Confessions of a Bitcoin Trader
What I’ve learned trading Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies during the past two years
My obsession with Bitcoin and his cousins, known as ‘altcoins’ began about two years ago. At the time, I hadn’t recalled even hearing of Bitcoin and I had only begun investing in the stock market six months prior. It was a new coworker that turned me on to cryptocurrencies in June of 2017, which was when the last bull market began to really heat up. He wasn’t a trader, he certainly didn’t read charts and really wasn’t an individual that knew much about investing in general, but had the audacity to spend 10k on Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin several months before. This coworker had an odd manner, but he spoke in such a euphoric way about how his investment had suddenly doubled and then tripled, that I was immediately intrigued by this thing called Bitcoin.
After a little Googling, I did what most people at the time did, which was to create an account on Coinbase and make my first bank transfer. I had no idea what I was doing (not that I completely know now) and I certainly didn’t have thousands of dollars to waste. But I didn’t care either. My first purchase was $700 worth of Litecoin, which I quickly sold for a small profit three days later. Something told me to keep sending money to Coinbase and I did. Then I learned about GDAX (now Coinbase Pro)and made an account there before opening another account on Binance. I made money, I lost money. I watched my portfolio blow up substantially only see much of it collapse in late in 2017 and early 2018. What ensued has been what they call a ‘crypto winter’, which in the crypto world, is a bear market.
Now suddenly in the spring of 2019, things are looking bullish once again. I’ve learned a thing a two since my first trade, but I’m still vulnerable to the ultimate flaw of being human. The market and especially the crypto market is merely a study in human psychology, the ultimate test of willpower and a lesson in discipline. During the past two years, I’ve bought and traded Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, XRP (Ripple) TRX (Tron) and couple of complete ‘shitcoins’ like OCN (Oddessy). I’ve made a few good decisions, which netted a decent profit and have pulled the trigger on some incredibly dumb ones. The following is not to teach you how to get rich trading cryptos, but to give you some perspective. A little insight to someone that started as a novice and made some terribly regretabble trades, but has also learned, studied and has continuously followed the crypto market carefully since the summer of 2017.
Beginner’s Luck is like fool’s gold in the world of crypto. I got lucky in the beginning. In fact, I scored easily on my first three trades. Like alot of people, I started trading Bitcoin and other altcoins during a bull market in the summer of 2017. It was easy then, even for a newbie like myself, and I thought it was always going to be easy. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! For my first trade, I paid $700 for litecoin and sold a few days later for $800. A quick $100 profit. Wow! Genius! Of course, looking back, I was a complete moron for selling too quickly. After that I spent $2000 on Bitcoin at $5800 and sold it when it reached $8300. I made a small profit again! I was ecstatic. It then went from $8300 to $20k in a few weeks while I watched on the sidelines like a fool. At some point during that time, I spent $3000 on Litecoin again when it was around $90. In December of 2017 Litecoin took a trip to the moon! I sold everything and had a nice profit of around $5000. And I thought…..this is going to be easy….I’m going to buy 2 or 3 houses in the near future. I started attending the local ‘Bitcoin Meetup’ group with the other ‘moon boys’ who also thought, “this is going to be easy, I’m going to be driving a lambo!” There was even one guy in the meetup group who wore a thick gold chain with a large, shiny Bitcoin pendant. The host of the meetup would sometimes dress up as ‘Bitcoin Elvis’. They even had free beer. It was wonderful. We were all going straight to the moon! Wrong wrong wrong!
Trading cryptos or stocks isn’t easy. First of all, I don’t day trade. Day trading is just another form of gambling. Day trading is for degenerates. I am into ‘swing trading’, which is essentially trading on the trend. If I buy a crypto, I could long it for two or three months or I may sell it in two or three weeks. When I buy a stock, I hold it for an average of six months, with the exception of one or two that I’m willing to hold for 5 or 10 years (Yes, I holding Tesla!). I love trading. It requires an element of hustling, discipline and calculations. Discipline is the one I struggle with, but I’ve made some strides as well. Anyone that tells you that trading is easy is full of it. Do the research, learn some technical analysis, listen to the experts, cross your fingers and hope for the best. Nothing is a sure thing in this world.
