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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Swaps* (*But Were Afraid To Ask)

Hello, dummies
It's your old pal, Fuzzy.
As I'm sure you've all noticed, a lot of the stuff that gets posted here is - to put it delicately - fucking ridiculous. More backwards-ass shit gets posted to wallstreetbets than you'd see on a Westboro Baptist community message board. I mean, I had a look at the daily thread yesterday and..... yeesh. I know, I know. We all make like the divine Laura Dern circa 1992 on the daily and stick our hands deep into this steaming heap of shit to find the nuggets of valuable and/or hilarious information within (thanks for reading, BTW). I agree. I love it just the way it is too. That's what makes WSB great.
What I'm getting at is that a lot of the stuff that gets posted here - notwithstanding it being funny or interesting - is just... wrong. Like, fucking your cousin wrong. And to be clear, I mean the fucking your *first* cousin kinda wrong, before my Southerners in the back get all het up (simmer down, Billy Ray - I know Mabel's twice removed on your grand-sister's side). Truly, I try to let it slide. I do my bit to try and put you on the right path. Most of the time, I sleep easy no matter how badly I've seen someone explain what a bank liquidity crisis is. But out of all of those tens of thousands of misguided, autistic attempts at understanding the world of high finance, one thing gets so consistently - so *emphatically* - fucked up and misunderstood by you retards that last night I felt obligated at the end of a long work day to pull together this edition of Finance with Fuzzy just for you. It's so serious I'm not even going to make a u/pokimane gag. Have you guessed what it is yet? Here's a clue. It's in the title of the post.
That's right, friends. Today in the neighborhood we're going to talk all about hedging in financial markets - spots, swaps, collars, forwards, CDS, synthetic CDOs, all that fun shit. Don't worry; I'm going to explain what all the scary words mean and how they impact your OTM RH positions along the way.
We're going to break it down like this. (1) "What's a hedge, Fuzzy?" (2) Common Hedging Strategies and (3) All About ISDAs and Credit Default Swaps.
Before we begin. For the nerds and JV traders in the back (and anyone else who needs to hear this up front) - I am simplifying these descriptions for the purposes of this post. I am also obviously not going to try and cover every exotic form of hedge under the sun or give a detailed summation of what caused the financial crisis. If you are interested in something specific ask a question, but don't try and impress me with your Investopedia skills or technical points I didn't cover; I will just be forced to flex my years of IRL experience on you in the comments and you'll look like a big dummy.
TL;DR? Fuck you. There is no TL;DR. You've come this far already. What's a few more paragraphs? Put down the Cheetos and try to concentrate for the next 5-7 minutes. You'll learn something, and I promise I'll be gentle.
Ready? Let's get started.
1. The Tao of Risk: Hedging as a Way of Life
The simplest way to characterize what a hedge 'is' is to imagine every action having a binary outcome. One is bad, one is good. Red lines, green lines; uppie, downie. With me so far? Good. A 'hedge' is simply the employment of a strategy to mitigate the effect of your action having the wrong binary outcome. You wanted X, but you got Z! Frowny face. A hedge strategy introduces a third outcome. If you hedged against the possibility of Z happening, then you can wind up with Y instead. Not as good as X, but not as bad as Z. The technical definition I like to give my idiot juniors is as follows:
Utilization of a defensive strategy to mitigate risk, at a fraction of the cost to capital of the risk itself.
Congratulations. You just finished Hedging 101. "But Fuzzy, that's easy! I just sold a naked call against my 95% OTM put! I'm adequately hedged!". Spoiler alert: you're not (although good work on executing a collar, which I describe below). What I'm talking about here is what would be referred to as a 'perfect hedge'; a binary outcome where downside is totally mitigated by a risk management strategy. That's not how it works IRL. Pay attention; this is the tricky part.
You can't take a single position and conclude that you're adequately hedged because risks are fluid, not static. So you need to constantly adjust your position in order to maximize the value of the hedge and insure your position. You also need to consider exposure to more than one category of risk. There are micro (specific exposure) risks, and macro (trend exposure) risks, and both need to factor into the hedge calculus.
That's why, in the real world, the value of hedging depends entirely on the design of the hedging strategy itself. Here, when we say "value" of the hedge, we're not talking about cash money - we're talking about the intrinsic value of the hedge relative to the the risk profile of your underlying exposure. To achieve this, people hedge dynamically. In wallstreetbets terms, this means that as the value of your position changes, you need to change your hedges too. The idea is to efficiently and continuously distribute and rebalance risk across different states and periods, taking value from states in which the marginal cost of the hedge is low and putting it back into states where marginal cost of the hedge is high, until the shadow value of your underlying exposure is equalized across your positions. The punchline, I guess, is that one static position is a hedge in the same way that the finger paintings you make for your wife's boyfriend are art - it's technically correct, but you're only playing yourself by believing it.
Anyway. Obviously doing this as a small potatoes trader is hard but it's worth taking into account. Enough basic shit. So how does this work in markets?
2. A Hedging Taxonomy
The best place to start here is a practical question. What does a business need to hedge against? Think about the specific risk that an individual business faces. These are legion, so I'm just going to list a few of the key ones that apply to most corporates. (1) You have commodity risk for the shit you buy or the shit you use. (2) You have currency risk for the money you borrow. (3) You have rate risk on the debt you carry. (4) You have offtake risk for the shit you sell. Complicated, right? To help address the many and varied ways that shit can go wrong in a sophisticated market, smart operators like yours truly have devised a whole bundle of different instruments which can help you manage the risk. I might write about some of the more complicated ones in a later post if people are interested (CDO/CLOs, strip/stack hedges and bond swaps with option toggles come to mind) but let's stick to the basics for now.
(i) Swaps
A swap is one of the most common forms of hedge instrument, and they're used by pretty much everyone that can afford them. The language is complicated but the concept isn't, so pay attention and you'll be fine. This is the most important part of this section so it'll be the longest one.
Swaps are derivative contracts with two counterparties (before you ask, you can't trade 'em on an exchange - they're OTC instruments only). They're used to exchange one cash flow for another cash flow of equal expected value; doing this allows you to take speculative positions on certain financial prices or to alter the cash flows of existing assets or liabilities within a business. "Wait, Fuzz; slow down! What do you mean sets of cash flows?". Fear not, little autist. Ol' Fuzz has you covered.
The cash flows I'm talking about are referred to in swap-land as 'legs'. One leg is fixed - a set payment that's the same every time it gets paid - and the other is variable - it fluctuates (typically indexed off the price of the underlying risk that you are speculating on / protecting against). You set it up at the start so that they're notionally equal and the two legs net off; so at open, the swap is a zero NPV instrument. Here's where the fun starts. If the price that you based the variable leg of the swap on changes, the value of the swap will shift; the party on the wrong side of the move ponies up via the variable payment. It's a zero sum game.
I'll give you an example using the most vanilla swap around; an interest rate trade. Here's how it works. You borrow money from a bank, and they charge you a rate of interest. You lock the rate up front, because you're smart like that. But then - quelle surprise! - the rate gets better after you borrow. Now you're bagholding to the tune of, I don't know, 5 bps. Doesn't sound like much but on a billion dollar loan that's a lot of money (a classic example of the kind of 'small, deep hole' that's terrible for profits). Now, if you had a swap contract on the rate before you entered the trade, you're set; if the rate goes down, you get a payment under the swap. If it goes up, whatever payment you're making to the bank is netted off by the fact that you're borrowing at a sub-market rate. Win-win! Or, at least, Lose Less / Lose Less. That's the name of the game in hedging.
There are many different kinds of swaps, some of which are pretty exotic; but they're all different variations on the same theme. If your business has exposure to something which fluctuates in price, you trade swaps to hedge against the fluctuation. The valuation of swaps is also super interesting but I guarantee you that 99% of you won't understand it so I'm not going to try and explain it here although I encourage you to google it if you're interested.
Because they're OTC, none of them are filed publicly. Someeeeeetimes you see an ISDA (dsicussed below) but the confirms themselves (the individual swaps) are not filed. You can usually read about the hedging strategy in a 10-K, though. For what it's worth, most modern credit agreements ban speculative hedging. Top tip: This is occasionally something worth checking in credit agreements when you invest in businesses that are debt issuers - being able to do this increases the risk profile significantly and is particularly important in times of economic volatility (ctrl+f "non-speculative" in the credit agreement to be sure).
(ii) Forwards
A forward is a contract made today for the future delivery of an asset at a pre-agreed price. That's it. "But Fuzzy! That sounds just like a futures contract!". I know. Confusing, right? Just like a futures trade, forwards are generally used in commodity or forex land to protect against price fluctuations. The differences between forwards and futures are small but significant. I'm not going to go into super boring detail because I don't think many of you are commodities traders but it is still an important thing to understand even if you're just an RH jockey, so stick with me.
Just like swaps, forwards are OTC contracts - they're not publicly traded. This is distinct from futures, which are traded on exchanges (see The Ballad Of Big Dick Vick for some more color on this). In a forward, no money changes hands until the maturity date of the contract when delivery and receipt are carried out; price and quantity are locked in from day 1. As you now know having read about BDV, futures are marked to market daily, and normally people close them out with synthetic settlement using an inverse position. They're also liquid, and that makes them easier to unwind or close out in case shit goes sideways.
People use forwards when they absolutely have to get rid of the thing they made (or take delivery of the thing they need). If you're a miner, or a farmer, you use this shit to make sure that at the end of the production cycle, you can get rid of the shit you made (and you won't get fucked by someone taking cash settlement over delivery). If you're a buyer, you use them to guarantee that you'll get whatever the shit is that you'll need at a price agreed in advance. Because they're OTC, you can also exactly tailor them to the requirements of your particular circumstances.
These contracts are incredibly byzantine (and there are even crazier synthetic forwards you can see in money markets for the true degenerate fund managers). In my experience, only Texan oilfield magnates, commodities traders, and the weirdo forex crowd fuck with them. I (i) do not own a 10 gallon hat or a novelty size belt buckle (ii) do not wake up in the middle of the night freaking out about the price of pork fat and (iii) love greenbacks too much to care about other countries' monopoly money, so I don't fuck with them.
(iii) Collars
No, not the kind your wife is encouraging you to wear try out to 'spice things up' in the bedroom during quarantine. Collars are actually the hedging strategy most applicable to WSB. Collars deal with options! Hooray!
To execute a basic collar (also called a wrapper by tea-drinking Brits and people from the Antipodes), you buy an out of the money put while simultaneously writing a covered call on the same equity. The put protects your position against price drops and writing the call produces income that offsets the put premium. Doing this limits your tendies (you can only profit up to the strike price of the call) but also writes down your risk. If you screen large volume trades with a VOL/OI of more than 3 or 4x (and they're not bullshit biotech stocks), you can sometimes see these being constructed in real time as hedge funds protect themselves on their shorts.
(3) All About ISDAs, CDS and Synthetic CDOs
You may have heard about the mythical ISDA. Much like an indenture (discussed in my post on $F), it's a magic legal machine that lets you build swaps via trade confirms with a willing counterparty. They are very complicated legal documents and you need to be a true expert to fuck with them. Fortunately, I am, so I do. They're made of two parts; a Master (which is a form agreement that's always the same) and a Schedule (which amends the Master to include your specific terms). They are also the engine behind just about every major credit crunch of the last 10+ years.
First - a brief explainer. An ISDA is a not in and of itself a hedge - it's an umbrella contract that governs the terms of your swaps, which you use to construct your hedge position. You can trade commodities, forex, rates, whatever, all under the same ISDA.
Let me explain. Remember when we talked about swaps? Right. So. You can trade swaps on just about anything. In the late 90s and early 2000s, people had the smart idea of using other people's debt and or credit ratings as the variable leg of swap documentation. These are called credit default swaps. I was actually starting out at a bank during this time and, I gotta tell you, the only thing I can compare people's enthusiasm for this shit to was that moment in your early teens when you discover jerking off. Except, unlike your bathroom bound shame sessions to Mom's Sears catalogue, every single person you know felt that way too; and they're all doing it at once. It was a fiscal circlejerk of epic proportions, and the financial crisis was the inevitable bukkake finish. WSB autism is absolutely no comparison for the enthusiasm people had during this time for lighting each other's money on fire.
Here's how it works. You pick a company. Any company. Maybe even your own! And then you write a swap. In the swap, you define "Credit Event" with respect to that company's debt as the variable leg . And you write in... whatever you want. A ratings downgrade, default under the docs, failure to meet a leverage ratio or FCCR for a certain testing period... whatever. Now, this started out as a hedge position, just like we discussed above. The purest of intentions, of course. But then people realized - if bad shit happens, you make money. And banks... don't like calling in loans or forcing bankruptcies. Can you smell what the moral hazard is cooking?
Enter synthetic CDOs. CDOs are basically pools of asset backed securities that invest in debt (loans or bonds). They've been around for a minute but they got famous in the 2000s because a shitload of them containing subprime mortgage debt went belly up in 2008. This got a lot of publicity because a lot of sad looking rednecks got foreclosed on and were interviewed on CNBC. "OH!", the people cried. "Look at those big bad bankers buying up subprime loans! They caused this!". Wrong answer, America. The debt wasn't the problem. What a lot of people don't realize is that the real meat of the problem was not in regular way CDOs investing in bundles of shit mortgage debts in synthetic CDOs investing in CDS predicated on that debt. They're synthetic because they don't have a stake in the actual underlying debt; just the instruments riding on the coattails. The reason these are so popular (and remain so) is that smart structured attorneys and bankers like your faithful correspondent realized that an even more profitable and efficient way of building high yield products with limited downside was investing in instruments that profit from failure of debt and in instruments that rely on that debt and then hedging that exposure with other CDS instruments in paired trades, and on and on up the chain. The problem with doing this was that everyone wound up exposed to everybody else's books as a result, and when one went tits up, everybody did. Hence, recession, Basel III, etc. Thanks, Obama.
Heavy investment in CDS can also have a warping effect on the price of debt (something else that happened during the pre-financial crisis years and is starting to happen again now). This happens in three different ways. (1) Investors who previously were long on the debt hedge their position by selling CDS protection on the underlying, putting downward pressure on the debt price. (2) Investors who previously shorted the debt switch to buying CDS protection because the relatively illiquid debt (partic. when its a bond) trades at a discount below par compared to the CDS. The resulting reduction in short selling puts upward pressure on the bond price. (3) The delta in price and actual value of the debt tempts some investors to become NBTs (neg basis traders) who long the debt and purchase CDS protection. If traders can't take leverage, nothing happens to the price of the debt. If basis traders can take leverage (which is nearly always the case because they're holding a hedged position), they can push up or depress the debt price, goosing swap premiums etc. Anyway. Enough technical details.
I could keep going. This is a fascinating topic that is very poorly understood and explained, mainly because the people that caused it all still work on the street and use the same tactics today (it's also terribly taught at business schools because none of the teachers were actually around to see how this played out live). But it relates to the topic of today's lesson, so I thought I'd include it here.
Work depending, I'll be back next week with a covenant breakdown. Most upvoted ticker gets the post.
*EDIT 1\* In a total blowout, $PLAY won. So it's D&B time next week. Post will drop Monday at market open.
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No, the British did not steal $45 trillion from India

