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AMA with CEO William Heyn
“Good Morning fellow, TIOnauts, Bill here, getting ready to answer your questions in the upcoming AMA
I wanted to get an early start by addressing one big question we have been getting. It is always a bit unsettling when a big name leaves a company's board, we understand. However, please remember, there is a lot more to being on a corporate board than just advising a company on its business path. There are meetings, board votes, board minutes and so on, all of the things that the public doesn't see that directors do - and spend a lot of time on.
But let's be honest about what you all want from a big player like Chien, you want him to be involved in advising the company and helping us move forward and grow, right? Do you care if he is going to cast a vote to second the board motion to approve the minutes from the last board meeting?
So as we have said, Chien is going to stay involved as an advisor, he is just letting go on some of the more mundane aspects of being a board member. As most of you know, Chien is a rock star and we are lucky to have had him on the board for the last year, now he is going to spend some of his time on other things - most importantly Forbes Crypto, which directly benefits trade.io - but he is still going to be involved in the strategic direction of the company.”
Q. how much trade.io own from Forbes?A. Hi Pacimaker, got it, thanks for the question, so all I can say is that it is a meaningful amount - beyond that I am not at liberty to say
Q. Bill what are your thoughts on both trade.io for 2019 & the crypto market in general?A. Thanks for the question CB, so I mentioned in my first letter that I am a market optimist, I feel that crypto in general will find its natural bottom and come back. As for trade.io, we are looking forward to a great year with lots of things to develop and improve
Q. What are the changes in the company strategy with the recent changes in trade.io management and the crypto market as well?A. I don't think that we have changed a lot in the company strategy, we just have some new faces to help move the company forward as we see best
Q. Why do much dump? Just because of Chien Lee?A. You got me Ironfist - I don't know why anyone would be dumping - it sure wasn't me
Q As trade.io is into many initiatives it is good to know how much already spent and how much they have reserves.
A. Agreed and understood, please keep faith, we are committed to transparency and openness, we are in good shape for now, but some things we need to keep a little quiet on - so no exact number just yet
Q. Hope it won't seem too negative but I'm wondering if in the future the company will try more to consider the optics of moving around the big names. Maybe the news that Mr Presissler was stepping down could have been done at the same time as this latest announcement to get it all over with instead of pulling off the band-aid much slower.
A. Thanks for the question, so you are completely right, optics are important, and I think you will believe me when I say if there was a way for it to be less painful we would have found it but in these cases we need to be transparent - so for example, waiting a significant amount of time after I took over just to make it one announcement with Chien wouldn't have been responsible.
Krisoffer added “Thanks guys, I appreciate the answer. But as you know, a lot of people might just see the headlines and make decisions based on that, that was my concern. But thank you!”
Bill “Agreed Kristoffer, but we need to balance being as transparent as possible with what is easy, right?”
Jim P added: “Agreed, but we are still working closely with Bill. We are in constant communication.”
Q. Who do you think is the most difficult thing to be done now?A. So, I'm not sure my fingers would take the typing of the full list here, lots to be done, but in general, I look at it like this, trade.io is growing up, companies go through stages and we are entering a new one, we have grown so fast and done so many great things we need to take stock now and see what is working and what is not going exactly as planned and then adjust - very typical for a company of this stage
Q. Is the Forex platform planned before the end of this year?
A. That is planned for Q1 2019
Q. Bill, what was your previous experience in the management of startups like trade.io? You look like to me like a SP500 guy.....that’s the reason of my question.
A. I'm not ashamed to admit were talking about my favorite subject now (me) - So Carlos, boiling it down to the most relevant, I left Merrill Lynch in 2001 after working there and at JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley and founded my own investment bank, just me and a computer. I have built that up over the last 17 years into a full service registered investment bank - so I have done lots of other startups in the past but I think that is most relevant
Q. So u are better than Jim?
A. Pacimaker - Jim and I have been friends for nearly 30 years... you trying to break that up?
Kidding aside, Pacimaker, Jim and I have worked together for almost 20 years now
Q. How are things going to be any different with you as CEO as opposed to Jim?
A. We have different skill sets and have always used them in conjunction with each other on projects, just like now. Between the two of us, Jim is an idea and inception guy, he is brilliant with coming up with new ideas, launching them and getting them through their first stages. I am more of the second stage development guy. Once the company is up and running that's where I can add value. I'll admit, not nearly as exciting as what Jim does but we feel what trade.io needs at this stage.
