Feb 20, 2023
Loops is a crypto trader and investor, active since 2013.
What attracted you to trading?
Back in 2012, and 2013 I was subscribed to this online stockmarket simulator. This interest in growing my money has always stuck with me. It wasn't until I learned about Bitcoin and BTC-E that I found out this practice was easily accessible to a guy like me.
How long have you been trading, and what markets have you traded over your career?
I started in 2013, I have never traded anything other than crypto using actual money. Started with $500, which turned into a decent sum of money in a matter of weeks. I pretty much quit my job right away and went hardcore crypto all the way leading up to the 2017 bubble. Right place, right time. In hindsight, it wasn’t due to some defining skillset.
I take it you didn’t exactly love your career path if you gave it up so quickly? What line of work were you in?
I used to work in sales for a test and measurement instruments manufacturer. The work itself wasn’t that bad, but I couldn’t stand the company culture. I always wanted to go out there and earn a living on my own terms.
How long did it take you to become profitable? Were there any major milestones where things just started to click?
I remember my first trade was FTC on BTC-E. I got suckered into a P&D by the trollbox and lost like half of what I started with in a matter of minutes. Really forced me to take a step back and understand what others were doing. I don't think I lost any trades after that for a few months. It wasn't because I was so smart, but rather that I stuck to the edge (which many of us were playing) of getting in as early as possible.
I got suckered into a P&D by the trollbox and lost like half of what I started with in a matter of minutes.
Back then, every shitcoin had its moment; everything had the potential to become the next Litecoin. Positioning yourself correctly was the best way to go about things. I remember owning 2% of Vericoin's future marketcap for a couple of hundred dollars. 1 BTC worth of Blackcoin before a 20000% pump. All of which I sold way too early btw.
My main strength was recognizing these opportunities before many others did. It didn't require any technical approach to be profitable. I found it hard to take technical analysis seriously when hanging out in chatrooms with other traders. Why are you drawing Fib spirals when you can just buy the next catcoin?
Do you still do this sort of analysis or do you think the market is too mature for these opportunities to come regularly?
There will always be early birds who get the worms. However, nowadays the odds are stacked against the regular investor more and more. The usual tokenomics nowadays would have been called blatant theft a few years ago. You now have teams which own 50% of the supply claiming to allocate funding for different purposes with no checks and balances. Private seed rounds with no money to show for? By listing these ‘dark’ projects is where exchanges dropped the ball a few years ago. On the other hand, there are still projects which are heavy on development and go unnoticed for a long time. I don't think the market is too mature for such opportunities but rather too saturated. There will always be money trying to find its way into legit projects.
The usual tokenomics nowadays would have been called blatant theft a few years ago.
Do you still feel that way about TA or is narrative still king?
TA can be a tool to trade certain narratives, and narratives can be used to confirm and/or initiate certain technical moves. Both can be true. There are no rules. It’s the sauce that matters.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up when I feel like it unless my boy wakes me, I grab my phone and check the price of BTC. I have a family of my own now, which means I spend most of my mornings in the gym with my kid, watching Mickey Mouse Club. I'm involved in a business unrelated to crypto, which requires a few hours per week. Unless there's some sort of alert, I try and spend as much time with my family until after dinner. That's mostly when I lock myself up for the night staring at charts and putting ideas into code. Most of these nights, I end up playing video games, waiting for setups to appear.
What sort of games do you like to play? RTS?MOBA?
I bought 2 sim-racing setups last year and do lots of online racing. My GF laughs at me because it’s so out of character for me to be taking this stuff seriously, but I love the online competition. It’s definitely a hobby that’s starting to get out of hand. While trading, I usually have a screen open playing long games of Civ. Been playing it since my teens.
Who did you look up to when you first started trading?
Definitely the duo ActualAdviceBTC & CryptoCobain, two of the most influential early members of Crypto Twitter. Dudes were trading size when most of us were still trying to figure out how to draw basic support lines. Yet they always took the time to engage with the rest of us in a respectful manner. As crazy as this journey sometimes gets: I will never forget them.
How would you describe the ‘vibe’ of CT nowadays vs the early days? Has it changed for better or worse?
I enjoy following lots of accounts. Twitter is a great tool when it comes to real-time information sharing and allows you to see things you would have missed otherwise. As for the vibe. I can't really tell. There’s people who wish to post serious stuff all the time. That’s cool too. I do believe there’s lots of peeps faking stuff farming for engagement. Nothing wrong with the reflink-biz - just be upfront about it. I don't plan to OR do make money from social media and try and be spontaneous all the time. In the end, it’s all love.