This is an updated copy of the version on BadHistory. I plan to update it in accordance with the feedback I got.
I'd like to thank two people who will remain anonymous for helping me greatly with this post (you know who you are)
Three years ago a festschrift for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri was published by Shubhra Chakrabarti, a history teacher at the University of Delhi and Utsa Patnaik, a Marxist economist who taught at JNU until 2010.
One of the essays in the festschirt by Utsa Patnaik was an attempt to quantify the "drain" undergone by India during British Rule. Her conclusion? Britain robbed India of $45 trillion (or £9.2 trillion) during their 200 or so years of rule. This figure was immensely popular, and got republished in several major news outlets (here, here, here, here (they get the number wrong) and more recently here), got a mention from the Minister of External Affairs & returns 29,100 results on Google. There's also plenty of references to it here on Reddit.
Patnaik is not the first to calculate such a figure. Angus Maddison thought it was £100 million, Simon Digby said £1 billion, Javier Estaban said £40 million see Roy (2019). The huge range of figures should set off some alarm bells.
So how did Patnaik calculate this (shockingly large) figure? Well, even though I don't have access to the festschrift, she conveniently has written an article detailing her methodology here. Let's have a look.
How exactly did the British manage to diddle us and drain our wealth’ ? was the question that Basudev Chatterjee (later editor of a volume in the Towards Freedom project) had posed to me 50 years ago when we were fellow-students abroad.
This is begging the question.
After decades of research I find that using India’s commodity export surplus as the measure and applying an interest rate of 5%, the total drain from 1765 to 1938, compounded up to 2016, comes to £9.2 trillion; since $4.86 exchanged for £1 those days, this sum equals about $45 trillion.
This is completely meaningless. To understand why it's meaningless consider India's annual coconut exports. These are almost certainly a surplus but the surplus in trade is countered by the other country buying the product (indeed, by definition, trade surpluses contribute to the GDP of a nation which hardly plays into intuitive conceptualisations of drain).
Furthermore, Dewey (2019) critiques the 5% interest rate.
She [Patnaik] consistently adopts statistical assumptions (such as compound interest at a rate of 5% per annum over centuries) that exaggerate the magnitude of the drain
Moving on:
The exact mechanism of drain, or transfers from India to Britain was quite simple.
Drain theory possessed the political merit of being easily grasped by a nation of peasants. [...] No other idea could arouse people than the thought that they were being taxed so that others in far off lands might live in comfort. [...] It was, therefore, inevitable that the drain theory became the main staple of nationalist political agitation during the Gandhian era.
- Chandra et al. (1989)
The key factor was Britain’s control over our taxation revenues combined with control over India’s financial gold and forex earnings from its booming commodity export surplus with the world. Simply put, Britain used locally raised rupee tax revenues to pay for its net import of goods, a highly abnormal use of budgetary funds not seen in any sovereign country.
The issue with figures like these is they all make certain methodological assumptions that are impossible to prove. From Roy in Frankema et al. (2019):
the "drain theory" of Indian poverty cannot be tested with evidence, for several reasons. First, it rests on the counterfactual that any money saved on account of factor payments abroad would translate into domestic investment, which can never be proved. Second, it rests on "the primitive notion that all payments to foreigners are "drain"", that is, on the assumption that these payments did not contribute to domestic national income to the equivalent extent (Kumar 1985, 384; see also Chaudhuri 1968). Again, this cannot be tested. [...] Fourth, while British officers serving India did receive salaries that were many times that of the average income in India, a paper using cross-country data shows that colonies with better paid officers were governed better (Jones 2013).
Indeed, drain theory rests on some very weak foundations. This, in of itself, should be enough to dismiss any of the other figures that get thrown out. Nonetheless, I felt it would be a useful exercise to continue exploring Patnaik's take on drain theory.
The East India Company from 1765 onwards allocated every year up to one-third of Indian budgetary revenues net of collection costs, to buy a large volume of goods for direct import into Britain, far in excess of that country’s own needs.
So what's going on here? Well Roy (2019) explains it better:
Colonial India ran an export surplus, which, together with foreign investment, was used to pay for services purchased from Britain. These payments included interest on public debt, salaries, and pensions paid to government offcers who had come from Britain, salaries of managers and engineers, guaranteed profts paid to railway companies, and repatriated business profts. How do we know that any of these payments involved paying too much? The answer is we do not.
So what was really happening is the government was paying its workers for services (as well as guaranteeing profits - to promote investment - something the GoI does today Dalal (2019), and promoting business in India), and those workers were remitting some of that money to Britain. This is hardly a drain (unless, of course, Indian diaspora around the world today are "draining" it). In some cases, the remittances would take the form of goods (as described) see Chaudhuri (1983):
It is obvious that these debit items were financed through the export surplus on merchandise account, and later, when railway construction started on a large scale in India, through capital import. Until 1833 the East India Company followed a cumbersome method in remitting the annual home charges. This was to purchase export commodities in India out of revenue, which were then shipped to London and the proceeds from their sale handed over to the home treasury.
While Roy's earlier point argues better paid officers governed better, it is honestly impossible to say what part of the repatriated export surplus was a drain, and what was not. However calling all of it a drain is definitely misguided.
It's worth noting that Patnaik seems to make no attempt to quantify the benefits of the Raj either, Dewey (2019)'s 2nd criticism:
she [Patnaik] consistently ignores research that would tend to cut the economic impact of the drain down to size, such as the work on the sources of investment during the industrial revolution (which shows that industrialisation was financed by the ploughed-back profits of industrialists) or the costs of empire school (which stresses the high price of imperial defence)

Since tropical goods were highly prized in other cold temperate countries which could never produce them, in effect these free goods represented international purchasing power for Britain which kept a part for its own use and re-exported the balance to other countries in Europe and North America against import of food grains, iron and other goods in which it was deficient.
Re-exports necessarily adds value to goods when the goods are processed and when the goods are transported. The country with the largest navy at the time would presumably be in very good stead to do the latter.
The British historians Phyllis Deane and WA Cole presented an incorrect estimate of Britain’s 18th-19th century trade volume, by leaving out re-exports completely. I found that by 1800 Britain’s total trade was 62% higher than their estimate, on applying the correct definition of trade including re-exports, that is used by the United Nations and by all other international organisations.
While interesting, and certainly expected for such an old book, re-exporting necessarily adds value to goods.
When the Crown took over from the Company, from 1861 a clever system was developed under which all of India’s financial gold and forex earnings from its fast-rising commodity export surplus with the world, was intercepted and appropriated by Britain. As before up to a third of India’s rising budgetary revenues was not spent domestically but was set aside as ‘expenditure abroad’.
So, what does this mean? Britain appropriated all of India's earnings, and then spent a third of it aboard? Not exactly. She is describing home charges see Roy (2019) again:
Some of the expenditures on defense and administration were made in sterling and went out of the country. This payment by the government was known as the Home Charges. For example, interest payment on loans raised to finance construction of railways and irrigation works, pensions paid to retired officers, and purchase of stores, were payments in sterling. [...] almost all money that the government paid abroad corresponded to the purchase of a service from abroad. [...] The balance of payments system that emerged after 1800 was based on standard business principles. India bought something and paid for it. State revenues were used to pay for wages of people hired abroad, pay for interest on loans raised abroad, and repatriation of profits on foreign investments coming into India. These were legitimate market transactions.
Indeed, if paying for what you buy is drain, then several billions of us are drained every day.
The Secretary of State for India in Council, based in London, invited foreign importers to deposit with him the payment (in gold, sterling and their own currencies) for their net imports from India, and these gold and forex payments disappeared into the yawning maw of the SoS’s account in the Bank of England.
It should be noted that India having two heads was beneficial, and encouraged investment per Roy (2019):
The fact that the India Office in London managed a part of the monetary system made India creditworthy, stabilized its currency, and encouraged foreign savers to put money into railways and private enterprise in India. Current research on the history of public debt shows that stable and large colonies found it easier to borrow abroad than independent economies because the investors trusted the guarantee of the colonist powers.

Against India’s net foreign earnings he issued bills, termed Council bills (CBs), to an equivalent rupee value. The rate (between gold-linked sterling and silver rupee) at which the bills were issued, was carefully adjusted to the last farthing, so that foreigners would never find it more profitable to ship financial gold as payment directly to Indians, compared to using the CB route. Foreign importers then sent the CBs by post or by telegraph to the export houses in India, that via the exchange banks were paid out of the budgeted provision of sums under ‘expenditure abroad’, and the exporters in turn paid the producers (peasants and artisans) from whom they sourced the goods.
Sunderland (2013) argues CBs had two main roles (and neither were part of a grand plot to keep gold out of India):
Council bills had two roles. They firstly promoted trade by handing the IO some control of the rate of exchange and allowing the exchange banks to remit funds to India and to hedge currency transaction risks. They also enabled the Indian government to transfer cash to England for the payment of its UK commitments.

The United Nations (1962) historical data for 1900 to 1960, show that for three decades up to 1928 (and very likely earlier too) India posted the second highest merchandise export surplus in the world, with USA in the first position. Not only were Indians deprived of every bit of the enormous international purchasing power they had earned over 175 years, even its rupee equivalent was not issued to them since not even the colonial government was credited with any part of India’s net gold and forex earnings against which it could issue rupees. The sleight-of-hand employed, namely ‘paying’ producers out of their own taxes, made India’s export surplus unrequited and constituted a tax-financed drain to the metropolis, as had been correctly pointed out by those highly insightful classical writers, Dadabhai Naoroji and RCDutt.
It doesn't appear that others appreciate their insight Roy (2019):
K. N. Chaudhuri rightly calls such practice ‘confused’ economics ‘coloured by political feelings’.

