$500. Shit, I have to make that back, I don't want my dad to see this. Got back in. Shit. -$400. So my first day trading, I lost $900. My dumbass was using market orders so that sure didn't help. I reeled the risk back and traded more proper position size for a while, but the commissions for a round trip are $10, so taking six trades per day, I'm losing $60 at a minimum on top of my losing trades. Quickly I realized I didn't know what the hell I was doing. What about my dad? Does HE know? One day, in the trading dungeon, I was frustrated with the experience I'd been having and just feeling lost overall. I asked him. "So, are you consistently profitable?" "mmm... I do alright." "Yea but like, are you consistently profitable over time?" ......................... "I do alright." Silence. "Do you know any consistently profitable traders?" "Well the one who wrote that book I gave you, Tina Turner.. umm and there's Ross Cameron" ...................... "So you don't know any consistently profitable traders, personally.. People who are not trying to sell you something?" "no." ................... Holy fucking shit, what did this idiot get me into. He can't even say it to my face and admit it. This entire life decision, quitting my job, leaving my rental, moving from my city to back home, giving shit away, it all relied on that. I was supposed to be an apprentice to a consistently profitable day trader who trades for a living. It was so assumed, that I never even thought to ask! Why would you tell your son to quit his job for something that you yourself cannot do? Is this all a scam? Did my dad get sold a DREAM? Did I buy into some kind of ponzi scheme? How many of those winning trades he showed me did he actually take?Are there ANY consistently profitable DAY TRADERS who TRADE FOR A LIVING?Why do 90% fail? Is it because the other 10% are scamming the rest in some way? Completely lost, I just had no clue what was what. If I was going to succeed at this, if it was even possible to succeed at this, it was entirely up to me. I had to figure it out. I still remember the feeling like an overwhelming, crushing weight on me as it all sunk in. This is going to be a big deal.. I'm not the type to give up though. In that moment, I said to myself, I'm going to fucking win at this. I don't know if this is possible, but I'm going to find out. I cannot say with certainty that I will succeed, but no matter what, I will not give up. I'm going to give all of myself to this. I will find the truth. It was a deep moment for me. I don't like getting on my soapbox, but when I said those things, I meant it. I really, really meant it. I still do, and I still will. Now it might seem like I'm being hard on my dad. He has done a lot for me and I am very grateful for that. We're sarcastic as hell to each other, I love the bastard. Hell, I wouldn't have the opportunity to trade at all if not for him. But maybe you can also understand how overwhelmed I felt at that time. Not on purpose, of course he means well. But I am not a trusting person at all and I was willing to put trust into him after all the convincing and was very disappointed when I witnessed the reality of the situation. I would have structured this transition to trading differently, you don't just quit your job and start trading. Nobody was there to tell me that! I was told quite the opposite. I'm glad it happened anyway, so fuck it. I heard Kevin O'Leary once say, "If I knew in the beginning how difficult starting a business was, I don't know that I ever would've started." This applies very much to my experience. So what did I do? Well like everyone I read and read and Googled and Youtube'd my ass off. I sure as hell didn't pay for a course because I didn't have the money and I'm like 99% sure I would be disappointed by whatever they were teaching as pretty much everything can be found online or in books for cheap or free. Also I discovered Thinkorswim and I used that to sim trade in real-time for three months. This is way the hell different than going on a sim at 5x speed and just clicking a few buy and sell buttons. Lol, useless. When you sim trade in real-time you're forced to have a routine, and you're forced to experience missing trades with no chance to rewind or skip the boring parts. That's a step up because you're "in it". I also traded real money too, made some, lost more than I made. went back to sim. Traded live again, made some but lost more, fell back to PDT. Dad fronted me more cash. This has happened a few times. He's dug me out of some holes because he believes in me. I'm fortunate. Oh yeah, about that book my dad gave me. It's called A Beginner's Guide to Day Trading Online by Toni Turner. This book... is shit. This was supposed to be my framework for how to trade and I swear it's like literally nothing in this book fucking works lol. I could tell this pretty early on, intuitively, just by looking at charts. It's basically a buy-the-breakout type strategy, if you want to call it a strategy. No real methodology to anything just vague crap and showing you cherry-picked charts with entries that are way too late. With experience in the markets you will eventually come to find that MOST BREAKOUTS FAIL. It talks about support/resistance lines and describes them as, "picture throwing a ball down at the floor, it bounces up and then it bounces down off the ceiling, then back up." So many asinine assumptions. These ideas are a text book way of how to trade like dumb money. Don't get me wrong, these trades can work but you need to be able to identify the setups which are more probable and identify reasons not to take others. So I basically had to un-learn all that shit. Present day, I have a routine in place. I'm out of the dungeon and trade by myself in my room. I trade with a discount broker that is catered to day traders and doesn't rape me on commissions. My mornings have a framework for analyzing the news and economic events of the particular day, I journal so that I can recognize what I'm doing right and where I need to improve. I record my screens for later review to improve my tape reading skills. I am actually tracking my trades now and doing backtesting in equities as well as forex. I'm not a fast reader but I do read a lot, as much as I can. So far I have read about 17-18 books on trading and psychology. I've definitely got a lot more skilled at trading. As of yet I am not net profitable. Writing that sounds like selling myself short though, honestly. Because a lot of my trades are very good and are executed well. I have talent. However, lesser quality trades and trades which are inappropriately sized/ attempted too many times bring down that P/L. I'm not the type of trader to ignore a stop, I'm more the trader that just widdles their account down with small losses. I trade live because at this point, sim has lost its value, live trading is the ultimate teacher. So I do trade live but I just don't go big like I did before, I keep it small. I could show you trades that I did great on and make people think I'm killing it but I really just don't need the validation. I don't care, I'm real about it. I just want to get better. I don't need people to think I'm a genius, I'm just trying to make some money. Psychologically, to be honest with you, I currently feel beaten down and exhausted. I put a lot of energy into this, and sometimes I work myself physically sick, it's happened multiple times. About once a week, usually Saturday, I get a headache that lasts all day. My body's stress rebound mechanism you might call it. Getting over one of those sick periods now, which is why I barely even traded this week. I know I missed a lot of volatility this week and some A+ setups but I really just don't give a shit lol. I just currently don't have the mental capital, I think anyone who's been day trading every day for a year or more can understand what I mean by that. I'm still being productive though. Again, I'm not here to present an image of some badass trader, just keeping it real. To give something 100% day after day while receiving so much resistance, it takes a toll on you. So a break is necessary to avoid making bad trading decisions. That being said, I'm progressing more and more and eliminating those lesser quality trades and identifying my bad habits. I take steps to control those habits and strengthen my good habits such as having a solid routine, doing review and market research, taking profits at the right times, etc. So maybe I can give some advice to some that are new to day trading, those who are feeling lost, or just in general thinking "...What the fuck..." I thought that every night for the first 6 months lol. First of all, manage expectations. If you read my story of how I came to be a trader, you can see I had a false impression of trading in many aspects. Give yourself a realistic time horizon to how progress should be made. Do not set a monetary goal for yourself, or any time-based goal that is measured in your P/L. If you tell yourself, "I want to make X per day, X per week, or X per year" you're setting yourself up to feel like shit every single day when it's clear as the blue sky that you won't reach that goal anytime soon. As a matter of fact, it will appear you are moving further AWAY from that goal if you just focus on your P/L, which brings me to my next point. You will lose money. In the beginning, most likely, you will lose money. I did it, you'll do it, the greatest Paul Tudor Jones did it. Trading is a skill that needs to be developed, and it is a process. Just look at it as paying your tuition to the market. Sim is fine but don't assume you have acquired this skill until you are adept at trading real money. So when you do make that leap, just trade small. Just survive. Trade small. get the experience. Protect your capital. To reach break even on your bottom line is a huge accomplishment. In many ways, experience and screen time are the secret sauce. Have a routine. This is very important. I actually will probably make a more in-depth post in the future about this if people want it. When I first started, I was overwhelmed with the feeling "What the fuck am I supposed to DO?" I felt lost. There's no boss to tell you how to be productive or how to find the right stocks, which is mostly a blessing, but a curse for new traders. All that shit you see, don't believe all that bullshit. You know what I'm talking about. The bragposting, the clickbait Youtube videos, the ads preying on you. "I made X amount of money in a day and I'm fucking 19 lolz look at my Lamborghini" It's all a gimmick to sell you the dream. It's designed to poke right at your insecurities, that's marketing at it's finest. As for the bragposting on forums honestly, who cares. And I'm not pointing fingers on this forum, just any trading forum in