The Future Of Crypto Trading Is Automated With Oleg Giberstein

NTE 78 | Crypto Trading

Crypto trading doesn’t have to be a complicated process. In fact, with the right tools for the job, it can be as easy as snapping your fingers. In this episode, we learn more about automated tools that are making cryptocurrencies more accessible for beginners as Monika Proffitt interviews the CEO and co-founder of Coinrule, Oleg Giberstein. Oleg believes that trading tools need to be easy to use and understand, which is why he founded Coinrule to reach the dream of making trading easy, accessible and safe. Listen to Oleg share his insights on the crypto industry and why he believes automated trading is the way forward for many traders.

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The Future Of Crypto Trading Is Automated With Oleg Giberstein

I’m here with Oleg Giberstein. Oleg, thank you so much for joining us. He is the Cofounder and COO of Coinrule joining us from London. Thank you for coming to the show.

Thank you so much for having me.

Coinrule is not something that I am not familiar with until I learned about you for this interview. I was excited to see that Coinrule is not a unique model but a bit different than the trading platforms I have been on in the past. I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about what you think are the big things that make Coinrule a little different from other trading platforms for retail investors?

NTE 78 | Crypto Trading
Crypto Trading: In this new world of trading, every retail investor or every normal person trading will need advanced yet really accessible and easy-to-use tools.

 

First of all, we help retail investors automate their cryptocurrency trading. If you go on your typical trading platform and buy and sell a coin or equity, that’s all great but the crypto market particularly is 24/7 open. How on earth are you going to be able to compete with professional traders or run AlgoBot and have four teams managing their portfolios? We assumed that in this new world of trading, every retail investor and normal person trading will still need some advanced tools but those tools need to be accessible and easy to use. This is where Coinrule comes in and makes it easy for people to automate the trading.

When you talk about advanced tools that are accessible, that piques my interest. I love trading and investing. I started by investing and then got interested in trading mostly in 2020 because I traded a little bit for that. 2020 was such a weird pause of a year that I sat in my pajamas and studied options and trading. It turns out that my portfolio dramatically changed because you don’t have to stick to how the market is doing.

You can do more than index funds. It was exciting. I learned so much and practiced many things. Of all of the more advanced tools that you offer and make accessible, which is the most commonly used and why? What would that be where someone goes, “I need that. I didn’t know I needed it. I’m glad it’s available to me.”

We make it easy to automate technical indicators. Some of our slightly more advanced traders like to use indicators moving average and the so-called RSI, Relative Strength Index. Those are things that users have to calculate. They use graphs and try to capture those. With Coinrule, you can trade based on them very easily. The other thing that is freely accessible and makes it easy for everyone is if this and that style trading interface.

We don’t use jargon and any complex interfaces. If let’s say the price of Bitcoin goes up 5% and the volume increases by $10 million in 30 minutes, “I want to buy $1,000 of Bitcoin.” You press launch and it goes into the market. You can combine multiple steps and build tens of thousands of possible combinations of rules. You can test it also on what’s called the Demo Exchange that gets paper trading. You can test your strategies, see how they perform and launch them in the real market. That’s what our users are loving.

That is how I started trading or investing because I didn’t move things around very much way back in 2007 when my mother was saying, “Things are looking so bad,” and then in 2008 when she was like, “The Dow is down to $13,000.” My mother at that time was about to retire so it was a scary thing for her. My partner at the time said, “Everyone is going to wish they get into the market, not out.” I thought about that for a little while. I was like, “That’s a good idea. Things are cheap.” I was such a novice.

I decided to open up a Google Finance portfolio but it used to be called Google Portfolio. You could have a fake portfolio. I started looking at what Oprah, the kingmaker, made. How did she do stocks? What would it be a socially responsible stock portfolio? What are the things that I’m willing to invest in and what not? What does the Calvert fund look like? What’s in there?

I eventually had these fake ones and I was like, “I’m going to make the Monica Lennon and see how it performs.” It started outperforming other ones and I was like, “I should put some money into this.” I went to ShareBuilder at the time. They were the orange cafes that were all over most of the East Coast of the US. It was like a cafe that also was connected to a bank. They have an ATM and try to encourage you to invest or deal with them.

