By Stanislav Šredl
You wanna know how I feel about trading?
That’s what I hear from the bathroom, brushing my teeth, nursing my aching jaw. That, and then nothing. I come into the room and Luck’s gone, and the window is wide open, yellow curtains fluttering in the wind. Digits is sitting on the couch, face in hands.
He jumped. He fucking jumped, Digits says. He’s sobbing. His voice has a very high pitch.
No one ever opens that window. Two years we’ve lived here and I forgot it existed. There’s a humming sound coming from somewhere outside, coming in through the window, and it’s drowning out the screaming from our neighbor’s flat. You can hear everything the neighbors do in these sardine apartments, and this one neighbor is a screamer.
I’m thinking about the building, how tall it is. It’s got twenty-four stories, total. It’s one of four identical, concrete buildings, some 50 yards apart, overlooking the city from a hill. Like four massive candles. Four candles in a row, and we’re the third one. Our flat is somewhere in the middle of the candle. Not where you wanna be, no matter if you’re long or short.
Did you hear me, Digits says. Lucky is down there, dead.
I hear you.
I wanna look but I don’t wanna see. It’ll break the spell, and I’ve been on a good run. The kind of run that comes once a year. Maybe once in a lifetime. I’d never admit this, not to Digits or anyone, but I have an incredibly strong urge to check my phone first. See how my trades are doing, then look out the window. Traders call this a hedge. If the market’s good, Luck being dead will hurt a little less.
Did you hear what I just said?
Yes. You need to call someone.
Who do you call?
The police. The ambulance.
It’s a ten fucking story window.
You still have to call the ambulance. His sister.
You call her, man. Aren’t you gonna look?
I think about it for a second.
That was then. That wasn’t a good day, but there’s always tomorrow. Digits says there’s always the next candle. I thought about that at Luck’s funeral and it occurred to me that Luck doesn’t get any more candles. His last candle was red.
A year before, Luck was moving in with Digits and me. We were both hooked by then. Me, a little less than Digits, at least I liked to think so. Luck had no idea what he was getting into. He needed a place to stay. He was doing two jobs, doing the night shift as a watchman over the weekends, at this one shady place where he never could sleep thinking the place would get raided by the police, or someone worse. It was stressful but the demands weren’t very high. He had to be there and call a number if anyone messed with the doors on two run down hangars. The other job, he waited tables at a Chinese place, Fridays and Saturdays. We met through his sister, who Digits had dated for a while, until she called him a fucking methhead, only with charts, and took her shit and left. Exact words she used. Methhead, only with charts.
By then, it was too late for Luck.
He had an incredible streak, Luck had. That’s how he got the nickname. He’d watch us looking at charts and talking about shitcoins night after night, and he wanted to know what we were about. He didn’t know a thing about crypto, was a total normie when he made an account. Digits told him not to do it, I told him not to do it. Then the two of us were looking at charts again, and come to think of it now, there probably wasn’t much else Luck could’ve done besides ignoring what we’d said and doing what we did. He pestered Digits to open an account for him, transferred a hundred bucks into it. Before the night was over, he was hooked worse than the both of us put together. It can happen like that sometimes. Normies get hooked stronger.
Digits showed Andriy, which was his name at the time, how to set up an order, explained what longing and shorting was, explained what margin was, showed him how the trading candles work.
A long is when you buy a coin, expecting the price to go up. A short is when you sell a coin before you buy, expecting the price to go down, Digits said.
How can you sell before you buy, Andriy asked.
Don’t worry about it. If you’re short, you want the price to go down. If you’re long, you want it to go up. It’s that simple.
Andriy nodded, but I wasn’t confident that he’d understood.
The best way to trade is to look at candles, Digits said. Candles show you how the price moved within a certain time frame. See this candle? It’s red, meaning the price went down, and it has a massive wick. The wick, that’s the thin part of the candle on top or bottom, like a tail. Now this long, red wick here, it means the price went down a lot. But then the price went back up really fast. That’s a fakeout. You get to know these fakeouts, and you’ll do well. You catch the top or bottom of the wick with good leverage, say 20x, and you can triple your money in an hour. But don’t do it if you don’t know what you're doing.