general. They are never adding anything of value to the community in their posts. They never say this is how I did it. No, they just want you to think they're a genius. I can show you my $900 day trading the shit out of TSLA, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Gamblers never show you when they lose, you might never hear from those guys again because behind the scenes, they over-leveraged themselves and blew up. Some may actually be consistently profitable and the trades are 100% legit. That's fantastic. But again, I don't care, and you shouldn't either. You shouldn't compare yourself to others. "Everyone's a genius in a bull market" Here's the thing.. Markets change. Edges disappear. Trading strategies were made by traders who traded during times when everything they did worked. Buy all the breakouts? Sure! It's the fucking tech bubble! Everything works! I'm sure all those typical setups used to work fantastically at some point in time. But the more people realize them, the less effective they are. SOMEONE has to be losing money on the opposite side of a winning trade, and who's willing to do that when the trade is so obvious? That being said, some things are obvious AND still work. Technical analysis works... sometimes. The caveat to that is, filters. You need to, in some way, filter out certain setups from others. For example, you could say, "I won't take a wedge pattern setup on an intraday chart unless it is in a higher time frame uptrend, without nearby resistance, and trading above average volume with news on that day." Have a plan. If you can't describe your plan, you don't have one. Think in probabilities. You should think entirely in "if, then" scenarios. If X has happens, then Y will probably happen. "If BABA breaks this premarket support level on the open I will look for a pop up to short into." Backtest. Most traders lose mainly because they think they have an edge but they don't. You read these books and all this stuff online telling you "this is a high probability setup" but do you know that for a fact? There's different ways to backtest, but I think the best way for a beginner is manual backtesting with a chart and an excel sheet. This builds up that screen time and pattern recognition faster. This video shows how to do that. Once I saw someone do it, it didn't seem so boring and awful as I thought it was. Intelligence is not enough. You're smarter than most people, that's great, but that alone is not enough to make you money in trading necessarily. Brilliant people try and fail at this all the time, lawyers, doctors, surgeons, engineers.. Why do they fail if they're so smart? It's all a fucking scam. No, a number of reasons, but the biggest is discipline and emotional intelligence. Journal every day.K no thanks, bro. That's fucking gay. That's how I felt when I heard this advice but really that is pride and laziness talking. This is the process you need to do to learn what works for you and what doesn't. Review the trades you took, what your plan was, what actually happened, how you executed. Identify what you did well and what you can work on. This is how you develop discipline and emotional intelligence, by monitoring yourself. How you feel physically and mentally, and how these states affect your decision-making. Always be learning. Read as much as you can. Good quality books. Here's the best I've read so far; Market Wizards -Jack Schwager One Good Trade -Mike Bellafiore The Daily Trading Coach -Bret Steenbarger Psycho-cybernetics -Maxwell Maltz Why You Win or Lose -Fred Kelly The Art and Science of Technical Analysis -Adam Grimes Dark Pools -Scott Patterson Be nimble. Everyday I do my research on the symbols I'm trading and the fundamental news that's driving them. I might be trading a large cap that's gapping up with a beat on EPS and revenue and positive guidance. But if I see that stock pop up and fail miserably on the open amidst huge selling pressure, and I look and see the broader market tanking, guess what, I'm getting short, and that's just day trading. The movement of the market, on an intraday timeframe, doesn't have to make logical sense. Adapt. In March I used to be able to buy a breakout on a symbol and swing it for the majority of the day. In the summer I was basically scalping on the open and being done for the day. Volatility changes, and so do my profit targets. Be accountable. Be humble. Be honest. I take 100% responsibility for every dime I've lost or made in the market. It's not the market makers fault, it wasn't the HFTs, I pressed the button. I know my bad habits and I know my good habits.. my strengths/ my weaknesses. Protect yourself from toxicity. Stay away from traders and people on forums who just have that negative mindset. That "can't be done" mentality. Day trading is a scam!! It can certainly be done. Prove it, you bastard. I'm posting to this particular forum because I don't see much of that here and apparently the mods to a good job of not tolerating it. As the mod wrote in the rules, they're most likely raging from a loss. Also, the Stocktwits mentality of "AAPL is going to TANK on the open! $180, here we come. $$$" , or the grandiose stories, "I just knew AMZN was going to go up on earnings. I could feel it. I went ALL IN. Options money, baby! ka-ching!$" Lol, that is so toxic to a new trader. Get away from that. How will you be able to remain nimble when this is your thought process? Be good to yourself. Stop beating yourself up. You're an entrepreneur. You're boldly going where no man has gone before. You've got balls. Acknowledge your mistakes, don't identify with them. You are not your mistakes and you are not your bad habits. These are only things that you do, and you can take action necessary to do them less. It doesn't matter what people think. Maybe they think you're a fool, a gambler. You don't need their approval. You don't need to talk to your co-workers and friends about it to satisfy some subconscious plea for guidance; is this a good idea? You don't need anyone's permission to become the person you want to be. They don't believe in you? Fuck 'em. I believe in you.
I was going through old emails today and came across this one I sent out to family on January 4, 2018. It was a reflection on the 2017 crypto bull market and where I saw it heading, as well as some general advice on crypto, investment, and being safe about how you handle yourself in cryptoland. I feel that we are on the cusp of a new bull market right now, so I thought that I would put this out for at least a few people to see *before* the next bull run, not after. While the details have changed, I don't see a thing in this email that I fundamentally wouldn't say again, although I'd also probably insist that people get a Yubikey and use that for all 2FA where it is supported. Happy reading, and sorry for some of the formatting weirdness -- I cleaned it up pretty well from the original email formatting, but I love lists and indents and Reddit has limitations... :-/ Also, don't laught at my token picks from January 2018! It was a long time ago and (luckliy) I took my own advice about moving a bunch into USD shortly after I sent this. I didn't hit the top, and I came back in too early in the summer of 2018, but I got lucky in many respects. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Jan-4, 2018 Hey all! I woke up this morning to ETH at a solid $1000 and decided to put some thoughts together on what I think crypto has done and what I think it will do. *******, if you could share this to your kids I’d appreciate it -- I don’t have e-mail addresses, and it’s a bit unwieldy for FB Messenger… Hopefully they’ll at least find it thought-provoking. If not, they can use it as further evidence that I’m a nutjob. 😉 Some history before I head into the future. I first mined some BTC in 2011 or 2012 (Can’t remember exactly, but it was around the Christmas holidays when I started because I had time off from work to get it set up and running.) I kept it up through the start of summer in 2012, but stopped because it made my PC run hot and as it was no longer winter, ********** didn’t appreciate the sound of the fans blowing that hot air into the room any more. I’ve always said that the first BTC I mined was at $1, but looking back at it now, that’s not true – It was around $2. Here’s a link to BTC price history. In the summer of 2013 I got a new PC and moved my programs and files over before scrapping the old one. I hadn’t touched my BTC mining folder for a year then, and I didn’t even think about salvaging those wallet files. They are now gone forever, including the 9-10BTC that were in them. While I can intellectually justify the loss, it was sloppy and underlines a key thing about cryptocurrency that I believe will limit its widespread adoption by the general public until it is addressed and solved: In cryptoland, you are your own bank, and if you lose your password or account number, there is no person or organization that can help you reset it so that you can get access back. Your money is gone forever. On April 12, 2014 I bought my first BTC through Coinbase. BTC had spiked to $1000 and been in the news, at least in Japan. This made me remember my old wallet and freak out for a couple of months trying to find it and reclaim the coins. I then FOMO’d (Fear Of Missing Out”) and bought $100 worth of BTC. I was actually very lucky in my timing and bought at around $430. Even so, except for a brief 50% swing up almost immediately afterwards that made me check prices 5 times a day, BTC fell below my purchase price by the end of September and I didn’t get back to even until the end of 2015. In May 2015 I bought my first ETH at around $1. I sent some guy on bitcointalk ~$100 worth of BTC and he sent me 100 ETH – all on trust because the amounts were small and this was a small group of people. BTC was down in the $250 range at that point, so I had lost 30-40% of my initial investment. This was of the $100 invested, so not that much in real terms, but huge in percentages. It also meant that I had to buy another $100 of BTC on Coinbase to send to this guy. A few months after I purchased my ETH, BTC had doubled and ETH had gone down to $0.50, halving the value of my ETH holdings. I was even on the first BTC purchase finally, but was now down 50% on the ETH I had bought. The good news was that this made me start to look at things more seriously. Where I had skimmed white papers and gotten a superficial understanding of the technology before FOMO’ing, I started to act as an investor, not a speculator. Let me define how I see those two different types of activity:
Investors buy because the price is less than the value they see in the investment. Speculators buy because they think that someone will pay more in the future than they are paying now.
