Into the Cryptoverse is a weekly Breach series that documents the stories of everyday people as they navigate the cryptoverse.
Crypto wasn’t this subject’s first stop. Between 2016 and 2020, he traded forex at his job. Unfortunately, he ended up in debt. A search for a fresh start led him to a new job, then to crypto. What’s happened since then? Well, he’s sorted out his biggest trouble — paying off his debt.
Read more about his motivations and strategies below.
Where do you think is the best place to start?
2021. But the events that led to my crypto adoption started six years earlier. In 2015, I lost my dad and suddenly felt responsible for myself and my five siblings. I was 15 years old.
I’m sorry about your dad.
It’s all right. I left home in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria and moved to Sokoto, a town in Northern Nigeria. There, I found work as a salesman — the job was to sell bags of popcorn. The thing is, I lived on commissions, making ₦200 (~$0.3) on every bag I sold. On average, I was making between ₦3500 (~$6) and ₦4000 (~$7) per day.
That must have been a lot of bags.
It was. But the money was barely enough to cover anything. Maybe it would have been enough if it was just me but I had a family to worry about.
One day, a friend mentioned forex trading during a conversation, and while I didn’t have much context, I found myself wanting to learn more about it. The guy was calling big figures, and I was a fan of big figures.
Haha. That’s honest.
This was my first encounter with the financial markets. Subsequently, I researched forex trading for a year and after hundreds of hours of consistent learning, I felt comfortable entering the forex space.
How did this happen?
I got a job as a forex analyst, managing some accounts at work and getting 20% of the profit I made on trades. However, only 5% came to me. The remaining 15% went into a risk account for six months — insurance against trades that might go bad.
I was at the job until 2020. Then things took a sad turn.
Everything crashed when the pandemic started. To make things worse, I messed up some trades and lost investors’ money — about ₦1.7m ($2800). The money in my risk account wasn’t enough to clear it. Like that, I was in debt.
In March of 2020, I returned to Abuja to get a break and figure out how to pay back the money I owed. It took me 10 months before I found another job — a support staff at an affiliate marketing company — and that’s how crypto came into the mix.
Tell me more.
My colleagues were always talking about cryptocurrencies and their trading activities. I got the basics just from listening to their conversations.
What did you think crypto could do for you?
It was new to me, but I felt like it was an opportunity for me to bet on the future. People were already turning to it as a means of payment and store of value, so it made sense.
What were the first steps you took after this?
I bought Shiba Inu because the signals showed that it was on the come up. I’m not sure how much it was anymore, but I put $90 in it. It blew up a couple of months later, and my investment grew to $413. One major lesson I learned from my forex trading days was taking profits. I took everything and left $50. Gradually, I moved into other coins.
The next major step was learning how to trade. During church service on a Sunday, I met a young man looking at crypto charts. I struck up a conversation with him and gave him a rundown of the coins I was holding. You know, just trying to get his perspective. We exchanged numbers and had a series of conversations. He knew more about crypto and was gracious enough to show me a couple of things. That’s how I learned about a trading strategy called scalping.
It’s this thing traders do to make a profit from small price changes. The idea is that little profits add up over time. That said, you need some level of technical analysis to pull it off. Thankfully, I had learned that from trading forex, so I didn’t have to start at the basics.
On the side, I was a mini-vendor using Peer-to-Peer features on centralised exchanges like Binance to trade crypto. This was also about price movements — buy when it’s low and sell when it’s high.
Where would you rank your crypto knowledge at this time?
Definitely intermediate level. I’d gone from learning about cryptocurrencies and their use cases to comfortably buying and selling coins to understanding the blockchain and Web3 world.
Fair enough. What happened after?
Trying my hands at futures trading — you enter a trade with more money than you have and bet on or against the volatility of the crypto market.
My first trade was with a token called Gala. I opened the trade with $10 and made a 38% profit. This was May 2021.
How did you know what trades to enter?
I looked at the market conditions first. I used a strategy called the 200-day moving average — it’s used to figure out the overall trends in the market. It’s pretty much a line on a chart that shows the basic directional bias of the market and the average price of a cryptocurrency over the past 200 days.
