It’s rare to come across traders with an intricate understanding of the crypto market, discipline and ability to manage emotions with only one year of experience in the market. At Aluna.Social we had the privilege to host an AMA with such a trader, who also climbed to the #2 spot on our Leaderboard this July and #3 spot in December 2020. Astolatt has an impressive trading record, boasting a 74% all-time win rate, 1,597% profit in July, and 106 followers on Aluna Social.
As part of our monthly Trading Crypto to the Moon series, we interviewed Astolatt to find out how he’s made such superb progress trading in such a short period of time, what trading strategy he adheres to, and what tools he uses to enhance his trading performance.
Without further ado, let’s get to the AMA recap and some valuable insights Astolatt shared with us!
“Trading Crypto to the Moon” AMA Recap
Q1. Amazing to have you with us Astolatt! Please introduce yourself. What do you do for a living and in your spare time? What are your hobbies?
I’m a translator and I also work with data. Trading crypto takes a large chunk of my time, but I’m not doing it full time (yet).
Probably my biggest interest/hobby is music production and composition. I’ve been doing it for almost a decade now. I’m also into programming, AI, cognitive science, graphic design and 19th-century art.
Besides that, I got into men’s physique side of bodybuilding a couple of months ago, so working out is currently occupying a significant portion of my time.
Q2. That’s a very wholesome approach to life! How long have you been trading crypto, and how did you learn to trade?
I’m relatively new to crypto, I got into trading in 2020, right after the March crash, which was luckily for me the best time to buy cheap BTC. I spent the first month learning as much as I can every day before making my first trade in April.
In the beginning, I learned by watching market analyses, reading tons of articles and other resources about technical analysis, the way the market works and all the other basics. Next, I discovered Crypto Twitter community, which is in my opinion the best learning tool – just observing and analysing pro traders, their commentary and live trades is invaluable, it can teach you the way they think, what they consider important, why are they opening particular positions, etc. From there I just started experimenting, exploring available tools/indicators and figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
Q3. Do you trade any assets besides crypto?
No, crypto is now the best asset to trade for me, it’s still a young market with inefficiencies to take advantage of. Maybe I’ll start trading commodities/TradFi when/if the crypto window of opportunity closes.
Q4. It’s definitely an exciting market. I can see on your Aluna profile https://aluna.social/astolatt that 99.35% of your portfolio is allocated to BTC, do you mainly trade BTC or alts as well?
I consider myself a BTC trader, that’s where 95% of my focus lies and that’s where I feel the strongest. Nonetheless, I always have some portion of my capital invested in alts, I wouldn’t want to miss another altseason; right now I’m in ROOK and HXRO. I always trade alts on spot, because I consider them already leveraged.
Q5. Nice, will have to check these alts out! Tell us about your crypto trading strategy. What is it focused on?
My strategy is focused on buying the bottom and selling the top 😀 In other words, I try to identify the possible bottom and sell the possible top and for that I’m using Sentiment, so I would call myself a Sentiment trader. What I mean by that is I try to assess traders’ convictions and do the opposite. If most traders are bearish, I’ll start looking for buying opportunities, if I see heavy buying – that’s liquidity for sellers and possibly a good place to short. It can be tricky, you have to be reasonable and cautious as bull markets are powered by heavy buying, so it works best on smaller time frames.
Q6. What time frames are you referring to, and have you been buying much in this last dip when the sentiment was bearish?
I’m referring mainly to minutes charts – 1/5 minutes. If I’m trading that way on higher time frames, like daily, the strategy looks a little bit different.
As to the dip buying, I was in fact buying some BTC and mainly longing.
Q7. It looks like that was a good strategy. It brought you to the top of Aluna Leaderboard. How much do you generally risk per trade and how do you decide on the position size?
It depends on whether I’m in scalping mode or swing trade mode. When I’m scalping, I allow for more risk, sometimes trading on 10x cross leverage and significant position margin. In that case, I use tight stop loss, otherwise it’s very easy to get liquidated.
When I’m swing trading crypto, like right now, I try not to go over 3x leverage and my max is 4x, but usually I’m at around 1x or less, sometimes like 2-3% of my capital.
Another thing I often do is I set my max position size and divide it by placing multiple buy/sell orders or even stink bids. That way you’ll be happy when the price goes up after getting filled a little, and you’ll be happy when the price goes down more, because it allows you to get fills and increase your position. It’s important not to increase position when you are already max size – it’s a recipe for disaster, start decreasing and exit when price is at your invalidation level.
When holding alts, I always diversify by buying at least 2-3 different coins, optimally ones that are not correlated (which in crypto is sadly almost impossible), so when something bad happens to one, you won’t lose all capital.
Q8. Makes sense. What indicators do you use, and which time frames do you usually trade?
