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No, the British did not steal $45 trillion from India

This is an updated copy of the version on BadHistory. I plan to update it in accordance with the feedback I got.
I'd like to thank two people who will remain anonymous for helping me greatly with this post (you know who you are)
Three years ago a festschrift for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri was published by Shubhra Chakrabarti, a history teacher at the University of Delhi and Utsa Patnaik, a Marxist economist who taught at JNU until 2010.
One of the essays in the festschirt by Utsa Patnaik was an attempt to quantify the "drain" undergone by India during British Rule. Her conclusion? Britain robbed India of $45 trillion (or £9.2 trillion) during their 200 or so years of rule. This figure was immensely popular, and got republished in several major news outlets (here, here, here, here (they get the number wrong) and more recently here), got a mention from the Minister of External Affairs & returns 29,100 results on Google. There's also plenty of references to it here on Reddit.
Patnaik is not the first to calculate such a figure. Angus Maddison thought it was £100 million, Simon Digby said £1 billion, Javier Estaban said £40 million see Roy (2019). The huge range of figures should set off some alarm bells.
So how did Patnaik calculate this (shockingly large) figure? Well, even though I don't have access to the festschrift, she conveniently has written an article detailing her methodology here. Let's have a look.
How exactly did the British manage to diddle us and drain our wealth’ ? was the question that Basudev Chatterjee (later editor of a volume in the Towards Freedom project) had posed to me 50 years ago when we were fellow-students abroad.
This is begging the question.
After decades of research I find that using India’s commodity export surplus as the measure and applying an interest rate of 5%, the total drain from 1765 to 1938, compounded up to 2016, comes to £9.2 trillion; since $4.86 exchanged for £1 those days, this sum equals about $45 trillion.
This is completely meaningless. To understand why it's meaningless consider India's annual coconut exports. These are almost certainly a surplus but the surplus in trade is countered by the other country buying the product (indeed, by definition, trade surpluses contribute to the GDP of a nation which hardly plays into intuitive conceptualisations of drain).
Furthermore, Dewey (2019) critiques the 5% interest rate.
She [Patnaik] consistently adopts statistical assumptions (such as compound interest at a rate of 5% per annum over centuries) that exaggerate the magnitude of the drain
Moving on:
The exact mechanism of drain, or transfers from India to Britain was quite simple.
Convenient.
Drain theory possessed the political merit of being easily grasped by a nation of peasants. [...] No other idea could arouse people than the thought that they were being taxed so that others in far off lands might live in comfort. [...] It was, therefore, inevitable that the drain theory became the main staple of nationalist political agitation during the Gandhian era.
- Chandra et al. (1989)
The key factor was Britain’s control over our taxation revenues combined with control over India’s financial gold and forex earnings from its booming commodity export surplus with the world. Simply put, Britain used locally raised rupee tax revenues to pay for its net import of goods, a highly abnormal use of budgetary funds not seen in any sovereign country.
The issue with figures like these is they all make certain methodological assumptions that are impossible to prove. From Roy in Frankema et al. (2019):
the "drain theory" of Indian poverty cannot be tested with evidence, for several reasons. First, it rests on the counterfactual that any money saved on account of factor payments abroad would translate into domestic investment, which can never be proved. Second, it rests on "the primitive notion that all payments to foreigners are "drain"", that is, on the assumption that these payments did not contribute to domestic national income to the equivalent extent (Kumar 1985, 384; see also Chaudhuri 1968). Again, this cannot be tested. [...] Fourth, while British officers serving India did receive salaries that were many times that of the average income in India, a paper using cross-country data shows that colonies with better paid officers were governed better (Jones 2013).
Indeed, drain theory rests on some very weak foundations. This, in of itself, should be enough to dismiss any of the other figures that get thrown out. Nonetheless, I felt it would be a useful exercise to continue exploring Patnaik's take on drain theory.
The East India Company from 1765 onwards allocated every year up to one-third of Indian budgetary revenues net of collection costs, to buy a large volume of goods for direct import into Britain, far in excess of that country’s own needs.
So what's going on here? Well Roy (2019) explains it better:
Colonial India ran an export surplus, which, together with foreign investment, was used to pay for services purchased from Britain. These payments included interest on public debt, salaries, and pensions paid to government offcers who had come from Britain, salaries of managers and engineers, guaranteed profts paid to railway companies, and repatriated business profts. How do we know that any of these payments involved paying too much? The answer is we do not.
So what was really happening is the government was paying its workers for services (as well as guaranteeing profits - to promote investment - something the GoI does today Dalal (2019), and promoting business in India), and those workers were remitting some of that money to Britain. This is hardly a drain (unless, of course, Indian diaspora around the world today are "draining" it). In some cases, the remittances would take the form of goods (as described) see Chaudhuri (1983):
It is obvious that these debit items were financed through the export surplus on merchandise account, and later, when railway construction started on a large scale in India, through capital import. Until 1833 the East India Company followed a cumbersome method in remitting the annual home charges. This was to purchase export commodities in India out of revenue, which were then shipped to London and the proceeds from their sale handed over to the home treasury.
While Roy's earlier point argues better paid officers governed better, it is honestly impossible to say what part of the repatriated export surplus was a drain, and what was not. However calling all of it a drain is definitely misguided.
It's worth noting that Patnaik seems to make no attempt to quantify the benefits of the Raj either, Dewey (2019)'s 2nd criticism:
she [Patnaik] consistently ignores research that would tend to cut the economic impact of the drain down to size, such as the work on the sources of investment during the industrial revolution (which shows that industrialisation was financed by the ploughed-back profits of industrialists) or the costs of empire school (which stresses the high price of imperial defence)

Since tropical goods were highly prized in other cold temperate countries which could never produce them, in effect these free goods represented international purchasing power for Britain which kept a part for its own use and re-exported the balance to other countries in Europe and North America against import of food grains, iron and other goods in which it was deficient.