Surplus budgets to effect such heavy tax-financed transfers had a severe employment–reducing and income-deflating effect: mass consumption was squeezed in order to release export goods. Per capita annual foodgrains absorption in British India declined from 210 kg. during the period 1904-09, to 157 kg. during 1937-41, and to only 137 kg by 1946.
Dewey (1978) points out reliability issues with Indian agriculutural statistics, however this calorie decline persists to this day. Some of it is attributed to less food being consumed at home Smith (2015), a lower infectious disease burden Duh & Spears (2016) and diversified diets Vankatesh et al. (2016).
If even a part of its enormous foreign earnings had been credited to it and not entirely siphoned off, India could have imported modern technology to build up an industrial structure as Japan was doing.
This is, unfortunately, impossible to prove. Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication that India would've united (this is arguably more plausible than the given counterfactual1). Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication India would not have been nuked in WW2, much like Japan. Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication India would not have been invaded by lizard people, much like Japan. The list continues eternally.
Nevertheless, I will charitably examine the given counterfactual anyway. Did pre-colonial India have industrial potential? The answer is a resounding no.
From Gupta (1980):
This article starts from the premise that while economic categories - the extent of commodity production, wage labour, monetarisation of the economy, etc - should be the basis for any analysis of the production relations of pre-British India, it is the nature of class struggles arising out of particular class alignments that finally gives the decisive twist to social change. Arguing on this premise, and analysing the available evidence, this article concludes that there was little potential for industrial revolution before the British arrived in India because, whatever might have been the character of economic categories of that period, the class relations had not sufficiently matured to develop productive forces and the required class struggle for a 'revolution' to take place.
A view echoed in Raychaudhuri (1983):
Yet all of this did not amount to an economic situation comparable to that of western Europe on the eve of the industrial revolution. Her technology - in agriculture as well as manufacturers - had by and large been stagnant for centuries. [...] The weakness of the Indian economy in the mid-eighteenth century, as compared to pre-industrial Europe was not simply a matter of technology and commercial and industrial organization. No scientific or geographical revolution formed part of the eighteenth-century Indian's historical experience. [...] Spontaneous movement towards industrialisation is unlikely in such a situation.
So now we've established India did not have industrial potential, was India similar to Japan just before the Meiji era? The answer, yet again, unsurprisingly, is no. Japan's economic situation was not comparable to India's, which allowed for Japan to finance its revolution. From Yasuba (1986):
All in all, the Japanese standard of living may not have been much below the English standard of living before industrialization, and both of them may have been considerably higher than the Indian standard of living. We can no longer say that Japan started from a pathetically low economic level and achieved a rapid or even "miraculous" economic growth. Japan's per capita income was almost as high as in Western Europe before industrialization, and it was possible for Japan to produce surplus in the Meiji Period to finance private and public capital formation.
The circumstances that led to Meiji Japan were extremely unique. See Tomlinson (1985):
Most modern comparisons between India and Japan, written by either Indianists or Japanese specialists, stress instead that industrial growth in Meiji Japan was the product of unique features that were not reproducible elsewhere. [...] it is undoubtably true that Japan's progress to industrialization has been unique and unrepeatable
So there you have it. Unsubstantiated statistical assumptions, calling any number you can a drain & assuming a counterfactual for no good reason gets you this $45 trillion number. Hopefully that's enough to bury it in the ground.
1. Several authors have affirmed that Indian identity is a colonial artefact. For example see Rajan 1969:
Perhaps the single greatest and most enduring impact of British rule over India is that it created an Indian nation, in the modern political sense. After centuries of rule by different dynasties overparts of the Indian sub-continent, and after about 100 years of British rule, Indians ceased to be merely Bengalis, Maharashtrians,or Tamils, linguistically and culturally.
or see Bryant 2000:
But then, it would be anachronistic to condemn eighteenth-century Indians, who served the British, as collaborators, when the notion of 'democratic' nationalism or of an Indian 'nation' did not then exist. [...] Indians who fought for them, differed from the Europeans in having a primary attachment to a non-belligerent religion, family and local chief, which was stronger than any identity they might have with a more remote prince or 'nation'.


Chakrabarti, Shubra & Patnaik, Utsa (2018). Agrarian and other histories: Essays for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri. Colombia University Press
Hickel, Jason (2018). How the British stole $45 trillion from India. The Guardian
Bhuyan, Aroonim & Sharma, Krishan (2019). The Great Loot: How the British stole $45 trillion from India. Indiapost
Monbiot, George (2020). English Landowners have stolen our rights. It is time to reclaim them. The Guardian
Tsjeng, Zing (2020). How Britain Stole $45 trillion from India with trains | Empires of Dirt. Vice
Chaudhury, Dipanjan (2019). British looted $45 trillion from India in today’s value: Jaishankar. The Economic Times
Roy, Tirthankar (2019). How British rule changed India's economy: The Paradox of the Raj. Palgrave Macmillan
Patnaik, Utsa (2018). How the British impoverished India. Hindustan Times
Tuovila, Alicia (2019). Expenditure method. Investopedia
Dewey, Clive (2019). Changing the guard: The dissolution of the nationalist–Marxist orthodoxy in the agrarian and agricultural history of India. The Indian Economic & Social History Review
Chandra, Bipan et al. (1989). India's Struggle for Independence, 1857-1947. Penguin Books
Frankema, Ewout & Booth, Anne (2019). Fiscal Capacity and the Colonial State in Asia and Africa, c. 1850-1960. Cambridge University Press
Dalal, Sucheta (2019). IL&FS Controversy: Centre is Paying Up on Sovereign Guarantees to ADB, KfW for Group's Loan. TheWire
Chaudhuri, K.N. (1983). X - Foreign Trade and Balance of Payments (1757–1947). Cambridge University Press
Sunderland, David (2013). Financing the Raj: The City of London and Colonial India, 1858-1940. Boydell Press
Dewey, Clive (1978). Patwari and Chaukidar: Subordinate officials and the reliability of India’s agricultural statistics. Athlone Press
Smith, Lisa (2015). The great Indian calorie debate: Explaining rising undernourishment during India’s rapid economic growth. Food Policy
Duh, Josephine & Spears, Dean (2016). Health and Hunger: Disease, Energy Needs, and the Indian Calorie Consumption Puzzle. The Economic Journal
Vankatesh, P. et al. (2016). Relationship between Food Production and Consumption Diversity in India – Empirical Evidences from Cross Section Analysis. Agricultural Economics Research Review
Gupta, Shaibal (1980). Potential of Industrial Revolution in Pre-British India. Economic and Political Weekly
Raychaudhuri, Tapan (1983). I - The mid-eighteenth-century background. Cambridge University Press
Yasuba, Yasukichi (1986). Standard of Living in Japan Before Industrialization: From what Level did Japan Begin? A Comment. The Journal of Economic History
Tomblinson, B.R. (1985). Writing History Sideways: Lessons for Indian Economic Historians from Meiji Japan. Cambridge University Press
Rajan, M.S. (1969). The Impact of British Rule in India. Journal of Contemporary History
Bryant, G.J. (2000). Indigenous Mercenaries in the Service of European Imperialists: The Case of the Sepoys in the Early British Indian Army, 1750-1800. War in History
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The Next Crypto Wave: The Rise of Stablecoins and its Entry to the U.S. Dollar Market

The Next Crypto Wave: The Rise of Stablecoins and its Entry to the U.S. Dollar Market

Author: Christian Hsieh, CEO of Tokenomy
This paper examines some explanations for the continual global market demand for the U.S. dollar, the rise of stablecoins, and the utility and opportunities that crypto dollars can offer to both the cryptocurrency and traditional markets.
The U.S. dollar, dominant in world trade since the establishment of the 1944 Bretton Woods System, is unequivocally the world’s most demanded reserve currency. Today, more than 61% of foreign bank reserves and nearly 40% of the entire world’s debt is denominated in U.S. dollars1.
However, there is a massive supply and demand imbalance in the U.S. dollar market. On the supply side, central banks throughout the world have implemented more than a decade-long accommodative monetary policy since the 2008 global financial crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the need for central banks to provide necessary liquidity and keep staggering economies moving. While the Federal Reserve leads the effort of “money printing” and stimulus programs, the current money supply still cannot meet the constant high demand for the U.S. dollar2. Let us review some of the reasons for this constant dollar demand from a few economic fundamentals.

Demand for U.S. Dollars

Firstly, most of the world’s trade is denominated in U.S. dollars. Chief Economist of the IMF, Gita Gopinath, has compiled data reflecting that the U.S. dollar’s share of invoicing was 4.7 times larger than America’s share of the value of imports, and 3.1 times its share of world exports3. The U.S. dollar is the dominant “invoicing currency” in most developing countries4.
This U.S. dollar preference also directly impacts the world’s debt. According to the Bank of International Settlements, there is over $67 trillion in U.S. dollar denominated debt globally, and borrowing outside of the U.S. accounted for $12.5 trillion in Q1 20205. There is an immense demand for U.S. dollars every year just to service these dollar debts. The annual U.S. dollar buying demand is easily over $1 trillion assuming the borrowing cost is at 1.5% (1 year LIBOR + 1%) per year, a conservative estimate.
Secondly, since the U.S. has a much stronger economy compared to its global peers, a higher return on investments draws U.S. dollar demand from everywhere in the world, to invest in companies both in the public and private markets. The U.S. hosts the largest stock markets in the world with more than $33 trillion in public market capitalization (combined both NYSE and NASDAQ)6. For the private market, North America’s total share is well over 60% of the $6.5 trillion global assets under management across private equity, real assets, and private debt investments7. The demand for higher quality investments extends to the fixed income market as well. As countries like Japan and Switzerland currently have negative-yielding interest rates8, fixed income investors’ quest for yield in the developed economies leads them back to the U.S. debt market. As of July 2020, there are $15 trillion worth of negative-yielding debt securities globally (see chart). In comparison, the positive, low-yielding U.S. debt remains a sound fixed income strategy for conservative investors in uncertain market conditions.

Source: Bloomberg
Last, but not least, there are many developing economies experiencing failing monetary policies, where hyperinflation has become a real national disaster. A classic example is Venezuela, where the currency Bolivar became practically worthless as the inflation rate skyrocketed to 10,000,000% in 20199. The recent Beirut port explosion in Lebanon caused a sudden economic meltdown and compounded its already troubled financial market, where inflation has soared to over 112% year on year10. For citizens living in unstable regions such as these, the only reliable store of value is the U.S. dollar. According to the Chainalysis 2020 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report, Venezuela has become one of the most active cryptocurrency trading countries11. The demand for cryptocurrency surges as a flight to safety mentality drives Venezuelans to acquire U.S. dollars to preserve savings that they might otherwise lose. The growth for cryptocurrency activities in those regions is fueled by these desperate citizens using cryptocurrencies as rails to access the U.S. dollar, on top of acquiring actual Bitcoin or other underlying crypto assets.

The Rise of Crypto Dollars

Due to the highly volatile nature of cryptocurrencies, USD stablecoin, a crypto-powered blockchain token that pegs its value to the U.S. dollar, was introduced to provide stable dollar exposure in the crypto trading sphere. Tether is the first of its kind. Issued in 2014 on the bitcoin blockchain (Omni layer protocol), under the token symbol USDT, it attempts to provide crypto traders with a stable settlement currency while they trade in and out of various crypto assets. The reason behind the stablecoin creation was to address the inefficient and burdensome aspects of having to move fiat U.S. dollars between the legacy banking system and crypto exchanges. Because one USDT is theoretically backed by one U.S. dollar, traders can use USDT to trade and settle to fiat dollars. It was not until 2017 that the majority of traders seemed to realize Tether’s intended utility and started using it widely. As of April 2019, USDT trading volume started exceeding the trading volume of bitcoina12, and it now dominates the crypto trading sphere with over $50 billion average daily trading volume13.
An interesting aspect of USDT is that although the claimed 1:1 backing with U.S. dollar collateral is in question, and the Tether company is in reality running fractional reserves through a loose offshore corporate structure, Tether’s trading volume and adoption continues to grow rapidly14. Perhaps in comparison to fiat U.S. dollars, which is not really backed by anything, Tether still has cash equivalents in reserves and crypto traders favor its liquidity and convenience over its lack of legitimacy. For those who are concerned about Tether’s solvency, they can now purchase credit default swaps for downside protection15. On the other hand, USDC, the more compliant contender, takes a distant second spot with total coin circulation of $1.8 billion, versus USDT at $14.5 billion (at the time of publication). It is still too early to tell who is the ultimate leader in the stablecoin arena, as more and more stablecoins are launching to offer various functions and supporting mechanisms. There are three main categories of stablecoin: fiat-backed, crypto-collateralized, and non-collateralized algorithm based stablecoins. Most of these are still at an experimental phase, and readers can learn more about them here. With the continuous innovation of stablecoin development, the utility stablecoins provide in the overall crypto market will become more apparent.