Do you think it’s easier for a trader starting now vs back then?
Back then would have been much easier. You have to realise the biggest players back then were not traders, they were computer nerds who struck gold overnight. Some of these whales would be in IRC ‘sending altcoins’ by clicking a button for the lulz. One hour later, a coin would still be trading for 50 cents on the $ on another exchange. They were inefficient, not because they were dumb, they just didn’t care. By witnessing this as a new trader and trying to find out how to exploit such actions, you develop a critical understanding of market structure. Nowadays, such inefficiencies have been priced-in, favouring exchanges and operators. Perhaps the perfect example is the DEFI sandwich attack. Perhaps the only way to win now is to buy and hope you’re right.
the biggest players back then were not traders, they were computer nerds who struck gold overnight.
Tell us about your most memorable trade?
The BCH fork would have been the most profitable. Sold the top. Rebought bottom. Sold the top again. I still hodl some as a token of gratitude :). From a technical POV, the trade that stuck with me was a DASH short on a pullback leading into the 2017 bubble. It was one of the first coins leading the market with no reference to any bullish action yet. I longed that pullback with size. The beauty comes from the fact that it played out exactly as I thought it would, and everything just stuck. I was awake during that whole stint and it all played out perfectly.
What’s the best trading advice you’ve been given?
Buy before the green candle. Not after.
What drives you to keep trading?
I honestly don't know what else to do. I've tried some things but failed miserably. Money isn't really a drive as much as it used to be. I don't know if it's due to getting older or losing many of the gains I made over the years. I might leave the day-to-day trading as soon as I find something I'm as passionate about.
How did you lose your gains?
I lost relatively lots of money selling too early and made bad trades overall. Small real-life investments I kept bleeding for too long. I realise now 1 million $ ain’t shit. The more money you’ll see, the cheaper you become. I’ve bought properties abroad, one of which I’m very excited about and will hopefully be delivered this year. Most of my money is still in crypto, but I'll be relatively fine if it dies tomorrow.
I realise now $1 million ain’t shit. The more money you’ll see, the cheaper you become.
Would you say you’ve ‘made it’? If not, what does ‘making it’ look like to you?
Kind of. There was definitely a time that today would have looked far away when it comes to money. Then again, I gave a lot of it back as well. In the end, I don't actually care as much as I thought I would. As you mature, you start to realize none of it is really important, I guess. I DON’T think I've made it in the sense that I've managed to set a mark of my own in this space. There's lots of cutting-edge stuff I try to get involved in – yet give up after a strong start. Maybe one day.
In the end, I don't actually care as much as I thought I would. As you mature, you start to realize none of it is really important, I guess.
What's the most important quality in a trader and why?
I speak from a crypto trader's POV. I have no idea if anything applies in other markets. But the ability to come up with your own trades is an absolute must. This sounds pretty novice, but how often are you trading coins you have no interest in? Being able to analyze data and turn that into an idea you can stick to is the only way to become successful outside of plain luck.
How would you describe the way you trade?
I can adapt. I like to have a plan B other than having a stop-loss. Nowadays, I trade manually and do monitor lots of my positions. Right now, I'm using nothing fancy: Basic support & resistance, FIB lines. I use websockets to draw my own live charts whenever we are about to hit an important level, combined with a script filtering meaningful trades & order book positions during these levels. I currently execute my biggest trades manually.
Has the way you trade changed over time?
Yes. I've never been a risk taker. And much less right now. I withdraw when I plan to hold and always keep stables in a wallet. I've tried plenty of things over time, but the thing that has always worked for me (especially the last few months with low volatility, minus a few days) is basic support & resistance on smaller timeframes and closing positions relatively fast. When it comes to altcoins, I'm still trading with the pure intention of growing my bags, as I do have faith in some of them. Shout out to Polkadot! So basically, high asks and low bids using Fib retracement levels on the daily.
Why do you think you have success trading?
I haven't been consistently successful in my trading for a while now. When I was, it was due to the fact I was able to understand & exploit certain market conditions and -cycles when others didn't. The bear market is really where it's all earned. From there on, all we really had to do was ride the bull. Nothing fancy.
How much of loops braggadocio is a character vs your actual personality?