Investors trade on information (The white paper was really well-written, had a clear technical advantage over other alternatives, and addresses a need that I can understand and value.) Speculators trade on sentiment. (Buy the rumor! Sell the news!)
Investors usually look at the investment and themselves and can describe why they purchase in those terms (ABC-Coin provides (service) that isn’t addressed yet and matches (requirements) for an investment.) Speculators usually describe why they bought something in terms of how other people think (I think that other people think that the price will rise, so I want to get ahead of that.)
Investors don’t necessarily check the price every day. The can, and very often I do, but it isn’t required because fundamentals don’t often change on a dime. Speculators need to be glued to a price feed, because sentiment very often changes on a dime.
Investors like ideas, people, business plans, and market opportunities. Good ones are like Spock. Speculators like trends. They are tribal.
Investors have a longer time horizon than speculators. In cryptoland, the notion of a “longer” time horizon is still laughably small (months) compared to traditional markets, but it certainly isn’t weeks or days or hours, which is whre speculators often live.
So what has been my experience as an investor? After sitting out the rest of 2015 because I needed to understand the market better, I bought into ETH quite heavily, with my initial big purchases being in March-April of 2016. Those purchases were in the $11-$14 range. ETH, of course, dropped immediately to under $10, then came back and bounced around my purchase range for a while until December of 2016, when I purchased a lot more at around $8. I also purchased my first ICO in August of 2016, HEAT. I bought 25ETH worth. Those tokens are now worth about half of their ICO price, so about 12.5ETH or $12500 instead of the $25000 they would be worth if I had just kept ETH. There are some other things with HEAT that mean I’ve done quite a bit better than those numbers would suggest, but the fact is that the single best thing I could have done is to hold ETH and not spend the effort/time/cost of working with HEAT. That holds true for about every top-25 token on the market when compared to ETH. It certainly holds true for the many, many tokens I tried to trade in Q1-Q2 of 2017. In almost every single case I would have done better and slept better had I just held ETH instead of trying to be smarter than Mr. Market. But, I made money on all of them except one because the crypto market went up more in USD terms than any individual coin went down in ETH or BTC terms. This underlines something that I read somewhere and that I take to heart: A rising market makes everyone seem like a genius. A monkey throwing darts at a list of the top 100 cryptocurrencies last year would have doubled his money. Here’s a chart from September that shows 2017 year-to-date returns for the top 10 cryptocurrencies, and all of them went up a *lot* more between then and December. A monkey throwing darts at this list there would have quintupled his money. When evaluating performance, then, you have to beat the monkey, and preferably you should try to beat a Wall Street monkey. I couldn’t, so I stopped trying around July 2017. My benchmark was the BLX, a DAA (Digital Asset Array – think fund like a Fidelity fund) created by ICONOMI. I wasn’t even close to beating the BLX returns, so I did several things.
I went from holding about 25 different tokens to holding 10 now. More on that in a bit.
I used those funds to buy ETH and BLX. ETH has done crazy-good since then and BLX has beaten BTC handily, although it hasn’t done as well as ETH.
I used some of those funds to set up an arbitrage operation.
The arbitrage operation is why I kept the 11 tokens that I have now. All but a couple are used in an ETH/token pair for arbitrage, and each one of them except for one special case is part of BLX. Why did I do that? I did that because ICONOMI did a better job of picking long-term holds than I did, and in arbitrage the only speculative thing you must do is pick the pairs to trade. My pairs are (No particular order):
I also hold PLU, PLBT, and ART. These two are multi-year holds for me. I have not purchased BTC once since my initial $200, except for a few cases where BTC was the only way to go to/from an altcoin that didn’t trade against ETH yet. Right now I hold about the same 0.3BTC that I held after my first $100 purchase, so I don’t really count it. Looking forward to this year, I am positioning myself as follows:
ETH will still be my core holding. It is the “deepest in the stack” crypto investment that I have. “Deep in the stack” is a programming term that gets at the idea that most software is built on other software. If you just think about your notebook, you have your OS, and programs run on that. But even inside the OS there is a stack. The bottom of your stack is the kernel, and on top of that are the drivers, protocols, and other layers that allow the programs to talk to the OS, the hard drive, the screen, the mouse, your printer, etc. You can change your mouse or printer easily. Changing things deeper in the stack becomes harder and harder. ETH is deep in the crypto stack, so is very hard to dislodge – Around 60 of the top 100 cryptocurrencies by market cap run on top of Ethereum, so getting rid of Ethereum is something that would take a long time to do.
DNT, QTUM, ZRX, and OMG are all, to varying degrees, “deep in the stack” tokens that, once established, will be very hard to dislodge.
That said, I am peeling away some of my holdings into USD right now, because big changes are afoot and they are going to cause market disruptions. I’m going to come right out and admit that this is speculative, but I’m also going to back it up with some non-speculative facts.
The SEC has been sending out hundreds of subpoenas to cryptocurrency organizations over the past 3-4 months. These subpoenas are simply asking for information and nobody has been charged with any crimes or misdoings, but it is clear that the SEC is getting together information so that they can begin to regulate cryptoland. When that happens, other countries will follow, and that means:
Some tokens will be deemed outright scams and people will be prosecuted.
Some tokens will be deemed securities and will be regulated.
Some tokens will not be deemed scams or securities and will continue as they have.
Looking at this, it is clear to me that the tokens that escape prosecution and regulation should do better, but the short-term impact will be brutal and ugly. It would not surprise me at all to see a 50% drop in overall market cap within Q1-Q2, with Q1 being more likely.
Cryptoland has always been a bit nuts, but it is more nuts now than I have ever seen it. Back in 2011-2014 it was a freaks-n-geeks show where people were all about the technology and I would sit around for a 3-day weekend installing a *nix VM on my Windows machine so that I could compile the most recent source and run a CUDA SHA-256 routine rather than thrash my CPU. If that doesn’t make sense to you, you wouldn’t have even thought about being involved.
Now, people see Bitcoin advertisements in their Facebook feed and think “I gotta get on the BTC train!” before going to Coinbase and buying some with a credit card. They don’t know anything about crypto, and they are getting eaten alive – It is no coincidence that BTC peaked after the Thanksgiving holidays when people sat around the table and Janice got Uncle Mike and Cousin Bob all excited as she talked about going to Cancun for Christmas because of her crypto winnings. Huge amounts of fiat got transferred from newbies to BTC whales during this period, and once the whales were done, BTC had dropped from $20,000 to $12,000. It’s now back at $15,000, but for people who bought at a higher level, this sucks. As a result many have moved from BTC to ETH, with the single biggest money flow in crypto in December being the BTC à ETH flow. As a result, it’s no coincidence that ETH is at all-time highs now. The thing is, though, that even most people that moved from BTC to ETH really have no idea what they are doing. They are acting on buzzwords and emotion. They are speculators and are going to get crushed.
The stock market is quite high right now, but people are starting to worry that it is too high and that we are going to enter into a period of inflation again. This has caused gold to go up a lot the last quarter and is likely also responsible a bit for the rise in cryptos. If this view is correct, then cryptos stay stronger than if that pressure wasn’t there. If wrong, then cryptos will swing down as money exits cryptoland for more traditional markets.
I am spending most of my time and money on the arbitrage effort. The nice thing about arbitrage is that it works as the markets go up, and it works as the markets go down. When markets are too volatile, however, arbitrage can get very messy and dangerous, with each trade generating a loss instead of a profit, so I am working right now to tune the algorithms to take into account rate-of-change and add in some circuit breaker triggers. Once this is done I will expand those operations.
I am getting much more serious about systems security.
I have a Nano Ledger and recommend that anyone with >$1000 of crypto have one. The Trezor is also supposed to be good, but I haven’t used it.
