Friday, February 02, 2018

The Story of BitMEX

I came across this article last night and thought it would make for the subject of a good, quick post (this is a "dark and early" kind of work day at my pest control business, so I'm pressed for time).

It's the story of Arthur Hayes and his incredible crypto creation, BitMEX, entitled, "Bored With Banking, This Former Citi Trader Went Full Crypto."
"In 2013, Arthur Hayes was biding his time as an equities trader for Citigroup Inc. in Hong Kong. His energy—he’s a fitness fanatic and an early riser—was better suited to another era in finance. Six years earlier, as a recent arrival in the former British colony, he’d gotten a taste of what the golden age in banking felt like when he worked in the “snake pit,” the equity derivatives sales desk, at Deutsche Bank AG’s office. The markets were on fire. Traders were taking helicopter trips to the casinos of Macau to celebrate their triumphs. Hayes loved the rush of the trading floor at full throttle along with the life that went with it, including nights at the Dragon-i club. At Citi, a few years after the financial crisis brought a new order to the industry, those madcap days seemed like ancient history. Indeed, he was about to lose his job in one of the periodic culls that big banks carried out after the crash. But Hayes wasn’t too distraught: He’d discovered Bitcoin...

...Hayes alone knows seven former Deutsche Bank colleagues who’ve gone crypto. Almost all them went through the lender’s graduate program around a decade ago, the same time he did, and they all came of age when the bank, like its peers, whacked bonuses and jobs and lost its swagger. “We missed out on the peak of finance,” says Hayes, who’s been known to show  up for meetings in workout gear. “Instead we got the decline. There’s not as much money, not as much risk, not as much flow. It’s boring. Bitcoin reminds us of what it must have been like trading an asset class in the late ’80s and ’90s.” -- E. Robinson and V. Vaghela
I really liked reading this story for several reasons. The main part of that is what I've highlighted above from the full article, that Hayes and crew got into finance at the end of one era, something that they had banked on being there for them, only to end up walking on to the trading floor just as the roof was coming down. Then along comes something totally new and untamed, and they waded right into it and began staking their claim.

It reminds me of when I became a stock broker. I had just graduated with my undergrad degree, got picked up by a small investing advising firm in Seattle, got my series 6. 7. and 66 licenses from the SEC on my first try for each, and then with few contacts and no family connections plunged head first into the 2001-2002 markets...

It didn't work out for me then and I moved on to other endeavors (but I took the knowledge I gained with me and just put it to work for myself instead). Reading about Hayes' experience reminds me of all of it, and it reminds me that "didn't work out then" does not mean "never..."

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