Adam Hayes

Adam Hayes

9 months ago

Bernard Lawrence "Bernie" Madoff, the largest Ponzi scheme in history

Madoff who?

Bernie Madoff ran the largest Ponzi scheme in history, defrauding thousands of investors over at least 17 years, and possibly longer. He pioneered electronic trading and chaired Nasdaq in the 1990s. On April 14, 2021, he died while serving a 150-year sentence for money laundering, securities fraud, and other crimes.

Understanding Madoff

Madoff claimed to generate large, steady returns through a trading strategy called split-strike conversion, but he simply deposited client funds into a single bank account and paid out existing clients. He funded redemptions by attracting new investors and their capital, but the market crashed in late 2008. He confessed to his sons, who worked at his firm, on Dec. 10, 2008. Next day, they turned him in. The fund reported $64.8 billion in client assets.

Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felony counts, including securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, perjury, and money laundering. Ponzi scheme became a symbol of Wall Street's greed and dishonesty before the financial crisis. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $170 billion, but no other Wall Street figures faced legal ramifications.

Bernie Madoff's Brief Biography

Bernie Madoff was born in Queens, New York, on April 29, 1938. He began dating Ruth (née Alpern) when they were teenagers. Madoff told a journalist by phone from prison that his father's sporting goods store went bankrupt during the Korean War: "You watch your father, who you idolize, build a big business and then lose everything." Madoff was determined to achieve "lasting success" like his father "whatever it took," but his career had ups and downs.

Early Madoff investments

At 22, he started Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. First, he traded penny stocks with $5,000 he earned installing sprinklers and as a lifeguard. Family and friends soon invested with him. Madoff's bets soured after the "Kennedy Slide" in 1962, and his father-in-law had to bail him out.

Madoff felt he wasn't part of the Wall Street in-crowd. "We weren't NYSE members," he told Fishman. "It's obvious." According to Madoff, he was a scrappy market maker. "I was happy to take the crumbs," he told Fishman, citing a client who wanted to sell eight bonds; a bigger firm would turn it down.


Success came when he and his brother Peter built electronic trading capabilities, or "artificial intelligence," that attracted massive order flow and provided market insights. "I had all these major banks coming down, entertaining me," Madoff told Fishman. "It was mind-bending."

By the late 1980s, he and four other Wall Street mainstays processed half of the NYSE's order flow. Controversially, he paid for much of it, and by the late 1980s, Madoff was making in the vicinity of $100 million a year.  He was Nasdaq chairman from 1990 to 1993.

Madoff's Ponzi scheme

It is not certain exactly when Madoff's Ponzi scheme began. He testified in court that it began in 1991, but his account manager, Frank DiPascali, had been at the firm since 1975.

Why Madoff did the scheme is unclear. "I had enough money to support my family's lifestyle. "I don't know why," he told Fishman." Madoff could have won Wall Street's respect as a market maker and electronic trading pioneer.

Madoff told Fishman he wasn't solely responsible for the fraud. "I let myself be talked into something, and that's my fault," he said, without saying who convinced him. "I thought I could escape eventually. I thought it'd be quick, but I couldn't."

Carl Shapiro, Jeffry Picower, Stanley Chais, and Norm Levy have been linked to Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC for years. Madoff's scheme made these men hundreds of millions of dollars in the 1960s and 1970s.

Madoff told Fishman, "Everyone was greedy, everyone wanted to go on." He says the Big Four and others who pumped client funds to him, outsourcing their asset management, must have suspected his returns or should have. "How can you make 15%-18% when everyone else is making less?" said Madoff.

How Madoff Got Away with It for So Long

Madoff's high returns made clients look the other way. He deposited their money in a Chase Manhattan Bank account, which merged to become JPMorgan Chase & Co. in 2000. The bank may have made $483 million from those deposits, so it didn't investigate.

When clients redeemed their investments, Madoff funded the payouts with new capital he attracted by promising unbelievable returns and earning his victims' trust. Madoff created an image of exclusivity by turning away clients. This model let half of Madoff's investors profit. These investors must pay into a victims' fund for defrauded investors.

Madoff wooed investors with his philanthropy. He defrauded nonprofits, including the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Peace and Hadassah. He approached congregants through his friendship with J. Ezra Merkin, a synagogue officer. Madoff allegedly stole $1 billion to $2 billion from his investors.