Institutional Developments

In addition to trade settlement, stablecoins can be applied in many other areas. Cross-border payments and remittances is an inefficient market that desperately needs innovation. In 2020, the average cost of sending money across the world is around 7%16, and it takes days to settle. The World Bank aims to reduce remittance fees to 3% by 2030. With the implementation of blockchain technology, this cost could be further reduced close to zero.
J.P. Morgan, the largest bank in the U.S., has created an Interbank Information Network (IIN) with 416 global Institutions to transform the speed of payment flows through its own JPM Coin, another type of crypto dollar17. Although people argue that JPM Coin is not considered a cryptocurrency as it cannot trade openly on a public blockchain, it is by far the largest scale experiment with all the institutional participants trading within the “permissioned” blockchain. It might be more accurate to refer to it as the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) instead of “blockchain” in this context. Nevertheless, we should keep in mind that as J.P. Morgan currently moves $6 trillion U.S. dollars per day18, the scale of this experiment would create a considerable impact in the international payment and remittance market if it were successful. Potentially the day will come when regulated crypto exchanges become participants of IIN, and the link between public and private crypto assets can be instantly connected, unlocking greater possibilities in blockchain applications.
Many central banks are also in talks about developing their own central bank digital currency (CBDC). Although this idea was not new, the discussion was brought to the forefront due to Facebook’s aggressive Libra project announcement in June 2019 and the public attention that followed. As of July 2020, at least 36 central banks have published some sort of CBDC framework. While each nation has a slightly different motivation behind its currency digitization initiative, ranging from payment safety, transaction efficiency, easy monetary implementation, or financial inclusion, these central banks are committed to deploying a new digital payment infrastructure. When it comes to the technical architectures, research from BIS indicates that most of the current proofs-of-concept tend to be based upon distributed ledger technology (permissioned blockchain)19.
These institutional experiments are laying an essential foundation for an improved global payment infrastructure, where instant and frictionless cross-border settlements can take place with minimal costs. Of course, the interoperability of private DLT tokens and public blockchain stablecoins has yet to be explored, but the innovation with both public and private blockchain efforts could eventually merge. This was highlighted recently by the Governor of the Bank of England who stated that “stablecoins and CBDC could sit alongside each other20”. One thing for certain is that crypto dollars (or other fiat-linked digital currencies) are going to play a significant role in our future economy.

Future Opportunities

There is never a dull moment in the crypto sector. The industry narratives constantly shift as innovation continues to evolve. Twelve years since its inception, Bitcoin has evolved from an abstract subject to a familiar concept. Its role as a secured, scarce, decentralized digital store of value has continued to gain acceptance, and it is well on its way to becoming an investable asset class as a portfolio hedge against asset price inflation and fiat currency depreciation. Stablecoins have proven to be useful as proxy dollars in the crypto world, similar to how dollars are essential in the traditional world. It is only a matter of time before stablecoins or private digital tokens dominate the cross-border payments and global remittances industry.
There are no shortages of hypes and experiments that draw new participants into the crypto space, such as smart contracts, new blockchains, ICOs, tokenization of things, or the most recent trends on DeFi tokens. These projects highlight the possibilities for a much more robust digital future, but the market also needs time to test and adopt. A reliable digital payment infrastructure must be built first in order to allow these experiments to flourish.
In this paper we examined the historical background and economic reasons for the U.S. dollar’s dominance in the world, and the probable conclusion is that the demand for U.S. dollars will likely continue, especially in the middle of a global pandemic, accompanied by a worldwide economic slowdown. The current monetary system is far from perfect, but there are no better alternatives for replacement at least in the near term. Incremental improvements are being made in both the public and private sectors, and stablecoins have a definite role to play in both the traditional and the new crypto world.
Thank you.

[1] How the US dollar became the world’s reserve currency, Investopedia
[2] The dollar is in high demand, prone to dangerous appreciation, The Economist
[3] Dollar dominance in trade and finance, Gita Gopinath
[4] Global trades dependence on dollars, The Economist & IMF working papers
[5] Total credit to non-bank borrowers by currency of denomination, BIS
[6] Biggest stock exchanges in the world, Business Insider
[7] McKinsey Global Private Market Review 2020, McKinsey & Company
[8] Central banks current interest rates, Global Rates
[9] Venezuela hyperinflation hits 10 million percent, CNBC
[10] Lebanon inflation crisis, Reuters
[11] Venezuela cryptocurrency market, Chainalysis
[12] The most used cryptocurrency isn’t Bitcoin, Bloomberg
[13] Trading volume of all crypto assets,
[14] Tether US dollar peg is no longer credible, Forbes
[15] New crypto derivatives let you bet on (or against) Tether’s solvency, Coindesk
[16] Remittance Price Worldwide, The World Bank
[17] Interbank Information Network, J.P. Morgan
[18] Jamie Dimon interview, CBS News
[19] Rise of the central bank digital currency, BIS
[20] Speech by Andrew Bailey, 3 September 2020, Bank of England
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Global Financial Markets: Habits of Good Traders and Bad Traders [Part 1]

Global Financial Markets: Habits of Good Traders and Bad Traders [Part 1]
The Internet has created opportunity of easy access to the Global Financial Markets. Everyone who desires to learn and earn can now trade in the Global Financial Markets, irrespective of their location around the world without discrimination. What used to be the secret investment opportunity for the rich and privileged few, has now become an open marketplace through digital platforms made accessible on mobile phones, portable tablets and laptops. Therefore, as Internet connectivity and broadband access continues to penetrate into every remote corners of the globe, the awareness of Global Financial Markets commonly referred to as FOREX TRADING, will continue to soar!
According to Ian H. Giddy, Stern School of Business, New York University “The global financial markets include the market for foreign exchange, such as the Eurocurrency and related money markets, the international capital markets, notably the Eurobond and global equity markets, the commodity market and last but not least, the markets for forward contracts, options, swaps and other derivatives”. Simply put, the Global Financial Markets is a virtual platform for online trading of Currencies of countries at the International Foreign Exchange Rate, as it is done real time between Banks, Large Corporations, Investment Firms, Hedge Funds and Private Equity Portfolio managers. These are the big players, usually called the Market Makers. These Market Makers are high value and high volume traders that account for over 90% of the 5 trillion dollars worth of trading done everyday for 24 hours throughout the 5 working days of the week. The participation of Individual Traders called Retail Traders in the Global Financial Markets is only possible through a registered and verified account on the trading platform of licensed and regulated Brokers like in the Stock Exchange industry.
While the sound of participating in an open market valued at over 5 trillion dollars per day, sounds attractive and inspiring; very few Individual Traders have successfully earned profits from the Global Financial Markets consistently. In many instances, the odds are usually against the Individual Traders due to the numerous cycles of events and uncertainties that influence Global Economy and Trade relationships between countries of the world which directly or indirectly affect the sentiments of buyers and sellers of the currency of countries against others.
While many may assume that making profit in the Global Financial Markets is just as simple as clicking BUY or SELL buttons on the Broker’s trading platform, the few successful traders know that there are a lot more to learn and apply. Like everything in life, learning by doing is the best way to winning the trophy. Fairly enough, all Forex Brokers in the Global Financial Markets provide demo accounts with virtual money to help traders learn and practice before investing their real money. Unfortunately, due to the habit of indiscipline, many traders are usually impatient in learning and often allow greed to push them to rush into live trading without developing the necessary skills and habits that will guarantee consistent profit and successful trading career.

“Discipline is the ultimate secret of Distinction. What makes the difference between Good and Bad Traders is Self-Discipline!”

[Image Source:]
The only Broker that I have personally observed to be committed to helping Individual Traders develop Self-Discipline and Expertise through continuous Education and Enforcement of Self-Discipline is Olymp Trade []. The Broker enforces self-discipline through an automated Trade Limit which is triggered when an Individual Trader begins to take reckless risks with their hard-earned money in search for dangerous profits. Many inexperienced traders hate this trade limit control, but the good, expert traders openly appreciate Olymp Trade for helping them to develop the Self-Discipline habit.
With the implementation of the Trade Limit rule, Olymp Trade has helped many of her Individual traders to learn the self-discipline habit. This has given a higher percentage of beginners or novice traders the golden opportunity to become an expert trader and earn profit consistently over time, while they avoid the common pitfalls that destroy many who trade with other brokers without the Trade Limit feature on their platform.

[Image Source:]
In conclusion, while this article emphasized that Self-Discipline is the main difference between good traders and bad traders, there are other habits of good traders that will be explained in subsequent articles coming soon in this series.
Thanks for reading and adding your own comment to this article.
Ian H. Giddy: The Global Financial Markets.
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[LONG] My Story of Disillusionment with and Disappointment in the World and Myself

