Ask Me Anything #1

I thought it might be fun to do an Ask Me Anything – below are the answers to ten questions I was asked recently:

1. What do you think current exchanges and financial platforms lack? Where do you personally see the industry heading? 

Adequate charting tools. The vast majority of exchanges have poor integrated charting. Coinigy and TradingView make up for this, but there are still many unsupported exchanges on those platforms. I’d prefer being able to chart natively. Also, the major exchanges are definitely lacking in high-quality listings; most, if not all, coin additions of late are ICOs.

As for the industry, I think we’ll see it move in the same direction that traditional markets have moved, with a far greater range of altcoins being exposed to high leverage, as the space grows in liquidity over the coming years. Right now, so few can be traded with leverage, but I think that will change, though probably not soon. I don’t think it’s a good change either, as it’ll mean far more retail pain, but it’s the natural progression. I also think we’ll see a large division of exchanges; some will become heavily compliant to regulation and go down that route, with all that comes with it; some will probably neglect to do so and perhaps shut up shop entirely to regulation-heavy countries. We’re already seeing this unfold with several exchanges.

2. Do you still practice speculative mining? If so, what is your approach to finding the newest coins? I saw on your blog post you may have a guest post about this. That would be dope! 

I haven’t speculatively mined anything since Arto, a couple of months back. I decreased my exposure to spec-mining plays dramatically after the hack, purely for my own comfort. I’m missing out on a lot, but it’s rare that I’ll consider spec-mining now. I will definitely do my best to get someone to write a guest post on the topic, though!

3. Do you do anything outside of the markets that you have found helps you with your trading ability? e.g. meditation, reading etc… (directly or indirectly). Also, other book suggestions if you have any and why?

I was very much into meditation for about six months, and found that it helped with mental clarity, but I’ve fallen out of practice recently, though I do recommend it. Even just 10 minutes in the morning would be useful. I read pretty much all day because that’s how I best absorb information, and because I enjoy it! Exercise certainly helps, indirectly though it might be – I tend to feel energised after a workout, so productivity will increase in the immediate period following one. I think another thing that indirectly assists in trading is one’s sleeping pattern. There is always a tendency, at least when you’re new to the space, to cut down on sleep to maximise hours in front of charts or poring over research (I used to do this a lot in my first year, and would sleep a few hours a day at best), but this is unimaginably detrimental to decision-making, which, in turn, negatively affects trading. I sleep 7 and a half hours every day, no matter what, and tend to be asleep by 11pm. I’ve had this routine for a year now and the benefits come across the board, and I feel that I can concentrate on research and analysis for longer periods without needing a break, relative to my concentration span when I had a broken sleeping pattern. Read Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep or watch this podcast with him for more on that.

As for other book suggestions, I’ve only read a handful of trading-related books, and these three are the ones that stood out, particularly on the topic of market psychology:

• Trading In The Zone – Mark Douglas
• Trading For A Living – Alexander Elder
• Reminiscences of a Stock Operator – Edwin Lefevre

4. I found out that learning how to chart is one thing, but executing trades and shutting out your emotions is another thing which is hard to do. Please share how you overcame the emotional obstacle and tell me how I can improve. 

Ah, this is definitely the most difficult thing to provide an answer for – at least to provide a satisfying answer for… the short answer is simply experience; it takes making numerous, poor, emotion-based decisions before it begins to click that you should often be doing the opposite to what your limbic system seems to compel.

There is definitely a mind-hack that you can take to shorten the learning curve and get a firmer grasp of your emotions, but it often isn’t one that people like to take: from the outset, only invest what you can afford to lose. And I mean it in the strictest sense. Everything that comprises your altcoin portfolio should be disposable income, in the same way that you wouldn’t use money you need for rent to buy a Michelin-starred meal. Emotions, naturally, become heightened when we are deeply attached to something, and this is even more true of money. Money that we require to live is inextricably linked to our emotions, so, by using even a fraction of that capital to invest and speculate, you are beginning the marathon five miles behind. By simply taking what you can comfortably afford to lose, you eradicate much of the emotional attachment to your trades.

