Investing requires an ability to see the truth of what is happening and not be trapped by a belief that supports your positions. It’s essential to not get trapped into thinking how things “should” be.
Ian King is a prominent cryptocurrency trader and entrepreneur, with over two decades of experience in trading and analyzing the financial markets. His passion for the cryptoasset market is why he’s one of Investopedia’s top contributors on the subject — and why he created an innovative program to help everyday investors navigate the likes of bitcoin, ripple, litecoin, monero and other cryptoassets.
He started out as a desk clerk at Salomon Brothers’ famed mortgage bond trading department, then moved on to credit derivatives at Citigroup. From there, he spent a decade trading options as head trader at Peahi Capital, a New York-based hedge fund.
In 2017, he came to Banyan Hill Publishing to help readers get ahead of the burgeoning crypto market. He is now a weekly contributor to Banyan Hill’s Sovereign Investor Daily — keeping readers apprised of the latest crypto developments.
He also heads Banyan Hill Publishing’s popular crypto investment advisory, Crypto Profit Trader.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day always starts with a quick check on the news, followed by coffee and either some exercise or a walk in the park with the dog. It starts my day off right. I find that physical exercise clears my head and allows more room for idea generation — and that helps me be more productive.
Then I will read through the crypto news and go over a list of charts to see how the asset class is performing.
For the most part, the rest of my day is spent researching new crypto ideas for my newsletter service, Crypto Profit Trader, as well as handling pertinent customer questions.
I tend to devote a lot of time to my crypto market research so I’m always on top of recent trends and able to answer any reader questions as they come up.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring my trade recommendations to life through hours of extensive research and a systematic process of identifying the best crypto ideas.
When analyzing a possible trade, I want to first understand whether or not there is a real-world problem that the crypto asset is trying to solve. Specifically, is this a problem that can be solved with a decentralized autonomous network?
Next, I’ll do a deep dive into the team behind the crypto project, reaching out to them directly via my own personal crypto network. You can’t trust the protocol before you trust the developers behind the idea.
Then I’ll look at the issuance of the crypto asset: Is there scarcity value or will supply deflate away potential returns?
Finally, I look into the technicals. Crypto assets are extremely speculative with very little intrinsic value (if any at all). This places more importance on a disciplined buy and sell approach that tracks support and resistance levels. Technical analysis isn’t predictive, but it’s informative and can help with the decision-making process.
Once I’ve identified a valuable trading idea, it’s now time to work with my team to write up this recommendation for my readers.
Then I get to see that idea come to life as my readers invest and profit from it.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
One trend that really gets me going — and is the driving force behind my Crypto Profit Trader service — is the development of the blockchain. This new technology continues the rapid progression of the “information tevolution” … and it’s just beginning.
You see, every 10 years, a new technology arrives that changes civilization for the better and creates tremendous wealth for investors.
In the ‘70s, mainframe computing allowed for bulk data processing. In the ‘80s, personal computers allowed corporations and consumers to run these applications. In the ‘90s, the rise of the internet democratized information. In the 2000s, we started sharing that information with “friends” on social media. And now, in the 2010s, blockchain and other crypto assets permit anyone, anywhere in the world, to transfer something of digital value without the need for an intermediary.
Bitcoin is one such form. However, the bigger picture here is the rise of a whole new crypto asset class that investors are just beginning to discover.
This dispersion of capital among new crypto asset ventures is just beginning, as newly minted bitcoin millionaires reinvest their crypto fortunes, and a fresh wave of entrepreneurs look to capitalize on the current rush of capital.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My most productive habit is making a list of things that need to get done that day and then checking them off as the day progresses. I’m not a process-driven person, so keeping tabs on the tasks at hand is essential for me to accomplish tasks in a steady rhythm. I’m also the type of person who gets easily distracted by new ideas. So when I’m working, finding a quiet place with noise-canceling headphones and classical music is key.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I wouldn’t specifically qualify any job as the “worst” because every challenge or hardship has been a building block for future success. Some jobs have been more humbling than others, but all have been great learning experiences.