Re-exports necessarily adds value to goods when the goods are processed and when the goods are transported. The country with the largest navy at the time would presumably be in very good stead to do the latter.
The British historians Phyllis Deane and WA Cole presented an incorrect estimate of Britain’s 18th-19th century trade volume, by leaving out re-exports completely. I found that by 1800 Britain’s total trade was 62% higher than their estimate, on applying the correct definition of trade including re-exports, that is used by the United Nations and by all other international organisations.
While interesting, and certainly expected for such an old book, re-exporting necessarily adds value to goods.
When the Crown took over from the Company, from 1861 a clever system was developed under which all of India’s financial gold and forex earnings from its fast-rising commodity export surplus with the world, was intercepted and appropriated by Britain. As before up to a third of India’s rising budgetary revenues was not spent domestically but was set aside as ‘expenditure abroad’.
So, what does this mean? Britain appropriated all of India's earnings, and then spent a third of it aboard? Not exactly. She is describing home charges see Roy (2019) again:
Some of the expenditures on defense and administration were made in sterling and went out of the country. This payment by the government was known as the Home Charges. For example, interest payment on loans raised to finance construction of railways and irrigation works, pensions paid to retired officers, and purchase of stores, were payments in sterling. [...] almost all money that the government paid abroad corresponded to the purchase of a service from abroad. [...] The balance of payments system that emerged after 1800 was based on standard business principles. India bought something and paid for it. State revenues were used to pay for wages of people hired abroad, pay for interest on loans raised abroad, and repatriation of profits on foreign investments coming into India. These were legitimate market transactions.
Indeed, if paying for what you buy is drain, then several billions of us are drained every day.
The Secretary of State for India in Council, based in London, invited foreign importers to deposit with him the payment (in gold, sterling and their own currencies) for their net imports from India, and these gold and forex payments disappeared into the yawning maw of the SoS’s account in the Bank of England.
It should be noted that India having two heads was beneficial, and encouraged investment per Roy (2019):
The fact that the India Office in London managed a part of the monetary system made India creditworthy, stabilized its currency, and encouraged foreign savers to put money into railways and private enterprise in India. Current research on the history of public debt shows that stable and large colonies found it easier to borrow abroad than independent economies because the investors trusted the guarantee of the colonist powers.

Against India’s net foreign earnings he issued bills, termed Council bills (CBs), to an equivalent rupee value. The rate (between gold-linked sterling and silver rupee) at which the bills were issued, was carefully adjusted to the last farthing, so that foreigners would never find it more profitable to ship financial gold as payment directly to Indians, compared to using the CB route. Foreign importers then sent the CBs by post or by telegraph to the export houses in India, that via the exchange banks were paid out of the budgeted provision of sums under ‘expenditure abroad’, and the exporters in turn paid the producers (peasants and artisans) from whom they sourced the goods.
Sunderland (2013) argues CBs had two main roles (and neither were part of a grand plot to keep gold out of India):
Council bills had two roles. They firstly promoted trade by handing the IO some control of the rate of exchange and allowing the exchange banks to remit funds to India and to hedge currency transaction risks. They also enabled the Indian government to transfer cash to England for the payment of its UK commitments.

The United Nations (1962) historical data for 1900 to 1960, show that for three decades up to 1928 (and very likely earlier too) India posted the second highest merchandise export surplus in the world, with USA in the first position. Not only were Indians deprived of every bit of the enormous international purchasing power they had earned over 175 years, even its rupee equivalent was not issued to them since not even the colonial government was credited with any part of India’s net gold and forex earnings against which it could issue rupees. The sleight-of-hand employed, namely ‘paying’ producers out of their own taxes, made India’s export surplus unrequited and constituted a tax-financed drain to the metropolis, as had been correctly pointed out by those highly insightful classical writers, Dadabhai Naoroji and RCDutt.
It doesn't appear that others appreciate their insight Roy (2019):
K. N. Chaudhuri rightly calls such practice ‘confused’ economics ‘coloured by political feelings’.

Surplus budgets to effect such heavy tax-financed transfers had a severe employment–reducing and income-deflating effect: mass consumption was squeezed in order to release export goods. Per capita annual foodgrains absorption in British India declined from 210 kg. during the period 1904-09, to 157 kg. during 1937-41, and to only 137 kg by 1946.
Dewey (1978) points out reliability issues with Indian agriculutural statistics, however this calorie decline persists to this day. Some of it is attributed to less food being consumed at home Smith (2015), a lower infectious disease burden Duh & Spears (2016) and diversified diets Vankatesh et al. (2016).
If even a part of its enormous foreign earnings had been credited to it and not entirely siphoned off, India could have imported modern technology to build up an industrial structure as Japan was doing.
This is, unfortunately, impossible to prove. Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication that India would've united (this is arguably more plausible than the given counterfactual1). Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication India would not have been nuked in WW2, much like Japan. Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication India would not have been invaded by lizard people, much like Japan. The list continues eternally.
Nevertheless, I will charitably examine the given counterfactual anyway. Did pre-colonial India have industrial potential? The answer is a resounding no.
From Gupta (1980):
This article starts from the premise that while economic categories - the extent of commodity production, wage labour, monetarisation of the economy, etc - should be the basis for any analysis of the production relations of pre-British India, it is the nature of class struggles arising out of particular class alignments that finally gives the decisive twist to social change. Arguing on this premise, and analysing the available evidence, this article concludes that there was little potential for industrial revolution before the British arrived in India because, whatever might have been the character of economic categories of that period, the class relations had not sufficiently matured to develop productive forces and the required class struggle for a 'revolution' to take place.
