My Introduction. Rags to riches to rags and the slow climb back to normal. Persistence!
To start - this picture is taken by my Mother on her property she has recently moved to. There's TONS of wildlife. If you're curious about more of that, please say so! I am considering regularly posting some of the awesome pictures she has taken.
Now to REALLY start:
I have a few posts here already, I'm surprised at just how many people are using steemit now. Well, surprised but not surprised. I suppose I'm more surprised at how fast it has grown.
I've had an interesting trip through the crypto space, it has taught me a lot and I certainly admit I have second guessed myself to my detriment as well as not learning as quickly as I could have, many times.
I had heard of Bitcoin around its run to $100 originally, and even attempted mining it. I used Nvidia cards though so it never really amounted to anything, nor did I gain anything appreciable from it. I sort of forgot about it for a couple years, when I was just starting my 4 year university. (CSULB)
I live in Southern California. I am very grateful to my parents for allowing me to live rent free. I contribute as much as I can to the household. Maintenance, upgrades. I do my best to be a value to the household even without contributing in the form of rent. I just finished a multi-month creeper vine cleanup which had overgrown our back yard. I graduated in 2015 with a BA in Communication Studies and minor in Business - Entrepreneurship. It is not the most useful degree, but it was an experience I do not regret.
I worked two jobs during part of my experience at California State University of Long Beach, one nearly full time and one part time with full time schooling. It was exhausting at times, and showed me what I am really capable of at others. That can be an entire post of its own, however.
Why I could afford to throw money away
Important to note is I had just bought a car, which I had been saving for for 2 years and living like a hermit, so I finally felt I could allow myself some discretionary spending. (A used Honda S2000. I still have it, and still love it) But the majority of my savings had been wiped out by the purchase. I wouldn't have allowed myself the potentially risky purchase if I hadn't bought the car, so it is moot to consider "what if" I had put that money into BTC instead.
I remember seeing it drop to around $75 in class to which I was thinking I WANT TO BUY, and rushed home to do so.
Now, as some of you may remember this was just the beginning of an absolutely massive euphoric run on BTC, as well as Willy on MtGox still being around.
Learning so basic, it's not even the ropes yet
I spent a lot of time learning my way around exchanges, trying to figure out what to do, which one to use. I disregarded bitstamp and MtGox, though had accounts on both. Lucky me. I spent a lot of time in the BTC-E trollbox, trying to learn something - anything from the mindless spam crossing my screen at a lightning pace.
Margin trading didn't exactly exist at this point in time, it was all spot. I had small amounts of bitcoin and actually managed to make a little bit more during this euphoric rise. I had also purchased 1000 litecoin on one trade when bitcoin price had left me behind.
The HIGH, oh so high, of profit
It is an addicting feeling waking up every day watching your net worth rise by hundreds of dollars. I was on cloud 9 every day. For months. It was an amazing feeling. I wanted to always feel that way. But, as many of you know, and now I know as well, often the best feeling is just before the fall. It was both wonderful and, later, my worst experience. When the litecoin jump came I was FLOORED at how much I had.
Here's where my mistake came from. Bitfinex came out, and all the cool guys on twitter were using it, trading. I had absolutely no idea what the hell I was doing.
When price topped out and had the massive drop to $100 due to BFX's low liquidity, I was floored. Not scared, just in awe of watching the markets move.
Now, I hadn't really lost any money at this point, but this was the beginning of a long, long fall. And I had continued buying on the way up.
And now the long, long way down
This was the beginning of China repeatedly fudding Bitcoin by "banning" it almost weekly. This is also where my almost drugged experience with bitcoin worked against me the most. I wanted to learn how to trade, really trade. So I started using BFX regularly.
I made some silly mistakes, like "WHAT DOES THIS BUTTON DO" Oh I just lost 5k? Okay.
Taking profit is REALLY IMPORTANT
None of the money felt real. But I thought of it as mine. Because of how strong the rise had influenced me, all I really ever did was long (which was obviously a losing position for a very long, long time). I would cut the loss, and try again. Now, they weren't losses immediately. I was obsessed with trying to learn trading and would often catch bounces, but I would hold the position far too long, thinking it was the bottom and BTC was fine and would start recovering from there.
Summer of alts, and scamcoins
This was still altcoin season and, I think, even as much as I didn't do great margin trading I would have been fairly okay all in all if I had stuck to it. My real, big losses started coming from trying to trade altcoins all the "gurus" on twitter called out, which I, and probably most of you, now know they simply tweeted about it for the purpose of exiting the coin. Even beside losing money on gurus, this was also where nearly any coin that came out ended up having fatal flaws, bugs, were scams, etc.
I actually started mining Dogecoin at this point, and could have made quite a large amount of BTC from it, except I came home one day and my computer was off "Wtf" I thought, and toggled the power off and back on. Fire shot OUT OF MY CASE. Apparently the 7950 had a common problem where a capacitor would fail. Luckily nothing else got fried, but it did take weeks for me to get the card RMA'd, and the mining train was long gone by then.