My most difficult job was as a desk clerk on the mortgage-bond trading desk at Salomon Brothers. At the time, Salomon mortgage trading was the cream of the crop on Wall Street, and the desk clerks supported these traders by verifying trades with brokers and monitoring positions and hedges. I studied psychology in college and didn’t know much about finance, so everything was brand-new, and the learning curve was really steep.
Additionally, the commute was 90 minutes each way. I would wake up every morning at 4:15 a.m. to catch the 4:45 a.m. bus to get to the office before 6:30 a.m.
I usually returned home at night around 7:30 p.m. and went straight to bed.
Those were very long hours on the bus, but it also gave me time to read as much research as possible and get up to speed with the markets.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t do much differently. I’m comfortable with who I am now and this is a direct result of my wealth of experiences. If I had to change anything, I would have only stayed in college for two years then spent another two years traveling the world. Traveling and meeting people from all walks of life is an invaluable lesson that teaches empathy.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I would recommend that investors try to consistently figure out why their thinking could be wrong. Most investors have a cognitive bias to new information: If they’re long, they want to believe that all news is good news. And if they’re short, all news is bad news.
Investing requires setting aside those beliefs and thinking objectively.
It requires an ability to see the truth of what is happening and not be trapped by a belief that supports your positions. It’s essential to not get trapped into thinking how things “should” be.
An intelligent investor will see them as they are.
I believe that idea helps me enormously as I research my trade recommendations. I always put them through that cognitive bias test.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
One strategy that’s always helped me grow any business is understanding who the customer is, what they want and how I can deliver something of value in a way that no one else is doing.
Many investors want to invest in cryptocurrencies, but it’s not as easy as logging on to your stock-trading platform and buying bitcoin.
There are different exchanges, different assets and different ways of storing your coins.
With the help of Investopedia and Banyan Hill Publishing, I was able to produce a couple of simple courses that take new crypto investors from step A to step Z. Meanwhile, all the complexity of the crypto asset market is laid out in a way that’s palatable for the average investor.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Developing an investing process requires failing and then learning from this experience to figure out how you can improve your process.
Investing is a visceral experience. You can read as many books as you want about it, but you don’t really know how to make the right decisions until you’ve done it over and over again.
I was fortunate in my career to fail early. For each of my trading failures, I learned how to think a little differently or operate in a way that would protect me from losses the next time around.
One of the things that worries me about crypto investors is that none of them have been through a really bad bear market.
A bear market is bad for both bulls and bears, as the market never goes straight down. It will plunge lower, then bounce up, squeezing out shorts and giving the bulls a brief sense of optimism before plunging lower again.
Since my failures have helped me ultimately succeed, I think it might be important for crypto investors to also see some failures in their investments. That way, they can learn how to play the market and react to changes in the best way possible.
Of course, I limit any trading failures in my crypto recommendations, but it’s still something to keep in mind.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Build a business that helps retrain workers with technical skills.
In the next decade, artificial intelligence will cause massive disruptions in our workforce and these structural problems can only be alleviated if we retrain workers to participate in this new economy.
For instance, right now we have 3 million truck drivers who will be replaced practically overnight with autonomous trucks.
If we are to survive as a country, we will need to find a way to retrain workers to participate in this new economy where robots and algorithms can make better decisions and handle tasks better than a human.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought myself a kindle and now have no excuse not to take a book with me wherever I go. Warren Buffett says: “The best investment you can make is an investment in yourself.” I completely agree with him.
My bookshelf is stuffed with hundreds of books, and I believe reading anything and everything has given me an edge in my career over other investors.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
In the crypto markets, I could not live without tradingview.com.
This platform allows investors to chart hundreds of cryptocurrencies as well as write scripts to filter out momentum ideas.
It’s one of the main tools I use when creating my trade recommendations because it helps me sort and crystalize crypto trends.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Sapiens: A Brief history of Humankind” by Yuval Harari. This is a page-turner on human history. It argues that we have risen to the top of the food chain because of our unique ability to believe in things that exist purely in the imagination, such as gods, nations, money and human rights.
It is purely this ability to hold beliefs that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom, and it allowed for humans to progress over the past 50,000 years.