My number one favourite indicator is Liquidations. The market works in a cruel way – historically, most reversals happen after a huge chunk of traders gets wiped. My favourite strategy is to buy that blood. It works both for scalping and higher timeframe trading, but you have to figure out how many liquidations is “enough” and it’s dependent on market conditions. Of course liquidations aren’t some ultimate oracle, especially in trending markets, when price can go up/down and seemingly not care about liqs, so using that exclusively isn’t enough.
Other secondary indicators I use are funding and predicted funding rate, buy/sell spot volume, open interest, longs vs. shorts percentage. They all help assess the sentiment.
As for technical indicators, I mainly reject them. The only ones I like are Simple and Exponential Moving Averages and Bollinger Bands. My theory is that they work mainly because people believe they work – prices often bounce off of 200 EMA because everyone clearly sees that level on the chart and places orders there, so it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy in a way.
As for timeframes, I use 1m chart the most, because I like that granular level of detail. Besides that, I use the standard 1D and 1H, rarely 4H.
Q9. Interesting, I’ve never heard EMA described this way, but it’s possible. You’re a soldier to trade 1m!
Haha, that’s right 😀
Q10. Do you have any specific targets this year? How do you plan to achieve these goals?
I don’t like targets like “I’ll 2x my account this month” or “I have to be top 3 in the leaderboard” because that puts unnecessary pressure on you, which often causes bad decisions. I just try to trade the best I can, learn more every day, etc.
Q11. What advice would you give to new traders?
Choose max risk/position per trade and stick with it. Set stop-loss and don’t move it no matter what. Identify support/resistance levels on a chart. Don’t let crypto influencers’ trades influence you, make your own decisions.
Q12. Great advice! Do you think we are done with this bull market and just temporary rallying, or it’s yet to continue later this year? What is your exit strategy for “the end of this bull market” if we’re still in it?
I am long-term bullish on crypto, but I honestly don’t know if we’re in a bear market right now or if it’s just a pause before the new ATH. It’s like predicting the weather, the more long-term the prediction is, the less accurate it becomes, especially when one Elon tweet can initiate giant sell-offs/pumps. If you consider yourself a trader, it’s important to be able to trade in every condition, if you just want to buy the bottom and sell the top later – gradually buy when nobody is talking about crypto, gradually sell when everyone is talking about crypto – Google Trends can help with that.
As for my exit strategy, I’m not selling.
Q13. What about taking profits on the way up?
It’s definitely important, in fact much more important than just trying to “sell the top”. Otherwise you can end up with nothing even after experiencing the entire bull market phase.
Q14. True! Any last tips, words of wisdom? 🙂
Don’t get liquidated
Q15. That’s the best test tip ever! I will now unmute the chat for questions from the community.
Here’s a good question “You mentioned Liquidations as your number one indicator. What tool do you use to visualize this? And how do you determine how much liquidations is “enough”?”
I’m mainly using Coinalyze for that. It has a great aggregated liquidations indicator. I also programmed a little bot in python that connects to exchange APIs and shows me liqs quickly. To determine how much is enough, it’s important to consider OI and historical data. There are levels of liqs, that the price just bounces off. So personal research is needed.
Q16. Do you still fall for rookie mistakes sometimes if or when greed takes over the ability to judge rationally?
Definitely. Every trader regardless of experience always will be greedy to some extent and make mistakes. And I think what’s worse than greed is the inability to lose – holding underwater positions for too long or adding to max size. That’s why hard rules are important, like hard limit on pos size, hard stop-loss, etc
Q17. Do you trade manually or use algos?
I’m trading manually for now, but I’m starting to develop a bot to automate some of my crypto trading. As to execution, well, if my strategy triggers a buy, I’m always limit buying, never market buying. Once I looked at my market fees, I never switched back to it. I chase the price to reasonable extent, if it escapes too quickly, I consider that lost chance, sometimes I’ll place limit order there.
Q18. What is the one most important thing a successful crypto trader needs to have?
That’s a hard question, but as I said before, rules and good self-control. Other than that, an understanding WHY some indicator/strategy works.
Q19. How do you exit your positions? Do you move your stops, or have take-profits set before, etc.?
I try to gradually exit my positions, but sometimes just closing it all at the same time is the best, especially on really big moves.
Q20. One last alpha leak please!
But I just leaked all my alpha :D. Ok, one more, study Open Interest closely. It’s one of the best ways to make money. It’s quite a complicated topic, but OI basically shows when traders open/close positions. It can be immensely helpful when identifying where the traders get trapped. A level in which traders are trapped (like someone opened a long, but price went much lower) is a level that a price will most likely bounce off, because traders will close their positions in a breakeven. Studying how price/OI behaves helped me a lot.
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A huge thank you to Astolatt for sharing his time and insights! You can check out Astolatt’s performance and follow him here.