Q. Do you think at some time trade.io will focus also on Advertise itself on communities whose tokens are listed here? Ex: OMG, BAT etc.... I personally asked this in their TG group and they seemed neither aware that we are listing their tokens.
A. So many of these tokens are already listed on other exchanges, we are working to differentiate ourselves by offering more product, the LP, FX trading etc., we need to get these up and running first
Q. Okay the exchange is getting pretty damn good, now I feel like it’s time to be innovative like setting up a "crypto/forex university" where folks are drawn to and can learn and communicate and plan the future together, is there a timetable for the "learn platform"? And what are your main marketing strategies?
A. Something like this?
Q. Is this accessible somewhere already?
A. No we are still developing it. It's in the pipeline and I didn't want to share until it was further along (within a few weeks of deployment) but I figured since you asked now is as just a good of time as any.
Q. Where u can see trade.io in next 3 months?
A. So three months, you have seen all of the timelines and things we are planning to roll out so I won’t repeat them - but more importantly within three months we will have taken stock of the company - like I have said, what is going well, what, if anything isn't and we will hopefully have fixed or being on the way to fixing everything that we can.
Q. Why did you take this challenge?
A. Got it, thanks Carlos, I love challenges, so that's easy, this is what I like to do, help build new companies, so this challenge is right up my alley. Why this one as opposed to others? I genuinely believe that DLT is going to upend the finance world that I have been a part of for decades, I want to be a part of that
Q. Good morning Bill. I think one pressing question on everyone's mind, is the state of finances of the company. We see not much trading going on, so obviously no revenue there, and we don’t have any idea of the other areas making profit... The bear market can be long and drawn out, and those companies that can weather the storm, will prosper obviously. Question is straightforward.... do you feel comfortable that trade.io is in a position to continue operating for 6 more months under current conditions?
A. Hi Dustin, good morning, and thanks for the question. Easy answer is yes, I'm comfortable that we are good to go for 6 months and beyond, the bear market is rough on all of us but our reserves are just fine. But this is always something we focus on, every day making sure that we are keeping operations running
Q. One other thing I know everyone wants an explanation of: is how the liquidity providers work on the exchange. We see lots of small trades by bots that appear as wash trading, which is one thing trade.io has always been against.. Can you give a brief explanation of how that works?
A. Sure, very briefly, as you know the market markers are there to create liquidity and orderly markets - just like the old time guys on the floor of the NYSE, right? So while it may look like a wash, it should only be liquidity and matching - keeping the market moving. That's the market theory, if you want more of the technical aspects of how they work I might have to leave that for our tech guys
Q. Great... I know it is a major question for everyone, and to understand how that works would be a great help
A. From Jim P market makers are there to create an orderly market, and provide a minimal level of liquidity. That’s what ours are doing. We are not manipulating the tape, fake buy walls or sell walls, spoofing, or inflating with millions of fake volume like many others.
Q. Bill Do you think the future is the STO’s?
A. So the STO question is a good one, and really boils down to all of the regulatory issues out there, as the markets have changed and regulations have been maturing I do think that STO's will be part of the path forward - basically between the ICO and the traditional IPO, but there is a lot of evaluation left to do and regulations are changing
Thank you all, I do have to run, it has been a pleasure talking with you all this morning (for me), I look forward to working with you all going forward
Q. Do we have any bombastic announcements to the short and mid terms???
A) We always may have some surprises, but for now we’re focused on executing the initiatives outlined in https://howsitcoming.trade.io in a timely manner.
Q: According to Jim Preissler, trade.io had plans to dual-list traditional stocks on our exchange at some point in the future. There isnt much talk about it anymore. Is that something that we could expect next year?
A) Yes, the goal has always been having a multi-asset platform; we are still hopeful that we will have this running in 2019, but do not have a specific timeline yet.
Q: What coins will be available for depositing on FX platform of trade.io in first time?
A) Ethereum, Bitcoin, TIOx with reduced commissions for TIOx users.
Q: When will fiat be available for depositing on FX platform?
A) Targeting early Q1 2019
Q: Why hasn't the company endorsed and advertised trade.io into communities of the Tokens that we are listing (BAT, OMG etc...)? Thx
A) There is no specific reason, and I agree we need to do a better job of doing this going forward, as it gains more exposure to to trade.io and TIOx.