This might be a long one. I hope someone reads the thing, I put like 3 hours into writing it. A brief story of my life and how it all led up to this moment, where I am disillusioned with my self-image, my life choices, and certain aspects of the world, and have no idea what to do next. Warning: this whole thing might be a little depressing to read.
I am a 20yo Russian male. During my childhood, I was made to believe that I am capable of doing something great and doing better than anyone. At the same time I developed a very non-conformist life stance and very often rejected things and ideas simply because they were too popular for my taste, and I couldn't feel special whilst enjoying them. Of course, in turn, society rejected me, as it does with anyone who doesn't play by the rules. Oh well.
My only redeeming quality was that I considered myself pretty smart. Which is even easier to assume, when at the same time you think that you're different from everyone else. Now, I know that to some extent, I was indeed smarter than most people in certain areas. Unlike most people I knew back then, often with bare minimum efforts I was able to maintain near perfect grades at school. I was also enjoying learning new things and reading more than an average person. So, let's just say, I had a basis to assume I was a smart dude.
I wasn't happy and content with my life, though. I never had real friends, because I only hung out with people when they were my classmates/roommates/co-workers, and after we parted ways, I rarely if ever contacted them afterwards. I always enjoyed doing things you usually do in solitude more, because when I was alone, I wouldn't be afraid that someone could hurt me for being different. Because of that, I was never in a romantic relationship.
High School.
Still, life was going okay. By the end of school, I kind of accepted my social deficiency and I wanted to focus on improving the world and become a successful person - for myself. I was facing a dilemma, though. Despite the fact that I was doing great in school, the idea of having to invest four years of my time into studying something really specific, and then having to work another 20-30 years on the same job was terrifying, because I had no idea what I liked to do! Nothing seemed interesting to me, I didn't have a passion for doing anything... Thanks to my video game addiction, which made me lazy as fuck, probably. I also needed to meet my criteria for success with my future job, which included being financially successful. I grew up in top 1% income family, so... I always felt the pressure to outperform or at least match my parents' income.
Enter trading. My dad discovered investing several years ago (we don't live in US, so most of the people aren't as financially savvy, so he never thought about investing before then). I was always curious about financial independence and markets, but now I was seeing it all done in front of me, I realized that it might be a good opportunity to make a lot of money and become successful without being socially adept, which is something absolutely required in business or politics. So, I asked my father to open a brokerage account for me in the US, and started swing trading (trading in weekly/monthly time frames). I could only trade slow and small because of the trade restrictions put on accounts <$25k and <21yo in the US. Still, it was going well, but in hindsight I was just lucky to be there during a great bull market.
Even before I thought trading and more importantly investing were the ways smart people make money. I thought simply because I was conventionally smart, I had a talent or an innate ability to pick innovative stocks and do venture investing when I grow some capital. I truly believed in that long before I was introduced to financial markets, I believed that my surface level understanding of multiple areas of cutting edge and emerging technology would give me an edge compared to all the other investors.
US Community College and Return Back.
In the end, I've decided I want to go to a US community college and study finance and become a trader and later an investor, but I didn't want to work for a fund or something like that (lazy ass). I wanted to use my knowledge and skill and my own money to grow my net worth and make a living. I didn't really like the process of trading, I just needed the money to live by while I was trying to figure out what else to do with my life. Because I thought I were smart, I thought this would come easily to me. Boy was I wrong. From the nicest of conditions in my hometown, I was suddenly moved into a foreign setting, on the other side of the planet away form my family and mates, with a video game addiction and laziness that ruined my daily routine and studying as well. The fact that I didn't like my major was not helping. My grades fell from A- in the first quarter to C+ in the last. I gained +30% from my normal weight. I was stressed out, not going outside and sitting at my computer desk for days at a time, skipping all the classes I could if they were not absolutely essential for my grades, living on prepared foods. I never got out of my shell and barely talked to anyone in English, all of my friends were Russian speaking. I wasted an opportunity to improve my speaking, although aside from that my English skills satisfy me.
By the end of community college, last summer, I was left with B grades that wouldn't let me transfer anywhere decent, and the extreme stress that I put myself through started taking a toll on my mental health. I was planning to take a break and go back to Russia for several months, and transfer back to a US uni this winter. Needless to say, you can't run from yourself. It didn't really become much better after a few months in Russia. I didn't want to study finance anymore, because it was boring and I was exhausted. I still had the video game addiction, still was lazy and gained some more extra pounds of weight. I was not sleeping at all, extremely sleep deprived for months. Because of this and lack of mental stimulation I started to become dumber. And all that was happening where I didn't really have to do anything: not study or work, just sit around the house and do whatever I wanted. Turns out, these conditions didn't help me to get out of the incoming depression.
Finally, around November, when I already sent out all of my transfer applications and already got some positive answers from several universities, I knew I didn't have much time left at home, and I had to leave soon. But I really, really didn't want to go back. It was scarier than the first time. I was afraid of new changes, I just wanted for the time to stop and letting me relax, heal... I was having suicidal thoughts and talked about it with my family and my therapist. They were all supportive and helped me as much as they could. But I was the only person who could really help myself. If I wanted to breathe freely, I had to admit defeat and not go back to the US to continue my education. It was extremely hard at first, but then I just let go. I decided to find a temporary job as an English tutor and give myself time to think. Then I remembered that I had a bunch of money in my trading account. I still thought that I was pretty smart, despite failing college, so I figured, why not try move it to Russian brokers who don't have trading restrictions, and do it full time? Which is exactly what I did. And I started to study trading all by myself at a fast pace. I was now trading full time and it was going sideways: +10% in December, -20% in January. Then, something incredible happened. I was already in a shitty place in life, but I still had some hope for my future. Things were about to get much worse. I'm in the late January, and I discovered for myself that the whole financial industry of the world was a fraud.
Brief Explanation of My Discoveries.
In the image of the financial industry, there are several levels of perceived credibility.
In the bottom tier, there is pure gambling. In my country, there were periods when binary options trading and unreliable Forex brokers were popular among common folk, but these were obvious and unsophisticated fraudsters who were one step away from being prosecuted. There are also cryptocurrencies that don't hold any value and are also used only for speculation/redistribution of wealth. There is also a wonderful gambling subreddit wallstreetbets where most users don't even try to hide the fact that what they are doing is pure gambling. I love it. But the thing is, this is trading/investing for the people who have no idea what it is, and most people discredit it as a fraud, which it, indeed, is. These examples are 99% marketing/public image and 1% finance. But these offer x10-1000 returns in the shortest time span. Typical get-rich-quick schemes, but they attract attention.
Then, there is trading tier. You can have multiple sub levels here, in the bottom of this tier we would probably have complex technical analysis (indicators) and daily trading/scalping. I was doing this in the DecembeJanuary. At the top would be people who do fundamental analysis (study financial reports) and position trade (monthly time frames). Now, there is constant debate in the trading community whether technical analysis or fundamental analysis is better. I have a solid answer to the question. They work in the same way. Or rather, they don't work at all.
You'd ask: "Why you didn't discover this earlier? You were in this financial thing for several years now!" Well, you see, unlike on the previous level, here millions of people say that they actually believe trading works and there is a way to use the available tools to have great returns. Some of these people actually know that trading doesn't work, but they benefit from other traders believing in it, because they can sell them courses or take brokerage fees from them. Still, when there are millions around you telling you that it works, even a non-conformist like me would budge. Not that many people actually participate in the markets, so I thought that by being in this minority made me smart and protected from fraudsters. Lol. All it took for me to discover the truth is to accidentally discover that some technical indicators give random results, do a few google searches, reach some scientific studies which are freely available and prove that technical and fundamental analysis don't work. It was always in front of me, but the fucking trading community plugged my ears and closed my eyes shut so I wasn't able to see it. Trading usually promises 3-15% gain a month.
A huge shock, but surely there was still a way for me to work this out? Active investing it is!
The next level, active investing, is different from trading. You aim for 15-50% yearly returns, but you don't have to do as much work. You hold on to stocks of your choice for years at a time, once in a while you study the markets, re balance your portfolio, etc. Or you invest your money in a fund, that will select the stocks of their choice and manage their and your portfolio for you. For a small fee of course. All of these actions are aimed at trying to outperform the gain the market made as a whole, and so called index funds, which invest in basically everything and follow the market returns - about 7-10% a year. And if I ever had any doubts in trading, I firmly believed that active investing works since I was a little kid (yes I knew about it back then). And this is where the real fraud comes in.
The whole Wall Street and every broker, every stock exchange in the world are a part of a big fraud. Only about 10-20% of professional fund managers outperform the market in any 15 year period. If you take 30 years, this dwindles to almost nothing, which means that no one can predict the markets. These people have no idea what they are doing. Jim Cramer is pure show-business and has no idea what's going on. Warren Buffet gained his fortune with pure luck, and for every Buffet there are some people who made only a million bucks and countless folks who lost everything.
Wall Street. They have trillions of dollars and use all that money and power and marketing to convince you that there is a way to predict where the stocks are going without being a legal insider or somehow abusing the law. They will make you think you can somehow learn from them where to invest your money on your own or they will make you believe that you should just give it to them and they will manage it for you, because they know how everything works and they can predict the future using past data.
They won't. They don't. They can't. There are studies and statistics to prove it countless times over the span of a 100 years. But they will still charge you exchange fees, brokerage fees and management fees anyway. And they also manipulate certain studies, lobby where and when they need it, and spread misinformation on an unprecedented scale, creating a positive image of themselves. And everyone falls for that. Billions of people around the globe still think it's all legit.
Passive index investing is the last level. You just put your money in the market and wait. Markets will go up at a predetermined rate. If there's a crisis, in 10 years no one will even remember. Markets always go up in the end. But passive index investing can only give you only 7% inflation-adjusted returns a year. Not enough to stop working or even retire early, unless you have a high-paying job in a first-world country. I don't.
Despite all that, to put it simply, this is the only type of investing that works and doesn't involve any kind of fraud or gambling. It's the type of investing that will give you the most money. If you want to know why it is like that and how to do it, just go to financialindependence. They know this stuff better than any other sub. Better than investing, trading or any other sub where non-passive-index investing is still discussed as viable strategy.
Back to me.
My whole being was fucked over, my hopes and dreams and understanding of success and how this world works were shattered. I realized, I had no future in financial industry, because only middlemen make money in there, and I quit college needed to get there. Frankly, I wouldn't want to work there even if I had the opportunity. The pay is good, but the job is boring and I wouldn't want to be a part of this giant scheme anyway. But even if I wanted to go back, I also couldn't. Russia is in a worsening crisis and my parents could no longer afford a US university and now with coronavirus it's even worse. Good thing I quit before it all happened. I learned a valuable lesson and didn't lose that much money for it (only about 10% of my savings). God knows where it would lead me if I continued to be delusional. But now that my last temporary plans for the future were scrapped, I had no idea what to do next.
The future.
With the reality hitting me, I would lie if I say it didn't all come full circle and connect to my past. I realized that I was stupid and not intelligent, because I was living in a made-up world for years now. But even if I were intelligent, pure wit would not give me the success and fortune that I was craving, because trading and active investing were a no-go for me, and business/politics require a very different, extroverted mindset, different education and interest from my own. My only redeeming quality in a hopeless introvert world, my perceived intelligence was taken away from me and rendered useless at the same time.
Besides, failing at that one thing made me insecure about everything and now I think of myself as an average individual. So, if 8 out of 10 businesses fail, I shouldn't start one because I will probably fail. And if most politicians don't get anywhere, why should I bother? If average salary in my country is X, I shouldn't hope for more. I stopped believing in my ability to achieve something. First, I failed at education and now I failed... Professionally? I don't know how to describe it, but my life recently was just an emotional roller coaster. I just feel like a very old person and all I want calmness and stability in my life. I was very lazy before just because, but now I feel like I also don't want to do anything because I feel I would just fail. It feels better now I don't have to worry about trading anymore and I got rid of that load... But I am still miserable and perhaps worse than ever, maybe I just don't understand and feel it because I've become slow and numb. The only positive thing that happened to me recently, is that I finally started losing weight and about 1/4 of the way back to my normal weight.
As for my future, am looking at several possibilities here. So far the parents are allowing my miserable life to continue and they let me live with them and buy me food. I don't need anything else right now. But it can't go on like this forever. The thought of having a mundane low-paying job in this shithole of a country depresses me. I will probably temporarily do English tutoring if there's demand for such work. My old school friends want me to help them in their business and my dad wants me to help him in his, I and probably should, but I feel useless, pathetic and incapable of doing anything of value. And business just seems boring, difficult and too stressful for me right now. Just not my cup of tea.
I am also looking at creative work. I love video games, music, films and other forms of art. I love the games most though, so I am looking into game dev. I don't really like programming, I have learned some during school years, but the pay would probably be higher for a programmer than an creator of any kind of art. However, I think I would enjoy art creation much more, but I don't have any experience in drawing and only some limited experience in music production. And I am not one of these kids who always had a scrapbook with them at school. Having to make another life choice paralyzes me. I am leaning towards art. I don't feel confident in my ability to learn this skill from scratch, but I think it's my best shot at finding a job that would make me happy.
So perhaps, when this whole pandemic is over, I'll go to Europe and get my degree, get a job there and stay. American Dream is dead to me, and Europe is cheaper, closer, safe and comfortable. Just the thing for a person who feels like they are thrice their real age.
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk. Special thanks if you read the whole thing, it means a whole lot to me, an internet stranger. But even if no one reads it, feels good to get this off my chest. I actually cried during writing some parts. Holy shit, this might be the longest and smartest looking thing my dumbed down head could manage to generate since college. I hope that you're having a great day. Stay healthy and be careful during this fucking pandemic. All the best.
submitted by OberV0lt to TrueOffMyChest [link] [comments]