A view echoed in Raychaudhuri (1983):
Yet all of this did not amount to an economic situation comparable to that of western Europe on the eve of the industrial revolution. Her technology - in agriculture as well as manufacturers - had by and large been stagnant for centuries. [...] The weakness of the Indian economy in the mid-eighteenth century, as compared to pre-industrial Europe was not simply a matter of technology and commercial and industrial organization. No scientific or geographical revolution formed part of the eighteenth-century Indian's historical experience. [...] Spontaneous movement towards industrialisation is unlikely in such a situation.
So now we've established India did not have industrial potential, was India similar to Japan just before the Meiji era? The answer, yet again, unsurprisingly, is no. Japan's economic situation was not comparable to India's, which allowed for Japan to finance its revolution. From Yasuba (1986):
All in all, the Japanese standard of living may not have been much below the English standard of living before industrialization, and both of them may have been considerably higher than the Indian standard of living. We can no longer say that Japan started from a pathetically low economic level and achieved a rapid or even "miraculous" economic growth. Japan's per capita income was almost as high as in Western Europe before industrialization, and it was possible for Japan to produce surplus in the Meiji Period to finance private and public capital formation.
The circumstances that led to Meiji Japan were extremely unique. See Tomlinson (1985):
Most modern comparisons between India and Japan, written by either Indianists or Japanese specialists, stress instead that industrial growth in Meiji Japan was the product of unique features that were not reproducible elsewhere. [...] it is undoubtably true that Japan's progress to industrialization has been unique and unrepeatable
So there you have it. Unsubstantiated statistical assumptions, calling any number you can a drain & assuming a counterfactual for no good reason gets you this $45 trillion number. Hopefully that's enough to bury it in the ground.
1. Several authors have affirmed that Indian identity is a colonial artefact. For example see Rajan 1969:
Perhaps the single greatest and most enduring impact of British rule over India is that it created an Indian nation, in the modern political sense. After centuries of rule by different dynasties overparts of the Indian sub-continent, and after about 100 years of British rule, Indians ceased to be merely Bengalis, Maharashtrians,or Tamils, linguistically and culturally.
or see Bryant 2000:
But then, it would be anachronistic to condemn eighteenth-century Indians, who served the British, as collaborators, when the notion of 'democratic' nationalism or of an Indian 'nation' did not then exist. [...] Indians who fought for them, differed from the Europeans in having a primary attachment to a non-belligerent religion, family and local chief, which was stronger than any identity they might have with a more remote prince or 'nation'.

Bibliography

Chakrabarti, Shubra & Patnaik, Utsa (2018). Agrarian and other histories: Essays for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri. Colombia University Press
Hickel, Jason (2018). How the British stole $45 trillion from India. The Guardian
Bhuyan, Aroonim & Sharma, Krishan (2019). The Great Loot: How the British stole $45 trillion from India. Indiapost
Monbiot, George (2020). English Landowners have stolen our rights. It is time to reclaim them. The Guardian
Tsjeng, Zing (2020). How Britain Stole $45 trillion from India with trains | Empires of Dirt. Vice
Chaudhury, Dipanjan (2019). British looted $45 trillion from India in today’s value: Jaishankar. The Economic Times
Roy, Tirthankar (2019). How British rule changed India's economy: The Paradox of the Raj. Palgrave Macmillan
Patnaik, Utsa (2018). How the British impoverished India. Hindustan Times
Tuovila, Alicia (2019). Expenditure method. Investopedia
Dewey, Clive (2019). Changing the guard: The dissolution of the nationalist–Marxist orthodoxy in the agrarian and agricultural history of India. The Indian Economic & Social History Review
Chandra, Bipan et al. (1989). India's Struggle for Independence, 1857-1947. Penguin Books
Frankema, Ewout & Booth, Anne (2019). Fiscal Capacity and the Colonial State in Asia and Africa, c. 1850-1960. Cambridge University Press
Dalal, Sucheta (2019). IL&FS Controversy: Centre is Paying Up on Sovereign Guarantees to ADB, KfW for Group's Loan. TheWire
Chaudhuri, K.N. (1983). X - Foreign Trade and Balance of Payments (1757–1947). Cambridge University Press
Sunderland, David (2013). Financing the Raj: The City of London and Colonial India, 1858-1940. Boydell Press
Dewey, Clive (1978). Patwari and Chaukidar: Subordinate officials and the reliability of India’s agricultural statistics. Athlone Press
Smith, Lisa (2015). The great Indian calorie debate: Explaining rising undernourishment during India’s rapid economic growth. Food Policy
Duh, Josephine & Spears, Dean (2016). Health and Hunger: Disease, Energy Needs, and the Indian Calorie Consumption Puzzle. The Economic Journal
Vankatesh, P. et al. (2016). Relationship between Food Production and Consumption Diversity in India – Empirical Evidences from Cross Section Analysis. Agricultural Economics Research Review
Gupta, Shaibal (1980). Potential of Industrial Revolution in Pre-British India. Economic and Political Weekly
Raychaudhuri, Tapan (1983). I - The mid-eighteenth-century background. Cambridge University Press
Yasuba, Yasukichi (1986). Standard of Living in Japan Before Industrialization: From what Level did Japan Begin? A Comment. The Journal of Economic History
Tomblinson, B.R. (1985). Writing History Sideways: Lessons for Indian Economic Historians from Meiji Japan. Cambridge University Press
Rajan, M.S. (1969). The Impact of British Rule in India. Journal of Contemporary History
Bryant, G.J. (2000). Indigenous Mercenaries in the Service of European Imperialists: The Case of the Sepoys in the Early British Indian Army, 1750-1800. War in History
submitted by GaslightEveryone to u/GaslightEveryone [link] [comments]

10-16 02:23 - 'Hurling Rocks at Caimans: A Cowboy's Tale' (self.Bitcoin) by /u/mine_myownbiz13 removed from /r/Bitcoin within 56-66min

'''
In 1991, my mother had the foresight to leave Venezuela for the United States. She sacrificed a medical profession, her family, her friends, and the comforts of her own land and culture. It was before Chavez, before communism, before famine, before societal collapse. She didn’t know it at the time (perhaps she felt it), but she was saving our lives. Recently, I was asked by her brother, my uncle, to give some words of advice to his youngest son, whom he sent to live in upstate New York earlier this year in the hopes that he might find some opportunity there. He’s 17 and fascinated by cryptocurrencies, but knows next to nothing about them. I wrote this letter for him.