It probably wasn’t the best way to dissuade someone from trading. The funny thing was, Andriy never knew what he was longing or shorting. He wasn’t interested in crypto, he never learned the ins and outs of it. He’d choose a coin and look at the charts and trade based on what he saw there. For a while Digits and I thought that that was his secret, a pure trading experience. No bias. No thinking about anything from the outside world, not knowing anything about the coin or the team or the technology or the fundamentals behind it all. Just look at the numbers and after a while all the numbers start falling into place and you can see the code behind reality’s fabric, and you can see the future. That’s what we used to think, at least. We used to envy Andriy for that.
That first night, we fell asleep on the couch, Digits and I, and Andriy kept at it. When I woke up, he turned his laptop towards me.
Is this good, he said.
I looked at the display for a while, then elbowed Digits to wake up.
You gotta see this, man.
Check it out.
Digits put his glasses on, inspected the laptop’s screen, then removed the glasses and looked at Andriy. Andriy was genuinely interested in our opinion. He had no idea if his result, his first-ever trading session, his first-ever all-nighter, was good or not.
On the display, there was a bunch of big candles, both red and green. A volatile night. Arrows showing his entries and exits. Long, 9,180. Short, 9,245. Long, 8,972. Short, 9,130. The arrows became more abundant as time went by. You could see he was learning the ropes by how he’d set up the entries and exits, how he’d chosen the sizes of his bets. I clicked to see his profits and losses, his PnL for the day, and it stood at 1,453%. Andriy had turned his hundred bucks into one thousand, five hundred and fifty-three dollars over the course of one night. Without a single losing trade.
That’s how he became Luck.
Let me tell you about trading. You must have discipline. Never doubt yourself mid-trade. If you’re daytrading, never leave a position open overnight. Never bet more than you can afford to lose. Never try to make up for a losing trade with another trade. Most importantly, don’t count your chips while you’re still sitting at the table.
That was old TenYears talking. We enjoyed being friends with someone like that. A reasonable man. TenYears was a long-time trader who’d traded stocks before crypto. He used to work at a broker’s and trade a little on the side. Now stocks, they don’t have the gains crypto has. In stocks, a twenty percent gain in a month is a lot. In crypto, that’s how much the prices move daily. Stocks require a lot more patience, which was something that TenYears had. After a few years, TenYears left the brokerage and started trading on his own. He had a good run, ten years of beating the market. Ten fucking years. I couldn’t imagine myself doing this for ten years. But TenYears put in the work, day after day. He started sharing his calls on a blog, and he got so good that people followed his calls, and TV people would call and ask him for commentary. He’s gotten his own chapter in a book on famous traders. They called him Iron Hand, because he never relented on his strategy, never doubted himself, always followed through on all his calls, win or lose. When he lost money, he’d call that a learning trade. His blog blew up with thousands of followers, and finally he got a call from some massive hedge fund with a high six-digit offer. He said no, and then they came back with a seven-digit offer. They kept increasing the offer until he finally relented and accepted the job. The job was to handle a fund that was the life savings of fifty or so wealthy families. The market was good, but TenYears didn’t perform well. He made conservative calls and underperformed the market. He was in the green but it wasn’t green enough. Other, more aggressive traders, did better. So after a while, some of the people started cashing out of the fund, and TenYears’ bosses started pressuring him to do increasingly bold calls. Do what you used to do, they said.
TenYears doesn’t like to talk about what happened next and how the job ended. But he does say that trading for yourself is different than managing the life savings of others. He doesn’t say this either, but we heard from some of the neighbors that he started drinking hard after losing that job, and that after a while his wife left him and his kids wouldn’t talk to him, and that he spent most of the money he’d earned trading on alimony money and drink. The TV people stopped asking for his opinion, and no one called him Iron Hand anymore.
Then old TenYears was alone and trading for himself again, small time. A little bit of stocks, a little bit of this new thing called crypto. He had good calls but he wouldn’t share with anyone but us.
When we first met him he was soaking in the sun on one of the run-down benches outside our building. He lived in the building next to ours. We were sitting on another bench and talking about trading, the three of us, and he must have heard us, because all of a sudden he said
Are you boys talking about trading with a fifty-to-one leverage?
50x, yes, Digits said.
Astounding, said the old man. I’ve been trading the stock market for decades, and I’ve met some of the best traders, and not one of them consistently used bigger leverage than ten-to-one.