Investors believed Madoff for several reasons:

  • His public portfolio seemed to be blue-chip stocks.
  • His returns were high (10-20%) but consistent and not outlandish. In a 1992 interview with Madoff, the Wall Street Journal reported: "[Madoff] insists the returns were nothing special, given that the S&P 500-stock index returned 16.3% annually from 1982 to 1992. 'I'd be surprised if anyone thought matching the S&P over 10 years was remarkable,' he says.
  • "He said he was using a split-strike collar strategy. A collar protects underlying shares by purchasing an out-of-the-money put option.

SEC inquiry

The Securities and Exchange Commission had been investigating Madoff and his securities firm since 1999, which frustrated many after he was prosecuted because they felt the biggest damage could have been prevented if the initial investigations had been rigorous enough.

Harry Markopolos was a whistleblower. In 1999, he figured Madoff must be lying in an afternoon. The SEC ignored his first Madoff complaint in 2000.

Markopolos wrote to the SEC in 2005: "The largest Ponzi scheme is Madoff Securities. This case has no SEC reward, so I'm turning it in because it's the right thing to do."

Many believed the SEC's initial investigations could have prevented Madoff's worst damage.

Markopolos found irregularities using a "Mosaic Method." Madoff's firm claimed to be profitable even when the S&P fell, which made no mathematical sense given what he was investing in. Markopolos said Madoff Securities' "undisclosed commissions" were the biggest red flag (1 percent of the total plus 20 percent of the profits).

Markopolos concluded that "investors don't know Bernie Madoff manages their money." Markopolos learned Madoff was applying for large loans from European banks (seemingly unnecessary if Madoff's returns were high).

The regulator asked Madoff for trading account documentation in 2005, after he nearly went bankrupt due to redemptions. The SEC drafted letters to two of the firms on his six-page list but didn't send them. Diana Henriques, author of "The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust," documents the episode.

In 2008, the SEC was criticized for its slow response to Madoff's fraud.

Confession, sentencing of Bernie Madoff

Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC reported 5.6% year-to-date returns in November 2008; the S&P 500 fell 39%. As the selling continued, Madoff couldn't keep up with redemption requests, and on Dec. 10, he confessed to his sons Mark and Andy, who worked at his firm. "After I told them, they left, went to a lawyer, who told them to turn in their father, and I never saw them again. 2008-12-11: Bernie Madoff arrested.

Madoff insists he acted alone, but several of his colleagues were jailed. Mark Madoff died two years after his father's fraud was exposed. Madoff's investors committed suicide. Andy Madoff died of cancer in 2014.

2009 saw Madoff's 150-year prison sentence and $170 billion forfeiture. Marshals sold his three homes and yacht. Prisoner 61727-054 at Butner Federal Correctional Institution in North Carolina.

Madoff's lawyers requested early release on February 5, 2020, claiming he has a terminal kidney disease that may kill him in 18 months. Ten years have passed since Madoff's sentencing.

Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme aftermath

The paper trail of victims' claims shows Madoff's complexity and size. Documents show Madoff's scam began in the 1960s. His final account statements show $47 billion in "profit" from fake trades and shady accounting.

Thousands of investors lost their life savings, and multiple stories detail their harrowing loss.

Irving Picard, a New York lawyer overseeing Madoff's bankruptcy, has helped investors. By December 2018, Picard had recovered $13.3 billion from Ponzi scheme profiteers.

A Madoff Victim Fund (MVF) was created in 2013 to help compensate Madoff's victims, but the DOJ didn't start paying out the $4 billion until late 2017. Richard Breeden, a former SEC chair who oversees the fund, said thousands of claims were from "indirect investors"

Breeden and his team had to reject many claims because they weren't direct victims. Breeden said he based most of his decisions on one simple rule: Did the person invest more than they withdrew? Breeden estimated 11,000 "feeder" investors.

Breeden wrote in a November 2018 update for the Madoff Victim Fund, "We've paid over 27,300 victims 56.65% of their losses, with thousands more to come." In December 2018, 37,011 Madoff victims in the U.S. and around the world received over $2.7 billion. Breeden said the fund expected to make "at least one more significant distribution in 2019"

This post is a summary. Read full article here

More on Economics & Investing

Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

9 months ago

What is this Fed interest rate everybody is talking about that makes or breaks the stock market?