If the market says that something makes sense and people are having a good time doing it, then so be it. Click To Tweet

ShareBuilder came in and bought that. ING Direct got acquired by ShareBuilder. I’m suddenly at this orange ShareBuilder bank. It’s all about only online. I had to connect another bank to it, which back then was so weird. You could never walk into the bank. What happens? Back then, we didn’t quite know. It was 2008. I opened my first trade in 2009. It was like, “What’s this?” I bought Amazon for $200. Not that I’ve kept all of it but I started thinking about stuff.

We had Adobe moving into Pacific Northwest at the time. I was like, “We have a tech hub. I should buy the stocks that are here.” That ability to test it out, see if it was working with fake money and get involved was huge for me because it gave me some chance to practice. If I had a new idea, I get tested out while the old stuff was working. It turned me into a total nerd. It was great. Not a lot of people are crypto nerds because I know exactly that kind of nerd.

That’s interesting because what we have been seeing is exactly what you experienced in 2007 and 2008 but that happens to the Zoom generation. It’s the twenty-year-olds buying meme stocks, all those Dogecoins and all this stuff, which we older people look back into it, think it’s completely crazy and doesn’t make sense. In a way, I don’t want to be so arrogant about it. If the market says that something makes sense, people are having fun and have a good time doing it then so be it. Maybe they know something that we don’t know.

Your analogy between meme coins like GameStop and Dogecoin is a good one because I’m so judgmental when it comes to cryptocurrency. I’m like, “There’s no utility in that. I shall not touch it.” When it comes to meme stocks, I heard about GameStop before it peaked in. I was like, “I’m going to get into that. That sounds pretty good. I’m going to try that out.”

I was buying options on it and seeing everything up. I’m like, “This is a good thesis. If my options are far enough out, I sit back and wait for this to happen.” I did and was totally in. Unlike many people that are not Zoomers, I was super into meme stocks. With Dogecoin, I refuse to touch that. I’m like, “I’m principled. I will not touch that.”

I didn’t buy it either but I will tell you something very interesting. At the time when it was peaking, some people are trading the most on Coinrule. When users sign up, they can indicate what level of experience they have as a trader. They are beginners, intermediate and more advanced ones. The users who were trading Dogecoin the most from those three categories were the beginners and the most advanced ones, which is very interesting because the most advanced ones don’t care. They trade whatever it is that looks good on the chart. The beginner buys Dogecoin. The ones in the middle are people like us. We’re like, “I’m not going to invest in it. It doesn’t make sense.” It’s interesting. I found that fascinating.

I love that you can see behind the curtain to see human behavior. I have always thought economics is sociology. It’s applied sociology with a purpose. Not that sociology is on purpose directly but it’s better-paying to be in economics and sociology.

With technical analysis, it’s the idea that you can predict the behavior of the mass with charts and analytics based on this herd mentality behavior.

It sounds like you have studied human behavior a little bit more than the average cofounder or founder of a tech company. Unlike so many people, you add a non-technical college degree situation like mine. I was big in liberal arts like, “I want to look at the world and think about people.” It sounds like you did similar things like that.

I studied Politics and International Relations. As if that wasn’t enough, I did a Master’s degree in International Relations on top. I was quite an academic and a very nerdy guy. In my defense during my Master’s, I focused more on Political Economy and wrote my Master’s thesis on the relationship between sovereign debtors and private creditors. It’s about governments borrowing from banks.

It wasn’t just about that. It was about how the power balance between these two sites has historically evolved. That was in a way what got me into crypto in the first place. I was interested in the power of the state versus the private lenders and also things like private currencies, the gold standard and how our monetary system fit into all those historical developments. Getting into Bitcoin was the natural next step.

NTE 78 | Crypto Trading
Crypto Trading: Coinrule gives you an “Exchange Superpower.” You build your strategies, and those strategies then run on these exchanges.

 

What year did you buy your first Bitcoin?