Q: Hi Mr. William Heyn. May I know when does the "Stop Limit" function to be added into our platform? As a trader, I believe that becoming more important as trading in the downtrend market now.
A) Targeting Q1 2019
Q: Will the launch of forex be a beta or Full version?
A) We’re expecting full version, with standalone FX sites to be up in early Q1 2019.
Q. Will trade.io become dex in the future?
A) Possibly, but its not on our timeline at this point.
Q. What do you think of the idea to take another fast token as the base like XRP or maybe even something like nano? That would still be pretty unique…
A) Something we are considering.
Q. When we can use TIOx to get discount when we trade( same like BNB)?
A) TIOx is used for the LIquidity Pool, and can be used on the FX platform, once released, for discounted commissions.
Q. Any news about that stores where TIOx should be implement this year?
A) We will be starting with our NEST shared workspaces where TIOx can be used for payment and significant discounts.
Q. What is the reason trade.io list so hard ERC- 20?
A) We’re starting to ramp up roll outs of tokens, as you witnessed last week, we added 4 new ERC-20’s including a stable coin. New chains are on the horizon, as well, as can be seen in our timeline.
Q. My question is related to trading competitions. Lastly we added MITH token but at the same time Binance added the same with trading competition. Then how new traders will be attracted towards trade.io? Not a single trading competition since exchange launch!
A) I’ve already spoken to the team about the trading competition and agree its needed, and have given them directives to launch a trading competition in Q1 of 2019.
Q. December-Q1 sounds like an amazing month with lots of good stuff, but do you have a rough time-frame for when the exchange will be able to accept fiat? That's a feature I'm really looking forward to.
A) Q1 as well, as you noted there is a lot that I have the team working on, with tight timelines, as I want to see progress in a fairly short amount of time.
Q. But what is not fair is they are using the API is open to these and not to the other traders? These are trade.io or third party partners?
A) API will be open for everyone, very, very shortly.
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Thank you all for the 100s of comments and upvotes - maybe this post will take us above 1,000 for this topic!
Keep any feedback or questions coming in the replies below.
Before you read this note, please start with Part I and then Part II so it hangs together and makes sense.
Squeezes and other risksWe are going to cover three common risks that traders face: events; squeezes, asymmetric bets.
EventsEconomic releases can cause large short-term volatility. The most famous is Non Farm Payrolls, which is the most widely watched measure of US employment levels and affects the price of many instruments.On an NFP announcement currencies like EURUSD might jump (or drop) 100 pips no problem.
This is fine and there are trading strategies that one may employ around this but the key thing is to be aware of these releases.You can find economic calendars all over the internet - including on this site - and you need only check if there are any major releases each day or week.
For example, if you are trading off some intraday chart and scalping a few pips here and there it would be highly sensible to go into a known data release flat as it is pure coin-toss and not the reason for your trading. It only takes five minutes each day to plan for the day ahead so do not get caught out by this. Many retail traders get stopped out on such events when price volatility is at its peak.
SqueezesShort squeezes bring a lot of danger and perhaps some opportunity.
The story of VW and Porsche is the best short squeeze ever. Throughout these articles we've used FX examples wherever possible but in this one instance the concept (which is also highly relevant in FX) is best illustrated with an historical lesson from a different asset class.
A short squeeze is when a participant ends up in a short position they are forced to cover. Especially when the rest of the market knows that this participant can be bullied into stopping out at terrible levels, provided the market can briefly drive the price into their pain zone.
There's a reason for the car, don't worry
Hedge funds had been shorting VW stock. However the amount of VW stock available to buy in the open market was actually quite limited. The local government owned a chunk and Porsche itself had bought and locked away around 30%. Neither of these would sell to the hedge-funds so a good amount of the stock was un-buyable at any price.
If you sell or short a stock you must be prepared to buy it back to go flat at some point.
To cut a long story short, Porsche bought a lot of call options on VW stock. These options gave them the right to purchase VW stock from banks at slightly above market price.
Eventually the banks who had sold these options realised there was no VW stock to go out and buy since the German government wouldn’t sell its allocation and Porsche wouldn’t either. If Porsche called in the options the banks were in trouble.
Porsche called in the options which forced the shorts to buy stock - at whatever price they could get it.
The price squeezed higher as those that were short got massively squeezed and stopped out. For one brief moment in 2008, VW was the world’s most valuable company. Shorts were burned hard.
