I am a fan of reddit. Scrolling through Husky Tantrums, (A wonderful sub that features howling whinging Siberian Huskies) late January, notifications popped up about the “wall street bets” sub and Gamestop. There is profound joy in howling disgruntled Huskies.
Reddit was in the news “sticking it to the man,” buying and holding Gamestop stock. I wanted to play too, however going full trader was a bit beyond me, while I hold 3 degrees none of them are in commerce or even remotely financially related. Polar opposites to be frank.
Not shy of adventure and generally being a quick study I immersed myself in forums, reading swathes of comments, familiarising myself with the jargon and wallets. It now came naturally.
Previously I had attempted to open a coin base account however finicky details, including sending a dollar to an account in Latvia proved to be beyond my patience.
For good measure ”The Big Short” was rewatched, the fascinating tale about those who bet against the housing market in America before the worldwide financial collapse in 2008
and “Margin Call” which was informative but less thrilling.
Thoroughly entertained by tales of formidable global financial and fiscal ruin, my attentions turned to the forest of Cryptocurrencies with the confidence of a twelve year old reciting the alphabet or a that of toddler mashing grapes. I was ready to make money.
There was loud barking on reddit concerning the earnest $Doge coin. January 29th 2021, Dogecoin went up over 800% in 24 hours. Well I had to have some of this!
February 1st I downloaded a pink purple account app called “Kraken” that has a cute logo of an octopus and bubbles. Every time it opened it announced: ‘Releasing the Kraken’, allowing me a brief moment of tittering that I was Neptune or at least a pirate. I started to buy crypto currency in increments of 20 euros. Euros are my choice because I am at heart a European even though I live in the UK.
Soon I had bought 200 euros worth of various different currencies I liked the sound of.
Quite literally. My early attempts at due diligence were remarkably scant. Apart from Doge I chose Bitcoin and Ethereum, Ripple, Flow and Siacoin, then watched in real time what was doing what, bravely chopping and changing percentages, buying and selling within my little stash. Doge Coin was still on the up and I managed to make 75 euro. Hurray!
I read somewhere that the CEO of Kraken was formerly a liquidator in charge of a shady cryptocurrency companies assets. This morsel, along with repeated wailing from Redditors that they couldn’t get the Kraken app to release their funds, I went searching for another wallet.
(Apparently, the only safe wallet is a hard wallet. A physical drive where one can store digital cryptocurrencies.)
I secured a Binance account, which felt more serious than Kraken app. A black app with a golden diamond. However Binance sports casino like ads and sections where you can do battle with fellow investors. This smacked of gamification, the dumbing down of complex systems and presenting a trading platform as a game. Robinhood, according to some was very guilty of this.
My research was ongoing, scrabbling about in reddit and then finding Dr Micheal J Burry on twitter. Dr Burry, featured heavily in the “The Big Short”. He was played by Christian Bale and was portrayed as a very earnest honest individual. He was on twitter under the moniker of Cassandra.
(Cassandra, in greek mythology is the trojan priestess cursed by Apollo given the power of prophecy that would forever be unbelieved)
I introduced myself and diligently began to “fave” and retweet anything and everything he posted. As he would delete his tweets at the end of the day, I was emboldened to embellish a few replies on my part. Cassandra posted the odd Heavy Metal video. Always eager to learn and having once been a disc jockey I retweeted these too! No musical taste is too shite or turgid to go undocumented or uncelebrated.
Having glanced at something Dr Burry tweeted about Tesla and March the 15th, (he seemed full of frowns at Tesla and Bitcoin, tweeting of bubbles and Musk scorn) I added a tweet that spoke of the Ides of March, in the vein of ancient mythologies. These current times being ‘strange times’ and with my love of the pathetic fallacy that runs through Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, it felt appropriate! (Pathetic fallacy is a kind of personification that gives human emotions to inanimate objects of nature; for example weather features reflecting a mood.)
In the play, a soothsayer warns Caesar ”Beware the Ides of March”. The soothsayer is dismissed as a dreamer. The Ides of March is a time between the 13th and 17th of March where traditionally debts are settled. I was delighted with myself! Engaging online with a genius of dizzying heights! How exciting!
The next few days I fiddled about with currencies. One bright morning, I noticed a currency starting to soar. I tossed all of my funds into this one currency. Within minutes I saw an increase of 75%. I was distracted briefly by oncoming clouds. I closed a window. When I looked again, my funds were plummeting. Hurtling in a decline. The figures licking lower and lower. This was not the plan! I watched for a little and decided enough was enough. My profits were gone and this distraction had taken a big bite out of my capital.
After that, I found the daily watching of my meagre investment rise and fall, unsettling and odd. The heady possibilities, the hope that sprang from such uncertainty is palpable. You can taste it. The what if’s. The dreaming of what might be. I am prone to researching Italian Villas on the Amalfi coast as it is. There are always at least 70 photos in a Villa listing. So many photos that if I try, I can feel the cold stone floor underfoot, smell the orange blossoms from the sun dappled balcony. See the heavy linen curtains shift imperceptibly in the breeze, in another room chiffon ripples at an open window.
After a week, I noticed that Dr Burry and I held very different opinions. I was bemused when he posted video of a Fox news report 9 mins long. Later he said the video was a test, that only three people had engaged. I liked a comment that proposed that, Fox news had a flimsy grasp of the truth, hence the lack of views. The following morning Dr Burry had blocked me! Was it my haiku? Was it my nod to Shakespeare? Was it the fact I had no clue what was going on? Did I break the matrix? BLOCKED!? Me?
Naturally I followed him again, using a different account, this time being careful not to engage. I have since learned he is a Trump apologist. This makes me far happier to be blocked.
So has Dr Burry simply been toying with the masses? This morning there was a flurry of tweets.
One of his tweets Dr Burry referred to all of his tweets being ‘pysops’. Goggle says
“Psychological operations (PSYOP) are operations to convey selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning, and ultimately the behaviour of governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.”
In my few weeksI learned the following.
1.The mainstream revolution is a myth. All the easy to use crypto apps are owned by wall street. Corporate global conglomerates or the ‘man’ is still in charge.
2.That market manipulation is now outsourced to forums and twitter, evidenced by Elon Musk tweets and rise or fall of Doge Coin and Tesla stock
3.Due Diligence means doing serious research.
4.I don’t like losing money.
5.That one should examine in $IMKTA stock
Thank you Dr Burry.
Subsequently I managed to make back a little of my loss and then withdrew all my funds. I then bought three Posy Simmonds books. One of which coincidentally is a story about an Art dealer by the name of Drake. First name Cassandra.