A Day in the Life of a Stock Trader - Blog | Horizon Institute

Section 1 – What does a stock trader actually do
The life of a trader is often glamorised by films such as The Wolf of Wallstreet and Margin Call – a view that is shared by many who have no direct experience with the wider investment industry. It is also true that different types of traders have very different workloads. Trading emerging markets is not the same as trading FTSE stocks or the forex markets.
Let’s start by defining what traders, broadly speaking actually are:
“Professionals in finance who buy and/or sell assets on the financial markets.”
A day in the life of a trader: Behind the scenes
These are people who usually have a background in finance, either through traditional education (think degrees in finance, accounting, economics, investment management etc) or through practical experience at companies working within financial services.
This is to say that the day-to-day activities of a trader is to either buy assets (such as stocks, futures, commodities) or to sell assets (such as stocks, forex, bonds). Two distinct roles in trading can be summed up in the Buy side, and the Sell side in terms of execution.
A broader categorisation would include participants within the financial markets who trade securities. This encompasses independent traders working from home to large multinational financial institutions which see billions of dollars a day flow from and to their order books.
The Buy Side
The Buy side is concerned with purchasing assets, and this generally involves taking orders from management or clients and then sending those orders to the broker to be executed. This role is being gradually replaced by technology, specifically automation and AI, and its hard to see a future for buy side traders 20 years from now. There is also a distinctly bad reputation associated with buy side traders, these are often just messengers, and have been known to treat brokers with incredible hostility and bitterness over recent years.
The Sell Side
Alternatively, the Sell side is just the opposite – these traders are only concerned with selling positions either the firm or the firms clients holds. Again technology is eliminating this role over time, and today both buy and sell side traders simply take message, and pass it along either electronically through an online platform or via telephone for the perhaps more traditional establishments.
Private Hedge fund managers
Many successful traders have gone on to start hedge funds with private companies and from private investors. This is a highly privileged position to be in, as hedge fund managers are in control of both the broad strategy for the investments and receives the greatest compensation should the strategy be profitable.
Private Portfolio Managers
Portfolio managers working at a private company (such as a large hedge fund) is again a much sought after position. Portfolio managers generally create a positive or negative selection portfolio, which allows them to implement their own strategy to make the best returns with the lease risk – although these parameters are often set outside the control of the individual portfolio manager. The same also exists within commercial banking, but it is usually more focused on creating a very balanced portfolio that exists to hedge risk as opposed to making real returns.
Analysts do the number crunching and quantitative prep work for the portfolio or hedge fund managers. This role involves applied finance and taking a close look at various assets fundamentals. This includes the balance sheet, income statement and cashflow statement for analysts looking at stocks. This is usually a relatively junior role, and those who are successful here tend to become traders, portfolio managers and eventually hedge fund managers over the course of a successful career.
Investment Banking
There are still plenty of traders left at investment banks, despite the decline over the last few decades. As much as 90% of the time is spent dealing with clients such as Hedge and Pension Funds.
Investment Bank Traders
As much as 90% of the time is spent dealing with clients such as Hedge and Pension Funds.
The trader is then Making Markets in Assets the clients want to buy/sell, such as stocks, currencies, commodities and bonds.
The other 10% of time is Proprietary trading, utilising the banks large balance sheet to create a positive selection portfolio.
Market Makers (Agency)
Market making is the primary task of an investment trader (~80% of market making business)
Split into two sections:
Agency Business – Client holds risk
Risk business – Investment Bank holds risk
Investment Bank charges commission on these activities at a typical rate of 5 basis points or 0.05%
Example – Buy £10,000,000 of BP stock at £100 per share = 100,000 BP shares.
Commission for bank - £10,000,000 X 0.005 = £5,000
Risk free for bank – algorithm executes trades based on client orders
In terms of basis points, 100 = 1%
Proprietary Trading
This type of trading can happen in two ways, the first where small investors at home use their own capital to trade for a direct gain or commercially where a firm uses its own capital to make trades to be the prime beneficially of the rewards should the trade go well. This is in contrast to how hedge funds would normally just earn a commission, by also utilising internal capital the firm is able to take larger risks, which tend to come with the larger rewards.
Here’s another interesting fact:
“Only 6% of candidates end up making it as a professional trader” (Business Insider, 2011)
This statement alone shows just how competitive the industry is, and to make a successful career is even harder, with only ~5% of traders ever making it to a managerial level.
A day in the life of a trader: Behind the scenes
Section 2 – How does 8 hours day break down?
6:00 AM
Traders usually start the day at 6.30 AM and start to catch up on news that broke overnight that may A) affect current positions or B) provide opportunities for new positions. These changes are digested, and areas of special interest are noted for further analysis later.
7:00 AM
Arrive at trading floor at 7:30, 30 minutes before markets open. This is the time where traders prepare themselves for the day. It also serves as an opportunity to talk to colleagues. For most hedge funds and other long-term traders, team meetings will happen in the morning to ensure all traders are up to speed and playing from the same game plan.
8:00 AM
Markets open: based on overnight news there may be buying / selling activity to adjust the traders portfolio based on the latest information. Many traders prefer not to trade at the market open due to higher volatility as traders from around the world react to overnight news.
9:00 AM
A common task around 9:00 AM would be to scan the market for short term opportunities, or to catch up on fundamental company analysis of companies in the watch list.
10:00 AM
Continuation of analysis or opportunity seeking based on the traders own intuition, experience and judgement. This is also prime time for internal meetings with the team and meetings with clients, potential clients etc.
11:00 AM
Here we see lower volume and volatility, and so short-term opportunities diminish, traders are thinking about lunch at this point. Finishing up financial models and analysis done in the morning. Another prime time for meetings with the team and clients.
12:00 PM
Most long-term traders take lunch, some short-term traders will stay at the desk as timing can be critical to a successful day.
1:00 PM
As investment banks and other major institutions return from lunch volatility in the markets increases and short-term traders get back to work. Long-term traders generally get back to analysis, risk management or strategy functions with only a cursory interest in the current market prices and volatility.
2:00 PM
Day traders will spend this time monitoring positions and executing trades as necessary. Long-term traders use this period in a variety of ways, as mentioned above.
3:00 PM
Short-term traders now think about closing existing positions and stop looking for new opportunities. This is also where the administrative functions of cancelling unfilled orders, or for long term traders, finalising analysis of the day and presenting it to stakeholders. This is the last chance to exit positions for the trading day.
4:00 PM
The markets are now closed. Traders often look back at the day, seeing what went well (and what didn’t). Management will often check in and with-it bureaucracy and paperwork.
5:00 PM
Time to leave the office and go home. The advent of mobile internet means most traders are now reading the latest financial news, following commentary and thinking about the strategy for tomorrow.
6:00 PM
If all went well arrive home, if not then its likely the trader will still be at the office working to meet the deadline of the day, from financial models to briefing management and clients.
7:00 PM
Outside of the general workday, traders will spend much of the evening doing research and analysis – everything from learning about the markets to experimenting with financial models to taking an advanced excel course.
Section 3 – Why you might want to be a stock trader
We meet a lot of traders, its what we do – and here are a few of the top reasons traders we spoke to continue to do what they do.
Love the Game
Many traders are extremely fond of the game that is the financial markets. Day traders talk about the rush as fast-paced action that runs from 8am to 4pm 5 days a week. The same holds true for long-term traders, and while lacking the constant adrenaline of day trading the highs of closing a trade that’s been on-going for months is just as great a feeling – the analogy one trader used was whereas day traders get Christmas every day, long-term traders get all of their Christmases at once, 4-5 times a year.
Financial Freedom
This is not just about the ability to make a living from trading and the financial markets, but from having the knowledge and understanding of the world of finance to make sound financial decisions, whether that be in deciding between a fixed or variable mortgage, or the best ways to allocate capital to save for school fees.
Intellectual Challenge
There is undoubtedly both an intellectual and an emotional challenge in trading successfully. While it is said that day traders trade emotion, long term portfolio managers trade on intellect and sound financial decision making.
Style & Expression
Traders all trade differently, from value investors to crypto speculators each trader develops a style and method of trading that fits their way of life and the perception they have of the world around them. If you are emotional in-tune with the wider world, then day trading can be exceptionally profitable. The same holds true for value investors like Warren Buffet, a trader who enjoys digesting and analysing reams of company reports to find what Buffet calls “Great companies at fair prices”.
This post has hopefully given you an understanding of the typical day in the life of a trader. If you feel your ready to take the next step towards a career in trading and finance, Horizon provides a comprehensive introductory course on Investing for Beginners.
submitted by hioim to StockMarket [link] [comments]

Mainfinex: The Panacea to the Future

Mainfinex: The Panacea to the Future


MAINFINEX offers a trusted exchange that crypto traders can use to make informed trades and participate in the cryptocurrency market. At the time of launch, MAINFINEX offers 15 different cryptocurrency pairs, all of which include USDT. The MAINFINEX cryptocurrency exchange offers something for every type of trader, regardless of experience level. Beginners will appreciate the intuitive interface and the fact that MAINFINEX uses Tradingview charts, which have numerous online tutorials for guidance. Advanced traders will appreciate the hundreds of drawing tools, the vast quantity of indicators, and high level of customization for charts.
Challenges faced by cryptocurrency exchanges today:
● Failure to apply global financial practices, and poor interface
● Large number of exchanges with little differentiation which complicates the choice of platform for operations
● Large number of unsuccessful traders losing money
● Pain points that are still there.

Our understanding of the needs of the key trading parties in digital exchanges comes down to the concept “Traders seek liquidity and investors need profitability.”
  1. Liquidity and profitability
A mechanism we could build in to solve the problems of traders and long-term investors based on the exchange policy related to
trading fees:
  • Flexible interest rate depending on the volume, thus reducing the trading fee. The more activity in a trading section, the cheaper it is for that section
  • Fees reduced in case of severe price deviation. To reduce volatility and slippage and thus increase liquidity, market-making traders creating liquidity will be charged at a lower rate. The increase in volumes triggered by the reduced fee in case of price deviation will help smoothen out volatility.
  1. Reliability
Traders bearing losses have a regressive fee scale depending on the volume of the loss. This mechanism serves to mitigate the consequences of unfavorable deals for a trader.
  1. Sustainability “Back to the battle” Traders who have lost money but made it to the daily TOP 100 based on the volume will receive tokens compensating all the fees they paid or part of the losses. This will help stimulate liquidity in the exchange and create best cryptocurrency market conditions for arbitrage funds. Such funds account for up 80% of transaction in fiat exchanges.
  2. Concept: gaming elements of the exchange, buttons, etc. “Titles and statuses” With the emergence of cryptocurrencies, the world of finance has been transformed. It has to be clear and relevant for our users since the key audience of the exchange is 25-38 years old. Which means they played DOOM 2 when they were school students (in 1994). Why can’t we give simple names to complex financial instruments? It was the stunts and dirty tricks that guys in suits from investment banks played that eventually caused the mortgage crisis. We have selected the most popular financial instruments that we can provide. They can be understood and activated in one click. We have chosen simple names for them:
● "Forecast”
This button activates an analytical indicator used by most profitable traders
● "Call for help”
Activates a trading robot that will close transactions for you based on algorithms. Trading robots will be provided by successful third party funds
● "Stop me”
Block trading activity for two days. This is a mechanism that successful traders recommend to newbies. Breaks in trading activity help increase the accuracy of decisions and overall profitability
● "Join the group”
This function lets the user transfer money to a pool of professional traders. Similar to PAMM accounts in forex companies
● “Saving up for retirement”
10% from each profitable transaction will be automatically transferred to the annual/call deposit. Many experienced traders who work for themselves do not care about savings because trading is a constant source of big income. Having such a long-term deposit is one of the key ways to ensure security and can even save a family in the bad times
● “Work for us”
Traders without substantial deposits but with free working hours can make money by performing important tasks for the exchange, like in Amazon Mechanical Turk
● “Vanity fair”
Most successful traders may share their divine trading strategies in a master class for traders, with payment in our tokens.
  1. To benefit from certain options like the trading robot or funds management, users will be required to perform specific actions, e.g.: Purchasing exchange tokens. Equivalent free options: e.g., reposting our news daily throughout a month, which will also help expand the user’s subscriber base.
  2. Purchasing liquidity from “mini exchanges”
A partner exchange that will provide liquidity for trading in our exchange or display our depth of market diagram on its website will receive all the relevant fees collected in our tokens. This is how this mechanism works. Mini exchanges have a permanent audience of traders creating liquidity but due to the small volumes, the mutual liquidity among the participants is low and transactions are infrequent. This is a case of “the chicken or the egg” problem. The more users there are, the more frequently the transactions occur between the same users. Accordingly, a mini exchange will be able to increase the volume of fees collected by 3-4 times by using this opportunity.
  1. IEO sale
A shopping cart with all kinds of tokens. Includes both potentially successful and unsuccessful coins that cannot afford to pay the listing fee on their own. We collect the entire pool in a cart and sell it as one portfolio at a greatly reduced price. This gives unsuccessful ICO projects an opportunity to return part of the invested funds. And the users buying such assets at a rate below the cost level have more chances of profiting from price growth. The higher risk of unsuccessful projects in the portfolio compensated by the low price and the potentially high profitability is the key incentive.
  1. Exchange Tutorial
Just like in complex computer games such as urban construction simulators or turn-based strategies, at the first stage the player is taught how to use the game’s functionalities before he starts playing it in the full mode. Finance and cryptocurrencies have never been simple. Every individual financial instrument is based on a complex concept. The simplicity of starting to trade cryptocurrencies and the lack of regulation in the market result in a situation when most traders lose their money and investments. The tutorial works the same simple way, providing prompts on the sequence of the steps in the exchange. We will cooperate with several financial regulators to improve this instrument in order to develop new instruments that will help mitigate the risk of losses for each individual trader. At the end, many of the regulators’ tasks come down to managing the consequences of the great financial gap between trading parties.