The Federal Funds Rate (FFR) is the target interest rate set by the Federal Reserve System (Fed)'s policy-making body (FOMC). This target is the rate at which the Fed suggests commercial banks borrow and lend their excess reserves overnight to each other.

The FOMC meets 8 times a year to set the target FFR. This is supposed to promote economic growth. The overnight lending market sets the actual rate based on commercial banks' short-term reserves. If the market strays too far, the Fed intervenes.

Banks must keep a certain percentage of their deposits in a Federal Reserve account. A bank's reserve requirement is a percentage of its total deposits. End-of-day bank account balances averaged over two-week reserve maintenance periods are used to determine reserve requirements.

If a bank expects to have end-of-day balances above what's needed, it can lend the excess to another institution.

The FOMC adjusts interest rates based on economic indicators that show inflation, recession, or other issues that affect economic growth. Core inflation and durable goods orders are indicators.

In response to economic conditions, the FFR target has changed over time. In the early 1980s, inflation pushed it to 20%. During the Great Recession of 2007-2009, the rate was slashed to 0.15 percent to encourage growth.

Inflation picked up in May 2022 despite earlier rate hikes, prompting today's 0.75 percent point increase. The largest increase since 1994. It might rise to around 3.375% this year and 3.1% by the end of 2024.

Sofien Kaabar, CFA

Sofien Kaabar, CFA

4 months ago

How to Make a Trading Heatmap

Python Heatmap Technical Indicator

Heatmaps provide an instant overview. They can be used with correlations or to predict reactions or confirm the trend in trading. This article covers RSI heatmap creation.

The Market System

Market regime:

  • Bullish trend: The market tends to make higher highs, which indicates that the overall trend is upward.

  • Sideways: The market tends to fluctuate while staying within predetermined zones.

  • Bearish trend: The market has the propensity to make lower lows, indicating that the overall trend is downward.

Most tools detect the trend, but we cannot predict the next state. The best way to solve this problem is to assume the current state will continue and trade any reactions, preferably in the trend.

If the EURUSD is above its moving average and making higher highs, a trend-following strategy would be to wait for dips before buying and assuming the bullish trend will continue.

Indicator of Relative Strength

J. Welles Wilder Jr. introduced the RSI, a popular and versatile technical indicator. Used as a contrarian indicator to exploit extreme reactions. Calculating the default RSI usually involves these steps:

  • Determine the difference between the closing prices from the prior ones.

  • Distinguish between the positive and negative net changes.

  • Create a smoothed moving average for both the absolute values of the positive net changes and the negative net changes.

  • Take the difference between the smoothed positive and negative changes. The Relative Strength RS will be the name we use to describe this calculation.

  • To obtain the RSI, use the normalization formula shown below for each time step.

GBPUSD in the first panel with the 13-period RSI in the second panel.

The 13-period RSI and black GBPUSD hourly values are shown above. RSI bounces near 25 and pauses around 75. Python requires a four-column OHLC array for RSI coding.

import numpy as np
def add_column(data, times):
    for i in range(1, times + 1):
        new = np.zeros((len(data), 1), dtype = float)
        data = np.append(data, new, axis = 1)
    return data
def delete_column(data, index, times):
    for i in range(1, times + 1):
        data = np.delete(data, index, axis = 1)
    return data
def delete_row(data, number):
    data = data[number:, ]
    return data
def ma(data, lookback, close, position): 
    data = add_column(data, 1)
    for i in range(len(data)):
                data[i, position] = (data[i - lookback + 1:i + 1, close].mean())
            except IndexError:
    data = delete_row(data, lookback)
    return data
def smoothed_ma(data, alpha, lookback, close, position):
    lookback = (2 * lookback) - 1
    alpha = alpha / (lookback + 1.0)
    beta  = 1 - alpha
    data = ma(data, lookback, close, position)
    data[lookback + 1, position] = (data[lookback + 1, close] * alpha) + (data[lookback, position] * beta)
    for i in range(lookback + 2, len(data)):
                data[i, position] = (data[i, close] * alpha) + (data[i - 1, position] * beta)
            except IndexError:
    return data
def rsi(data, lookback, close, position):
    data = add_column(data, 5)
    for i in range(len(data)):
        data[i, position] = data[i, close] - data[i - 1, close]
    for i in range(len(data)):
        if data[i, position] > 0:
            data[i, position + 1] = data[i, position]
        elif data[i, position] < 0:
            data[i, position + 2] = abs(data[i, position])
    data = smoothed_ma(data, 2, lookback, position + 1, position + 3)
    data = smoothed_ma(data, 2, lookback, position + 2, position + 4)
    data[:, position + 5] = data[:, position + 3] / data[:, position + 4]
    data[:, position + 6] = (100 - (100 / (1 + data[:, position + 5])))
    data = delete_column(data, position, 6)
    data = delete_row(data, lookback)
    return data