Margin trading is trading on borrowed money. Leverage is the amount of money you can borrow, expressed in ratios against your capital. Digits says it’s a form of crack, only instead of mixing coke with sodium bicarb and water and heating it until you get a liquid that makes your heart wanna explode, margin is made by mixing your meager stash with the hopes and dreams of trading like a big timer. The end result, Digits says, is the same. Say you’re trading with a hundred dollars. By using 50x leverage you can place a $5,000 order on the market. If the price moves your way, you make money as if you really had $5,000, and your hundred bucks can easily double, triple or better. But if the price moves against you, even a little bit, your order gets liquidated and you lose all your money.
10x, Digits said. That’s too slow for us, old man. No time in crypto to wait too long for the price to move.
What are you trading, if I may ask, said the old man.
The man laughed. Well, that certainly sounds like something that warrants trading with a high leverage. Is it similar to penny stocks?
To what, I said.
Never mind, the man said. And what are these exchanges that offer this kind of leverage to you?
The way he said this irked me but I answered nevertheless.
All of them, I said. Up to 100x, some a little bit more.
A hundred to one! I’ve never even heard of such a thing. Tell you what. You boys show me what and how you trade, and I’ll share some advice in return.
You make any money in the stock market, Digits said.
I did alright. I had a good winning streak once. For ten years I outperformed the stock market indices.
That’s very admirable, Luck said, and for some reason Digits and I found it funny, the way he’d said it.
How about now, I asked.
I trade small, he said. A big bet goes wrong, and suddenly no one’s answering your calls.
The gains you miss hurt more than the losses you incur. That’s the rule of FOMO. Fear of missing out is stronger than the fear of losing. And when you do miss out, you search for the next coin twice as hard, to make up for the gains that happened to everyone else but you. TenYears never FOMOed into anything, and we respected and secretly loathed him for that.
They call me Casual. I keep saying I’m a casual trader. I don’t take this seriously, I don’t bet big, I’m in it for the fun of it, I have a good, steady job, this is a side thing, a fun ride, a thrill. I’m here for the company, I’d rather be out drinking than trading but hey, you guys are all here and I’m here so I might as well trade a little. Funny how people straight up believe the shit you tell them.
There’s truth to it. I traded small at first. Had some good calls, had some bad ones. Got wiped clean a few times, almost quit trading altogether, but Digits would always pull me back into it. He had a new theory every week. I’d get hooked on it and then it would leave me, like drugs slowly leaving your body the next day after a night of hard partying.
But then one day I found the system. Everyone finds a system that works for them. It doesn’t matter why it works, but if it works for you, you stick to it. My system was to bet against the grain. When everyone was buying, I was selling. When everyone was euphoric about a coin, I shorted it. I tested the system with small bets, and then I went bigger, and bigger, and it worked no matter the coin, no matter the size of the bet. I started doing it with some regularity. When I was at work, I’d look at charts all day, every day. I’d do some real work but it was all a haze. Then I’d get back home and place some trades, and that’s where the rest of the day went. Andriy and I would sit on the couch for hours on end, never moving, drinking coffee and getting high and smoking cigarettes and looking at the candles do their dance on our screens. Digits was there with us sometimes but he was also out often, doing whatever he was doing when he wasn’t trading. It wasn’t work because he was out at weird times of day. He’d always call in for favors from somewhere. Take a package to the post office. Call this number. Read some codes from a note on my laptop. Shit like that. We hated that but it was often the only thing that made us do something other than trading, so maybe it wasn’t that bad. For a while, we did alright, the three of us. And then Luck jumped out the window, and my winning streak was gone. My system didn’t work anymore.
Luck was the quiet type. He was active in the chat, but there were days when you wouldn’t hear his voice. He traded a simple system, daily swings, in at the bottom, out at the top, rinse, repeat. He did well for a while. His luck evened out as time passed but we still lived the dream of him being exceptionally lucky. When you’re trading, it’s comforting to think about extremes. That’s the fuel that keeps you going. You don’t think about earning a hundred bucks. You think about a never-ending winning streak, you think about prices pumping beyond what anyone thought possible. Hundreds of percent. Thousands of percent.
Luck never spent any money except on food and ginger beer, which was his favorite drink and the only liquid he apparently ingested. I don’t think he’d even known what it was when he first saw it, so then he tried it and he got hooked. He had that kind of personality, grab a thing and never let go, no matter what. Same with trading. He had a system and he never let go. He never told us what he does with the money, never bragged about winnings, either. I saw him wire some money to some weird country once. I guess he was sending most of it to his family. He quit his hangar job to trade full time, and then he quit the other job, too. I liked him better when he’d had those jobs. A net to fall on. A trader without a safety net is a special kind of desperate animal. A hyena, surrounded and pushed into a corner. We knew he had some bad luck with trades at one point, but we never doubted he’d overcome it. He was Lucky, for fuck’s sake.