Otherwise, you can also implement meditation into your daily routine for five to ten minutes each morning, and, trust me, it will help you make better decisions. It’s incredible how simple breathing techniques can alter one’s perspective for the rest of the day. Finally, try to minimise your screen-time and exposure to the markets and news; crypto is intensely fast-paced, and the attempt to keep up-to-date with everything can backfire massively by putting unnecessary stress on yourself, which manifests later in trading decisions. I have found my decision-making to improve dramatically since I stopped day-trading and began spending more time away from the market, focusing on longer-term positions with high growth potential.

5. How do you protect yourself from risky wallets / staking purpose?

My security process is fairly straightforward for wallets. Firstly, make sure you have the best computer security software (BitDefender is a good starting point). Make sure you scan all wallets prior to download using VirusTotal or something similar, and then scan the file again post-download. If it’s all okay, run the wallet within your security software’s Sandbox to prevent any potential spillage of malware that bypassed the two original scans. Alternatively, use Virtual Machines to run wallets on, though this is a little more technical. Keep your wallets encrypted and only unlocked for staking, as opposed to fully unlocked. Don’t store encryption passwords anywhere on your computer.

6. Have you ever liked a coin/project so much that you wanted to join its team and contribute somehow? Or is it always strictly business for you?

I have had many offers from projects asking me to join their team (usually awful ICOs). Every single one of them I turned down, except one. I joined the Neutron team as an advisor – and I remain one to this day – about five or six months ago. I accepted their proposal because it was one of the very few coins that I actually liked a lot; that had no premine or ICO; that I followed the developments of; and that I had been trading for over a year prior to the offer. This was a one-time deal, though. I won’t be advising any other projects in the foreseeable future. In general, it’s strictly business, but with Neutron I was very much happy to join them and assist in growing their presence in the space.

7. For you, what are the next innovations/features/sectors that will be valued by the market?

I believe privacy will always remain supreme with regards to ‘features’ that a coin might have, simply because it is the most universally-useful one; whichever projects continue to innovate within that domain will grow exponentially over the coming years. I also think atomic swaps will be a key innovation, if only to increase ease-of-use and ease-of-exchange.

8. When will your book be available in audio format on Audible?

I don’t currently have any plans to release the book in audio format. This is primarily because there is so much in the book that relies on data and images to make any sense that it’ll sound nonsensical when strictly audio.

9. What impact do you think derivatives will have on the crypto space? 

I think anything that allows for a greater number of market participants is a good thing, regarding growth potential. Though not strictly a derivative – though it resides among the same range of products – I believe a Bitcoin ETF will be huge for the industry as a whole, so I look forward to that.

10. Have you (or someone) tried to automate your process of analysing coins? Thoughts on it? 

I’ve had lots of people create their own automated versions of my process for coin selection and analysis, and it’s great that it works for them, but I have a weird thing about automation. When researching and analysing coins, particularly in the pre-accumulation stage, where I need to figure out the fundamental and technical quality and promise of a project, I like to be very much hands-on. By doing things manually, you get a firmer grasp of all of the different variables. Automated processes are generally useful except that they lack in showing you how data came to be; you have all the information without knowing the process. It’s similar to having answers to a mathematical problem without any of the working out.


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Disclaimer: This post references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

4 thoughts on “Ask Me Anything #1”

  1. Hello Nik,

    I bought your book for kindle and I’m having some troubles on seeying the pictures with clarity. Do you have some sort of drive with the pictures that you can share?

    Thank you so much!

  2. Hi Nik,

    When it comes to analysing the transactions on the rich list, I’ve seen a few where they will add miniscual amounts, is this a tactic to bury their transaction history?

    1. Hey,

      I think it’s quite difficult to tell. It could be mining rewards… could be obfuscation… could be micro-buying. Sorry that’s not a satisfying answer but it’s the only one I have!

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