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Why Did FTX and So Many Traders Blow Up?

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 11/10/2022 5 min read

It pains me to watch traders lose it all.

Knowing that promoters sucked in folks right at the top makes me downright angry.

FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried is just the latest in a sad history of folks getting swindled out of their hard-earned money.

Just in the last few months, I watched Intelligent Living Application Group Inc. (NASDAQ: ILAG) and AMTD Digital Inc. (NYSE: HKD) blow up short sellers left and right.

And it always happens for the same two reasons: transparency and aggression.

Nearly every day, I tell students in my Millionaire Challenge to stay safe and trade warily.

It’s why I’m green on the year, up over $100,000 in trading profits, as are many of my top students, including Jack Kellogg, who’s not only green on the year but crossed $10 million in lifetime earnings.

I want YOU to be safe, whether you’re my student or not.

That’s why EVERYONE needs to know how to handle sketchy stocks and assets…

Because we can USE their suspect behavior against them.

Here’s how…

Assume Everyone Is Lying

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Why is it we act shocked when we find out a company lied?

Cryptocurrencies remain largely unregulated, leaving investors to fend for themselves.

We saw Matt Damon, Kim Kardashian, and so many other influencers hype pure garbage as investable assets.

Investments provide owners with reasonable confidence in a profitable return on their money.

Look at Carvana (NASDAQ: CVNA).

The stock trades for less than $10 after being close to $400 per share.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise when a company that never turned a profit or generated cash tumbled to the basement.

I trade penny stocks because I can go ahead and assume they’re all scams and manipulated.

I don’t need to worry about whether it’s investable or not. I assume they aren’t.

And that’s a mistake many traders make.

They get caught up in the stories behind this company or that crypto and forget how shady things really are.

Unfortunately, it creates a bias that leaves most folks poorer in the end.

Don’t assume that even a 100-year-old S&P 500 company is immune to problems.

The Kraft Heinz Company (NASDAQ: KHC) saw shares plunge in 2019 after an accounting scandal.

Don’t take anything for granted.

Make Trades Prove Themselves

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No matter the setup, every trade I take is on the clock once I enter my position.

If I buy a morning panic dip, shares need to move higher quickly or I’ll cut it loose.

Go through my trade log on Profitly and you’ll see a lot of tiny wins all over the place.

Penny stocks are volatile.

When one drops 50% from its highs, I don’t want to be wrong and watch it get cut in half again.

So, if I’m going to take on that kind of risk, the setup needs to work as I expect.

Do I miss out on trades that would have worked with just a bit more time?


I don’t care.

I pride myself on generating consistent profits, with a +75% win rate because I manage every trade assuming it will blow up on me.

If you go in with that mindset, very few actually will.

Use Promoters to Your Advantage

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Just because a stock or crypto goes Supernova doesn’t mean you need to avoid it altogether.

In fact, my 7-Step Penny Stock Framework lays out the schematic I use to decide which setups to deploy on a stock based on the chart.

One of my favorite setups is the morning panic dip buy.

Promoters love to pump up a stock that’s fallen hard, creating panic buying usually near the open.

This creates incredible opportunities to scoop up shares and trade them for a 5%-10% gain, which is perfect for small accounts.

It’s so much easier to find the stocks, cryptos, or whatever being manipulated and use that knowledge to your advantage.

Otherwise, you might end up in a stock like Upstart  Holdings (NASDAQ: UPST), which was talked about everywhere, even on CNBC.

In October, it traded at over $400 per share.

Now, it’s closing in on $10.

These stocks are great to trade IF you manage your risk.

The only way to do that is to assume the worst and trade cautiously.

It’s not sexy. But this isn’t a beauty contest.


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Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”