I will set up a dedicated *nix notebook that is used for nothing except my crypto work. All it takes is one keylogger to get on your PC/Mac and your crypto is gone. What is on your Nano Ledger will be OK, but they will sweep out your exchange account or Coinbase account faster than you can type. A standard Linux installation with Chrome and nothing else is as about as secure as you can get in the civilian world.
If you don’t use LastPass or a similar password manager yet, you need to do that. Your password to LastPass should be at least 16 characters long and should not have a recognizable English word in it. If you think that “Iluvu4evah” is a secure password, you’re wrong.
Hackers know that “4”=”for” and “u”=”you”. Writing a script to substitute those in is trivial if they want to write the script, but it’s much easier for them to download one of the many, many programs out there that already do this.
If your password contains any string of numbers from anything that can be associated with you at any time in your life, it is insecure. Take those numbers out of the character count because they are an insignificant barrier to cracking your account.
The good news is that you probably won’t be targeted, but if you ever mention online that you are doing anything significant in crypto, that chance increased enormously.
*Never* talk with *anyone* about how much you have in crypto. You’ll notice that I haven’t here. There is no reason to tell even a family member how much you have unless you are sharing a tax form. Sure, you may trust them, but all it takes if for someone to overhead someone else mention at a party that a relative got into crypto a long time ago and made a bunch of money. That person can also then be subjected to the $10 hack and force you to send all your crypto to them.
Your password to LastPass (Or equivalent.) should look something like this -> 6k0jQMoziX&D#4W8
Yes, it’s a headache. Imagine your headache, though, were you to open your account one day and find all of your money gone.
Looking at my notes, I have two other things that I wanted to work into this email that I didn’t get to, so here they are:
Just like with free apps and other software, if you are getting something of value and you didn’t pay anything for it, you need to ask why this is. With apps, the phrase is “If you didn’t pay for the product, you are the product”, and this works for things such as pump groups, tips, and even technical analysis. Here’s how I see it.
Technical analysis (TA) is something that has been argued about for longer than I’ve been alive, but I think that it falls into the same boat. In short, TA argues that there are patterns in trading that can be read and acted upon to signal when one must buy or sell. It has been used forever in the stock and foreign exchange markets, and people use it in crypto as well. Let’s break down these assumptions a bit.
i. First, if crypto were like the stock or forex markets we’d all be happy with 5-7% gains per year rather than easily seeing that in a day. For TA to work the same way in crypto as it does in stocks and foreign exchange, the signals would have to be *much* stronger and faster-reacting than they work in the traditional market, but people use them in exactly the same way. ii. Another area where crypto is very different than the stock and forex markets centers around market efficiency theory. This theory says that markets are efficient and that the price reflects all the available information at any given time. This is why gold in New York is similar in price to gold in London or Shanghai, and why arbitrage margins are easily <0.1% in those markets compared to cryptoland where I can easily get 10x that. Crypto simply has too much speculation and not enough professional traders in it yet to operate as an efficient market. That fundamentally changes the way that the market behaves and should make any TA patterns from traditional markets irrelevant in crypto. iii. There are services, both free and paid that claim to put out signals based on TA for when one should buy and sell. If you think for even a second that they are not front-running (Placing orders ahead of yours to profit.) you and the other people using the service, you’re naïve. iv. Likewise, if you don’t think that there are people that have but together computerized systems to get ahead of people doing manual TA, you’re naïve. The guys that I have programming my arbitrage bots have offered to build me a TA bot and set up a service to sell signals once our position is taken. I said no, but I am sure that they will do it themselves or sell that to someone else. Basically they look at TA as a tip machine where when a certain pattern is seen, people act on that “tip”. They use software to see that “tip” faster and take a position on it so that when slower participants come in they either have to sell lower or buy higher than the TA bot did. Remember, if you are getting a tip for free, you’re the product. In TA I see a system when people are all acting on free preset “tips” and getting played by the more sophisticated market participants. Again, you have to beat that Wall Street monkey.
If you still don’t agree that TA is bogus, think about it this way: If TA was real, Wall Street would have figured it out decades ago and we would have TA funds that would be beating the market. We don’t.
If you still don’t agree that TA is bogus and that its real and well, proven, then you must think that all smart traders use them. Now follow that logic forward and think about what would happen if every smart trader pushing big money followed TA. The signals would only last for a split second and would then be overwhelmed by people acting on them, making them impossible to leverage. This is essentially what the efficient market theory postulates for all information, including TA.
OK, the one last item. Read this weekly newsletter – You can sign up at the bottom. It is free, so they’re selling something, right? 😉 From what I can tell, though, Evan is a straight-up guy who posts links and almost zero editorial comments. Happy 2018.
Looking back in recent history, it seems as though big investors and financial organizations are changing their attitudes towards Bitcoin and altcoins. The media coverage worldwide illuminated the vast returns being had in the cryptocurrency markets, with many coins up over 100x since their conception. This certainly has garnered the attention from both legacy and newcomer investors. Currently, everyone is waiting to see if cryptocurrencies can continue on their path to new all time highs. 2017 turned out to be a whirlwind year, with most cryptocurrencies soaring to new all time highs at the end of 2017 and early 2018. The media coverage of cryptocurrencies was nonstop, with news reports on financial programs almost daily. In addition, many movies and tv shows mentioned cryptocurrency, including the technology oriented show “Silicon Valley.” So far, 2018 has seen a vast pullback in the cryptocurrency markets. Many of the smaller altcoins are down over 90% with Bitcoin, the crypto leader, still being down over 60% from all time highs. Even with the overall market pullback, many investors are still very bullish on cryptocurrencies going into 2019. Many big name institutions are jumping head first into crypto, with NYSE announcing a new crypto exchange, BAAKT. Also Fidelity has announced a crypto support platform for their customers. Even legendary Ivy league university Yale has announced a new 400 million dollar investment fund geared towards cryptocurrency. With so much bullish news adding up rapidly, almost everyone seems to expect a very profitable year for crypto leading into 2019. While Bitcoin is still currently the market leader there are also some big name altcoins that expect 2019 to be a huge year for them. The Altcoin Hierarchy Before investing in the crypto market, let us go through the basic classes of cryptocurrencies that exist in the market. While every class has the potential to have impressive returns, some coins have more impressive use cases and concepts, In addition to more qualified and funded development teams. Simply put, not all altcoins were created the same. The Penny Stocks of Crypto These are the bottom tier altcoins that could possibly become worthless in the near future. They operate much like penny stocks, advertising big promises of ‘guaranteed gains’. Eventually, many fail to offer a fraction of their promised returns. One of the ways to identify these is to look at their team members, their past experiences, objectives of the project, probability of mass adoption, actual use of the coins and many more. The reasons for their failure is usually because of unwillingness to work for the vision they once promised in the first place, bad wealth management, inclusion of scammers in their team, unrealistic expectation from the project and also making money via pump and dump schemes. Some of these coins are Trumpcoin, Russia Coin and Verge. Average Coins According to the ‘coinmarketcap’ website, there are currently more than 2000 cryptocurrencies listed on their website. Among those, there are around 500 of them that can be considered in this ‘average’ category. These are the coins that do have a purpose/objective to work on but fail to maintain a good development team. They and their coins don’t really have any kind of purpose in the crypto market and fail to finalize any kind of legitimate deals and partnerships with good investors. This makes their performance very limited as compared to other altcoins in the market. Some of these coins are Deep Brain Chain, Funfair, Decred, Navcoin, Populous, Cryptonex. Good Coins There are around 500 of such good coins in the market that do offer a good objective for the project, a solid team with good experience to execute such tasks, a good marketing strategy to reach out to masses to share their ideas and quality contacts to make some good partnerships in the market. The only reason why they are only classified as ‘good coins’ is due to the lack of uniqueness that the other ‘very good coins’ offer. They don’t really have that ‘point of parity’ in their project/product that separates them from their counterparts. Some of these coins are NEM, Stratis, Monero, and BAT. Very Good Coins There are around 100 such ‘very good coins’ in the market. Their objectives are well defined with a solid team to execute their tasks perfectly. Along with that, their marketing teams are also well-qualified to make their ideas reach to the masses. Because of such a wonderful blend, they are able to make better and strong partnerships with a number of good companies. What separates them from the ‘Good Coins’ category is their USPs (Unique Selling Points). They are unique in what they do and that’s what makes the difference. Such coins are NEO, Stellar, Cardano, Ripple Top Tier Cryptocurrencies These are the top tier coins that provide the best functionalities. They have real-world usage, objectives to solve a real-world problem, strong fundamental teams to execute the mission of the project, marketing teams to spread the ‘idea’ and collaboration with a number of media channels to gain early investors. Also, due to a good PR team, they are able to make a very strong partnership with a lot of Fortune 500 companies that give them an extra edge over rest of the projects in the market. Some of these coins