Skin in the Game is Important, but it really shouldn't be a lot when you don't know WTF you're doing
Not to say I didn't have a few good trades. I did, it's what kept me from cashing out entirely was feeling like I was actually learning. And I was, I was learning, but with $ amounts far larger than I should have been learning with. It also taught me the $25k minimum to daytrade the normal market is seriously only to take your money. People have no business trading with large amounts of money while learning, and forcing them to do so is practically criminal.
The bottom of despair, coupled with sheer obstinance
Anyhow, the short version is I probably had about 90k at the top of the valuation, and I wanted 100 and was going to cash out. I never made it to 100k, in fact I consistently lost over the next 2 years until I had lost absolutely everything I had put into BTC.
But I didn't give up, I didn't quit. I kept trading with miniscule amounts, trying to learn what to do. It took quite some time, another 2 years in fact, and now, in 2016, I still don't have the value I had at the top of the market. I didn't get rich like some people did. I could have, if I had simply not been afraid of the "short" button, if I had learned to love it. I would have certainly changed my life.
I believe that is still possible to change my life, however, and with some careful altcoin plays (I'd say 80% profitable, and those that aren't I do cut quickly now), and some solid BTC trades, I have made a large percentage back what I had lost. It won't be as fast as it was in 2013, but that is probably for the best really.
I'm still susceptible to getting chopped up, and often when BTC would rally I would make a decent amount but would lose it again when the move topped. So at least I was mostly breaking even, and now I am beginning to be consistently profitable.
This most recent move is the first one I really banked what I made, and didn't let myself just put it back into the trades. I still lost some in the drops, but overall it, and an altcoin I mined, is looking to make this officially my best year in bitcoin since the 1100 bubble popped.
It's been a very long trip, tiring and arduous at times, lots of late nights where price alarms would wake me up but I have found it really is true that when starting out we put in far more effort than we need to into trading. I second guessed myself so many times when I should have stuck with my original position.
During this time I had some very fun times, mind you. It was not all doom and gloom. I lost money, I made money. I went on vacations. (Hawaii. It was amazing.) I finished school, my Mother moved to Montana (we live in California, which is a huge change and a post itself) my Father started getting many health issues, and is now looking at having to go through a dissolved marriage, where his wife did not contribute at all but is taking half his savings, while he is on disability for life, which I also feel very strongly about just how wrong it is, and through all of it I continued trading, it represents so much what I want to do. Not be rich, not lord it over other people. I would love to be able to simply support myself comfortably and do what I want on the daily. I don't want to be a Tim Sykes, penny stocker millionaire. I just want to be myself, living comfortably enough and being able to do what I want.
I have been through BTC thick and thin, I have stuck with trading and I do enjoy it thoroughly.
I have tons of memories of where BTC has been, altcoins, scams. Mintpal (I didn't lose money, didn't use it) Mintpalv2, Cryptsy (didn't lose money, but I certainly lost money on some altcoins). I certainly have stories for days, and I welcome any questions you guys have.
And most of all, I have learned, when talking to people about what I do: It can be fun, and tempting, to brag about how much I have made, or how trades panned out, but the best thing you can do for someone is make sure they know damn well how the RISK works in markets. Don't sell them dreams. Show them the shit they could get into if it doesn't pan out.
How did I hear of Steemit?
I actually was one of the first buyers of an x11 ASIC along with someone else, I posted a review of it on Dashtalk and someone contacted me. (Names omitted for his security, but he is sort of a big deal here on Steemit) We talked a bit and he ended up telling me about steemit, actually long before most people were talking about it. Steemit was pretty small and there was still a few growing pains with displaying NSFW images at work, etc. The issues got resolved quickly and the community gave important feedback. They still do, though I worry some of it may go unheard now. I still go to him with questions about the platform and I'm sure he is ecstatic, as many of you are, with the rise of steemit.
PAY YOURSELF, PLEASE
Take my word of warning, as someone experienced in losing many times in markets. Don't be afraid to pay yourself if steemit is making you money. You can keep some in as well, or reinvest some, but make sure you take your payouts as well. I hope steemit does well in the long run. I really do, I am also all too aware of how much simple flaws can destroy a coin. Not even in days, but in hours. I am not saying Steemit will be destroyed. I am saying: Take profit out, so at least you can realize something from your endeavors.
The Condor Photo, plus more potentially
I hope this post has at least been interesting. I don't post here too often, but I look to make it valuable when I do!
My Mother sends me pictures very often from Montana. They are beautiful, she lives in the middle of nowhere and has a ton of wildlife around. Would you guys be interested if I posted more of these? They will usually be from Montana and she takes them herself. A lot of them look like National Geographic style pictures, it's really impressive.