I once bought 10k worth of Ethereum when it was around $1100. I’ve done a lot of dumb things in my life. Buying Ethereum at $1100 near the peak in early January of 2018 makes the top ten list. I would later sell it around $800, incurring a hefty loss. At the time of this writing, one ETH is around $245.
In the fall of 2017, I bought 2k worth of TRX at two cents. In early January of 2017, the price skyrocketed to 24 cents. I remember checking my Binance account at the time in disbelief as my $2,000 investment was now roughly $24,000. You would think that I would have sold at that very moment, right? Of course I didn’t. Like a lot of ‘moon boys’ at the time, I fell victim to irrationality. Back to psychology 101. Greed got the best of me. I was sure Tron was going to hit one dollar and then I would sell. Easy peasy right…No you idiot, nothing in this life is that easy you f*cking moron! I ended up selling all of my Tron in April of 2018 at 5 cents. I still made a profit, but not nearly as much as a diciplined trader would have in that same situation.
This is the wild west of investing. Trading cyptos isn’t for the weak-hearted or overly sensitive types. This is an extremely volatile, unregulated and chaotic market, which is why people like myself are so attracted to it. There are no ‘safe spaces’ in the world of crypto trading. If you want something secure, invest in the S&P 500.
Eventually and unfortunately, this space is going become regulated. It sort of defeats the purpose since Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies in general is suppossed to lead to the decentralization of the monetary system or some grandiose idea like that. But regulation is inevitable and what was once a highly risky investment will likely become safe enough to be part the average whitecollar investment portfolio. Even the squares who only put their money into ‘index funds’ are going to want a piece of the crypto action baby! This is a lame reality, but hopefully we are at least a few years out before we get to that point. The idea of a ‘free market’ is a misnomer, but at least for now, cryptocurrencies offer the closest thing to it.
The Bear Market and the Bull Market require two very different trading strategies. Trust me, I’ve made bad decisions in both of these markets. In a bear market, you should cautiously buy and sell the news quickly. Only buy it when it’s strongly in the ‘Red’. Don’t ever buy when it’s in the ‘Green’ during a bear market. In a bull market, you can hold or ‘hodl’ for a fair amount of time and keep buying the dips to accumulate more. However, when the price goes ‘parabolic’ during a bull market, find a good place to sell before it comes crashing down. Remember, you don’t want to sell too quickly, but you don’t have to always sell at the very top either. Profit is better than no profit. When you start dreaming of quitting your job and buying three or four houses, sell everything.
If you are going to trade cryptos, listen to and follow the experts. Besides promoting ‘identity politics’ and the political agenda of the crazed radical left, Twitter also turns out to be a great place to get tips from expert crypto traders. My personal favorites are The Crypto Dog, Actual and Mitoshi Kaku. I also like Crypto Kirby’s Youtube channel. He seems to be a sort of polarizing character, but I think his daily technical analysis of the crypto market is fairly accurate.
I sometimes just have to turn my phone off for a few hours or even an entire day. The downside of trading cryptos is the inclination to spend entirely too much time checking the price on your phone. These little supercomputers in our pockets are a blessing and a curse. It’s already enough that we can instantly see what someone is eating for dinner on Facebook or be duped into some clickbait article, but the volatility of the crypto market adds a new dimension. There are times now when I just turn it off, including my laptop and desktop. Sure, this is risky if I am in a trade considering how quickly the crypto market can turn, but I’ve found that there are emotional, mental and physical benefits for taking a complete break form any sort of screen for at least a couple of hours at a time. Afterall, it’s not in our DNA to be glued to a computer screen for close to the entirety of the day. If you are going to trade cryptos, don’t let it to consume you.
Lastly, don’t ignore the fascinating ‘blockchain technology’ that cryptos run on. If you like science and technology and want to get a glimpse of the future and how Internet 3.0 will likely reshape global society, read up on blockchain technology. It’s not the easiest concept to grasp, but overly intriguing. Cryptocurrencies are just one part of blockchain tech. At the moment, they are merely a new speculative asset class and potentially the future of money. Blockchain technology, however, has the potential to be a disruptive new technology that impacts everything from healthcare to farming. I read a great book on the subject recently that I highly recommend. It’s called Blockchain: The Next Everything by Stephen P. Williams.