are VeChain, Ethereum, Bitcoin, IOTA, Icon, EOS, Kinesis. Promising Projects Going Into the New Year With more than 2000 cryptocurrencies out there in the crypto market, only a couple 100 of them qualify to be a top tier investment. It can be quite the challenge to find a worthy project among the thousands of choices. These next projects are some that show a lot of promise heading into 2019. Always remember the 3’S’ of the investment – Sane, Smart and Sensible. An investor who is sane, smart and sensible will always look into the facts before he invests in any business or project. Kinesis This is one of the most promising upcoming projects in crypto. The broad overview of the coin is to offer an alternate and better evolutionary step beyond the basic monetary and banking system available today. In short, it is a cryptocurrency that is backed by precious metals like gold and silver. According to the CEO of the company, Thomas Coughlin, the Kinesis coin is basically divisible units of allocated gold and silver which you can use as a currency. There will be two stable Kinesis coins in the market backed by Gold and Silver. The stable Kinesis coins backed by Gold will be tagged as KAU and the stable Kinesis coins backed by Silver will be tagged as KAG. These stablecoins backed by the precious metals like Gold and Silver are real game changers as these 2 precious metals are definable stores of value for use in trade and investment in the real-world economies. The Kinesis coin is based on the Bespoke Blockchain Technology, a blockchain network forked off from the Stellar Blockchain Technology in order to suit the requirements of the Kinesis coin. The cryptocurrency project is headed by Thomas Coughlin who is also the CEO of the Kinesis company. He has 15 years experience in the investment, funds management and capital markets. Before being the CEO of the Kinesis company, he held similar positions for the Bullion Capital and TRAC Financial Group as well. Apart from Thomas Coughlin, there are other great members in the team as well. Their team consists of people like: Michael Coughlin, Chief Financial Officer, having 41 years experience as a CPA in the accountancy and financial services professions. Eric Maine, Chief Strategy Officer, having more than 30 years experience in Senior Management in the exchange and financial markets. Ryan Case, Head of Sales & Trading in Kinesis, having extensive experience as Head of sales trading & partnership and also valuable experience in commodity, cryptocurrency, forex and derivative markets. Jai Bifulco, Chief Marketing Officer, having a full-fledged 12 years of experience in award-winning full-stack marketer in Finance. He previously held roles of directors in multiple brokerages, consulting and Fintech sectors. There are more than 30 different team members in this project spanning their roles from The Executive Committee to the Advisory Board to the Operations and Development team. The coins are very limited in number as compared to other cryptocurrencies where the softcap is limited to just 15,000 KVT coins and HardCap is limited to 300,000 KVT coins. Minimum token that one can buy is set to 1 KVT which is equal to $1000. So far, more than 57,000 KVT tokens have been sold which roughly equals to a whopping sum of $57 Million. With such a huge investment already deployed for the development of the project, there are still 30 more days left for the ICO sale period to end. Also, apart from the investments gained, the Kinesis cryptocurrency is also focusing much on the partnerships with the top companies in the industry. These include companies like ABX (Allocated Bullion Exchange), MLG (Blockchain Consulting), Sigma Prime, Etherlabs and Fine Metal Asia Limited. This cryptocurrency is certainly the one to watch out for in 2019. VeChain Broad Overview – In simple layman terminology, Vechain is a supply chain protocol to track logistics inventory. It has successfully implemented blockchain technology in various sectors like agriculture and industries like luxury goods and liquor. They basically strive to solve real-life problems by providing solutions in various industries like: Logistics: In this sector, VeChain implements the blockchain technology to improve the flow of information from one department to another by breaking silos yet maintaining the data privacy of every department. Government: There are more than 111 VeChain nodes deployed worldwide. The municipal governments participate in the VeChain blockchain network as nodes. The VeChain blockchain network offers decentralization and immunity against the data hacking that allows room for transparent information exchange. This indeed improves the efficiency of the municipal governments. The technologies used to track the logistics are: Assigning digital identities to physical stocks that can be stored on the VeChain blockchain network Usage of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) NFC (Near Field Communication) Proof Of Authority Consensus In-House Temperature Controlled Tracking Quick Response Codes (QR Codes) The future potential of the VeChain cryptocurrency looks quite promising as the coin is signing new partnerships every month or so. Some of its partners are PricewaterhouseCoopers, DNV GL, Renault Group, KUEHNE + NAGEL, D.I.G, China Unicom and the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration of China. Every single company with whom VeChain partnered has millions of customers that will use the VeChain technology embedded in their system. This makes the coin solve real-life problems and have mass adoption. VeChain indeed makes a big difference in the logistics business. However, given the kind of turmoil that the entire cryptomarket is facing where the total market capitalization has fallen from $800 Billion to just around $200 Billion, no one can give any kind of assurance on the returns in your investment in the crypto assets. However, stablecoins like Kinesis has a reward yield system that incentivizes its investors for holding, depositing and also referring new users. Hence, the investors always stay on the benefit side even if the market collapses for a short duration. IOTA In simple terms, IOTA is a cryptocurrency which is designed for the Internet of Things. The cryptocurrency was developed to root a new direction to IoT by establishing a standardization called, ‘Ledger of Everything’ which means that the data exchange between sensor-equipped machines would be enabled to populate IoT. IOTA has the potential to make transactions easy. A basic use case of IOTA can be seen in IOTA enabled vending machines. These machines can dispense the items without involving the associated transaction costs. Some other use cases of IOTA are Reddit Chains etc. Technology Behind IOTA Surprisingly, IOTA does not use the traditional Blockchain technology for its design and development. In fact, a new platform called ‘Tangle Technology’ is being used for IOTA to operate on. The Tangle Technology deploys a mathematical concept called Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAG) which resolves both the scalability and transaction fees issues which we face in blockchain based cryptocurrencies. In IOTA, for a transaction to be valid, each node present in DAG Tangle must approve the previous two transactions occurring at the other node. And adding to a note, this process removes the chances of mining and makes the system fully decentralized. Future Potential Keeping in mind the remarkable result of IOTA, there exists a promising scope for it in the near future in various applications and platforms. IOTA would be standing tall and different in the future world full of cryptocurrencies vulnerable to quantum computers. IOTA has a lot of companies that it is working with. Some of them include Bosch, Volkswagen,Fujitsu, Accenture, Poyry and many more. When viewed from a macro perspective, so far IOTA looks to be fee-less, scalable and fast which makes it next to perfect. However, if you own IOTA, the chances of you liquidating it into fiat currency via a ‘debit card’ and buying something from a grocery store is quite low. In order to fill this gap of actually buying something from the street market and becoming the global currency, Kinesis has introduced its Kinesis Debit Cards that enables the Kinesis token holders to exchange their tokens against FIAT currency and simultaneously buy products from a grocery shop, something which IOTA fails to offer. ICON ICX Broad Overview: ICON is a South Korean based company that develops blockchain technology and accompanies the cryptocurrency called ‘ICX’. ICON is a network framework which has been designed to allow independent blockchains to interact with each other. It allows interconnected blockchain networks to participate in a decentralized system which converges at a central point. Technology: ICX token is built on the Ethereum blockchain network. ICON has developed a loop-chain platform that connects different blockchain communities through the ICON Republic which serves as the governing head for the Federation of other independent blockchain bodies. All the communities are linked to Republic through C-Reps (Community Representatives) which then connects to Nexus. C-Reps functions as the portals to the communities to establish a connection with Nexus. And this way the entire procedure is carried out. Future Scope: It is believed that ICON has plans to provide platforms to financial, security, insurance, healthcare, educational industries which can help them to carry transactions on a single network. Thus, ICON (ICX) can be seen having a good time in the coming days. Also, it has been successful in signing a partnership deal with the tech-giant Samsung where it will be using ICON’s own Chain ID for a new Samsung project called ‘Samsung Pass’. Apart from Samsung, ICON has also signed deals with PORTAL NETWORK & W Foundation. However, it is notable that ICON is built on the Ethereum network and is an ERC20 token. Hence, the transaction speed greatly depends on the Ethereum network. Currently, Ethereum can execute 15 transactions per second which is quite low in terms of what ICON (ICX) is currently aiming for. However, to fill this gap, we have Kinesis Bespoke Technology that offers a whopping speed of 3000 transactions per second. This lightning fast speed keeps the Kinesis token way ahead than ICX token. Enjin Broad Overview The native cryptocurrency of the Enjin Network, the Enjin Coin (popularly known as only ENJ) follows the ERC20 token standard and is used with a smart contract-based blockchain platform. Its typical users include content creators, game developers, and other members of the gaming community, who need to use virtual tokens to manage and trade virtual goods in the gaming world. Technology behind Enjin As an ERC20-compliant token, the ENJ functions in accordance with the rules an Ethereum contract has to implement. It is used on a dedicated platform that is designed to support open-source software development kits (SDKs), applications, plug-ins, and payment gateways. As for its users, they will be able to efficiently participate in developing, launching, managing, and trade content and game-related products on the Enjin Network, without having to deal with the technical complexities. Summary of Potential The ENJ is expected to solve some performance issues in using similar cryptocurrencies