#30 Trader Mercury

July 4, 2022


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@Tradermercury is a full-time crypto trend trader.


What attracted you to trading?

At 16 years old, trading caught my eye because of the 'get rich quick dream advertised by scummy YouTubers. I think a lot of people get attracted to it this way, and it only ever ends one of two ways.

1) You get burned and are afraid to put your hand in the flame again.

2) You get burned, and for whatever reason, you decide to check if the flame really is hot, or if you just imagined it. I was, of course, the latter and decided to stick with it, as I didn't have much to lose at 16 years old.

How badly did you get burned?

I didn't get burned at the beginning of my trading journey. Ironically I got burned only after deciding to invest in crypto in November of 2017. From there, I watched my entire account 4x within weeks, considered myself a genius and thought I could leave it all for years to come to retire myself forever. Of course, that's not how it worked out, as my failure to take profits resulted in my portfolio being down 90% on my entire initial investment within the year. That was my 'burn', and what kickstarted my proper trading journey.

How long have you been trading, and what markets have you traded over your career?

I'm coming up on six years of trading now. I started trading stocks initially for the first year or two and eventually made my way into crypto around November of 2017. 

How long did it take you to become profitable?

It took me about a year before I became profitable. Still, I wasn't consistent, so I'd say there's a good chance my data was skewing towards the more favourable outcome (consistently lucky, lol). That was when I was still trading stocks. My ego was at All-Time-Highs, only for me to rotate that capital into crypto around the pico top. A very humbling moment for me.

I've branded that moment into my brain forever. I still have screenshots of Verge trading at 20 cents, currently, worth about 0.01 cent today, and at one point was worth a tenth of that, and it helped me realize that this market is irrational, more irrational than anything else the world has ever seen before. With irrationality comes volatility and drastic mispricing by the masses, which means opportunity. That realization kickstarted the desire to understand things better and take advantage of the opportunities present.

it helped me realize that this market is irrational, more irrational than anything else the world has ever seen before.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I wake up around 8-9 am every day, make a cup of coffee, write an article updating Bitcoin price action from the day prior for a group I work for, and then spend less than an hour shitposting on Twitter/scanning charts/looking for setups.

Most days, I'll do a Livestream for any of the various groups I work for, as I'm an independent contractor that helps with educational content for these groups. (No, I don't send signals). After that, I'll spend my time making lunch as I love to cook or reading articles. 

I then force myself to stop looking at charts around 5/6 pm, hopefully, sooner. Unless something dire happens, I try not to get sucked back into the charts. I usually spend my leisure time hanging out with my girlfriend or playing video games with my friends.

What's the worst thing about trading and why?

The constant psychological tug of war that you have with yourself. It never goes away. You simply learn how to deal with it better. Being on crypto Twitter if you're weak-minded is extremely difficult. You have to be able and willing to adhere to your own system and refuse to deviate from it. There are thousands of differing opinions thrown around constantly, and you need to be able to reassure yourself that the way you do things, regardless of whether it works out this time or not, is the proper approach for you in the long term. Nothing else really matters at that point.

In my opinion, the only way you'll be able to convince yourself of such things is by calling back to your track record, which is a luxury you don't have as a beginner. So the learning curve is much harder than anything I have ever experienced. I think it's safe to say that most who make it past that initial curve end up falling in love with the game and are grateful for doing so.

Tell us about your most memorable trade?

I wish I had a cool story to share, but truthfully, I've sat here for 5 minutes, and there isn't a memorable trade that comes to mind. The same approach that ensures I'll never have any crazy wins is the same mentality that ensures I won't wreck myself. I'm not willing to sacrifice one for the possibility of the other.

"The same approach that ensures I'll never have any crazy wins is the same mentality that ensures I won't wreck myself." - TraderMercury

What's the best trading advice you've been given?

"Trade the trend". It's probably the first thing I heard when I started trading, and if only I'd listened to it sooner, I could've exponentially increased my profits, and kept a lot of my losses under control in the grand scheme of things. I spent years of my trading journey searching for 'an answer, only to realize that it was right in front of my face the whole time.

I spent years of my trading journey searching for 'an answer', only to realize that it was right in front of my face the whole time.

So you used to try and play countertrend? Do you still?

There's a great quote by George Soros that goes something along the lines of "if I think a trend has been carried to excess, I may probe against it".

This quote speaks out to me, as it's a very fitting mentality for my system. I'm most times unwilling to counter the trend. I've seen the PnLs of some of my favorite traders who put in countless hours each day scalp trading or counter-trend trading. When I compare them to mine, even if I'm not actively trading, they are often similar or even smaller. 

My takeaway is that they could have achieved similar or even better results that day simply by doing nothing. This realization sparked a revelation in my approach, and now I'll only play countertrend if my perception of market sentiment is extreme. Even then, I think the word 'probe' is very fitting: I'll only entertain these thoughts with a small portion of my portfolio.


How would you describe your approach to trading?

My approach is unorthodox, overly simplified, and straightforward. I'm a price action trader that uses Market Structure, 200MA/EMA, grey boxes to identify support/resistance, and the occasional Fibonacci draw.