I must have heard about it the first time when I was writing my thesis, which was around 2012 but that’s not when I bought it. I made a very expensive mistake and went to work in banking. When you work in banking, it sounds like you’re doing something right because you are well-paid but there’s a huge opportunity cost. This means you are so busy that you don’t have the time to do anything else, which means that all my other interests went completely out of the window.

I forgot about all this world and the exciting tech things. I was in this banking bubble for four years. That was here in London. I left banking in 2016 to start my first startup, which was a career-mentoring platform and a very different business. I did that for a while but suddenly had the time to meet interesting people, go to events and start to learn more about crypto and blockchain. At some point you go down the rabbit hole, it blows your mind. In 2017, I got my first crypto. That’s five years later in the last big bull market. That’s how it happens.

People join each new bubble cycle or whatever you want to call it. New people come in and each time it gets bigger. When the market slows down some people get bored and leave but a lot of us stick around. When the next cycle comes, the people who joined in the most recent one are the experts and pros in this cycle. I have gone through 2017 and 2018 when I was an absolute beginner and knew nothing then I’m a little bit more experienced and can put things a bit more in proportion.

That’s exactly how it worked for me too. I bought my first Bitcoin in 2016 or 2015 when a friend of mine, may her soul rest in peace, Toni Lane Casserly, who’s a well-known person in the crypto space usually until her passing in 2020, said on Facebook, “Bitcoin is $1,000. It’s getting real.” I was like, “I have been watching it since it was $700. You’re right. I agree with that. That sounds good. How do I do this?” I reached out to her.

It’s Coinbase. It was flooded with people trying to get in because it was right at that little peak. It seemed like they were not prepared for what was going on. I couldn’t even get into Bitcoin. “Was it $2,000?” I thought, “That’s ridiculous. I don’t know about this.” I went ahead and bought some. Over time, I would sell it and buy more. I watched things get good in 2017, crashed and was like, “Why didn’t I sell?” In the end, that’s why there are T-shirts that say HODL. That’s why we have that.

That has been one of my biggest lessons in this cycle. In the first cycle, I was trying to jump into whatever is in thought and always chasing the latest trend but the reality is the way to do exceptionally well in this market is to have a very deep conviction. Be closely familiar with a small number of projects, have deep conviction, ideally be involved in it from relatively early on, stick around, hold and keep learning about it.

The learning you do will help you build the conviction, which will mean that when the market crashes, you’re not going to panic sell it. In this cycle, I did that with Olympus DAO. I don’t know if you have been following that. It’s a very fascinating project. I invested early on pretty much on day one and managed to hold it without selling for the whole cycle. That was by far the best investment I made in this cycle.

In my portfolio, I am looking at a very robust long-term retirement. In a matter of little time, this is going to be such a significant amount of money. I don’t have to worry about the long-term. I can worry about the short-term and mid-term but all I need to do is continue to dollar-cost average into things.

The learning you do will help you build the conviction, which means that when the market crashes, you're not going to panic. Click To Tweet

That’s exactly how I use Coinrule. I used it to dollar-cost average. I have a standing call from my bank account to my Coinbase account. Every month, Coinrule buys for me certain coins that I’m accumulating.

Coinrule connects to Coinbase but doesn’t connect directly to your bank account.

The way Coinrule runs is there’s a layer on top of the exchanges. You can think of it as it would give you exchange superpowers. Let’s say you use Kraken, Binance or Coinbase. You create an API key and plug it into Coinrule. We are the layer that sits on top. You build your strategies and those strategies then run on these exchanges.

Are those all the exchanges? What about KuCoin, Nexo or any of the others?

We have 10 or 11 exchanges. We don’t yet have KuCoin. It’s going to come at some point.

FTX?

It’s coming. That’s the next one we’re working on. We’ll have FTX.

Speaking of FTX, do you have any options or future capabilities?

We have Binance futures and BitMEX. We don’t yet have options but that will be coming closer in one of the future releases.

As someone who jumped on the options rabbit hole, I have been looking for where am I going to find the perfect place to do my options trading. It has been tough to find it.