on the market today, including payment frauds where goods are not actually delivered, slow transaction processes, lack of ownership of virtual goods, lack of transaction standards, and centralization problems. According to its creators, the ENJ coin, which is based on a blockchain, will create a distributed, trustworthy, and secure framework where transactions can be executed smoothly and quickly with minimal transaction fees. Its autonomous and decentralized system will ensure that all offers and deals will be honored. Conclusion Generally speaking, the Enjin Coin is good. It helps bring the benefits of blockchain to millions of people participating in the virtual goods market. Its creators are working hard to prevent fraud in the gaming world. However, it is still a relatively new project. As such, it is still volatile. This means that you still have to take utmost care and be wise when using it. EOS Broad Overview EOS is considered by many people who are participating in the virtual goods market as one of the best cryptocurrencies to use, supported by a powerful infrastructure for decentralized applications. Basically, the EOS blockchain is used for the development, execution, and hosting of decentralized applications (dApps) that are traded virtually. Technology behind EOS The EOS system is composed of two key components, which are the EOS.IO and the EOS token. As for the former, it functions like a computer’s operating system in managing and controlling the EOS blockchain, with the use of an architecture that enables horizontal and vertical dApps. As for the latter, it is held (instead of spent) by the users to be able to become eligible of building, running, and trading apps, as well as using EOS network resources. While EOS still does not have an official full form, it supports all core functionalities to allow individuals and businesses to create and trade blockchain-based apps. It also runs on a web toolkit for interface development, just like Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store. Summary of Potential While there are already a lot of cryptocurrencies based on Ethereum similar to it, the EOS system focuses on the critical and problematic points of the blockchain. Specifically, it attempts to solve the problems of scalability, speed, and flexibility that often cause transaction processes to slow down, which is a common issue in blockchain-based systems. According to its creators, EOS.IO could also address other problems that come with the ever-increasing size of the dApps ecosystem, such as limited availability of resources, constrained networks, spamming, false transactions, and limited computing power. It is said to be able to support thousands of commercial-scale dApps without hitting performance bottlenecks by using asynchronous communication methodologies and parallel execution across its network. Conclusion The EOS system is very advanced. It is designed to address common problems with standard blockchain-based networks. But like other new cryptocurrency platforms on the virtual market today, it still has some weak points to improve. Also, there is again the exposure to volatility, as users hold the tokens to be eligible to trade virtually. Nebulas Broad overview Nebulas (NAS) is a new generation blockchain and is open for public collaborations for decentralized application (dApp) development. Its adaptability and scalability are the two characteristics that could propel NAS to be one of the top cryptocurrencies, thus giving it enough leverage to compete in the market. Technology behind Nebulas Nebulas is the first crypto running on a 3rd generation blockchain, thus making it the dominant player of the new platform. This makes Nebulas highly flexible and scalable, even giving a good leverage in future-proofing their code. That could help avoid hard forking whenever some issues come up during scaling processes. Summary of potential Adaptability, scalability and search-ability are three of the biggest potential NAS has to offer. With the 3rd generation blockchain it uses, it can allow the adaption of other codes based from Nebulas. This means that other cryptos can adapt to its platform soon enough. Moreover, it can also act as a blockchain search engine. This can let users search particular blockchains based on efficiency and community strength. Finally, its goal to provide fair incentives to Decentralized Application (dApp) developers is something that collaborators could expect. This means that more developers are expected to come, thus strengthening NAS even further. Conclusion Nebulas (NAS) is a promising crypto especially with its adaptability, scalability and search-ability potentials. It can help with the fluidity of crypto into this new generation platform. However, it still lacks the value stability that Kinesis or stablecoins hold. NAS is still unpredictable, unlike Kinesis that backs it value with real gold. Sky Broad overview SkyCoin is a full environment system of blockchain technology, and has the goal of endorsing the actual usage of cryptocurrency. Technology behind Sky Sky has its own algorithm, the Obelisk, which uses the web of trust dynamics to spread influence all throughout the network to come up with a consensus decision. The consensus decision depends on each node, by valuing its influence score. The influence score of each node is determined by the number of network nodes connected to it. This depicts the importance of the node to the network. Aside from the Obelisk, Sky also operates its own cryptocurrency which is SkyCoin, its own ICO platform Fiber, a decentralized social media platform called BBS, and a decentralized messenger called Sky-Messenger. Summary of potential Sky focuses its potential on being a full ecosystem of blockchain technology that encourages actual usage of crypto. Through its unique algorithm which is the Obelisk and some other dApps associated with it, Sky is a promising crypto technology and could be considered as the most complete one as of today. Conclusion Sky, SkyCoin and the Obelisk is definitely a massive platform that could be considered as a full ecosystem of crypto and its related technology. Nonetheless, the SkyCoin depends its value on node influence scores, which could change from time to time as well. This makes Kinesis and Stablecoins still a better choice, especially for investors who want clear investments without hassle. Crypto Predictions for 2019 While 2017 had the masses captivated and investing large amounts of capital, 2018 has seen price drops and sagging hopes. While the returns in 2017 exceeded anyone’s expectations, a strong pullback was predicted by many. Whether or not this bear market continues from here is the real question many investors face today. Bitcoin’s rapid rise and fall exposed many problems, and the developers of the top cryptocurrencies in 2019 took note. When considering your crypto investments for 2019, factor in the following trends we predict will influence investments: More Pullbacks According to the CEO of Vellum Capital, Eric Kovalak, the price of cryptos will reach new lows before they will rebound to new heights. This includes the biggest cryptocurrencies in the market, including Bitcoin. Kovalak believes that it will be priced below $3,500 before it will find its way back up. However, there are many mixed opinions on the current price of BTC, with some arguing the bottom for the crypto markets have already been seen. Due to Bitcoin-based remittances, uncertainty in global economies like Asia, Turkey and Venezuela, and mobile penetration, there will be a surge in interest and the price of the digital currency. A Flood of Institutional Investors Institutional investors have been waiting on the sideline for the ETF to rule in favor of Bitcoin. According to Mike Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Capital, once the ETF arrives, “institutional fomo’ will start flooding the market.” Another factor is Kinesis, the investment blockchain that provides investors with a safe and reliable alternative. Pegged against precious metals, it provides protection against volatility that may be caused by political instability. The Kinesis Monetary System lets you own real gold or silver when you purchase the digital currency. Your ownership is then digitized and then made available for spending, trading, and transfer. What is even better, the monetary system can be used internationally, ensuring reliability of money around the world. With the recent crisis around the Turkish Lira, the price of gold has significantly increased. Mass adoption of crypto by consumers In January 2019, blockchain technology will be 10 years old. It remains a speculative investment to this day but 2019 could be the year of mass adoption for digital currencies. For this to happen, however, there has to be some triggers. Speculation should become a real utility. People must use blockchain projects in everyday life so they will gain widespread use. Decentralized applications (DApps) must gain mainstream status to promote widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies. Improved payment processing, addressing the issue on the current situation of slow transaction times and high transaction fees. Scalability of blockchain technology with little to no impact on its efficiency. To date, slow transaction times are due to the growing number of users and transaction sizes. This calls for blockchain to grow and have the ability to compete with Mastercard, PayPal, or Visa. Introduction of off-chain solutions that allow users to complete a transaction through peer-to-peer payment channel instead of within the blockchain. This will address slow transaction times. Security will be provided by the parent blockchain. Gold Is Still The Standard Despite the promises and unique functions of many cryptocurrencies, there is still uncertainty in these new markets. Gold has remained the best form of investment throughout history, and the best store of value, especially through times of crisis in politics and economies. Kinesis pegs its value to gold which has proven to be the safest investment in history. Therefore Kinesis stands to gain from the stability gold offers while simultaneously fusing it with the unique features of this cutting edge crypto technology. With the Kinesis Monetary System, investing in gold is no longer the slow process that many older investors are used to. This cryptocurrency is backed by gold and silver and supports precious metals trade. It has three essential assets. Tokens that represent an investors ownership of gold and silver. The inherited system where performance is done. Complete blockchain security that supports investments and paves the way for the creation of new assets protected in a banking system. Most importantly, the Kinesis Monetary System allows thousands of transactions to be completed per second in a completely secure channel. The Near Future Even a decade later, cryptocurrencies are still very much in their infancy. At this time, no one is sure what shape this growing sector will take in the future. Many cryptocurrencies will come and go but the ones that show the most promise, that fulfill their use cases, will stick around for the long term. With any emerging technology, we have to watch how it evolves and how it merges with our everyday life, changing the way we interact with everything around us.