I've experimented with countless indicators and ways of trading. I started to stray away from the retail method of trading as the trendlines and 10+ moving averages with seven indicators on the chart started to get a bit loud, to the point where I couldn't even really see what the actual price action was doing. I thought to myself, "how is it that the greatest traders I know don't use Technical Analysis, and the greatest Analysts I know don't know how to trade?". When described like that, the game must be mental instead; that's the only explanation. So I figured, "do I really need all these fancy indicators and lines? Or can I dumb things down astronomically and perform just as well or maybe even better?".

In the following months, I immediately saw an improvement, as the focus started to become more on mentality/approach rather than heavily TA-focused.

What's the most important quality in a trader and why?

An otherworldly emotional discipline. Not just tuning emotions out completely to make yourself a robot, but being able to apply them to understand things like the market sentiment. Cobie is probably the most proficient at this out of anyone I've seen.

Why do you think you have success trading?

I'm stubborn, hate losing, am arrogant enough to know when I'm right, am humble enough to know when I'm wrong and ask questions. Lots and lots of questions.

How can you tell if you're being stubborn or just have strong conviction? 

Unfortunately, you won't be able to. You have to be incredibly self-aware to determine when you're able to justify your thoughts and actions, and when it's just cope.

That's the 'fun' part, the psychological tug of war you'll consistently find yourself in. It's probably one of the most difficult things to overcome, as it's intangible, and nobody can say or do anything to help guide you.

What drives you to keep trading?

Had you asked me a few years ago I would've said 'generational wealth'. I grew up extremely poor, then rich, then bankrupt and was homeless for two weeks (the 2008 recession hit us hard). My parents/siblings have never been able to financially recover from that, and they all live in a lower-middle-class fashion.

I want to be able to retire all of them and have enough stashed away to live comfortably for the rest of my life. That's still the driving factor, and I haven't come anywhere close to that just yet, but the truth is; that trading is a part of who I am now. 

the truth is; that trading is a part of who I am now. 

I've fallen in love with the game. I think there's a lot of questioning why people who trade millions still spend their time staring at charts, even though they already have enough wealth to last many lifetimes. I think the love of the game keeps them here, which is probably the same driving factor that got them to that point in the first place.

What's something you've learned in the last six months that has made you a better trader?

There is no glory in being a contrarian. There is no special reward for being right on a probabilistic bet. Find a system, develop conviction in it, and milk the absolute hell out of it while it's still 'alpha'.

There is no glory in being a contrarian. There is no special reward for being right on a probabilistic bet.

What's the mistake you find hardest to avoid when trading? 

Revenge trading, or trading out of pure boredom. It's the dumbest thing you could do, yet even the best fall victim to it repeatedly. Learn to control the emotions that lead to this, and think of ways to offset your addiction for risk.

If you feel like 'gambling', don't gamble at trading. You develop bad habits and trigger a domino effect of bad decisions. Instead, take yourself to a physical casino. Bet a portion of what you would have bet when trading, and feel the same amount of enjoyment with the proper expectation - that you'll lose.

If you could give someone starting trading tomorrow one piece of advice what would it be and why?

Everything is a game of chess. Think several steps ahead, and always put yourself in the best position to potentially succeed, regardless of any outcome.

"Everything is a game of chess." - Trader Mercury

How can you play a game of chess if you don't know what your opponent is doing?

It's all psychology from my perspective. The market is a massive social experiment. We give people of all wealth classes an asset, tell them what it does and why it deserves to exist, and then allow them to determine the price freely. Humans are constantly affected by emotions, whether something small like inconveniently waiting for an appointment, forgetting your coffee for the day, or going through a bad breakup.

They're also affected by endorphins - things like graduating, getting a promotion, or even just having a nice meal. So if we're assuming that markets are a social experiment driven by humans, and humans are creatures driven by emotions: then markets are driven by emotions.

Unfortunately, the market is so complex that you can never comprehend the chess move your opponent will make, as there are infinite variables with millions of emotions and market participants at any given time. I think of this as a very complex system of cogs/gears turning in conjunction with each other. It's impossible to analyze each and every single gear. Instead, one should drive to understand the few gears that turn within themselves, as that's all we have control over. 

So when I say "it's all a game of chess," your perceived opponent is the market, but your 'true' opponent is yourself. You are the only thing that you have control over. You are the only thing that you can even begin to pretend to comprehend when you step into the market. Theoretically, knowing oneself should prove beneficial even in an environment where you are a shrimp in comparison to the vastness that is the market.

your perceived opponent is the market, but your 'true' opponent is yourself.

Fill in the blanks

  • Most traders would be better off trading Market Structure alone and nothing else.
  • What separates the pros from the rest is emotional control.
  • A good trader should never second-guess themselves.
  • The biggest misconception about trading is that you'll get rich quick. I've been here long enough to see people who have accomplished your fantasy, and it always ends up the exact same; rekt. The same mindset that gets you to the point of exponentially increasing your net worth overnight is the same mindset that ensures you end up rekt eventually. It's actually extremely easy to make money, and very difficult to maintain it.