Make sure to focus on the concepts and not the code. You can find the codes of most of my strategies in my books. The most important thing is to comprehend the techniques and strategies.

My weekly market sentiment report uses complex and simple models to understand the current positioning and predict the future direction of several major markets. Check out the report here:

Using the Heatmap to Find the Trend

RSI trend detection is easy but useless. Bullish and bearish regimes are in effect when the RSI is above or below 50, respectively. Tracing a vertical colored line creates the conditions below. How:

  • When the RSI is higher than 50, a green vertical line is drawn.

  • When the RSI is lower than 50, a red vertical line is drawn.

Zooming out yields a basic heatmap, as shown below.

100-period RSI heatmap.

Plot code:

def indicator_plot(data, second_panel, window = 250):
    fig, ax = plt.subplots(2, figsize = (10, 5))
    sample = data[-window:, ]
    for i in range(len(sample)):
        ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 2], ymax = sample[i, 1], color = 'black', linewidth = 1)  
        if sample[i, 3] > sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 0], ymax = sample[i, 3], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, 3] < sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 3], ymax = sample[i, 0], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, 3] == sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 3], ymax = sample[i, 0], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
    for i in range(len(sample)):
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 50:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'green', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, second_panel] < 50:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'red', linewidth = 1.5)  
indicator_plot(my_data, 4, window = 500)

100-period RSI heatmap.

Call RSI on your OHLC array's fifth column. 4. Adjusting lookback parameters reduces lag and false signals. Other indicators and conditions are possible.

Another suggestion is to develop an RSI Heatmap for Extreme Conditions.

Contrarian indicator RSI. The following rules apply:

  • Whenever the RSI is approaching the upper values, the color approaches red.

  • The color tends toward green whenever the RSI is getting close to the lower values.

Zooming out yields a basic heatmap, as shown below.

13-period RSI heatmap.

Plot code:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
def indicator_plot(data, second_panel, window = 250):
    fig, ax = plt.subplots(2, figsize = (10, 5))
    sample = data[-window:, ]
    for i in range(len(sample)):
        ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 2], ymax = sample[i, 1], color = 'black', linewidth = 1)  
        if sample[i, 3] > sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 0], ymax = sample[i, 3], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, 3] < sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 3], ymax = sample[i, 0], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, 3] == sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 3], ymax = sample[i, 0], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
    for i in range(len(sample)):
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 90:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'red', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 80 and sample[i, second_panel] < 90:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'darkred', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 70 and sample[i, second_panel] < 80:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'maroon', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 60 and sample[i, second_panel] < 70:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'firebrick', linewidth = 1.5) 
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 50 and sample[i, second_panel] < 60:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'grey', linewidth = 1.5) 
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 40 and sample[i, second_panel] < 50:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'grey', linewidth = 1.5) 
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 30 and sample[i, second_panel] < 40:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'lightgreen', linewidth = 1.5)
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 20 and sample[i, second_panel] < 30:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'limegreen', linewidth = 1.5) 
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 10 and sample[i, second_panel] < 20:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'seagreen', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 0 and sample[i, second_panel] < 10:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'green', linewidth = 1.5)
indicator_plot(my_data, 4, window = 500)

13-period RSI heatmap.

Dark green and red areas indicate imminent bullish and bearish reactions, respectively. RSI around 50 is grey.


To conclude, my goal is to contribute to objective technical analysis, which promotes more transparent methods and strategies that must be back-tested before implementation.

Technical analysis will lose its reputation as subjective and unscientific.

When you find a trading strategy or technique, follow these steps:

  • Put emotions aside and adopt a critical mindset.

