What is Trade.config?
The Trade.config series goes inside the minds of traders to learn their strategies, preferred tools, habits and mindsets for success – to download their “configuration file”.
Each Trade.config post is an interview with a top trader. Our goal is to give all traders the benefit of each others’ experiences. After all, there isn’t enough time in the day (and money in the account) to make every mistake yourself.
No part of this piece is financial or investment advice, and all opinions shared within belong solely to the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Cryptowatch or any associated entities. Full disclaimer here.
Trader Name: Mr. TA
Trading Style: Momentum trader Assets Traded: Forex and Bitcoin Time Trading: Trading since 2013, crypto from 2017 Monitor Size: Two 30” monitors Nearly Broke: Once liquidated 3 accounts in 18 months Follow me on: Twitter and Youtube
How did you get started in trading?
I first got interested in trading when we had the big market crash back in 2009. There were a lot more barriers to entry in trading at that point. If I wanted to become a day trader at that time, I would have had to get a job at a bank.
When I first started trading, I was about 20 years old. I didn’t feel in my mind that I was ready for it. I didn’t feel like I was smart enough or had enough life experience to really tackle something like that. There were so many barriers to entry back then, I didn’t know where to start. I bought a couple of books on it and it was just an absolute shit show, to be honest. I just didn’t feel ready for it.
A while after this, I quit university early and got into a sales job. I did that for about a year and got fed up with it. I told myself, I need to start sitting behind a computer and making money. At the end of 2013, I started trading stocks, made a little bit of money on it, and then lost it relatively quickly. I didn’t really like stocks. I didn’t like the whole way you have to keep up with the news and keep your finger on the buzzer.
By early 2014, I had given up on the stock side of things. At that point, my mate had talked about forex and got me to set up a demo account and helped me with a bit of technical analysis. Forex taught me about the logical side of trading, which is mainly focused on supply and demand.
I just basically put hours and hours into learning it by just watching charts on lower time frames to try and understand how markets can move. I took it a bit like a video game in a way. I grew up on the Sega Mega Drive (which is like the Genesis for you yanks).
The methodical games I played helped train my brain as a kid to recognise patterns. From there, I spent hours figuring out all these patterns and how prices interacted with certain levels on a chart.
It made me realize that when you fire up any chart—whether it’s a stock, Bitcoin, or a forex pair—what you’re seeing on the screen is just buying and selling.
When did you get into crypto?
I got into crypto at the worst time possible at the top of the 2017 bull market. I made a little bit of money probably December that month, then some altcoins I got into gave away about 50% of it in January and February of 2018.
I sold them all and then started margin trading Bitcoin properly in April 2018. I didn’t know you could do it until I discovered BitMEX that year.
What would you say your main strategy is to pursue the markets?
I wouldn’t say there’s one particular strategy. I’ve made most of my money following momentum rather than trying to pick a top or a bottom and fade different trends. I like trading medium timeframes, sort of like one to four hourly charts. I’ve got a scalping strategy which is obviously a lower timeframe which is a completely different approach. It’s not anything to do with momentum following, it’s just around specific entry and exit triggers.
Who or what taught you the most to aid in your success?
I think having a forum that I was learning from people’s posts and experiences and being able to discuss things with those people directly really helped. I learned off readthemarket.com and I would use their forums and journals.
I’m a bit of an old school type of person. I grew up in the early days of the internet on forums learning. I like the forum approach where people can craft well thought out replies about certain things.
I did pay a hefty sum for one of the video trading courses from readthemarket.com back in 2015. That sort of set me on my way and basically transformed my trading approach. It was basically like having someone that I trusted knew what they were doing and had a deep understanding of how the markets move. I really drew from those experiences and studied as much as I could.
I’ve got a deep fascination with trading. I’ve got a real passion for it and I like being in front of the charts, learning and watching things happen in real-time. That’s what I have pretty much spent every spare hour I’ve had for the last few years doing.
What does your day to day trading look like?
Using technical analysis (TA) is part of my regular routine. With technical analysis, there are so many different ways of doing it and I don’t think there’s a particularly wrong or right one. It really depends on your personality and your approach to the markets. My approach to trading is very much horizontals and supply and demand. That suits my brain.
Specifically, on the forex side of things, I use MetaTrader4. I also use some custom currency indexes (which were programmed by my mate about four or five years ago). My custom indexes are kind of my edge in the market and they allow me to see what currencies are likely to be moving that week or what levels have been broken the previous week for certain currencies.
My view on the forex side of things is that there’s such a tremendous amount of money going through those markets on a daily basis that we as retail traders are kind of looking for imprints on the charts to essentially ride the momentum, which is set by bigger institutional players.