Hello Cousin,
I write you in the hopes that you will take away something useful from my own experience.
There’s a saying in English that’s always stayed with me, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” In other words, nothing in life is easy, not money, not love, not anything. Nothing worth your time is ever going to be easy. There’s no free lunch!
I first got into trading in 2008. Your dad had heard from a friend that Citigroup stock was going to pop soon and that he should buy it. The US Stock Market can only be traded by U.S. citizens and special types of corporations, so he asked me to act as a proxy for his investment, and I did. I did it because I thought it would be a get-rich quick rich scheme that I could learn to do on my own. At this time I was in graduate school and unsure of what to do with my life. I’ve always been good at school. It’s easy for me. I had professors telling me I’d make a great scholar or a great lawyer, but at the time I was teaching middle-school English in a poor neighborhood of Miami. I had a big decision to make.
Naturally, I decided to get rich quick! I spent 2-3 months reading books on stock trading and executing simulated trades on practice accounts. I learned to work a variety of trading platforms so that I could trade several markets around the world, which I did. I quit my job in the fall of 2008 and took my entire life savings of $20,000 into the market. The broker gave me 3.5 times leverage on my money and I had $70,000 of available trading capital. When your dad made his deposit my account had a trading capacity of over $2,000,000. With that kind of margin, I was able to turn $20,000 into over $160,000 in less than 9 months! I was making over $15,000 a month. As a teacher, at the time, I think I made about $2,700 a month. So, as you can imagine, I thought I was a genius! I was getting rich quick, right?
Wrong. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. When your dad sold his share of stock being held in my account I was also forced to liquidate my own positions. I had bought call options on the future price of Apple stock, and the way that kind of trading works is that your money is locked until the future event you are betting on occurs. If you liquidate before a certain date there may be a penalty to pay. In my case, it was $35,000. After this, I had the good sense to step away for a moment, to cash out my chips and think about what came next. Also, I didn’t have a $2,000,000 trading desk anymore, and without the added margin, there was no way I could continue to trade the way I wanted to. I wanted to make medium to long term trades, because one of the first things I learned along the way is that short term trading (day-trading, scalping) is, for the most part, a scam. There are technical reasons for this, but trust me, short-term trading any market, be it cryptos, stocks, or commodities is a bad idea. You will lose money with an almost 100% guarantee.
I walked away from the stock market in 2009 with $150,000 cash but no market to trade it in. So, I did the next best thing: I bought a nice new car (in cash), took a crazy trip to Europe, and consumed over $25,000 worth of shit I didn’t need, and when it was all said and done, I went back to teaching. I taught at an even poorer neighborhood this time. I had gang members in my class. There were arrests on a monthly basis. Some of the kids had psychological problems, emotional problems, learning disabilities, and many of them were being abused at home in one way or another. This was a middle school. Twelve year-olds. I did that job and others like it because I believe in morality and in helping people. That’s the reason I’m writing you this letter, because I want to help you, and I think it's the moral thing to do. And you’ll see what I mean by that when I tell you about cryptocurrencies and the blockchain later on. Anyway, during that year of teaching I discovered a new market to trade. One that would give me 100 to 1 leverage on my money. One where I could manage a $5,000,000 trading desk with only $50,000! That market is called FOREX, and its the global “fiat” currency market. It’s the opposite of the crypto market, which is the global “digital” currency market. More on what all that means later, but for now just understand that FOREX is the most liquid and highly traded market in the world.
After the school-year ended in May of 2011, I took that summer off to research the FOREX market. I read many new books on trading, which were specific to the currency markets. I watched hundreds of hours of video on technical analysis and even more hours of “financial news,” which is mostly economic propaganda, but I won’t digress here. The point is that by late August of 2011, I was once again ready to dive head-first into trading. This time, I thought, it would be even better, because I’d have even more money to “play” with! This time, I thought, I’m going to get rich!
I’ll stop here and tell you that the journey up until this point had not been the smoothest. While trading stocks there were many days when I lost hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands of dollars in hours, sometimes in minutes! You may imagine the added level of stress I had to deal with because I was trading with my entire life’s savings and my wife had just given birth to our son, Sebastian. He was a toddler at the time. I’ll give you a brief example of trading’s unpredictable nature, and the unpredictability of financial markets in general: I had spent several months preparing for my first live trade. I’d read many books and practiced my ass off until I thought I was ready. I had a system, a strategy. I was going to get rich, quick! The first week I traded stocks I lost $10,000 in 3 days. I will never be able to fully articulate what it feels like lose 50% of all the money you’ve ever had in less than 72 hours. All the while knowing that if you fail, it will be your family who suffers the most.
You might be wondering: “Shit, why’d you do it?” or “Why’d you keep doing it?” That’s understandable. After all, my academic background is in history and political science, not finance and economics, not statistics. Well, cousin, I did it because I’m a cowboy. A risk-taker. I’ve always been one. I remember being four or five, at our grandfather’s farm, and lassoing calves in the cattle pen by myself. Men were around, but they let me do it. Although, in retrospect, some of those calves were twice my size and could have easily trampled me, I don’t ever remember feeling scared---I loved that shit! I remember sneaking out and walking down to the pond, then going up to the water’s edge to see if I could spot the caiman that lived there. I would even hurl rocks at it sometimes, just to see it move! Another time, I found myself alone in the dark with a 15-foot anaconda not more than a yard away, and all I could do was stare at it, not out of fear, but wonder. Again, in hindsight, probably not the best of ideas, but I’ve never been scared to follow the path laid out by my own curiosity. I am a natural risk-taker. I tell my city-slicker friends that it's because I come from a land of cowboys, where men are born tough and always ready for a challenge. Cowboys are risk-takers by nature, they have to be, the land demands it of them. There’ll be more on risk-taking and the role it plays a little later, but for now, let’s focus on FOREX and what I learned from it.