  • Test it in the past under conditions and simulations taken from real life.

  • Try optimizing it and performing a forward test if you find any potential.

  • Transaction costs and any slippage simulation should always be included in your tests.

  • Risk management and position sizing should always be considered in your tests.

After checking the above, monitor the strategy because market dynamics may change and make it unprofitable.

Justin Kuepper

Justin Kuepper

11 months ago

Day Trading Introduction

Historically, only large financial institutions, brokerages, and trading houses could actively trade in the stock market. With instant global news dissemination and low commissions, developments such as discount brokerages and online trading have leveled the playing—or should we say trading—field. It's never been easier for retail investors to trade like pros thanks to trading platforms like Robinhood and zero commissions.

Day trading is a lucrative career (as long as you do it properly). But it can be difficult for newbies, especially if they aren't fully prepared with a strategy. Even the most experienced day traders can lose money.

So, how does day trading work?

Day Trading Basics

Day trading is the practice of buying and selling a security on the same trading day. It occurs in all markets, but is most common in forex and stock markets. Day traders are typically well educated and well funded. For small price movements in highly liquid stocks or currencies, they use leverage and short-term trading strategies.

Day traders are tuned into short-term market events. News trading is a popular strategy. Scheduled announcements like economic data, corporate earnings, or interest rates are influenced by market psychology. Markets react when expectations are not met or exceeded, usually with large moves, which can help day traders.

Intraday trading strategies abound. Among these are:

  • Scalping: This strategy seeks to profit from minor price changes throughout the day.
  • Range trading: To determine buy and sell levels, range traders use support and resistance levels.
  • News-based trading exploits the increased volatility around news events.
  • High-frequency trading (HFT): The use of sophisticated algorithms to exploit small or short-term market inefficiencies.

A Disputed Practice

Day trading's profit potential is often debated on Wall Street. Scammers have enticed novices by promising huge returns in a short time. Sadly, the notion that trading is a get-rich-quick scheme persists. Some daytrade without knowledge. But some day traders succeed despite—or perhaps because of—the risks.

Day trading is frowned upon by many professional money managers. They claim that the reward rarely outweighs the risk. Those who day trade, however, claim there are profits to be made. Profitable day trading is possible, but it is risky and requires considerable skill. Moreover, economists and financial professionals agree that active trading strategies tend to underperform passive index strategies over time, especially when fees and taxes are factored in.

Day trading is not for everyone and is risky. It also requires a thorough understanding of how markets work and various short-term profit strategies. Though day traders' success stories often get a lot of media attention, keep in mind that most day traders are not wealthy: Many will fail, while others will barely survive. Also, while skill is important, bad luck can sink even the most experienced day trader.

Characteristics of a Day Trader

Experts in the field are typically well-established professional day traders.
They usually have extensive market knowledge. Here are some prerequisites for successful day trading.

Market knowledge and experience

Those who try to day-trade without understanding market fundamentals frequently lose. Day traders should be able to perform technical analysis and read charts. Charts can be misleading if not fully understood. Do your homework and know the ins and outs of the products you trade.

Enough capital

Day traders only use risk capital they can lose. This not only saves them money but also helps them trade without emotion. To profit from intraday price movements, a lot of capital is often required. Most day traders use high levels of leverage in margin accounts, and volatile market swings can trigger large margin calls on short notice.


A trader needs a competitive advantage. Swing trading, arbitrage, and trading news are all common day trading strategies. They tweak these strategies until they consistently profit and limit losses.

Strategy Breakdown:

Type | Risk | Reward

Swing Trading | High | High
Arbitrage | Low | Medium
Trading News | Medium | Medium
Mergers/Acquisitions | Medium | High


A profitable strategy is useless without discipline. Many day traders lose money because they don't meet their own criteria. “Plan the trade and trade the plan,” they say. Success requires discipline.

Day traders profit from market volatility. For a day trader, a stock's daily movement is appealing. This could be due to an earnings report, investor sentiment, or even general economic or company news.

Day traders also prefer highly liquid stocks because they can change positions without affecting the stock's price. Traders may buy a stock if the price rises. If the price falls, a trader may decide to sell short to profit.

A day trader wants to trade a stock that moves (a lot).

Day Trading for a Living

Professional day traders can be self-employed or employed by a larger institution.