I will look at these indexes at the beginning of the week—I’ve got one for each major currency. I look at them and get an idea of where the pro money is positioning itself. For example, if I can see that the Canadian dollar has broken resistance, I will try and work out if it is going to find support—and if so, then I’ll start looking for longs on the Canadian dollar crospairs for the week ahead.
My view on the markets is still based around supply and demand fundamentals. If you read the markets the way that I do, you can see the selling around certain areas on the chart, regardless of what the market you are looking at.
What areas could you see yourself improving as a trader?
One of my weaknesses (as a trader) is the amount of time I spend flipping from a trending environment to a ranging environment—and switching up that strategy when needed.
For example, a market could have a great trend for a couple of months—but then once the trend ends, it may be like two or three weeks before I realize the conditions have flipped and I need to change up my approach as the market sentiment changes.
I have been trading for around six years now—but still to this day I am always learning.
What approach do you take for crypto markets?
I don’t trade anything in crypto other than Bitcoin. It’s the leading currency in crypto, and everything kind of follows it.
I had some bad luck with altcoins at the beginning of my crypto venture. Some people have the appetite for risk where they want to hold onto coins for months and just hope that it rallies in time or they’ll see a breakout pattern. I don’t really have too much interest in doing that, to be honest.
I also trade Bitcoin with leverage on BitMEX. It was the only place that was available to me at the time a couple of years ago—but I really struggled with it at first.
I thought the user interface was awful, I think that they have got a lot of different things on there to confuse people. On my forex platform, all I need to worry about is my stop loss, if my order will enter at market price or not, and finally my take profit. When it comes to BitMEX, they’ve got things like close on triggers and different types of stop losses and take profit orders than I was not used to.
A lot of people bought Bitcoin at three digits and then rode it up to five digits and became millionaires. Some people still think that crypto is an easy way to become a millionaire but things have changed a lot. People who think like this may then throw sense out the window when it comes to big moves on the charts. So when they see exchanges like BitMEX, and people talking about 100X leverage online, they go all in thinking it’s their time.
It’s become a bit of a meme on Twitter. When people go 100X long, or 100X short on something—it’s basically just them putting their entire account as margin on one trade (without realizing they are doing it)—and then if they get stopped out, their account is gone.
This built a kind of gambling culture around trading in crypto, I feel. Places like BitMEX have cultivated that gambling and kept it alive. You’ve got all these flashing casino lights on the screen as well, which kind of triggers your emotions and tries to make a trader make quick decisions.
It’s a bit of a dodgy thing to be quite honest. I don’t really like it. It’s actually made me move over from BitMEX to Bybit over the past week—due to high fees and large wicks that could potentially unfairly liquidate positions.
What do you think of spot investments in Bitcoin?
I am very bullish on Bitcoin long term. When I look to price predictions I’m more relying on people like PlanB and his stock-to-flow model. I look at the fact that this is literally the only fixed supply asset that humanity has ever seen. We can’t print any more Bitcoins—this is really, really bullish for the long term price valuation. I don’t even actually think that Bitcoin has a ceiling in terms of its price, in dollars.
I would love for Bitcoin to have a bull-run right now and I would love for it to go to some of the price valuations that I’ve seen. You know, if you take even just the percentage increase from the previous halving to the all-time high and apply that to Bitcoin – that percentage increase comes up at like a six-figure valuation for each Bitcoin.
I’ve got some long term BTC locked up on a hardware wallet that I don’t touch. I’ve got a three to five-year time horizon on that that I think will take us to the top of the next bull market.
I think when it comes to investing, a lot of people are invested in Bitcoin, but also a lot of people actively trade it and are looking at the charts each day. So if I’m looking at the charts each day to take a swing position or even maybe short BTC at resistance—my mind is always conflicted. I think to myself, maybe I should sell some of my spot investment too (to buy back at a cheaper price).
In fact, over the last few months, I have had a small cash position ready and waiting to buy the dip if BTC moves down. It hasn’t actually materialized yet.
With Bitcoin, you can sit there and say in two years it could be a quarter of a million or higher than that potentially. I believe it can do that because if you go back five, six years ago when Bitcoin was trading at $9,000 less than that and you told someone that it’s going to go to $20,000 in a couple of years, people kind of probably would have thought you were crazy.
I think most people would do better just dollar-cost averaging into Bitcoin over a long period of time and treating it as an investment for the next 10 plus years rather than trying to get it at the lowest possible price and then going all-in on it and hoping for the best.
In terms of investment, I think everyone’s kind of sitting in the dark and hoping for the best and that it goes up 25X from here.
I do think that’s a possibility, but there’s a lot of variables that have to come into place in order for that to happen. I’m optimistic that it will happen, which is why I’ve got a decent percentage of my net worth in BTC.
Keeping up with Mr. TA