This helped me decide on whether to short or long a cryptocurrency. I was mostly shorting bitcoin during this time. My forex experience taught me that it’s easier to focus on one asset and milk it for as long as you can.
How did this work out?
I made a profit on 80% of my trades during that period. That said, my capital was $600 and I typically used $10 on each trade. On average, my profit on most trade was 70% of the amount I put in, which translated to $7. I was fine with it because I was consistently making a profit. I didn’t want to be too aggressive on the market. I learnt not to do that when I blew ₦1.7m ($2800) on a forex trade. Something like that leaves a lasting impression on you.
For the most part, I was more interested in holding crypto assets. By the end of 2021, I had bought Shiba, Gala, Alpaca, Tron, Ripple, some Bitcoin and Ethereum. There were some shitcoins as well.
Of course, not all of them survived. But I made profits on the ones that did. Shiba gave me the most profit, and I made about 30x on my initial investment.
Interesting. It looks like everything was going well.
Well, not everything. There was this project I got into because of something I saw on Telegram. Some guys were talking about pumping a coin called DEACON. This is how it works: they were going to buy large quantities of the coin to drive up the demand and price.
I got into it with $24 and within a day, the price had gone way up. I wanted to take my profits as usual but I discovered that the project was locked. Only the developers could move money out. Before the following day was over, they had wiped the entire project and money off the face of the earth.
That’s a rug pull, isn’t it?
Yes, it is.
How do things like this affect your psyche?
I don’t put the money I can’t afford to lose into projects I’m not sure about. If it goes wrong, I just take my mind off it and chalk it down to the dark side of crypto. These things happen.
Fair enough. Let’s talk about 2022.
Remember the guy I met in church who taught me the basics of trading crypto? It turns out that he was also building a blockchain company, and he brought me on board. We’ve been collaborating on projects and making sure they run smoothly. I’ve been more invested in these since the beginning of the year, but I’m also keeping an eye on my crypto assets.
Speaking of, there’s a dip in the market at the moment. How are you navigating this?
Well, I’ve staked the assets I can stake. Think of staking as a fixed-deposit instrument offered by banks. In the crypto market, it’s a process where you lock your assets in a network and earn interest on it.
Why do you think staking is the best bet for you?
I don’t think I have anything to lose. While the market is doing whatever it likes, I’ve put my assets to work and made returns on them. And I’ll make sure that the market is stable before I get my assets out.
What happens if the dip goes on for a long time. Let’s say a year or two.
This comes down to decision-making. If you decide to take your assets out before the market recovers, it’s on you. For me, I don’t think this will happen unless I have a need for money — like, I’m dealing with a big emergency. Other than this, I’m willing to wait for as long as I need to.
Random. How would you describe your relationship with crypto between the past year and now?
I’m best friends with crypto. I would have missed out on a lot if I had given in to the initial scepticism. It’s very safe to say that my relationship with it has evolved into a lifestyle. I mean, I’ve cleared my $2800 debt within the past year. I’d probably still be deep in debt and struggling with multi-level marketing gigs if I hadn’t given it a chance.
How else has crypto changed your life?
Investing in real estate. Land banking investments, to be specific. I buy and hold on to pieces of land. The plan is to flip them for a profit when the time is right. I’ve been doing this with the money I make from crypto.
Must be nice. Now, what do you find annoying about crypto?
Transactions are irreversible. If you send assets to the wrong address or network, your funds are gone. That’s probably one of the biggest advantages traditional financial systems have over crypto at the moment — they can at least try to help you recover your funds.
There’s no support like that in crypto. It’s just you and your crypto education. I don’t imagine there will be a fix for this. The blockchain is decentralised, so we’ll just have to live with it.
Last question, what’s your biggest crypto regret?
I didn’t invest in bitcoin when I first heard about it.
Why didn’t you?
I didn’t trust the source of the message. It was an alcoholic.
I have so many questions.
That’s all, to be honest. It’s not important anymore.