Porsche apparently made $11.5 billion on the trade. The BBC described Porsche as “a hedge fund with a carmaker attached.”
If this all seems exotic then know that the same thing happens in FX all the time. If everyone in the market is talking about a key level in EURUSD being 1.2050 then you can bet the market will try to push through 1.2050 just to take out any short stops at that level. Whether it then rallies higher or fails and trades back lower is a different matter entirely.
This brings us on to the matter of crowded trades. We will look at positioning in more detail in the next section. Crowded trades are dangerous for PNL. If everyone believes EURUSD is going down and has already sold EURUSD then you run the risk of a short squeeze.
For additional selling to take place you need a very good reason for people to add to their position whereas a move in the other direction could force mass buying to cover their shorts.
A trading mentor when I worked at the investment bank once advised me:
Always think about which move would cause the maximum people the maximum pain. That move is precisely what you should be watching out for at all times.
Asymmetric lossesAlso known as picking up pennies in front of a steamroller. This risk has caught out many a retail trader. Sometimes it is referred to as a "negative skew" strategy.
Ideally what you are looking for is asymmetric risk trade set-ups: that is where the downside is clearly defined and smaller than the upside. What you want to avoid is the opposite.
A famous example of this going wrong was the Swiss National Bank de-peg in 2012.
The Swiss National Bank had said they would defend the price of EURCHF so that it did not go below 1.2. Many people believed it could never go below 1.2 due to this. Many retail traders therefore opted for a strategy that some describe as ‘picking up pennies in front of a steam-roller’.
They would would buy EURCHF above the peg level and hope for a tiny rally of several pips before selling them back and keep doing this repeatedly. Often they were highly leveraged at 100:1 so that they could amplify the profit of the tiny 5-10 pip rally.
Then this happened.
Something that changed FX markets forever
The SNB suddenly did the unthinkable. They stopped defending the price. CHF jumped and so EURCHF (the number of CHF per 1 EUR) dropped to new lows very fast. Clearly, this trade had horrific risk : reward asymmetry: you risked 30% to make 0.05%.
Other strategies like naively selling options have the same result. You win a small amount of money each day and then spectacularly blow up at some point down the line.
Market positioningWe have talked about short squeezes. But how do you know what the market position is? And should you care?
Let’s start with the first. You should definitely care.
Let’s imagine the entire market is exceptionally long EURUSD and positioning reaches extreme levels. This makes EURUSD very vulnerable.
To keep the price going higher EURUSD needs to attract fresh buy orders. If everyone is already long and has no room to add, what can incentivise people to keep buying? The news flow might be good. They may believe EURUSD goes higher. But they have already bought and have their maximum position on.
On the flip side, if there’s an unexpected event and EURUSD gaps lower you will have the entire market trying to exit the position at the same time. Like a herd of cows running through a single doorway. Messy.
We are going to look at this in more detail in a later chapter, where we discuss ‘carry’ trades. For now this TRYJPY chart might provide some idea of what a rush to the exits of a crowded position looks like.
A carry trade position clear-out in action
Knowing if the market is currently at extreme levels of long or short can therefore be helpful.
The CFTC makes available a weekly report, which details the overall positions of speculative traders “Non Commercial Traders” in some of the major futures products. This includes futures tied to deliverable FX pairs such as EURUSD as well as products such as gold. The report is called “CFTC Commitments of Traders” ("COT").
This is a great benchmark. It is far more representative of the overall market than the proprietary ones offered by retail brokers as it covers a far larger cross-section of the institutional market.
Generally market participants will not pay a lot of attention to commercial hedgers, which are also detailed in the report. This data is worth tracking but these folks are simply hedging real-world transactions rather than speculating so their activity is far less revealing and far more noisy.
You can find the data online for free and download it directly here.
Raw format is kinda hard to work with
However, many websites will chart this for you free of charge and you may find it more convenient to look at it that way. Just google “CFTC positioning charts”.
But you can easily get visualisations
You can visually spot extreme positioning. It is extremely powerful.
Bear in mind the reports come out Friday afternoon US time and the report is a snapshot up to the prior Tuesday. That means it is a lagged report - by the time it is released it is a few days out of date. For longer term trades where you hold positions for weeks this is of course still pretty helpful information.
As well as the absolute level (is the speculative market net long or short) you can also use this to pick up on changes in positioning.