Information correct at time of going to type. For updated information, go to Mainfinex Exchange web platform (Mainfinex Exchange website).
Note: In the event of conflict between this information and the information on the Mainfinex Exchange Website, the information on the Mainfinex Exchange Website will prevail.
Here, I present to you Mainfinex- The Future of Cryptocurrency Exchange, Mainfinex!!!
Mainfinex Exchange website
Mainfinex Exchange WhitePaper
ETH Address: 0x49d576e54C78e17E4451E7eF9f1d9C8e55360661
Email Address: [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
submitted by Busganda to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

My First Year of Getting into Trading - Review

So, long time lurker of this subreddit, but only have posted once before. I'll get to that later.
First, I'd like to share my appreciation for this sub as a new beginner getting into trading. There's a lot of crap out there and it’s hard to sift through it. Not saying crap doesn't get posted here, but it's well modded. So thanks for that. This is a decent place to get grounded.
Intention of this post is info from one newb to other newbs getting started. The purpose of this post is more for information and factual stuff than advice. As a beginner some times just factual info can be the most help rather than advice. I’ll try to make this quick. Probably won’t be, I’m summarizing a year and 4wks here.
How I got started. I was listening to Jim Cramer on Mad Money while at work. Yea don’t laugh. I always wanted to trade stocks, but never really had the capital to do it. The idea of working from home and trading always appealed to me like it has to many others. Also, I was getting frustrated with my job, (still there by the way). Anyways, once I finished paying off all my school loans I started seriously looking in to trading. I’m 26 atm.
Quickly learned I still didn’t have the capital to trade stocks the way I wanted to. Living in the U.S. and subject to the pattern day trading rules I would need 25k. Which I don’t. Not sure where I found the info but looking for other ways to trade I discovered spot forex. Hey! And you don’t need 25k to trade like a mad man.
Quickly learned from multiple sources, seriously its everywhere, if doing FX you need to go through babypips. So 1 year ago at the beginning of March I started working my way through baby pips. Also, I opened up a practice account with Oanda at the same time of starting babypips. Being in U.S. the broker options are limited. I saw the big 3, Gain, FXCM, and Oanda. Gain had terrible reviews, FXCM already had a sketchy past, so I picked Oanda. But honestly they all have bad reviews, but I wanted to trade.
Took me about 2 months to work my way through baby pips course while trying every indicator under the sun on my practice account. Also discovered tradingview during this time. Best analysis center out there honestly. Now around my 3rd month I started to hit this wall ( this is a magical wall that re-appears throughout this endeavor whenever you finally think you’re getting somewhere) . Realizing that with all the crap and indicators on the screen and if I’m being honest with myself I haven’t got a clue what the crap I’m doing. I knew I needed to simplify things and stick with things that stuck out to me (you know what they say, find your edge). For me that was going to be MACD. It’s the one thing I thought I understood. Keyword “thought”. And only in the larger time frames 4hr + charts. I could clearly see divergence and convergence throughout the charts. And I could clearly see a shift in the trend after things like divergence. So my goal was to master the MACD.
It was brutal, but in some ways it worked for me. I could clearly see that an up or down trend was dying out on the daily or 4hr. charts. So when I thought the trend was almost over I would start taking reversal trades or what I thought were break outs of the trend. My practice account almost got murdered multiple times. But if I was convinced the trend was turning, I kept buying or selling more positions until it reversed (but sometimes it never turned and I just ended up cutting a huge loss). Now I’m getting close to 6 months of trading. I was up about 40% on my 100k practice account. Believe me, I understand I still didn’t have money management, and it was probably complete luck, and it was stupid trading with such a large practice account, but at this point in my mind I thought I was ready for the “next stage.”
Going live, some people suggest not going live until you have your strategy completely mastered. ( I didn’t) So naturally my sympathy’s fell with those who suggest after 3 months of positive trading you should start prepping yourself mentally with a small real account. By this time I had saved up $3k to throw into my live account with Oanda. And I told myself I was mentally prepared to completely lose all 3k (was I really? I don’t’ know). Why did I pick 3k as my start amount? To me it was just large enough that it would hurt if I lost it, and the potential wasn’t too small where if I was successful I would only be able to buy a happy meal from McDonalds.
So here I am, 6 months into trading with a live account. It started about as bad as one could expect for someone with no money management. I still didn’t know how to take profit with targets. It’s like I took a stupid pill right before trading live. Cause not only did I not trade divergence all the time, I started taking trades from others on tradingview. Hence my first post on this reddit which I got railed for copying another persons trade. I had to take break for like 2 weeks after that to recoup my mind. I lost about 25% or more of my account. Started taking money management seriously at this point. Started reading up on it, started taking calculated trades with risking only 2% of my account. Those first 2 weeks were necessary for me to grasp money management. Believe me I read all about money management, I even understood it for the most part, but I didn’t really utilize it till I took that hit on my account. Reading is not the same as experiencing.
Now things started to work out for me again. I went back to searching for divergent trades, my trades. But I also started looking for others on trading view who traded just divergence. This helped, especially when it came to spotting trades you agreed on. I didn’t just follow the highest rated traders, I followed those who were trading similar to my style. Now, believe me, I still suck at trading at this point, but my money management still allowed me to recover my account, and even gain on it. But I was break-even trader 9-10 months in with my bad trading.
Now this is going to be the part that I never thought I would do, especially since its frowned on in general by this group. But I paid for a trading course, well more like to join a permanent trading group who trains you. (I’m not recommending this) I won’t say who or what the group is. This is just factual information. Yes I paid 2.5k to join a group. So don’t ask who the group is. I’m not writing all this just so the mods delete it as a promotion. But through trading view I found someone whose charts I liked a lot and got in contact with him. Our trading styles were similar and he peaked my interest and was nice when I contacted him and I wanted to learn more faster. So like I said, I found someone whose trading style I associated with. Your style maybe completely different and probably is. So finding a group who doesn’t trade like you would be a complete waste of time. And what do I think of my experience in a trading group? I refrained from live trading during these several weeks of training. I wasn’t the only student. In general we had 1 week of lessons, then split into a small groups for 2 weeks of 1 on 1 trading with a senior trader. Rinse and repeat for a couple of weeks that was my training. All in all, it wasn’t all I expected and yet it was more than I could have expected. I did learn new techniques that I believe help me, but I only finished 2 weeks ago.
So all in all its been 1 year and 4 wks since I started trading. I haven’t made globs of money in a short time. And I’m still not as good as the senior traders in our group. I still maintain a full time job because it’s necessary for me at this point. I was waking up at 4:30am in the morning just so I could attend these training sessions. And trade before and after work, and have reduced my work hours from 50+hrs a week down to just 40 hrs so I have more time to trade. I hope one day to quit my job so I can trade full time. Anyways that’s my first year of trading in a nutshell. Going into my second year. If you would like me to update again at the beginning of my 3rd year give it a thumbs up. God Bless.
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[Table] IAmA: I make $5,000+ per month with Google's Adsense program - AMAA