Most day traders work for large firms like hedge funds and banks' proprietary trading desks. These traders benefit from direct counterparty lines, a trading desk, large capital and leverage, and expensive analytical software (among other advantages). By taking advantage of arbitrage and news events, these traders can profit from less risky day trades before individual traders react.

Individual traders often manage other people’s money or simply trade with their own. They rarely have access to a trading desk, but they frequently have strong ties to a brokerage (due to high commissions) and other resources. However, their limited scope prevents them from directly competing with institutional day traders. Not to mention more risks. Individuals typically day trade highly liquid stocks using technical analysis and swing trades, with some leverage. 

Day trading necessitates access to some of the most complex financial products and services. Day traders usually need:

Access to a trading desk

Traders who work for large institutions or manage large sums of money usually use this. The trading or dealing desk provides these traders with immediate order execution, which is critical during volatile market conditions. For example, when an acquisition is announced, day traders interested in merger arbitrage can place orders before the rest of the market.

News sources

The majority of day trading opportunities come from news, so being the first to know when something significant happens is critical. It has access to multiple leading newswires, constant news coverage, and software that continuously analyzes news sources for important stories.

Analytical tools

Most day traders rely on expensive trading software. Technical traders and swing traders rely on software more than news. This software's features include:

  • Automatic pattern recognition: It can identify technical indicators like flags and channels, or more complex indicators like Elliott Wave patterns.

  • Genetic and neural applications: These programs use neural networks and genetic algorithms to improve trading systems and make more accurate price predictions.

  • Broker integration: Some of these apps even connect directly to the brokerage, allowing for instant and even automatic trade execution. This reduces trading emotion and improves execution times.

  • Backtesting: This allows traders to look at past performance of a strategy to predict future performance. Remember that past results do not always predict future results.

Together, these tools give traders a competitive advantage. It's easy to see why inexperienced traders lose money without them. A day trader's earnings potential is also affected by the market in which they trade, their capital, and their time commitment.

Day Trading Risks

Day trading can be intimidating for the average investor due to the numerous risks involved. The SEC highlights the following risks of day trading:

Because day traders typically lose money in their first months of trading and many never make profits, they should only risk money they can afford to lose.
Trading is a full-time job that is stressful and costly: Observing dozens of ticker quotes and price fluctuations to spot market trends requires intense concentration. Day traders also spend a lot on commissions, training, and computers.
Day traders heavily rely on borrowing: Day-trading strategies rely on borrowed funds to make profits, which is why many day traders lose everything and end up in debt.
Avoid easy profit promises: Avoid “hot tips” and “expert advice” from day trading newsletters and websites, and be wary of day trading educational seminars and classes. 

Should You Day Trade?
As stated previously, day trading as a career can be difficult and demanding.

  • First, you must be familiar with the trading world and know your risk tolerance, capital, and goals.
  • Day trading also takes a lot of time. You'll need to put in a lot of time if you want to perfect your strategies and make money. Part-time or whenever isn't going to cut it. You must be fully committed.
  • If you decide trading is for you, remember to start small. Concentrate on a few stocks rather than jumping into the market blindly. Enlarging your trading strategy can result in big losses.
  • Finally, keep your cool and avoid trading emotionally. The more you can do that, the better. Keeping a level head allows you to stay focused and on track.
    If you follow these simple rules, you may be on your way to a successful day trading career.

Is Day Trading Illegal?

Day trading is not illegal or unethical, but it is risky. Because most day-trading strategies use margin accounts, day traders risk losing more than they invest and becoming heavily in debt.

How Can Arbitrage Be Used in Day Trading?

Arbitrage is the simultaneous purchase and sale of a security in multiple markets to profit from small price differences. Because arbitrage ensures that any deviation in an asset's price from its fair value is quickly corrected, arbitrage opportunities are rare.

Why Don’t Day Traders Hold Positions Overnight?

Day traders rarely hold overnight positions for several reasons: Overnight trades require more capital because most brokers require higher margin; stocks can gap up or down on overnight news, causing big trading losses; and holding a losing position overnight in the hope of recovering some or all of the losses may be against the trader's core day-trading philosophy.

What Are Day Trader Margin Requirements?

Regulation D requires that a pattern day trader client of a broker-dealer maintain at all times $25,000 in equity in their account.

