Mar 14, 2022
Abetrade is a futures trader active in both cryptocurrency and legacy markets. He runs Trading Riot, where he shares free educational articles and resources.
What attracted you to trading?
Not having to work with other people. Before crypto, my work required a lot of interaction with other people and even though I liked the job, I didn’t always find it easy to communicate effectively. When it comes to trading, it is really just up to you how much money you can make which I find really attractive.
How long have you been trading?
I have been trading for seven years. The first three years was just playing with forex and a little options trading, then in 2017, I got into crypto before the big rally. I made a little money but didn’t really stick to crypto. I shifted my focus to trading legacy futures markets, a little bit of spot forex but eventually settled on bonds and index futures.
Around the end of 2020, I came back to crypto which I’m still trading alongside a mix of legacy markets.
How long did it take you to become profitable?
Around three years, although I never really blew up my account as I’m quite risk-averse when trading. I was struggling at first with not having much time to trade and not really knowing how I wanted to trade in terms of my approach.
All of this changed when I started learning about market microstructure and orderflow. I felt that I finally understood how markets actually work which was a huge difference from all the more conventional wisdom of using indicators.
I slowly started to understand that there is a certain edge in that as I was started to take trades in areas where usually other people were forced out from them.
Do you think indicators are a good “entry” into trading or would you advise going straight for microstructure and orderflow?
I would say that there is not really a right or wrong way to trade. I personally know someone who day trades moving average crossovers in index futures without any regard for orderflow or anything else, and he makes a lot of money doing it.
I feel like everyone needs to find a way of trading that makes sense to them personally, at least that was helpful for me.
“I FEEL LIKE EVERYONE NEEDS TO FIND A WAY OF TRADING THAT MAKES SENSE TO THEM PERSONALLY”
Do you have a daily routine?
I prepare at 7 am (CET) and trade for about eight hours. It's a little bit more complicated as crypto moves the whole day so I try to get smarter about it, setting alerts and so on. My main goal is to find time to do other things during the day as well, ideally not just sitting in front of the PC.
I usually split my day into two parts, trade the first 3-4 hours around London open, then take a break around 11-12 CET to go to the gym or whatever else and then trade again from 3-7 pm CET when the US markets are active. After that, I rarely look at charts, although crypto tends to move a lot even in later hours. I need to be at peace with the fact that I won't catch every single trade. As I have been doing this for some time now, my routine and trading are pretty boring.
What do you look for at the start of the day?
At the start of the day, I look across different markets and try to find out solid levels where I would be interested in trading if the market hit them. These usually come from higher timeframes and then I execute trades at low timeframes.
I don't really trade any other crypto than BTC at the moment since the market has been in a downtrend, but I watch ETH, Euro, Crude, Gold and Nasdaq. Honestly, since the whole war in Ukraine started I am much more cautious and selective of trades I take. This year, I’ve been gradually moving towards a swing-based approach but after the war situation, I’ve switched back to day-trading as I am less comfortable holding trades for a long time.
What's the worst thing about trading?
Disconnect from the real world. Trading can be pretty isolating and I don't think making friends with traders is actually very helpful. All of you do the same thing and know the money to be made in this space.
I think it's better to hang out with people who do not trade at all or just spend more time away from the charts doing whatever. I like to go for a run or simply go out, I used to take at least a month completely off and travel around the world but that’s a bit more complicated these days.
“I DON’T THINK MAKING FRIENDS WITH TRADERS IS ACTUALLY VERY HELPFUL”
What drives you to keep trading?
Every day is unique in the market so that keeps me stimulated, but at this point, it is more of a job. As I said, I like the fact that I don’t have to rely on anyone else.
What does making it look like for you?
Well, I am not really a money person haha. I don’t get impressed by fancy stuff or have any desire to buy expensive things. I am glad to be in a situation where I can travel as I want - it’s pretty much the only thing I ever spend money on. It’s nice to know that if anything happened and I couldn’t trade, I have enough money to support myself for quite some time.
What's the most important quality in a trader?