My take on all discount brokers after 15 yrs between Fidelity, eTrade, TDA, Schwab and Robinhood
I tried all traditional discount brokers and Robinhood, and found each of them is pretty much same. Each of them is having something strong. Question is do you 'care' or need what they strong. So for example, I found schwab's money withdrawal is the smoothest, and fidelity's phone support. I would love to know your thoughts if you tried multiple brokers Traditional brokers good: - Phone support, - easy to withdraw money, - fully featured website with forex, foreign trading, ETF/mutual fund screener, bad: - A bloated website, not very user-friendly, So instead of maintaining watchlist or stock quotes, I end up checking in yahoo/google. - difficult to find information, - $5 commission - $price improvement (if you are making 1000 share trades, it could be $6-$10 savings) New players: Robinhood, Webull and others - Slick UI, mobile trading - $0 commission Bad - website does not have much info, not much research tools. - not many product for example, no short selling or foreign trading. - No customer support (phone or chat) - you may not get a good execution price as order flow is optimized where they get best rates and not you. *Robinhood = Robbing hood :) ) - My wishlist will be a brokerage that combines good parts of old and new players :) Share your experience with brokers.
Introduction to investing as a U.S. citizen residing in Japan
[meta: I ask for help in making sure this information is accurate and correct. Please contribute as you see fit!] WARNING!! I am not a lawyer, accountant, or broker, nor do I have any experience or training in any of those fields. ALWAYS confirm with a professional before taking any advice you read on the internet. Foreward If you're old enough to pay taxes, you should start investing. The earlier, the better.
Here’s another example to illustrate the enormous benefit of getting an early start. At age 25, Eric Early invests $4,000 per year in a Roth IRA for 10 years and stops investing. His total investment is $40,000. Larry Lately makes yearly deposits of $4,000 in his Roth IRA starting at age 35 for 30 years. His total investment is $120,000. Assuming both portfolios earn an 8 percent average annual return, at age 65, Eric’s IRA will be worth $629,741, but Larry’s IRA will be worth only $489,383. By starting 10 years earlier and making one third of the investment, Eric ends up with 29 percent more.
- quote from "The Boglehead's Guide to Investing" Target audience This is an introduction for U.S. citizens with residency in Japan who want to do long-term investing in U.S. equity (stocks, bonds, etc.). Disclaimer This advice may not be accurate for citizens of countries other than the U.S. or for those U.S. citizens living in Japan who work for the military or are only temporarily living and working in Japan as affiliated with a U.S. company. This is also not advice for ForEx or day traders looking to make money. Nor is it advice for what to invest in. This is also not advice for investing in the Japanese stock market. This is just one way to invest in U.S. equity from Japan. There are other ways. Assumptions
You're a U.S. citizen
Your income is in JPY
You want to invest in U.S. equity (stock market, bond market, etc)
You have basic knowledge about taxes and tax-related terms
You have at least $10,000 USD to invest (or $3,000 USD if age 25 or younger)
Background I am an ordinary guy living in Japan. I have disposable income and, rather than pour all of it into my local izakaya and Philipino hookers (who hang out in front of Mister Donut at night and ask if I "want the massage?" (just kidding, really!)), I wanted to invest in my future by saving for retirement. I'm an early 30's-year-old guy and spent about a month reading up on investing and then set off trying to invest as a resident of Japan. My Story I moved to Japan 3 years ago after working in the U.S. I have an IRA leftover from my time in the U.S., but never contributed to it since moving to Japan (thankfully - find out why in a bit). I recently saw a post from /personalfinance (seriously, go read information in that sub if you want to have more money upon retirement or just get out of debt!) and decided to read the book "The Boglehead's Guide to Investing" based on recommendations there. After that, I started looking into my options for investing from Japan. Before I left the U.S. for Japan, I rolled over my 401k into an IRA using Vanguard (arguably the best broker available for U.S. citizens). Since moving to Japan, I had not contributed anything to my IRA. So, the first thing I wanted to do was start contributing to my IRA again, and use any remainder to invest in U.S. equity. Turns out this is not as easy as it sounds. I found out that in order to legally contribute to my IRA, I had to pay U.S. taxes on my income used to contribute to it. Well, if you're like me and don't make an awful lot of money, you're probably filing with Foreign Tax Credit/IRS Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. This stuff basically let's you deduct all your taxes in Japan, as it on Japanese income and you already paid glorious Nippon taxes on that income. For me, this basically meant that I owed the IRS absolutely nothing every year. Great! Right? Buuuuut since I didn't pay any U.S. tax on my income, I cannot use it to contribute to my IRA! Dammit! (But actually a blessing in disguise because if I had been contributing to my IRA, I would have been breaking U.S. tax law because I didn't pay taxes on it.) So, I started looking into other ways to invest: the U.S. stock market, bonds, etc. After reading The Boglehead's Guide, I knew I wanted to invest in Vanguard's mutual index funds. My first instinct was to open a brokerage account (which is different from your IRA account) with Vanguard. I started filling out the online form, but ran into issues. You have to specify a U.S. address. Also, you have to specify your U.S. employer. I had neither of these, so I called Vanguard (from Japan at a ridiculous call charge) and spoke with someone about doing this. They gave me the OK but said I'd have to submit a paper form through snail mail, and sent me a PDF to fill out and mail in. I mailed it (from Japan using EMS which was like $20..), and got a call about a week later. Surprise! Because I'm not working in Japan temporarily for a U.S. company or living on a U.S. military base (considered U.S. soil, I assume?), I actually can't open a brokerage account with them. Dammit again! What a waste of money calling them and mailing the form overseas. So, I started looking into other options. I read about a few other brokers and most people agreed that I should either use Fidelity or Interactive Brokers. I had never heard of Interactive Brokers and honestly they seemed scary at first, so I decided to go with Fidelity, who I had actually heard of and is a U.S. based firm. I created an account with Fidelity, but once again ran into roadblocks when trying to open a stock trading account. I didn't have a U.S. address or employer, and actually wasn't able to link my U.S. bank account with them either (for reasons unknown). Dammit once again! So, I started reading more about Interactive Brokers. Okay, it's still a little scary, but there are positive reports about using them online. I signed up for an account with minimal hassle, linked up my bank account, was able to transfer money over to them, and then successfully bought U.S. shares! Sweet success! Finally!