How Much Buying Power Does Day Trading Have?

Buying power is the total amount of funds an investor has available to trade securities. FINRA rules allow a pattern day trader to trade up to four times their maintenance margin excess as of the previous day's close.

The Verdict

Although controversial, day trading can be a profitable strategy. Day traders, both institutional and retail, keep the markets efficient and liquid. Though day trading is still popular among novice traders, it should be left to those with the necessary skills and resources.

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Vishal Chawla

Vishal Chawla

11 months ago

5 Bored Apes borrowed to claim $1.1 million in APE tokens

Unknown user took advantage of the ApeCoin airdrop to earn $1.1 million.
He used a flash loan to borrow five BAYC NFTs, claim the airdrop, and repay the NFTs.

Yuga Labs, the creators of BAYC, airdropped ApeCoin (APE) to anyone who owns one of their NFTs yesterday.

For the Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club collections, the team allocated 150 million tokens, or 15% of the total ApeCoin supply, worth over $800 million. Each BAYC holder received 10,094 tokens worth $80,000 to $200,000.

But someone managed to claim the airdrop using NFTs they didn't own. They used the airdrop's specific features to carry it out. And it worked, earning them $1.1 million in ApeCoin.

The trick was that the ApeCoin airdrop wasn't based on who owned which Bored Ape at a given time. Instead, anyone with a Bored Ape at the time of the airdrop could claim it. So if you gave someone your Bored Ape and you hadn't claimed your tokens, they could claim them.

The person only needed to get hold of some Bored Apes that hadn't had their tokens claimed to claim the airdrop. They could be returned immediately.

So, what happened?

The person found a vault with five Bored Ape NFTs that hadn't been used to claim the airdrop.

A vault tokenizes an NFT or a group of NFTs. You put a bunch of NFTs in a vault and make a token. This token can then be staked for rewards or sold (representing part of the value of the collection of NFTs). Anyone with enough tokens can exchange them for NFTs.

This vault uses the NFTX protocol. In total, it contained five Bored Apes: #7594, #8214, #9915, #8167, and #4755. Nobody had claimed the airdrop because the NFTs were locked up in the vault and not controlled by anyone.

The person wanted to unlock the NFTs to claim the airdrop but didn't want to buy them outright s o they used a flash loan, a common tool for large DeFi hacks. Flash loans are a low-cost way to borrow large amounts of crypto that are repaid in the same transaction and block (meaning that the funds are never at risk of not being repaid).

With a flash loan of under $300,000 they bought a Bored Ape on NFT marketplace OpenSea. A large amount of the vault's token was then purchased, allowing them to redeem the five NFTs. The NFTs were used to claim the airdrop, before being returned, the tokens sold back, and the loan repaid.

During this process, they claimed 60,564 ApeCoin airdrops. They then sold them on Uniswap for 399 ETH ($1.1 million). Then they returned the Bored Ape NFT used as collateral to the same NFTX vault.

Attack or arbitrage?

However, security firm BlockSecTeam disagreed with many social media commentators. A flaw in the airdrop-claiming mechanism was exploited, it said.

According to BlockSecTeam's analysis, the user took advantage of a "vulnerability" in the airdrop.

"We suspect a hack due to a flaw in the airdrop mechanism. The attacker exploited this vulnerability to profit from the airdrop claim" said BlockSecTeam.

For example, the airdrop could have taken into account how long a person owned the NFT before claiming the reward.

Because Yuga Labs didn't take a snapshot, anyone could buy the NFT in real time and claim it. This is probably why BAYC sales exploded so soon after the airdrop announcement.

Kaitlin Fritz

Kaitlin Fritz

6 months ago

The Entrepreneurial Chicken and Egg

University entrepreneurship is like a Willy Wonka Factory of ideas. Classes, roommates, discussions, and the cafeteria all inspire new ideas. I've seen people establish a business without knowing its roots.

Chicken or egg? On my mind: I've asked university founders around the world whether the problem or solution came first.

The Problem

One African team I met started with the “instant noodles” problem in their academic ecosystem. Many of us have had money issues in college, which may have led to poor nutritional choices.

Many university students in a war-torn country ate quick noodles or pasta for dinner.