Realistic expectations. The fact that you can lose money at the same pace as you can make it in trading. People always see these success stories on social media or just get baited by people posting Lambos and expensive shit, when in fact they don't even trade and just sell courses or whatever. Profitable trading is very hard and requires a lot of discipline and patience.
You don’t seem to like social media much?
People go to Twitter or other platforms to brag mostly, most of them post even fake PNLs just to feel better about themselves or sell something to others. This usually leads to just feeling bad about yourself and taking stupid trades. This happened to me during the last bull run, I could easily have made more money than I ended up making but it is what it is. Looking at the performance of others either good or bad is not going to be any help in a long run.
“LOOKING AT THE PERFORMANCE OF OTHERS EITHER GOOD OR BAD IS NOT GOING TO BE ANY HELP IN A LONG RUN.”
Why do you think you have success trading?
Because I know how unpredictable markets can be. I have traded through a lot of things at this point. Brexit, COVID and now, unfortunately, war. I am not a fundamental trader, I know it's not optimal but sometimes along the road I just realized that even if I tried to, I just don’t give a shit about politics and other outside factors influencing markets.
“EVEN IF I TRIED TO, I JUST DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT POLITICS AND OTHER OUTSIDE FACTORS INFLUENCING MARKETS.”
This isn’t a problem, but you have to be self-aware of this and realize that if you are using only technical analysis, you are drawing lines in the chart that 10 year old could probably learn as well. Because of that, I know that my edge is in taking a lot of small bets that provide a positive outcome in a long run instead of oversizing and being overconfident with single trades.
What's something you've learned in the last 6 months that has made you a better trader?
That focusing on one thing and doing it as best as possible is better than trying to do everything with half effort.
I had I run last year where everything really went my way. I felt like I could trade anything and was playing with the idea that I could day trade all major crypto markets, forex and futures at the same time. Although it is not impossible, I realized that I would burn out very quickly so I stayed in my lane and focussed on trading my regular markets.
What's the mistake you find hardest to avoid when trading?
Overtrading. I like to be rewarded and get feedback from the market as I spend the day looking at charts. This sometimes leads to taking low-quality trades or trading random markets just for sake of trading something. Although it can make money, it's not a great habit.
This is especially true when you tend to focus only on one market.
If you could give someone starting trading tomorrow one piece of advice what would it be?
Don't. And if you really want to, prepare for a lot of obstacles. As I said, platforms like Twitter or YouTube really make new people believe that trading is extremely easy but it is quite the opposite.
You’ve created a wealth of free resources for Riot Trading - why did you decide to share so much of your insight?
The whole website has sort of a funny story, and I never really expected to be so successful. I started the blog in 2020 when I was still trading bonds and had like 1,000 Twitter followers. At that point, the subjects that I wrote about were considered very exclusive and you couldn’t find anything about them online, it was all hidden behind a huge paywall.
It was at the height of lockdown restrictions and I was bored at home. I remembered how much I learned from free resources on forexfactory (old school forex forum where people wrote about strategies back in the day). So I just started writing what I knew about trading.
Do you think there are certain parts of trading that can’t be taught?
This is a complicated thing to answer, on one side I do believe that chart time is the best way to learn trading and everyone can do it. I am not the biggest fan of trading psychology books because of that.
But we all are in different situations in life. If you are 20 and you live with your parents and are still in school, you can easily take more risks than someone who is in their 30s and has a family and greater responsibilities. I realize this myself as I am growing older and I definitely have much more to lose than a few years ago.
I think everyone can learn to trade and you don't need any hidden talents to do so, but it can definitely be harder for certain types of people to be consistently profitable. Once again, you need to think in probabilities and understand that trading is a long-run game.
“YOU NEED TO THINK IN PROBABILITIES AND UNDERSTAND THAT TRADING IS A LONG-RUN GAME.”
Fill in the blanks
Most traders would be better off social media.
What separates the pros from the rest is being humble and having realistic expectations.
A good trader should never risk the whole bank on a single trade.
The biggest misconception about trading is everything you see online.