50/50. I try to keep it real and not cause harm to others, but there’s some exaggeration in volume. I’m much quieter in person and don't really propagate my personal opinions as I do online. There are those who’ve gotten to know the grateful side of me by simply interacting. I don't see how social media presence can be leveraged into doing what we do other than exploiting followers for gain. Newbies should start by realising that just because some of us made some money doesn't make us shit. Doesn’t make us right next time. This goes for everyone. The appearance gets poked through eventually. This has always been the case. Think Wolong, SBF, BitcoinSachs, Do Kwon, Garza, etc. In hindsight, betting against the big egos in this space has always been a profitable trade.
In hindsight, betting against the big egos in this space has always been a profitable trade.
I remember after the 2017 top; you tweeted something about how people who’ve not exited the market are going to be left with the check. You seem to have a knack for reading sentiment/human emotion. How much of that factors into your trading?
The chart I posted on Tradingview at the time went viral when all it really did was showing what a -85% pullback might look like when bouncing off dedicated price-levels. Perhaps a nice test for less confident people would be to open up Tradingview right now. Paint one bearish, and one bullish weekly scenario using the same chart. Identify key points on beforehand and trade those when price hits IRL.
Going into your charting-tool with an idea rather than having the chart tell you what to do is how conviction is gained. For example, when I tweet something ignorant like “coin A will hit 100 in the next 24 hrs.” - That’s not just an educated guess, it’s often an extension of an idea that has been triggered. This doesn’t mean I’m right, or because price did A it ‘s guaranteed to do B next. But it will tell me where to look.
You expect a price to pull back at a certain level? Focus on volume at this and that level. You expect a price to break out to the upside like last time? Buy at the little fractal where it dips. In other words, you are expecting things to happen and act accordingly rather than saying ‘oh man this looks as if it’s about to break out let's buy’.
Going into your charting-tool with an idea rather than having the chart tell you what to do is how conviction is gained.
What's something you've learned in the last six months that has made you a better trader?
There's no such thing as great traders in this space. People get lucky or people are lying. The odds are stacked against traders – more so every day. The brightest minds aren't trading coins; they are scanning the mempool. However, there's still value to be found in new & upcoming protocols. I would advise anyone new to spend as much time researching projects as they do trading.
There's no such thing as great traders in this space. People get lucky or people are lying.
How much do you think AI will disrupt trading and crypto specifically over the next few years?
I could speculate, but I don’t think AI will be of any use to your average regular Joe when it comes to trading. Maybe in terms of consuming and analysing different data streams, but I don’t think there is much significance to gain in terms of decision-making and speed.
How do you square ‘fundamental analysis’ in a space with so much vaporware, and where promises are so far divorced from deliverables.
From my POV; Discipline. There are lots of traders who go online, see what’s going on and join whatever action there is. They are not dumb; they could be intelligent traders just trading the action. They understand the risks associated with buying shit at +50%. They are only looking for ways to exploit the FOMO. They understand the underlying asset to be a bag of rocks. Does this actually work? Sure. Maybe. But how many times can you repeat the same thing? And what happens when you’re wrong once? The disciplined trader does not touch shit projects regardless of price action. Your goal should not be profit, but continuation. To find out whether a project is legit, requires research and a minimum knowledge of underlying code. Both things you can teach yourself while trading in a different tab - for absolutely free.
What's the mistake you find hardest to avoid when trading?
We live in the age of the distributed ledger, which basically evens the playing field when it comes to information gathering more so than ever. Yet I do find myself trading certain assets I do not fully understand, which I believe should be considered a mistake. For example, I was randomly catching knives on the first few days of the $LUNA crash just from looking at the chart. To me, it was just another DEFI coin making waves. It wasn’t until I started researching the protocol itself that I truly understood how broken it was. I must have been the last guy to understand. Doing your due diligence is a must in this space.
If you could give someone starting trading tomorrow one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don't get stuck on ideas because they've worked before. The market is an ever-changing dynamic with no secret formula to define its direction and nothing is set in stone. If the market were efficient, computers would beat us every time. If the market were inefficient – Repetitive ideas would yield inconsistent results. I’d advise anyone starting to trade crypto today to start by understanding low-level market structure. More specifically: a good practice would be to monitor and trade illiquid coins. Try and understand how liquidity is generated and get familiar with different volume profiles. Try and get filled at levels you’ve drawn earlier. Try to influence the spread with limit orders. And when the price finally goes your way, try and take action instead of waiting for more. Practice makes perfect.