Noodles required heat, water, and preparation in the boarding house. Unreliable power from one hot plate per blue moon. What's healthier, easier, and tastier than sodium-filled instant pots?

BOOM. They were fixing that. East African kids need affordable, nutritious food.

This is a real difficulty the founders faced every day with hundreds of comrades.

This sparked their serendipitous entrepreneurial journey and became their business's cornerstone.

The Solution

I asked a UK team about their company idea. They said the solution fascinated them.

The crew was fiddling with social media algorithms. Why are some people more popular? They were studying platforms and social networks, which offered a way for them.

Solving a problem? Yes. Long nights of university research lead them to it. Is this like world hunger? Social media influencers confront this difficulty regularly.

It made me ponder something. Is there a correct response?

In my heart, yes, but in my head…maybe?

I believe you should lead with empathy and embrace the problem, not the solution. Big or small, businesses should solve problems. This should be your focus. This is especially true when building a social company with an audience in mind.

Philosophically, invention and innovation are occasionally accidental. Also not penalized. Think about bugs and the creation of Velcro, or the inception of Teflon. They tackle difficulties we overlook. The route to the problem may look different, but there is a path there.

There's no golden ticket to the Chicken-Egg debate, but I'll keep looking this summer.

Jano le Roux

Jano le Roux

4 months ago

The Real Reason Adobe Just Paid $20 billion for Figma

Sketch or Figma?


Designers are pissed.

The beast ate the beauty.

Figma deserves $20B.

Do designers deserve Adobe?

Adobe devours new creative tools and spits them out with a slimy Adobe aftertaste.

  • — $1.3B

  • Magento — $1.7B

  • Macromedia — $3.6B

Nothing compares to the risky $20B acquisition.

If they can't be beaten, buy them.

And then make them boring.

Adobe's everywhere.

Like that friend who dabbles in everything creatively, there's not enough time to master one thing.

Figma was Adobe's thigh-mounted battle axe.

  • a UX design instrument with a sizable free tier.

  • a UX design tool with a simple and quick user interface.

  • a tool for fluid collaboration in user experience design.

  • a web-based UX design tool that functions well.

  • a UX design tool with a singular goal of perfection.

UX design software that replaced Adobe XD.

Adobe XD could do many of Figma's things, but it didn't focus on the details. This is a major issue when working with detail-oriented professionals.

UX designers.

Design enthusiasts first used Figma. More professionals used it. Institutions taught it. Finally, major brands adopted Figma.

Adobe hated that.

Adobe dispatched a team of lawyers to resolve the Figma issue, as big companies do. Figma didn’t bite for months.

Oh no.

Figma resisted.

Figma helped designers leave Adobe. Figma couldn't replace Photoshop, but most designers used it to remove backgrounds.

Online background removal tools improved.

The Figma problem grew into a thorn, a knife, and a battle ax in Adobe's soft inner thigh.

Figma appeared to be going public. Adobe couldn’t allow that. It bought Figma for $20B during the IPO drought.

Adobe has a new issue—investors are upset.

The actual cause of investors' ire toward Adobe

Spoiler: The math just doesn’t add up.

According to Adobe's press release, Figma's annual recurring revenue (ARR) is $400M and growing rapidly.

The $20B valuation requires a 50X revenue multiple, which is unheard of.

Venture capitalists typically use:

  • 10% to 29% growth per year: ARR multiplied by 1 to 5

  • 30% to 99% growth per year: ARR multiplied by 6 to 10

  • 100% to 400% growth per year: ARR multiplied by 10 to 20

Showing an investor a 50x multiple is like telling friends you saw a UFO. They'll think you're crazy.

Adobe's stock fell immediately after the acquisition because it didn't make sense to a number-cruncher.

Designers started a Tweet storm in the digital town hall where VCs and designers often meet.

Adobe acquired Workfront for $1.5 billion at the end of 2020. This purchase made sense for investors.

Many investors missed the fact that Adobe is acquiring Figma not only for its ARR but also for its brilliant collaboration tech.

Adobe could use Figmas web app technology to make more products web-based to compete with Canva.

Figma's high-profile clients could switch to Adobe's enterprise software.

However, questions arise:

  • Will Adobe make Figma boring?

  • Will Adobe tone down Figma to boost XD?

  • Would you ditch Adobe and Figma for Sketch?