One day Luck and I were out to get food. A sunny day, the light hurting my eyes, and all the old people and all the children and all the dogs from the four buildings were outside, walking, strolling, kids yelling, running around, mothers taking hurried steps after those who ran too far. And birds, big, black and grey birds carrying walnuts from somewhere and carefully placing them on the road for a car to crack. Then they’d hop away and watch. If the car missed the walnut, the bird would wait for the car to pass, then get back and push the walnut a bit further, to where the next car’s tire was likely to go. Smart fuckers. I turned to Luck to say something about the birds but he was walking away.
Be right back. Stay here, he said.
I stood and watched the birds do the walnut thing. Luck was walking over to the far side of the space between two of the buildings, past a children’s playground and toward a bench. Where do the birds get all those walnuts from? A small kid tried to scare one bird but it stood its ground, it snapped at him menacingly and the kid started running and crying for his mommy. Luck was talking to someone sitting on the bench. Could’ve been TenYears, I wasn’t sure. Luck seemed agitated, and the other man sat there calmly. Luck waved his hands about a lot but in the end the man made a motion with his hand, as if shooing away a fly, and Luck started walking back towards me, hands in pockets. Another bird was fighting the first one over a walnut, making a huge racket. Then Luck was back with a dark face. I wondered what that was all about but I remembered that I had a trade open so I pulled out my phone to see how it’s doing, and Luck didn’t say anything else that day.
It’s been a year since Luck died. I’ve been chewing my jaw like crazy. The jaw does that on its own, it clenches hard, without my volition, and doesn’t let go for a minute or so. It’s been worse in recent months. Maybe it’s the stress, maybe it’s the coffee, but I can’t do my thing without the coffee. I tried replacing it with energy drinks but after a few weeks I had a strong sensation, a feeling that I was gonna die if I kept drinking that shit. So I went back to coffee, and my jaw kept chewing itself. Once, I chewed so hard that I chipped off a part of my tooth. I spat it out into my hand, a foreign, grey thing. I looked around to see if Digits had noticed but he hadn’t. I observed the tooth fragment for a few seconds. Then I did something weird. I put it back into my mouth, and swallowed it. I didn’t know why I’d done it, but it helped. I chewed my jaw a little less from that moment on and I immediately stopped thinking about the tooth and rarely thought about it afterwards, as if the entire episode was a dream.
One day, we’re out for drinks, Digits and I. We don’t talk crypto, that’s the deal. It’s a bar full of normies, a regular place to get wasted and maybe meet someone who’s different from us. The night starts alright. We sit at the long, wooden bar, with dozens upon dozens of colorful bottles across from us. Digits says it’s funny how many choices there are but we always settle for beer, and then he orders beer for both of us anyways. We eye some girls at the other end of the bar for a while and even have a drink or two with them but then they leave abruptly. Workday, they say. Girls can sense desperation, it’s like a stench you can’t wash off. It’s a special kind of desperation, what we have. It’s not about girls, it’s about finding someone who can break the spell. You want it but you don’t want it at the same time, and everything you say comes out weird, the words have this hollow ring to it, the punchlines all broken, the music always a little too loud for conversation. You keep talking but after a while you’re not sure why or what the hell you’re trying to say.
It’s past midnight and the place is half empty and we’re drunk and we go back to talking crypto. We’re loud at the bar and the waitress gives us looks of disgust but we don’t care, we keep getting more beers and dreaming together, dreaming our dream about making it big. Digits has this idea of a pure trade, one perfect trade that you go into a hundred percent, when you’re absolutely sure how it’s gonna go and everything, every wick, every fakeout and breakout, everything unfolds exactly as you’ve envisioned. You do one such trade, maximum leverage, and then you’re out.
Out, I say.
Out. You’ve achieved all that there is to achieve. You’ve made the perfect trade. Doesn’t matter how much money you’ve made. You’ve proved that you can do it.
Why not continue trading, then, I say. If you’re doing so well. Sometimes I don’t get Digits. He never listens to his own advice.
Well, you can, he says. But you don’t have to, if you don’t like it. It’s not like it’s a job or anything.