After the school-year ended in May of 2011, I took that summer off to research the FOREX market. I read many new books on trading, which were specific to the currency markets. I watched hundreds of hours of video on technical analysis and even more hours of “financial news,” which is mostly economic propaganda, but I won’t digress here. The point is that by late August of 2011, I was once again ready to dive head-first into trading. This time, I thought, it would be even better, because I’d have even more money to “play” with! This time, I thought, I’m going to get rich!
Trading FOREX was not easy. The hardest part was that it had to be done between 3:00 am - 11:00 am, because these are peak trading hours in London and New York, where the majority of the market’s money resides. This means major price moves, the price swings that can be traded, for the most part, happen during this time window. For me, this meant I had to live a type of quasi-vampiric lifestyle, waking up at 8:00 pm and going to sleep at noon, every day. At first, it takes a toll on your social life, and eventually starts to affect you mentally and emotionally. There is a certain degree of isolation that comes with it, too. You are awake when your friends and family are asleep, and asleep when they are awake. It can get lonely. However, my first six months of trading FOREX were OK. I wasn’t making $15,000 a month anymore, but I was making more than I would have been, had I been teaching. However, I had a deep-rooted feeling of uncertainty. Although I’d had some initial success in trading stocks, and now currencies, I’d always felt, at the back of my mind, that I’d just been lucky, and nothing more.
This fear materialized itself in June of 2012 when the strategy I’d been using for some time was no longer profitable. I panicked. I started experimenting with new strategies, which only made matters worse, and lead to even more panic. It is no exaggeration to say that trading is one-third mathematical, and two-thirds psychological. No amount of books, videos, or paid mentorships, which I also consumed, had prepared me for this eventual reality check: I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. I had no clue.
I left FOREX humbled, with barely enough money to buy a decent car, much less trade any time soon. The next two years, 2013-2015, were some of the hardest of my life. Harder even than 1991-1993, which, up to that point, had been the worst couple years I’d ever experienced. Those were my first years in the United States, and they were full of hardship. A type of hardship I’d never experienced before, and never have since. Remember the school I mentioned? The one with the gangs and the troubled kids and all the poverty? Well, I attended schools just like that as a kid, too, until I turned 15. I had many more encounters with caimans and anacondas there, except now they had first names, and for some reason, were always more prone to strike! Anyway, those were tough times, but not as tough as the post-FOREX experience.
Failure at FOREX took a mental toll on me. After all, I had gambled everything, my entire future on the bet that I could earn a living as a professional trader. I realized I had failed because of my own intellectual laziness. I always knew I had been lucky, and instead of using the wonderful gift of leisure-time the universe had granted me through that initial success to fill the knowledge gaps I knew would keep me from true and long-lasting success, I let my ego convince me otherwise, and talked myself into making decisions I knew to be extremely dangerous and outside my expertise. I wanted to wrestle the caiman! Cowboy shit. Irrational, youthful folly. Needless to say, I lost 80% of my account, which was also my family’s savings, in less than four months.
Now, I had a real problem. How was I going to pay the bills? What was I going to do with my life? I was 30 years old, had a five-year old son, very little real-world work experience and a college degree in history and political science. How was I going to make money? Serious money? Enough money to help my mom retire and give my son all the advantages I never had? Enough to deliver on the promises I had made to my wife during all those years she put up with my crazy hours and wild ideas about getting rich quick? What was I going to do now? I tell you, cousin, these are the kinds of questions you will find yourself asking if you do not heed my advice.
I didn’t want to teach anymore. I didn’t want to do anything anymore. I was depressed. I had what we call here in the United States, “a quarter-life crisis.” I abused alcohol and drugs to cope with the pain of my failure. I was weak. I was unprepared for the realities of life. I did not yet understand, even at 30 years old, that there is no such thing as a free lunch. I won’t dwell on the specifics of the hardships I endured during these two years, except to say that I almost lost it all, including my life, but I’m grateful I didn't.
However, it was also during this period, 2013-2015, that I began to fill gaps in my knowledge about markets, economics, and the nature of money itself. Gaps I knew would need to be filled one way or another, if I was ever going to trade or invest in anything again. Luckily, towards the end of my FOREX days, I had come to realize there was something wrong with all the information I had been given by the mainstream media, specifically on the topics of economics and finance. I noticed that nothing they ever said about the markets turned out to be accurate, that mainstream financial “news” could not be trusted for investment purposes. It took tens of thousands of dollars in losses and several years of headaches before I learned that lesson. I’m glad I finally did.
I decided to use the last bit of money I had left to buy some gold and silver (by this time I had begun to understand the definition of sound money) and to open up a brick and mortar business. I did not want to work for anyone else, only for myself. I wanted to be an entrepreneur. The trouble was that the only business I had enough money for was a mobile car wash. So, a friend and I bought a van, some pressure cleaners, a whole bunch of soap and got to work! We were going to hustle hard, work warehouse and shopping center parking lots, save enough to reinvest into our business and go after the luxury car market. We were going to charge rich people $1000s to detail Ferraris and Lamborghinis, and it was only going to take six months, tops! Great plan, no? Easy money, right? Well, we washed cars for exactly one day before we realized what a terrible mistake we had made. It turns out car-washing is a backbreaking, low-paying, and degrading business. There’s no free lunch, remember that.