How to Invest
Part I: Contributing to your IRA If you do not have an IRA, you probably should, as they are your basic investment option and tax-friendly to boot. However, good luck setting one up as a resident in Japan! Vanguard will happily babysit an IRA you opened prior to leaving the U.S., but they will not let you open a new one with a foreign address. I don't know about other brokers such as Fidelity or Schwabb, but it's probably the same story there. If you are like me and happen to have an IRA leftover in the U.S., you CAN contribute to it, but in order to do so you must not deduct your Japanese tax on your IRS 1040 or file Form 1116, "Foreign Tax Credit". In other words, you must pay U.S. taxes on any income used to contribute to the IRA. Refer to your broker for how to actually get the money to them from Japan. Part II: Investing in U.S. Equity from Japan Using Interactive Brokers First, let me tell you a little bit about Interactive Brokers (IB). They are a service mostly used by regulaprofessional traders. The fees are very low and reasonable. However, they have a service charge of $10/month if your commission is equal to or less than $10 USD in that month. This is probably not a problem for people over 25 years old investing with $10,000+ USD, but for people 25 and under with an initial investment of $3000, it's possible you might not make the minimum commission per month. Beware of this fee. IB lets you fund the account from many different currencies, regardless of what market you are buying (this needs confirmation, but seems to be accurate). So, whether you have a U.S. bank account or a Japanese bank account, you can fund the IB account. You can even fund from both. IB does not let you invest in U.S. mutual funds. This sounds like a deal-breaker, but it's actually not. You can still invest in U.S. ETFs. This includes Vanguard's total stock market index ETF, total bond market index ETF, etc. IB has an iPhone app that is pretty good and probably an Android app too. Although, as someone doing long-term investing for retirement, you probably don't need this and don't want to be checking your account too much (refer to /personalfinance as to why). IB has multiple account types. You will probably see IBLLC and IBSJ. The differences are two-fold: First: an IBSJ is only used to trade Japan domestic equity. You don't want this because you want to trade U.S. equity. Instead, IBLLC is used to trade overseas (U.S. equity). Second: as of 2016, IBJS requires your My Number information, but IBLLC does not. Again, you don't want IBJS, so don't worry about the My Number information. Open a "Japan Resident Individual Account for IBLLC" account online. This is a lengthy process. Make sure you have the required information.
You will need to send info about your current address in Japan, your 在留カード (zairyuu/"gaijin" card), job information, bank account information, and so on. I got confused and sent my My Number card information as well, but this only caused a hiccup in their process and I was told to remove it. Don't submit your My Number information.
You need to choose your base currency. Your base currency determines what currency you trade in and receive dividends/money from selling in. I think you need to specify USD here, but not sure. I chose USD because U.S. stocks are in USD and I used my U.S. bank account to intially fund my account. It may not matter, but this needs confirmation.
You need to specify that you have trading experience. I forget the actual numbers you need to put into the form, but make sure you put enough experience that allows you to trade ETFs overseas. You can fiddle with the numbers right there in the form, and options open up as you change the numbers. Play with it until it's just right. This part is hazy, and just seems to be some safeguards for IB so that new investors can't sue/blame IB for their own trading stupidity when they lose all their money. If you really don't have any experience trading, IB offers virtual "fake" accounts you can use to play around with trading. I suggest you try it.
After about a week you should have your new account. The next step is funding it, or you may have selected to fund it up front when you created the account so it may already be done. Anyway, the easiest way is to have IB request the wire transfer from your bank. I did this. It was really annoying, but it took about another week or so to go through. Beware that you probably can't start buying right away and need to wait for the transfer to clear. Congratulations! You're ready to start buying now. Refer to /personalfinance in what to invest in. Remember that you are limited to buying ETFs and a few other things, and not mutual funds (but you can get their ETF equivalents). Using TBD... (anyone want to fill this out?) Part III: Taxes You need to declare and pay taxes on your dividends and any capital gains you make. Beware. TBD... (this is arguably the most important part, but I just don't have time to go into it now. Someone feel free to help!) TL;DR: Open an account with Interactive Brokers online and buy ETFs.
Hello /personalfinance/, So, I'm in a once-in-a-lifetime position and really want to figure out something to do about it. I'm a single guy, 23. I'm a recent homeowner, fixing up a foreclosure. I had to make an enormous down payment to get the home loan due to a lack of established credit at the time. I was extremely fortunate and very grateful to have a close relative who readily offered to loan me it out of their savings. I am paying it back at a steady rate via an automated monthly transfer from my bank with an agreed-upon rate. Meanwhile, I have the loan, which is at a slightly >5% interest rate, but I have enormous equity on the house. This is my only debt. I work a white-collar job. My savings is low at the moment because I've been fixing up the house- but I've finished all the work I had. I have $6K in stocks I pretend I don't have. I'm putting 6% of my salary in to my retirement account with Fidelity. This is the maximum employer match so as not to leave money on the table. Now, I'm running the math and budgeting using Mint. I should be able to realistically save close to $1,000 a month, AFTER fairly liberal recreation accounted for. Granted, rainy days will happen and I need money for that. But...I'm also finding inefficiencies. I'm overpaying for my phone, my internet, lots of other little services. I'm going to start killing these things off. Maybe get a second roommate- I have the spare rooms. I could potentially dramatically increase this. tl:dr; I have no debts besides low interest mortgage and spare income right now that I'm sure I will never have again in my life and want to do something with it. So now the ideas in my head. I think the standard response will be that I'm putting too little in my retirement account. And I suppose I could bump that to 30% and still make it by. But...liquid cash in hand combined with, well, being single, makes me feel like there is the potential for better returns. I have something of an entrepreneurish mentality, but definitely don't have the guts to quit my job for an experiment in this economy.
I could pay off my mortgage in under three years. Possibly two. I'd still be making the same payments to the relative, but there's no interest on that. This seems very...safe. On the other hand, it's a ~5% loan. Just throwing it in an ETF or my retirement account would probably have higher average yearly returns, yes?
I might try my hand with a small amount at Forex trading. I know a lot of people are going to have a reaction similar to this. I'm almost done with a book on Forex trading by Courtney Smith that advocates a very disciplined, technical-oriented, extremely boring, low-risk strategy with consistent returns. I'm actually quite good at playing a boring, low-risk, low-emotion strategy. However, I'm...skeptical of the book's claims until I can reproduce it. The writer seems too certain and preachy sometimes, and his numbers don't always stack up (the claim that most of his students see a 100% return their first year should mean that most of his students are approaching being billionaires after twenty years...?). But I will probably take a few hundred or a thousand and throw it in a Forex account (looking at Oanda as a broker) and see if I can make a profit with a low risk technical trading strategy.
The other option I'm thinking about at the moment is buying some real estate once I've put away some money. I now have amazing credit and prices are really cheap here- dirt cheap in some neighborhoods. I'd probably buy one of the more expensive houses (but still a cheap foreclosure) in a better neighborhood than my own house, so I'm more likely to attract a long term renter than some bums in the ghetto. I'd set up a LLC to protect myself from liabilities, and then get a manager (already know one a family member uses that takes a 10% cut and has always done them well), and darn good insurance. The big problem? I'm not handy at all. I've been learning a lot with homeownership, but I can't do floors, drywall, or anything like that. I'd probably even botch up a paint job. I do have several close friends who are contractors, and might be able to get someone I trust with a fair price that way, but they'll still be spendy if I have to do a lot of little things.
Does anyone have any thoughts for me? Greatly appreciate anyone who read the whole thing :) It's been on my mind a lot lately. EDIT: A side note. I can't think of a practical use for this, but I have a dual citizenship with the U.S. and a certain European country (which gives me access to doing a lot of things in any EU country). Just putting that down for anyone creative. xD
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How To Get Fidelity Active Trader PRO For FREE 2018
Forex factory, forex, trading, currency trading, forex strategies, learn options trading, binary options, learn to trade, day trading for a living, the come up system, the lions den, Steps I would take! 1. Call Fidelity and set up your brokerage account. 2. Call to negotiate your commissions, remember you miss 100% of the shots you don't take! 3. Call: 1 (800) 544-5115 EXT ... WHY YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND PRICE ACTION WHEN TRADING **FOREX-STOCKS-CRYPTOCURRENCY** - Duration: 20:50. WISE WISDOM 764,261 views. 20:50. When To Sell Cryptocurrency - 3 Simple Steps ... Simple Forex Trading Strategy: How to Catch 100 Pips a Day - Duration: 17:33. TraderNick 393,085 views. 17:33. How I flipped my account from $350 to $26,000 in forex trading - Duration: 24:42. In this video, I wanted to go over a basic feature of fidelity. This is the feature that 100% of people talk about when investing in the stock market. This feature that I speak of is Trading. Yes ...