What Is Bitcoin's Stock-to-Flow? Crypto Briefing

How did you get into trading?

I thought it would be interesting - and fitting for the random discussion thread - for willing contributors to share the story about how they got into trading. We all obviously share a passion for making money but I am sure that we each have a different story about how we found this path. I’ll go first!
I have always had a fascination/ obsession with trading. The idea of being able to trade up - starting with something small and snowballing it into something larger, bigger, better has always attractive to me.

My first opening bell

Trading for me started in childhood. I have had the opportunity to have moved around a lot as a child due to my father’s career. We moved to Milan as a family when I was 8. This was my first time living in a non-english speaking country.
When the bell rang at the beginning of recess on my first day at my new school, all of the school children flooded into the playground and huddled around each other in groups. I peered over shoulders to see that everyone was swapping decks of football (soccer) stickers, assessing each other’s inventory and segregating all the cards that they wanted to trade for.
“Ce l’ho, ce l’ho”. These were the first words of my italian vocabulary and the only words that the kids would say as they rifled through each others desks. “I have it, I have it.” Once the rejects had been discarded, negotiations could begin.
The next day, the 10:20 bell marked the beginning of recess; market open! Trading football stickers was the only thing that mattered those days and my best way to start making new friends. Unfortunately I had none but the boy who shared my desk in class was kind enough to give me his worst cards - a couple duplicates of the goalkeeper from Chievo, a team that consistently places at the bottom of the Serie A league. Everyday the market would open at 10:20 sharp for a 20 minute session and would open again at 12:45 - 2pm. At the end of the year I had hundreds of stickers - and I never spent a cent.
At that age, we all lived for this! The football stickers eventually fell out of fashion as interest shifted to pokemon cards, then magic cards and even yugioh. Nevertheless, these playground interactions were my formational experiences in trading.
After school, I also started playing online games like Runescape and socialising on Habbo hotel - a virtual world chat room where people would hang out in rooms they designed and filled with furniture that would be bought with ‘real world’ currency. Without paying for membership - I was able to collect hundreds of HC sofas - the currency by which every other piece of furniture in the game was valued. Trading up.
While at the time I am sure that my parents thought I was wasting my time on the computer I personally feel that these online games, which were each centred on a system of exchange, were an amazing way to learn the fundamental dynamics and features of markets. I am also convinced that business in the real world is nothing more than a more bureaucratic evolution of these playground/ online games.

2008 - let’s get rich

After several years in Milan, we moved again to Paris. New school, new friends. As teenagers there were no trading cards to facilitate the transition. I had been playing Runescape but was not interested in the game anymore and started to look into ways of converting the virtual in-game currency I had amassed into real money to ‘cash out’. I came across forums where people were selling leveled up accounts for good old American Dollars. I came to the fateful realisation that my countless hours of toil in the virtual world did not amount to much in ‘real life’ - I could not catch a bid - so I started to look to other ventures and pursuits that would allow me to earn money.
I have a twin brother and both of us have always had an artistic/ creative bent and excellent drawing skills etc. Now at age 13, we decided to leverage this talent to make some money. This was in 2007, which marked the emergence of the gig economy just before its true expansion post-2008. The beginning of my quest began with a google search: “how to use photoshop to make money”. Clicking through the initial results, I stumbled upon a very low traffic forum where users would initiate logo competitions for their small businesses and submissions would be made with image links in replies. I then found Sitepoint - the precursor to 99designs - and my brother and I started to make logos there under the pseudonym - Pixelsoldier.
We were able to win one of our first competitions within a month - $250 in the bank. We would come home from school, finish homework and then scan through the available competitions and start to sketch out ideas for logos. Within a couple more months we had made $2000. Age 13. The internet can be a marvelous thing. The organisers of the 2008 Singapore Property Awards (who would use the same logo for the next 7 years on highly publicised events) certainly did not know that the ‘design professionals’ they were working were teenagers.
Having won that first $2000 we decided to open a Scottrade account to trade in stocks. Our only guide was “Stock trading for dummies” which I bought but never read. The answers to all of our questions lay with ‘Omnitron2000’ on a yahoo stock chat room. So, following tips from some random dude on the internet, we decided to make our first stock purchase in RDN which returned $250 within 10 minutes. Oh, this is easy! We are going to make it to the cover of Forbes in no time!
The first hit is free. Our next trades were not so inspiring. The next ticker we traded - on a “tip” - was TMA, which soon became THMR and then THMRQ. As per the google description, “Thornburg Mortgage was a United States real estate investment trust that originated, acquired and managed mortgages, with a specific focus on jumbo and super jumbo adjustable rate mortgages.” Was being the operative word. This was 2008. I knew nothing.

The rebirth

I lost interest in trading after our swift blow-up. Nevertheless, my brother and I continued to try to make some money on the side by designing logos throughout high school.
A couple years later, when it came to selecting university courses I decided to study Architecture although at the time I wouldn’t have been able to give you a good reason why other than the typical “it is a good mix between the sciences and the arts”. I had never had difficulty at school and was always at the top of my class; a classic “insecure overachiever” - the kind that corporate employers love to target as they always strive to please. My brother instead choose to study civil engineering.
I completed my undergraduate Architecture degree with a 4.0 GPA and gained entry for my Masters although I decided to defer a year because I was not convinced that it was what I wanted to do.
After working for a couple of years in various Architecture practices both in the US and Europe I was able to confirm my doubts: Architecture was not my passion. If anything, what I enjoyed about Architecture was the creative problem solving but not the actual profession.
During one stint of working at a practice in LA, I had had to find accommodation through Craigslist. My roommate there had been talking to me about bitcoin (late 2016 and before crypto investor was an instagram profession) as well as other investments he had made. He was somewhat of a fashionista and had actually sold his last 2 bitcoins to at around $800 to fund his distorted tastes. In any case, he introduced me to options in an extremely cursory manner - simply saying “I’ve had some success with options”.
My brother had also graduated and while waiting to start a well-paying job in consulting was tutoring by the hour and earning some cash while living at home, which he poured entirely into a trading account to play around with ‘FDs’. I moved to a new architecture practice and continued to have serious doubts about Architecture. Not having found any alternative, I then started my Master program. Around this time, my brother started his job and put his signing bonus into the trading account for me to take over when I was not studying. Around November of 2017 I started to focus most of my attention on trading SPX options and really neglected my architecture work. The workload in architecture is immense, particularly at Postgraduate level. With divided focus and a much stronger interest in trading than in my degree, I quit after the first semester. That was a year ago.
I took a leap of faith and broke away from the path I did not want - without much of a parachute.
Here I am today. To be frank, it has been a year of learning. Negative YTD. But as they say there is a price for education. The account is small but I still have dreams. I am at somewhat of a crossroads. There is a lot of pressure on me to quit but I feel that beyond trading, I have little idea what I want to do.
To that end, I am curious to know how each of you came onto trading and how it factors into your life. When did you open your first brokerage account. Do you work to be able to trade or is trading something that features in addition to your career?
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