For example if bad news comes out how much does the net short increase? If good news comes out, the market may remain net short but how much did they buy back?
A lot of traders ask themselves “Does the market have this trade on?” The positioning data is a good method for answering this. It provides a good finger on the pulse of the wider market sentiment and activity.
For example you might say: “There was lots of noise about the good employment numbers in the US. However, there wasn’t actually a lot of position change on the back of it. Maybe everyone who wants to buy already has. What would happen now if bad news came out?”
In general traders will be wary of entering a crowded position because it will be hard to attract additional buyers or sellers and there could be an aggressive exit.
If you want to enter a trade that is showing extreme levels of positioning you must think carefully about this dynamic.
Bet correlationRetail traders often drastically underestimate how correlated their bets are.
Through bitter experience, I have learned that a mistake in position correlation is the root of some of the most serious problems in trading. If you have eight highly correlated positions, then you are really trading one position that is eight times as large.
Bruce Kovner of hedge fund, Caxton Associates
For example, if you are trading a bunch of pairs against the USD you will end up with a simply huge USD exposure. A single USD-trigger can ruin all your bets. Your ideal scenario — and it isn’t always possible — would be to have a highly diversified portfolio of bets that do not move in tandem.
Look at this chart. Inverted USD index (DXY) is green. AUDUSD is orange. EURUSD is blue.
Chart from TradingView
So the whole thing is just one big USD trade! If you are long AUDUSD, long EURUSD, and short DXY you have three anti USD bets that are all likely to work or fail together.
The more diversified your portfolio of bets are, the more risk you can take on each.
There’s a really good video, explaining the benefits of diversification from Ray Dalio.
A systematic fund with access to an investable universe of 10,000 instruments has more opportunity to make a better risk-adjusted return than a trader who only focuses on three symbols. Diversification really is the closest thing to a free lunch in finance.
But let’s be pragmatic and realistic. Human retail traders don’t have capacity to run even one hundred bets at a time. More realistic would be an average of 2-3 trades on simultaneously. So what can be done?
The key thing is to start thinking about a portfolio of bets and what each new trade offers to your existing portfolio of risk. Will it diversify or amplify a current exposure?
Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limitsOne common mistake is to get bored and restless and put on crap trades. This just means trades in which you have low conviction.
It is perfectly fine not to trade. If you feel like you do not understand the market at a particular point, simply choose not to trade.
Flat is a position.
Do not waste your bullets on rubbish trades. Only enter a trade when you have carefully considered it from all angles and feel good about the risk. This will make it far easier to hold onto the trade if it moves against you at any point. You actually believe in it.
Equally, you need to set monthly limits. A standard limit might be a 10% account balance stop per month. At that point you close all your positions immediately and stop trading till next month.
Be strict with yourself and walk away
Let’s assume you started the year with $100k and made 5% in January so enter Feb with $105k balance. Your stop is therefore 10% of $105k or $10.5k . If your account balance dips to $94.5k ($105k-$10.5k) then you stop yourself out and don’t resume trading till March the first.
Having monthly calendar breaks is nice for another reason. Say you made a load of money in January. You don’t want to start February feeling you are up 5% or it is too tempting to avoid trading all month and protect the existing win. Each month and each year should feel like a clean slate and an independent period.
Everyone has trading slumps. It is perfectly normal. It will definitely happen to you at some stage. The trick is to take a break and refocus. Conserve your capital by not trading a lot whilst you are on a losing streak. This period will be much harder for you emotionally and you’ll end up making suboptimal decisions. An enforced break will help you see the bigger picture.
Put in place a process before you start trading and then it’ll be easy to follow and will feel much less emotional. Remember: the market doesn’t care if you win or lose, it is nothing personal.
When your head has cooled and you feel calm you return the next month and begin the task of building back your account balance.
That's a wrap on risk managementThanks for taking time to read this three-part chapter on risk management. I hope you enjoyed it. Do comment in the replies if you have any questions or feedback.
Remember: the most important part of trading is not making money. It is not losing money. Always start with that principle. I hope these three notes have provided some food for thought on how you might approach risk management and are of practical use to you when trading. Avoiding mistakes is not a sexy tagline but it is an effective and reliable way to improve results.
Next up I will be writing about an exciting topic I think many traders should look at rather differently: news trading. Please follow on here to receive notifications and the broad outline is below.
News Trading Part I
Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
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