My friend and I were lucky. We quickly transitioned our business from a mobile car wash to a painting/pressure cleaning company, and had immediate success. In less than two months we were hired as subcontractors by a much larger company and I was more or less making what I had made teaching, but working for myself. After a couple of months, my partner and I were already envisioning the hiring of our first employees. Cool, right? No. About a year after we started the business, my partner, a high-school friend of mine, a guy I’d known for more than ten years, decided he didn’t want to do it anymore. That he was too tired of the hardships that come with that kind of work. Tired of making the constant sacrifices required to be successful in business. So, he quit. I lost everything I had invested, because without him, I could not operate the business on my own, and our corporate partner dropped us. I begged him not to quit. I told him that business takes time, that there’s no free lunch, and that we would be rewarded at some point for our hustle and hard work; that we would be able to hire laborers to do the work in less than 6 months, and that we would then focus on sales, and start to make some real money. He did not care. He had his own demons, and chose to steal from me and end our friendship instead of facing the hardship head-on. By this time, however, I was already used to failure, and although I was still coping with the mental stress of having failed at something I once had thought would be my profession, it still did not stop me from following my curiosity, as I always have.
It was during these years that I first learned about Bitcoin. About blockchain. About the nature of money, economic history, the effects of monetary policy on financial markets. I’d wake up at 6:00 am every day, paint houses, pressure clean dirty sidewalks and walls, spend over 2 hours commuting back home every night, and then stay up for as long as my body would allow learning about macroeconomics and the history of markets. I researched the nature of debt and gold a medium of exchange. I read about counter and Austrian economics. I became a libertarian, later, an anarchist, and, after almost two years study, I began to discover legitimate sources of financial news and information, intelligent voices that I could trust. I had acquired enough knowledge and experience to discern the truth from the propaganda, and it was during these same years, these terrible times of hardship, that I finally learned a most valuable lesson on money and markets: capital preservation is the key.
Remember, when I said we’d come back to risk-taking? Well, the trick is not to take it, but to manage it. The secret is education, knowledge. Knowledge truly is, power. Traders are only as successful as the depth of their own knowledge, because it's the only way to keep in check that inherent, paralyzing fear which “playing” with money eventually engenders. As a trader, you must have complete confidence in your “playing” abilities, and this is something only achieved through much study and practice. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, ever.
I want you to know that Bitcoin, the blockchain, and cryptocurrencies are NOT get-rich-quick schemes. They are NOT Ponzi schemes either. They are cutting-edge financial technology, and an emerging asset class. The blockchain has been compared to the agricultural revolution of the Neolithic age and the invention of writing by ancient Mesopotamians, in terms of its importance and potential impact on human civilization. It is a technology which will eventually affect and reshape almost every single industry in the global economy. In the next two decades, all types of industries will be impacted and disrupted by this technology--banking, real estate, healthcare, the legal industry, politics, education, venture capital, just to name a few! This technology allows for something called “decentralized store of value.” Basically, it allows for the creation of an alternative financial system, one where power resides in the hands of the people, instead of corrupt governments and corporations, so that currency crises like the one Venezuela has recently experienced, may one day be completely eradicated, like polio, or bubonic plague.
I will tell you that, at 17 years old, you have an amazing opportunity to set yourself up for incredible success in this brand new industry called the blockchain. There are entire professions that will be birthed into existence in the next 5, 10, and 20 years, in the same way the internet made possible millions of people around the world to work from home, wearing their pajamas, doing a million different things--things which were unimaginable to those who knew the world before the advent of the internet. Of course, it will require a great deal of work and effort on your part, but I assure you, it will be totally worth it!
Today, I am 35 years old. I run a successful ghostwriting business that I manage from the comfort of my own home. I invest exclusively in Bitcoin and precious metals, and hope to retire by the time I’m 40. Well, not really retire, but start on a much-anticipated new phase of my life, one in which I don’t have to worry about financial independence anymore.
To that end, cousin, here is my advice:
  1. Forget about getting rich quick. There’s no free lunch!
  2. Learn the English language, it is one of the tools you'll need for success.
  3. Work or go to school. Either way, dedicate yourself to learning about this new technology as much as you can, and begin to save, as much as you can, in Bitcoin.
I reviewed the website you told me about, [[link]3 , and while I respect, and to a certain extent admire what those gentlemen are doing, I can tell you, unequivocally, that taking those courses won’t turn you into a trader. It won’t make you rich quick. Far from it. In fact, there is nothing that these "warriors" will teach you, that you could not teach yourself for free at [[link]4 .
I’ll end it here. Hopefully, you made it to the end and took away a nugget or two. Please feel free to ask me anything you want about any of it, cousin. I’m always here to help.
'''
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1: ww*.cri*toguerre*os*c**/ 2: w*w***bypips.com/ 3: www.criptoguerreros.com]^^1 4: www.babypips.com]^^2
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DEMYSTYFYING CRYPTOCURRENCIES, BLOCKCHAIN & ICO IN SIMPLE ENGLISH – REFLECTIONS AND WAY FORWARD FOR 2018

DISCLAIMER: The authors of this article by no means are advocating, advising or persuading anyone to invest in Cryptocurrencies, ICOs or any other form of investment. Investments are subjected to market risks and you must do your own research before investing and seek financial advise and help from qualified personnel. Any businesses or companies quoted in this article have not paid us financially or through any other means for profit or gain. The authors also do not intent to challenge, disrespect or disobey any specific government, institution or personnel of authority including Banks, Financial regulators, governing bodies and laws of the land. All viewpoints in this article are our own and does not relate to any company, partner, employment or body that we are associated with in our day to day life.