Is that what Luck has done? Punched the old clock out?
We never talk about Lucky. We never mention the fact that he died. As if he were someone who’d lived with us for a while but then suddenly decided to move out and live somewhere else. But he didn’t live anywhere else.
Digits finishes his beer and motions to the girl behind the bar for two more.
The idea is to fucking win, not fucking lose, he says. Not run away from it all. Digits gets up. Taking a leak, he says.
He’s gone for a while and it’s just me at the bar. I turn around and the place is mostly empty, and every chair and table, ashtray and bottle is somehow judging me. The waitress leans towards me over the counter. I can smell her hair, and something deep inside me stirs.
What happened to your friend, she says.
What, I say.
Sorry. I didn’t mean anything. I overheard. You were talking about someone. It sounded serious, she says.
He was not a friend. He was a roommate.
Oh, she says, and gives me a look. The way you’d look at milk gone bad.
I stare at the beer glass in front of me until the rest of the world is blurry. Then I start talking. I tell her how he shouldn’t have met us. I tell her that I don’t know who to blame. Just bad luck. Sometimes, at night, it feels like he’s calling upon me from a deep well, from some black hole in the ground, and I don’t answer. I just lie there and listen to that faint sound of him calling. I tell her that he was the only one of us who was good. I could’ve been good, but I’m not. I pissed it all away. Still am, every day. Digits was beyond help. But Andriy was good. He never got corrupted by it. I tell her that I never told any of this to anyone. We never talk. We just trade. I tell her that sometimes it feels like it’s someone else trading and we’re just automatons, machines who perform mindless tasks at someone’s bidding. I tell her I’m sorry about everything.
I look up but the waitress isn’t there anymore. She’s at the other end of the bar, serving a customer, and I’m talking to my beer glass.
Then Digits is back and we’re both silent for a while. He pulls out his phone and starts messing around with it, checking the prices of coins, and I do the same, and everything else, all the pain and all the thoughts, everything starts fading away again, fading into some unfathomable distance, and we just keep drinking and fiddling with our phones, as if Lucky was never a part of our lives but a stranger who sat at that bar with us for a while and annoyed us with some stupid story and then he left and was now gone.
The next morning I wake up sticky and fucked up and can’t tell what’s real for a while. A fat, brown frog is eating my gains. I’ve been doing good and I was making money on my shorts but this frog that came out of nowhere literally jumps onto the computer screen and eats the numbers, and they’re all turning to zero. It’s not a normal dream. I’m awake but the images are flashing in front of my eyes, the frog and everything, like a translucent movie playing on an invisible canvas in front of me. My heart is pounding like it could break and I don’t know why. I sit on the bed and think about this stupid frog. It seems real to me, for a while.
Then I remember I may have left an order open overnight. Digits and I got drunk and I placed some crazy orders on my phone, just for the fuck of it. A short, high above the actual price, maybe to profit off of someone’s mistake. But there’s risk in it, too. If the price starts going up for a genuine reason, your short could be overrun, with all your money lost. My chest feels smaller than it should be. Have I left that order up?
I open up the laptop, fire up the console.
At Luck’s funeral, his sister didn’t say a word. During the service she stared at Digits and me the entire time. She had dark sunglasses on but you could feel her watching. At one point Digits whispered fuck this and walked away, lighting a cigarette as he went, the wind wrapping the black shirt around his skeletal body. I remained where I was, I stood there, looking straight ahead until it was over. After they’d eased the coffin into the hole I walked away, too.
The particular shitcoin I chose had been listed on a big exchange overnight, which pushed the price up. And around the same time, a rumor hit the chatrooms that the team behind the shitcoin had partnered with Bank of China to license their tech to launch a digital yuan. This, the holy grail of crypto rumors, propelled the price to about ten times above my drunken order.
The order was overrun, my position got liquidated, and my losses were absolute. My account total says $0.49. My jaw is clenched and hurts something fierce. There’s a black hole in my stomach. I touch the back of my head with a weak hand and it’s cold and wet with sweat.
When this happens, when you fuck up majorly and lose a lot of money in the market, there’s a moment in which your body knows what has happened but your mind still doesn’t accept it. You check the PnL again. You check the wallet again. You keep looking at your trading history, again and again. But the body knows.
