I never expected to feel genuinely happy looking back to what, at the time, was the worst period of my life.
In less than a year’s time, I had earned and lost over $60,000 through trading cryptocurrency.
So, in this article, I’d like to briefly share my story and reflect on the lessons I learned and hopefully you'll be able to learn a thing or two.
If you’ve been in crypto long enough you’ve probably heard the term “invest only what you can afford to lose”.
Sadly, the younger version of me discovered Bitcoin during the early stages of its latest bull market and didn’t follow that advice.
I didn’t have a lot of savings or a master plan.
In fact, all I had was approximately $2000 and a Twitter account.
If you were hanging around in 2017, you may remember how Social Media had a major influence on the price of new cryptocurrencies.
And once every so often, I saw a crystal clear opportunity to invest.
Remember how this one played out?
I am inundated by people asking me for recommendations on cryptocurrencies. If you would use your heads you would figure out that the privacy coins (anonymous transactions) will have the greatest future. Coins like Monero (XMR), Verge (XVG), or Zcash (ZEC) cannot lose. John McAfee
I don’t quite remember when I started to formulate strategies but I do remember that I turned my $2,000 into $60,000 with only two trades, within a 3–4 month timeframe.
I put all my money into Verge (XVG) and Tron (TRX) when they were valued at a fraction of a cent.
Then, at an approximate ~30x I sold them and purchased Ether (ETH). When the whole market started crashing, Ethereum did the opposite.
As a person who, during that time, was earning the equivalent of $24,000 in annual income, this amount of money seemed extraordinary.
And, as every amateur trader of that time, I got delusional and greedy.
When market started crashing there were plumbers, gardeners, basically everyone with a webcam and YouTube account giving investment advice and it was extremely challenging to find a real expert to listen to.
At some point I decided to sell all my holdings into Bitcoin since it was my understanding that it would help me preserve most of my holdings.
During the same time, I was also researching margin trading and hastily decided to give it a go.
I was also investing in ICOs, buying cryptocurrencies that are going to "moon" and "hodling".
As you could tell, I was all over the place.
At that moment, margin trading and coins that were "about to go up", seemed like a great way to earn back my losses and everyone seemed to be ecstatic about it.
I won’t go into much detail but trading with high leverage became an obsession and was in many ways similar to gambling.
On top of that, most of the coins I bought soon after disappeared.
Long story short, through all this, I slowly but surely lost ~99% of my holdings.
The shock remained for several days. I stopped socializing and neglected my relationships.
But that was not even the hardest part.
The real challenge came when I had to let go of my "millionaire" lifestyle expectations.
Nonetheless, something great happened during that period as well. I finally slept better and found time to actually research and understand blockchain technology.
I started spending more time exploring the concept of Bitcoin and slowly understood its revolutionary potential.
I had come for the money (profits) and stayed for the money (the potential of Bitcoin as a global currency).
Fast-forward two years and I am currently working at a Blockchain company, constantly researching the exciting developments of Bitcoin and its underlying technology.
And even though I no longer consider myself a trader, I am able to look at my experience in a very constructive way.
Here are some of the most important lessons I learned throughout the last two years, summed up in bullet points:
We are all emotional beings. However, some of us have developed a better response to our stressors in life.
And to develop this skill is not that hard.
All you need is awareness and logical response. When trading cryptocurrency, this becomes even more prevalent.
We are constantly fluctuating between a state of fear and greed, both of which are drivers to our decision making process.
So, being able to distance yourself from these emotions is the key to successful trades.
The cryptocurrency market is very volatile and unpredictable. Researchers of the British Psychological Society argue that the anxiety, choices, and competition related to trading, often lead to illusions of control.
The same researchers also found that these illusions are tied to a trader’s performance.
Realistically, the only thing you can do to maintain some form of control over your funds is to implement a stop-loss.
Reading charts and understanding the market sentiment is only a small part of investing.
In many cases, even the best traders will lose a ton of money.
Sure, there are many successful investors on Youtube and Social Media flashing their cars and telling us about their 6-figure trades.
But those investors make only a very small fraction of the total.
It’s nearly certain that, with millions of investors around the world, some have just been luckier than others.
Therefore, if you are getting trading information from individuals across the web, always ask yourself whether his success is the result of skill or luck.
Inexperienced traders will often dismiss the small costs involved with trading crytpocurrencies, such as transaction fees, exchange commissions, paid channels, etc.
It might not seem as a big gain but as a trader, you want to utilize each and every opportunity to save money and maximize your profits.
The whole crypto industry is based on speed and efficiency.
However, most investors jump into the trading game without any background information.
While not directly related to the potential profits of each trade, one should have a good understanding of what Bitcoin is, how its underlying technology works and why it makes a great investment.
Since Bitcoin is the driver of the market, knowing everything you can about it can help you better understand the overal market sentiment.
I’m sure there are people out there that have lost a lot more than I do. But, in a way, losing a bunch of money can be a very eye-opening process.
Naval said it best:
"Your trauma creates you." -Naval
And even if you’ve not been in my shoes, I am sure that the points above will help you better understand what cryptocurrency trading is really all about.
Best of luck.