THE HEADLINE: As we reflect upon on 2017, it is probably fair to make a bold statement that it has been a phenomenal leap forward for the trio of Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and the ICO. Here is why: • Bitcoin (the most popular cryptocurrency and once defamed as a ‘hyper-coin’) hit another all-time high passing $8000. Today, Bitcoin is worth about $50 billion and has been accepted under the law and tax frameworks of Canada, Australia, and Japan. • Ethereum network (platform) and its own fuel ( coin) Ether has appreciated more than 2,800% since it was launched in 2015. • Underlying Blockchain technology is no more a hype, it is disrupting every industry through its secure public ledger • ICOs have raked in over 3.6 Billion Dollars, the largest ICO in 2017 has been Filecoin raising over 257 Million Dollars. This is the just beginning of the ICO revolution where IPOs and traditional stock exchanges are going to become a thing in the past.
Let’s admit it. We either have a tribe of people who love the whole concept of decentralized and autonomous Peer to Peer network completely secure and away from the control of the regulators and bureaucrats OR you still belong to the other tribe, you think Cryptocurrencies are dark alleys and ‘good’ people should stay away lurking in these areas. We respect views on either side and we would like to just attempt to demystify few basic practical concepts here that one should know if you are new to this so called “Crypto Tribe”.
EVOLUTION OF CRYPTO AND BITCOIN The first internet currency, known as DigiCash, was created by David Chaum and is said to have its origin from Netherlands. This was arguably the first attempt, but the idea failed and the company went bankrupt in 1998. Keeping up with the trend PayPal ( one of the global leaders in Payments Industry) was next to follow-up and became highly successful, but did not create an actual cryptocurrency. So history was made when the first real cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was invented by someone went by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and went online in 2009. There has been several failed attempts to identify this person. This ground breaking and revolutionary makes it possible to take to replace central authorities, government, watchdogs bureaucrats and politicians with the decentralized blockchain, and take power away from Wall Street. Bitcoin has already broken its own records several times since it started. The chart below will obviously blow your mind if you have not tracked Bitcoin recently. In less than 8 years Bitcoin has given over 8000% return. From 0 to 8000 USD per coin. And ofcourse there are talks of the next bubble and market for Bitcoin crashing down anytime. Really? Let’s address them a bit later in this paper.
The legacy of crypto goes back to the days of World War II when cryptographic systems were devised to securely transmit messages between various parties. All has happened is the technology and evolution has progressed since with the advancement of Computer systems and underlying hardware and software. We hence now have a very powerful system on the network for anyone to harness.
WHAT IS BLOCKCHAIN? A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block typically contains a hash pointer as a link to a previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data. A blockchain can serve as "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way not in citation given. For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority. And that is the latest Wikipedia definition for you. However, in layman terms, what is the best way to explain it? Let’s think of a used-car for a purpose of illustration. The new buyer would like to ensure that the car is genuinely owned by the seller, that the car servicing history is fully up to date and any major issues has been picked up transparently in the car service history. In real world that may not be possible always. Let’s take another example. We go to our regular family doctor ( GP). Their computer has full history of our health records from illness, diagnosis, medicines and treatments. If we go to another city, it would be very important that the new doctor has full information as well. Sometimes things do not work that way. And this is where the power of Blockchain comes into play. Blockchain is like a decentralized and distributed computer or electronic database existing on multiple computers at the same time ( but not owned by any big company specifically atall). The database keeps growing continuously as new sets of key information, or ‘blocks’, are added to it. Each block contains a very important information - timestamp and a link to the previous block. These then actually form a chain, everyone in the network gets a copy of the whole database but the database is not managed by any particular body, person or corporation. Entire old block are preserved forever and new blocks are added to the ledger irreversibly, making it next to impossible to manipulate by faking documents, transactions and other information. And yes, hackers know this and they have no interest in this area as they cannot manipulate here. They will most likely to continue to pry on large private businesses and public sector for ransom not Blockchain for a very long time or may be forever! It is also worthwhile mentioning here that since Blockchain runs on a public network, there are concept of ‘mining’ and rewards to the ‘miners’. In simple terms, people are rewarded for allowing their computers to be used for harnessing the ‘processing power’ of Block execution. Every new transaction on a block ofcourse needs to be executed. Now that you have got a bit of history of the whole Cryptocurrency and Block chain technology mumbo-jumbo, you may be thinking what about another term ICO which everyone keeps talking at the Pub and every now and then on various websites and journals. What are ICO really? Let’s get that out of way as possible.
THE DAWN OF INITIAL COIN OFFERING ( aka ICO) You are probably already familiar with the traditional stock market and the concept of Initial Public Offering ( IPO), so we will not go too deep into it. But in a nutshell, until recently businesses have raised money from the public by listing their businesses on the famous stock exchanges. Ofcourse, it is not possible for Mr. John Smith from a little village selling his home made secret strawberry jam globally until he has deep pockets. Neither he can even dream of getting his business listed on a stock exchange to raise cash from public. Hence listing businesses and raising cash has remain the forte of the big and bold with the backing of Venture Capitalist firms, Private Equity firms and the Brokers. And ofcourse there has been the means of the “Angel Investor” who would give cash by taking significant equity stake in a business started by the entrepreneur with their blood and sweat. Then emerged the concept of “Crowd Funding”. Online project funding websites like kickstarter, crowdcube, seedrs emerged. They allowed entrepreneurs to request for funds from the public. But these methods have raised limited funds, grossly regulated by the local authorities and not everyone could raise money from here. So you may ask what IPOs and Crowdfunding has anything to do with Blockchain technology and ICOs? Well what if we say that there are investors out there who believe in the disruptive nature of Blockchain Technology and are also early adopters of cryptocurrency such as bitcoin. Then there is whole liberal aspect of the unregulated market which makes the whole world shift towards a very different perspective. Now an entrepreneur could actually raise money for building their business from very early stages ( sometimes from just a concept level) and accepting the money not in traditional currency ( aka Fiat currency) but Cryptocurrency. And further, each of these new projects could even release their own version or token of an underlying cryptocurrency or digital currency. Now that’s sexy and awesome isn’t it? Well, we are not going to down the route here to inform the readers it is good or bad practice in this paper. We will leave that opinion formation to yourself. Now that you got a high level understanding of ICOs, the next thing you may want to know is that it is pretty straight forward to invest into an ICO ( we will cover more in this paper later). But you need to understand is ICOs just like an IPO are for short duration. Usually they last for few weeks (typically 4 weeks). You get bonus Tokens or the crypto coin to invest early. Once the ICO minimum target is reached ( Softcap) the coins gets listed on the CoinExchange and they start trading. Coinexchange? What are these then? Quite simple, just go back to the analogy between a traditional stock and traditional stock exchange. Very simple concept really. How you buy, sell and do the nitty-gritty just differs. Since there are no brokers or regulators involved here. The whole process is really simple and quick. It may worthwhile sharing a quick snapshot of the ICO market worldwide: It is mind boggling to see that new businesses in really concept stages are raising more money than traditional businesses in just few hours of ICOs getting listed. Obviously this is really bothering lot of people in high ranking posts. We are not here to again debate who is right or wrong here. What we essentially want you to understand is some of these ICOs are really shaping the next wave of revolution.