It all started when Luck died. My winning streak was broken. My instincts went to shit. All my wins were accidental and small. All my losses were colossal fuckups that were my fault and no one else’s. My trades became bigger and bigger, each new order placed with the intention to fix the last time I’d fucked up. My PnL was a graveyard. I was putting more money into my account, but I kept losing. I needed to snap the streak. Fucking Digits seemed to be doing great. Everyone in our trading channel seemed to be doing great. TenYears was making his teeny, little, small-time calls and winning. He didn’t even brag about it, but I knew the old fucker was winning.
The gains you miss hurt more than the losses you incur.
It’s not about the money. I don’t care about the fucking money. The thing is that there’s no more gains to be won. There’s no more gains because there’s nothing left to bet with.
I light a cigarette, lean back onto the couch. The screamer neighbor is screaming again. It’s muffled but I can make out some words. Fuck. Never again. Worthless. Cheap. Lying scum.
I’m not done yet. I still have one option. I have Digits’ laptop’s password, and he still has some money in his account. I have one final chance to win. He’s asleep on the couch in filthy shorts and a t-shirt that says MIAMI. He’s been talking about moving, going somewhere warm soon, once we’re both made. Well, I’m not getting made now, thanks to your theories and the stupid drinking. Your dumb face is asleep and you can’t sell me any of your crap now. Let’s see what you’ve really got.
I open the lid, punch in the user name and password. Digits has less money in his account than he bragged about, but more than I expected. I secretly hoped his account would be empty. That would complete my humiliation for tonight, and I’d finally be done. I’d finally be free. But the account isn’t empty. It has nearly ten thousand dollars in it.
Why would he do something like that? Leave his laptop password with a degenerate gambler like me. Stupid. He left everything logged in from his last session. Everything in the open. Stupid, stupid. Perhaps he wanted me to do this. Maybe he needed me to set him free.
At first, I’m not really thinking about trading. I’m only checking his trades out. Just taking a look. He’s been losing. He’s been losing a lot. He hasn’t been as successful as he’d claimed to be. He kept adding more money to his account. He never had a job, and I had no idea where the money came from. It was thousands upon thousands, tens of thousands. Some of it going out, but always a smaller amount. His trading was abysmal. Worse than mine. The fucker. Made me feel like I’m the only one that’s constantly messing up. Who’s been giving him all this money? And what happens when he can’t pay it back?
I shut the laptop lid closed. A feeling of peace overwhelms me. I am content, because I’m pondering the possibility of being done. Let Digits do his thing, whatever his thing may be, cause it sure as fuck ain’t trading. Move out of this shit place. I still have a job. I could move out and be normal again. I’m smiling. Not even chewing my jaw. My shirt is soaking wet and I smell like shit, and the apartment looks horrible, cigarette buds and beer cans and pizza boxes everywhere. Luck’s not coming back. My money’s not coming back. Nothing’s ever coming back anymore. But I can go out and do different things. For a moment I am happy.
Then I get an idea. I’m gonna check on that shitcoin that rekt me. See where it’s at. Cause all them rumors have to be fake. There’s no way in hell that the Bank of China thing is real, and once the rug gets pulled on the scam that it is, the price is gonna plummet faster than it went up. Now I know. My short was the right call, but I placed it too low. I was smarter than all of them, it’s just that I was smart too damn early.
I flip open Digits’ laptop again, switch to this shitcoin’s chart. I’m secretly hoping the opportunity is gone already. If the price has already gone down, it’s too late to short it. But the price is still rising. The green dildos on the hourly chart are hard to believe. The candles are so big that all the other candles before the pump look completely flat. I switch to a shorter time frame, a five-minute interval. The shorter the time frame, the faster the action. Everyone’s buying. I wipe my sweaty palms against my shirt. I’ve seen this a thousand times, only not at this magnitude. But I know the pattern. First there’s a big, green candle. Then the next candle starts out red, making you think the price is going down. Making you think the entire thing was a fakeout. Make the weak hands sell, thinking the price’s gonna retract back to where it was. And then the candle reverts, goes green, and it gets bigger, and it keeps going. And the next four or five candles are green, too. I’ve seen this a thousand times. At one point it looks like it’s gonna go up forever. At one point it makes converts out of the very people who shorted that first candle. They FOMO buy like idiots. Fear of missing out. No stronger force in the universe than FOMO. And when they do, they FOMO with twice the money, to make up for those missed gains. The gains you miss hurt more than the losses you incur. Me, I’m not that dumb. I never FOMO into a buy. I wait for everyone else to get crazy, to start dreaming up those big gains. I’m feeding on their greed, like a vampire. Cause when they see those five consecutive green candles and their fifty bucks becomes five hundred or more, they’re not gonna sell, they’re gonna add more to the long. Make it fatter. Make it bigger. And at the precise moment when everyone, even the biggest doubters, even the oldschoolers, even TenYears, when they start thinking that it’s gonna go up forever, that it’s never gonna stop, that’s when it breaks down.