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Date: 2012-04-16
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I have $500, I'm also a web developer with all the skills required to do this. I still don't see how you can make money off them? Would the plan be to buy up 1 to start, customise it maybe give it a refresh, fiddle with the SEO then leave it for a month and try to see returns of the $500? Or would it be considerably less? Would the ROI be $500 over 3 months? Whats your usual ROI? For the sites I sell on Flippa (quality, aged, established traffic/earnings) You can expect to buy the site for 30x monthly earnings.
How Do you buy a website that has already got an owner? Is there a website market? Do you approach them? You can email them and offer to buy there website.
Thanks for the fast reply, so the ROI is fairly low... I don't see how you can make money this way without somehow getting 30x more traffic to offset the bad earnings. What's the usual strategy when you buy one of these things? Tweak the ad placement/units, mess around with layouts, tweak SEO.
A 2.5 year return on investment isn't bad at all.
I am not sure why you got downvoted, but I think this will be interesting! If I were to get into something like this, how would I start? Thanks If you have $500-$1000 to jump in with, I'd suggest buying some site so that you throw yourself into the deep end. Start looking through sites at Since they are established websites for sale, they will be disclosing EVERYTHING. Earnings, traffic, how they get the traffic, etc. These are great examples to get you in the mindset of a web entrepreneur.
I've visited Flippa many times, most of the sites that claim to be making money with the classic "I'm focusing on other projects which is why I want to sell" seem like complete BS to me. Aren't the only people making money the guys selling the sites? Not true at all. I actually sold off my inventory of 40+ sites because I'm literally too busy with other projects. The people who bought my websites are now enjoying the cash-flow that I used to have.
Also, there's pretty much no such thing as a "Set/Forget" website that makes you money. Everything needs some level of maintenance, and every site has the potential to stop making money overnight if google changes it's logarithm.
I'm not very familiar with all of this but it does look interesting. Can you break down what exactly it is you're doing? How are you earning money from this? So you buy up websites, place ads on the sites, and get money from the traffic? Am I getting this right? Spot on!
I looked briefly at one of your links and you said that you work around 40-50 hours a week. My hours fluctuate considerably. Some weeks are 10, some weeks are 50.
Is this something I could do on my spare time if I just wanted a little supplemental income? Can I just do 1-3 websites and monitor them occasionally? Is it a situation where unless you spend a lot of time and money on it, you won't see results? I started my business part time while I was a full-time student with another part-time job. You can easily start up with 10 hours a week. Just depends on how big you want to go with it.
Will you be my dad? I'm probably the same age as you but I think we can make it work. That depends. How hot is your mom? And do I get to have sex with her?
Another internet marketer here - congrats on your success bro. :) I never mess around with search or anything SEO related because I feel like it's too unreliable to rely on Google's (constantly changing) SEO algorithm. Just last month, thousands of people lost their entire income through that BMR debacle. Do you think you'll be able to keep up your income forever? SEO can be unreliable if you are trying to cheat the system. I pretty much follow Google's golden rule of creating quality content for the user, and they have had my back so far with every update.
Can I have $200? What are you going to do to earn it?
Do you have a background in graphic/web design? What niches did you find that pay the best and what the worst? How much traffic do you get a month? How do you market the site and generate traffic? SEO, social media, PPC, etc? Approximately how many hours do you put into the site a week and how long has the site been around? Do you need any additional help? If so would you be open to a possible partnership? No, I actually studied Construction Management in college. - Best paying is like forex, mortgages, foreclosures, mesothilioma (sp?) etc. Worst are education, kids stuff, etc. But it doesn't matter what the niche is, you can still make money in any. And the higher-paying niches have MUCH more competition. - I get over a million visits a month. - SEO, Social Media, no PPC. The sites I buy, I do no marketing since they are already getting traffic. - My main site has been around 6 years. I probably put 10-30 hours a week into it. - Not interested in partnerships. I've got a few employees but don't need anymore.
I own ...there must be a way to monitize that. Any thoughts? Probably sell it. I'm sure someone will pay a small fortune for it..
I make around $450-$500 a month off two sports forums. Forums are better to get more user generated content. It's usually lower quality, but you get it for free. Forums are also typically harder to monetize because forum browsers know not to click on the adsense units.
Are forums or blogs better for adsense earning? Should I concentrate on bringing in more posters to the forum, or more readers to the blog? Blogs can be tough because you have to do ALL the writing, however you can have higher quality content and probably more clicks since blog readers aren't quite as internet savvy as the interactive forum users.
Fuck dude, did I read that right? One hundred thousand pages of unique content? How much content constitutes a page, on average? Are we talking several hundred word articles? I can hardly think of any sites that approach that size, except social networking sites or forums. Did you create or something? Reddit probably has several million pages of content. Many of the pages are forum threads. Not all the highest quality content.
If I were to buy a site from flippa, for example one of yours (to make things easy), what happens after I 'win' the bid? I get the domainname, the site, the hosting? Do I just need to replace your adsense-ID (and/or others) with mine, or do I have to place them manually? Exactly. You can just replace the adsense ID with yours. You'll have to get your own hosting account, but that is relatively easy. I don't currently have any sites for sale though.
Be sure to look through Flippa for a while to get a feel for what is out there. There's a lot of junk, so it might take a while to find a diamond in the rough.
I'm kinda hesitant about buying one in the first place, I kinda read these horror stories about G banning these sites after the transfer was complete. Just make sure you aren't buying some crappy site. Look for history of traffic/earnings.
How can you tell if they post legit traffic and earnings information? They could pad their stats a lot or a little, or the info could be legit -- but inflated because the owner buys traffic through Adwords, etc. You can ask for access to their Google Analytics account. You can't fake that.
Is that what you usually do when buying a site? Can you describe your due diligence when purchasing? I researched site flipping, domaining, affiliate marketing etc etc ad nauseum a few years ago, but I didn't want to just throw my money away. There's a lot of devil in the details. Also, use,,, to verify that their site actually gets traffic.
Would you mind to give detailed practical tips to earn a 10th of what you earn? I understand the whole process might be complex, but I am sure there are certain tricks or considerations you could share. Finding a nice niche is the main thing as it appear... What cms do you use? -Where do you host your websites? vps, dedicated server? -Do you consider it "easy" to make a couple hundred a month? I am a computer science student, and I feel comfortable with administering servers, cms and programming. I've been thinking for a long time to start some useful website that could bring me some earnings, and I have a couple of ideas. But when I search for something like what I want to create, it seems everything is already invented, and I am late. One of my "brightest" idea, was to copy the concept of some rather simple foreign website which I liked and create the "spanish" version. What kind of website do you recommend? (forum, social website, a kind of wiki) I prefer Wordpress for sites where I'm writing the content. - You can use any host. If you aren't a high traffic site, then anything will do. - It really depends how you spend your time. - Forums are easy to set up, and once you have a userbase established, they typically grow over time. You don't have to do all the content for forums as well.
People actually click the advertisements on websites? What the hell..... Seriously! Just watch some internet newb surf the net. Literally ask them to google something, and stand behind them silently as they try to figure it out.
What's the advantage to doing this rather than say, buying domains that are typos of other major sites and putting a shit load of ads on them? You aren't really creating any value in the internet by doing that.
My Adsense account has been disabled due to "false clicks" or however they put it. I never clicked on ads myself, and asked for proof, but they have never responded nor have they ever reinstated my account. Have you ever had this issue, and if so, how did you solve it? Create a corporation, get an EIN and use that to sign up again. Or sign up as a friend/relative.
Where do you find outsourcers to write content for your lessor properties? Do you do any SEO at all to your sites or just hope for the best by having great content? Are you a BHW regular at all? I find contractors through ODesk. Some are crap, but sometimes you do find a diamond in the rough. I also don't do much content creation at all.
I do basic SEO things, but other than that I hope for the best with great content.
Don't know what BHW is.
How do you feel about flash game portals? I've owned one for a few years, only spent 2 days making it, and haven't advertised it since. It's only making $5-10 a month, but I've been thinking about upgrading it lately and advertising again. Worth it? Tips? Don't have much experience, but I know that flash games portals typically have low-quality traffic. Unless you are seeing huge traffic numbers, the traffic probably isn't worth a terrible amount.
Did you buy any cool "toys" with your earnings? 2000 BMW M5.
And the rest just sex toys.
I know the best way of getting into it is to jump head first, but what all is required for the maintenance? I'm sorry i'm totally ignorant to how this works but is it programming (more so what language i think it would be html?)? Or do you just alter the info of the website. I've answered this several other places. I'll probably add an FAQ to the body of the post.
Do people ever buy specialty retail sites on Flippa? Or would they only be interested on autonomous ones (drop shipping, etc)? What is the value rate on such sites? All types of sites are sold on flippa. No idea what the value rate is for those.
Can a brotha get a loan? Try or if you are seriously interested in getting a hard money personal loan.
Did you just make this to piss off $500 a month guy? Hahaha, yes, that is what inspired me to do this today. Although I'm not making it up.
How to best estimate what to pay for a website? I found some abandoned websites that I would like to buy, both without analytics and without adsense, but with great content. How to decide what to offer the current owner? Use,,,, etc. to estimate traffic then go from there.
So do you just sit at home and make a shit ton of money? please teach me? It is my full time job. Read this thread - there's a lot of info I and others have been sharing.
What is adsense? Google "Adsense"
I apologize if someone has asked this already, but how many unique visitors do you get a month on your main site? Over a million.
I'm going to manage an affiliate program soon. Do you know of any good books with email templates? I'm looking for ideas for contacting potential affiliates. Any information on managing affiliates would be great. I'm in NV also. I don't read any books. Too short of an attention span. When you contact potential affiliates, make sure that you are offering them value and have a customized email. I get emails for affiliate programs all the time and just ignore them because they are either recycled letters or don't fit my site at all.
NV rocks for business!
I've been interested in creating a site about something I am interested in. The only problem is that since I am interested in it, I've found many online resources that pretty much suffice. Is it worth making an online resource (for say, a hobby/sport) when there might already be some decent but not prevalent info out there? Definitely, especially if you can do it better than the other sites. There are 10 google positions on the first page, so even if you have competition, you can still nudge your way in. Also, there are billions of search terms that people use to find different stuff...
Hopefully I didn't get here too late. I could put about $3000 towards a site. How much traffic do you think an average $3000 site would generate and how much would you expect to make monthly doing the things you've suggested in this thread? If you bought a quality site for $3000, you could probably be looking at a starting cash flow of ~$100 a month. You could probably increase it, but there are too many variables so it really depends on what you buy.
What about if you made a domain that was the same as another other than the extension? Ie. "" exists but sucks balls and is out of date. Would "" still be a good idea? You'd probably run into some legality issues there. I'd start with a different name and then try to blow them out of the water. Will take time though.
All right, I'll bite. I'm a graphic/web designer with far more coding experience than I'd like, and in that same vein I've ended up spending a good chunk of my time on SEO/staring at traffic graphics. How easy would it be for me to buy a site, flip it, and start earning money? Given that you already have the skills, pretty good. My strategy was never to buy/flip. It was always to buy/hold, but eventually I decided to change that strategy to just holding onto one site.
Is there any particular industry I should be looking at for this venture? Or is it just "pick whichever site looks promising?" This wouldn't be something I'd want to focus on full-time, but I'm a freelance designer so I would be able to allot hours to work on it between projects as needed. What does typical maintenance work look like for you? Pick something that looks promising, and also something that interests you at least somewhat.
What do you have to learn in order to start out doing this. Like, which books, websites should one read/study? I just jumped in head first. Learned along the way.
I never read books. Just figure stuff out as you go along - Googling things works best.
Could you explain what affiliate links are? For example, a link to a product on amazon with my Affiliate ID on it. If you click it, and then buy that product, I get a commission.
Could you please draw and post an image of how you have your google ads placed around / inside the content. Also, what link color schemes do you find works best? Color schemes that match the site are best. I typically put my adsense units in the top left, above or in the middle of the content.
I have an established (10 years) useful user-generated content site that gets ok traffic (1500 uniques a day) but only generates 800-1000 a month between AdSense and TextLinkAds. I've had no luck whatsoever with Affiliate programs, very few clicks and no sales at all, with thousands of views. Any advice to increase my earnings? Take a look at the FAQ. I don't give personalized advice. I've already answered questions like this all throughout the thread.
Are you, by chance, a local mom? Hahaha, nope. I see those scammy biz opp ads all the time too. Freaking gives making money on the internet a bad name.
Can you give an estimated "$/pageview" on some of the sites you've had ? :) All over the board. Sometimes a fraction of a cent, sometimes 10 cents.
Do you need to live in NV to have an S-Corp in NV? You should be a resident or else it might look suspicious.
Wait, isn't it against the Adsense TOS to say how much you've made? Already answered this a dozen times.
Do you actually make/work on/improve sites you own (other than your blog) to make money or just buy sites that are already making money? Yes, I work on my own site.
Spare change? Can you do a dance for me?
How do you actually make money though? Sorry i just wasn't sure by what you wrote on your blog/ Google "Adsense"
Are you a single mom that earns $5,000 a day from Google? Stay at home mom.
So every once in a while someone comes along and says "hurr durr guys I make X thousand dollars / month off ads". "Invest Y thousand dollars and get 50% return within months!" How full of shit is this on a scale of bullshit to horseshit? I don't see where I said anything about investing...
I didn't say you did. I'm not sure I understand what you are asking then.
Other than buying a site, are there other significant costs involved in getting started right away? Time!
How do you get a website to the top of the google results? SEO.
Can I get my friend to write me a script or code for this? Not sure if troll Or just extremely lazy.
Would I be able to sell my site, for anything? Getting tired of the game. It has a sponsorship from the creators of the game for weekly tournament prizes if that increases the value. Check the FAQ. I don't offer personalized advice. You could try listing it on Flippa.
Alright, well are the sites that claim to value it accurate at all? Hit or miss. Sometimes they get lucky and happen to be correct, but otherwise are pretty outlandish.
These are almost as bad as the "what you need, when you need it" spam sites. Thanks for polluting the Internet with your shitty web sites. That is not at all what I do. I actually run a very helpful online community. My success is partly attributed to the fact that my site is extremely helpful for people.
You may be able to fool some people with that description, but it's a load of crap. These sites are, in your own words, "hands-off" and "auto-pilot". I'm willing to bet the content of most of those sites have changed very little, if at all, over the years. How does that make it low content?
Have you ever thought of of shoring yourself and your employees to increase profit, there is some great talent out there in parts of the world where the average wage is significantly lower than the US. I've used some overseas contractors with limited success. I do business primarily in the US, so going overseas would just complicate things in terms of taxes.
He got downvoted because he's a parasite. It is SEO at its basest, simply there to make ad revenue. Microsites provide nothing of value. I don't have any microsites. Thanks though.
Um, you might want to watch out. It's against the TOS to post your adsense earnings, and with those exact figures it's fairly easy for them to trace it back to you.. Last thing you'd want is your adsense account blocked because of this :) Do some more research. You can't post more details like the click-through rates, etc. It is perfectly fine to share your total earning dollar amounts.
As a 14 year old, AdSense is also my main source of income. I'm pretty sure they don't want us to disclose how much we make, but it's great that someone my age can make money on the internet. I get it through YouTube, personally, but it still pays with AdSense. Nice man! Its great to see kids doing something productive! Don't let it get to your head though. Stay in school. Enjoy your young age.
I don't mean to be a party pooper, but 3 friends of mine were making $20-30k/mo on adsense per month, one day Google changed their rules and they are now ruined. Just be prepared, don't count on this success for life, and save money. Thanks, but Adsense only accounts for about 20% of my income. I'm also not doing anything sketchy or against the rules, so I'm not too worried about it.
Looks good man. I was making $2k a month up until 2 months ago when my adsense got banned. Some guys who I had a bad business deal with decided to sit there for hours and click my ads over and over. This turned into google thinking that I was cheating the system and banning me :( Sucks! Try signing up again under a different EIN.
How do you build sites with user generated content. Perhaps give us an example, real or made up. The tools you liked are good for proving and tweaking, but making something that generates its own content seems difficult, and key to the process.
I'm currently making ~$400 in a small niche where I have the #1 position. Any advice on scaling (general advice) in an attempt to get rich like a playyaaaaaaaaa. Rank #1 for more keywords! Go broader.
Congrats srnc! I'm very pleased for you. I wish I was pulling in that kind of revenue. I have a site that does about $10 a day with a .23 click rate. If I could get that up to 5% I'd (theoretically) be doing $200 a day. But I've tried everything and it's just not an Adsense type of site I guess.. The only advice I have is to move your adsense unit around, try different sizes and different colors.
Man, I have tried everything, including compete site redesign. This is a site I developed myself, so changing look and feel isn't easy.... I just don't think it's an Adsense site.... Might not be. Try some CPA offers or affiliate promotions?
I think you broke Google's Terms of Service by telling us all this. Nope. Look more closely. You can't share some of the finer details... clicks, impressions, CTR, CPM, etc.
In before the next dot-com bubble bursts. Hurry! Why do you think I'm selling everything?
there was spam, now there is googleadsense, and a labyrinthine expanse of well-indexed garbage websites that clutter the google results. Using google now is like wading through a septic tank filled with liquid waste and floating shit so that parasites like 'srnc' can have their little payday. Not at all true. My main site is an authority site because it has been providing quality content to visitors for years.
'Quality content' produced by others, for you to exploit and parasitize. Someone is a little jealous!
Is reddit exploiting and parasitizing the content you create for them?
Sorry mate, you've already described your modus operandi in how you acquire these websites and set them up as cashcows/google clutter. There is no real contribution that you make, or any added value to be found in your net activities. You're basically the equivalent of a spam-sheister. Again, jealousy/ignorance coming through. You have no idea what I do and are just upset that I make more than you do.
Money for nothin' and chicks for free. False on both counts.
Nice try, google ad. = . = I can't imagine that Google is trying to spam Reddit...
I make you zero money by blocking ads. Ask me how! Oh fuck you, just use adblock plus. Thanks. Glad that not many people have that. However my affiliate links which make the bulk of my money are never blocked by your addon! Muhuhahahaha.
Commenting to come back later cause im stuck at work, and want to learn how to make 5 grand a month doing this shit. Cool. Be sure to read through this thread. Already answered a LOT of questions.
Keep working at it. Join us at the 4-5 figure daily profit club. It's pretty damn nice. Think more affiliate related stuff for expansion. Thanks man! I want to hit 1M/year soon.
Could you go into more detail concerning the SEO work. This seems like the most important and time consuming aspect of making a website get the traffic it needs. I just do basic SEO stuff with my main site. Keywords in the title, fresh content linked to from the home page, etc.
Last updated: 2012-04-20 22:59 UTC
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