How many of you believed that a Smart Phone with a so called ‘mobile app’ would be worth billion of dollar? Look at Uber, Alibaba, Airbnb, Facebook. Why no one complains about their valuation? May be because these businesses have backing of very large venture capitalists, Private Equity firms? But who runs these VCs and PE firms? Do you really need 70 Billion Dollars to run a Taxi mobile app? We honestly do not know. But what we know for sure is disruptive technologies and businesses built on top of them always have an edge. And then you combine the technology and handover its power to the people you create a social eco-system that is so strong and powerful that it can override and form its own status. And that is what is happening with the ICOs. People are investing into their trust and belief. Now that’s more powerful than any single bank, government or institution !
If you have followed this paper so far, you should have started to get an idea of what is really going on here about the trio – Blockchain Technology, Cryptocurrencices and ICO. However, I am sure you still have may have zillion questions about how you do certain things. Let us try give you answers to some of the most common questions asked by those who really want to get involved.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Question 1: I am interested in buying and investing into a Cryptocurrency. Should I buy Bitcoin? Answer: Bitcoin is one of the most popular cryptocurrency. We can not advise you anything specific as you need to do your own research. The number of cryptocurrencies available over the internet as of 6 November 2017 was over 1172 and growing. A new cryptocurrency can be created at any time. By market capitalization, Bitcoin is currently (2017-08-19) the largest blockchain network, followed by Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple and Litecoin.
Question 2: I am interested in investing into a ICO that what research and due-diligence I need to do ? Answer: We are glad that you mentioned the two magical words “research” and “due-diligence”. That is the most important golden nugget that we want you to take-away from this paper. Never-ever invest into a ICO unless you have researched it for how long it takes to build a strong opinion. Here is a good article that gives some really good tips. One quick tip from us would be ensure that Team is really strong and they are genuine people. http://mashable.com/2017/10/25/survive-ico/#CDVyGFJOiiqF
Question 3: How do I find out about upcoming ICOs and useful related news and press releases? Answer: There are plenty of websites now that can give you early headsup and keep you well informed. Our favourites are ICOBENCH, COINDESK, ICOALERT.
Question 4: Where can we buy and sell ICO and cryptocurrencies? Answer: If you are newbie, it may be a good idea to ask someone in your close network to guide you. There are lots of information and instructional video available on Youtube and other social media network and blogs. Sometimes too much information leads to confusion. You may also want to look into tutorials and training available at UDEMY.COM. But please steer away from self-proclaimed gurus. Do not buy any quick rich scheme related courses and scams. We have found that for beginners https://www.myetherwallet.com/ or https://parity.io/ are good starting point for Ethereum Blockchain related transactions.
Question 5: When is a good time to invest in Cryptocurrency? Answer: We wish we had the crystal ball to give you the answer. If we had this crystal ball in 2009 ( when Bitcoin started), we would be very rich people right now. But with a bit of research and education, you can master this. You need to make your own decision when is the right time for you.
Question 6: ICO and Cryptocurrency are all hype and dodgy? Answer: We are assuming you are a beginner, you do not know enough about Blockchain technology and how it works, you possibly have not spent enough time learning and tracking about cryptocurrencies. There is also a possibility you have never invested in a cryptocurrency or ICO. Or possibly you invested in a ICO that was a scam. You possibly could be a sophisticated investor in property, traditional shares, gold, forex and much more. But may be you do not want to know any more about Digital currencies or Technology as it is not your “comfort zone”. So the question is how much of homework you have done to assess if this whole concept for you is really interesting or completely ruled out? The decision end of the day is yours.
AUTHOR: Avijeet Jayashekhar: Has over 20 years of entrepreneurial, management consulting , Technology leadership in UK Financial Services Industry. He also has a long successful property investment business in UK. In his last stint, as Vice President of Barclays Bank UK, he managed large Technology Programme in next generation technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process automation and Digital Payments including Blockchain. He has track record of setting up 3 successful global Technology businesses. Integrally part of the London Fintech and PropertyTech businesses, he is a popular mentor and speaker. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Electronic and Computer Science, a Business Management Qualification and Project Qualification from Stanford University. He is a British Citizen of Indian origin and lives near London with his family. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/avijeetjs/
REFERENCES: https://icobench.com/stats https://www.coinbase.com/ https://www.icoalert.com/ https://www.coindesk.com/information/what-is-a-distributed-ledge https://tokentarget.com/the-evolution-of-the-ico-2017-and-beyond-2/ http://www.ilovegrowingmarijuana.com/the-basics-of-cryptocurrency/ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/0/cryptocurrency/ https://themerkle.com/top-10-cryptocurrency-icos-throughout-2017-to-date/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockchain http://mashable.com/2017/10/25/survive-ico/#CDVyGFJOiiqF https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cryptocurrencies https://en.insider.pro/tutorials/2017-09-04/what-blockchain-laymans-terms/
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