Well, sometimes. Sometimes you’re wrong. Am I wrong, now? If I weren’t passed out drunk through the action tonight, I’d be wrong ten times already. I’d lose all my money ten times over, because it’s been one green dildo after another. It’s like throwing dice and getting sixes in a row. Ten times. Twenty times. It has to stop at one point. It has to. The next candle is gonna be long and red, and you want your short to be on top of it. That’s what I do. What I’m good at. I fucked it all up with that careless order, but I have a chance to make it right. Digits doesn’t have to know. He’ll thank me afterwards. I’m gonna give him some of the gains. Fifty percent. No, twenty-five. It’s gonna be plenty. He’s gonna be thanking me afterwards. In this game, nothing is certain. But there are things that increase the degree of certainty about when something’s about to happen. Something you see in the orderbook. Numbers flashing faster than usual, thousands of orders being eaten within seconds. This is my game, I know what I’m doing. I can see the future. I’ve set up my sights on a certain number. If the price goes that high it’ll be insane. It’s already insane. We’re talking about a shitcoin with zero intrinsic value. The Bank of China rumor is fake. I’m going to short it soon. I got the size punched in, Digits’ ten thousand bucks, and I’m waiting to hit enter. There have now been six massive, consecutive green candles in a row. It should’ve already crashed. That’s alright. That makes my play safer, so much safer. The higher it goes, the lower it falls. When you’re looking to short, you want it to go up beyond what everyone thought was possible, and then just a little more, past all the resistance lines, past all reason, and then you hit short, and then the price crashes and your stash — Digits’ money — blows up tenfold. The leverage is the crack that you smoke. How big should I go? I’ve set up a 20x short. This shitcoin is gonna go to zero when the rug gets pulled. I stand to earn twenty times the amount I’ve invested. Digits’ last ten thousand dollars. Never truly believed the fucker had that much. Where does he get the money? Who’s he sending it out to? The green candles have been lining up, one next to the other, one bigger than the other. I haven’t pulled the trigger yet, and for this I thank whichever god is in charge of loading the dice today. I set the leverage to 50x. Fuck it. Ten thousand dollars could turn into a hundred or two hundred thousand like nothing. What is needed is one fat, long, red candle, and then I’ll close it. This shitcoin is a trainwreck waiting to happen. It’s gonna go to zero. But I’m not gonna risk it. At this leverage, one green candle, even a small one, would wipe me out. I’m waiting. There have now been eight green candles in a row, defying the odds, defying reason. Digits is still asleep. He doesn’t know shit about what’s happening. He’s gonna be pleasantly surprised when I tell him he’s earned twenty thousand dollars by doing nothing. I’m still waiting. I feel sweat trickling down my back. I could use some fresh air but I don’t dare look at that window. We haven’t opened it since the day. Fucking Andriy. He was never cut out for this game. Weak. He chose the wrong fucking roommates. Bad luck I guess. The chart is all green. If it went up two thousand percent, can it go up another hundred? Can it go up another thousand percent? The kids and the normies and the people who just woke up are FOMOing in, putting in their life savings, thinking it’ll never stop. Jumping aboard that train. They’re all gonna get rekt. Stupid fools. It’s still rising. I change my leverage to 100x. Digits’ ten thousand could turn to half a million with a big enough red candle. Shit, this could be the last trade I ever do. I could be made after this one trade. One trade and then we can both move out of this place, forget about charts and that window and the bloodied concrete ten stories below. Close up all accounts, invest into something safe, move to a tropical island or something. Somewhere warm. Do nothing for the rest of our lives. Digits is twitching in his sleep. My finger is almost touching the enter key. Do I hit it now? 100x. The five minute interval is nearly over. The next candle is gonna be red. The next candle is gonna be red.
Stanislav Šredl usually writes about phones and the internet. He obsesses over many things, and sometimes he writes about those things, too. He lives in Zagreb, Croatia.
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