Which platforms do you use for options?

In terms of options, I was trying LedgerX but they require USD to do it and that’s difficult. Your collateral needs to be in other things but you can’t trade less than USD and not even USDC, which is a pain. FTX.US has been great for futures. For KuCoin, Coinbase, Coinbase Pro some fit true and for BitMEX, we can’t get on that one. That’s another one. I’ve got several. I’m on a lot of them. I try different ones to see. Sometimes there’s a little arbitrage to be had but there’s different functionality and the interface matters so much to me. I have an art background so having things well-organized and getting used to them is important to me.

I know certain platforms very well but also when I see that those platforms don’t have the coins listed or the functionality that I want, I go, “I should learn something else.” Also, I like to be perpetually learning. I’m getting into DeFi more and staking on Aave. I like that and that means that I’m always going to be trying to learn the next thing, which also means it’s easy to put money somewhere and forget about it. I got to track this stuff.

Honestly, there are so many of those portfolio trackers out there and still, everyone is using an Excel spreadsheet or Google Docs. Honestly, that’s the next billion-dollar idea if someone can pull that one-off.

If they could automate it, sit in the background and know, “He’s making a trade,” we got to find that.

That’s super hard. One exchange we’re excited we will be adding in the futures and options is going to be Deribit. That’s a good one specifically for options or so. If you like good interfaces, that’s our bread and butter. My cofounder Gabriel comes from a design and UI and UX background. We are pretty much the company in the space that focuses the most on human-centric design. We speak a lot to our users and do everything to make sure that our interface is understood by normal people and not just by advanced traders. You can use Coinrule to abstract the way the complexity of the trading interface that you get on some of the exchanges.

Even though I’ve done this for a long time, I’m a sucker for somebody being the Apple whether it’s the Apple of meditation apps or trading. You have a different model or membership model. You charge by months so people have access to this extra layer of operability.

We charge a monthly subscription for the different tiers depending on how many crews you want to build and the templates you want to use. You can start using it straight away. We don’t charge any transaction fees so you can start.

When you connect to several different exchanges, are you also getting someone the best price on any one of them? Are you working with their accounts on an exchange and it’s just that one?

It’s just the accounts on each exchange. We’re going to be offering smart routing in the future. If you have money on multiple accounts, you will be able to connect all three of them and get the best price depending on what you have.

You’re growing, hiring, flourishing, going crazy as a COO and losing your mind.

NTE 78 | Crypto Trading
Crypto Trading: There are so many portfolio trackers out there, and everyone’s still using Conexo Spreadsheets or Google docs.

 

We’re hiring like crazy specifically for engineers. If any of your audience is interested, you can reach me on Oleg@Coinrule.com. We are hiring any JavaScript node three-act TypeScript engineers and are also interested in blockchain developers because we are going to be building a little MVP around DeFi in the near term. Drop me an email. It has been a super exciting time. The market has been picking up a lot in 2020. We see that it’s crazy and everything has been growing. I can’t tell you even how much we have grown because you would not believe me. We have grown over 1,000% in a few months.

As a COO, that must be overwhelming but hopefully, you have put some people in place that can give you some room that you’re not managing everybody that closely.

I’m very lucky. Our team is fantastic. We have been able to hire some great people. It has helped. We went through Y Combinator. As a company, we were London-based but we are a US company. We had to join Y Combinator and move the headquarter to the US, which has some downsides in terms of the relocation because it was quite a complex process but it has a lot of upsides because the US is such a big market and it makes it so much easier to reach investors and some of the talent.

Thanks also to the brand recognition of Y Combinator, we were able to raise a seed round of $2.2 million from investors, which included one of the founders of Twitch, Kayak.com, Eight Sleep and Fitbit. They’re super cool people and that’s some of them. There were a lot of other crypto-specific people in the round and so on. We have been extremely lucky also with our investors. So far, we have been putting that investment to good use.

Given that you have raised it, it sounds like you could have potentially raised something that would have a coin involved in it at some point. Do you have a coin? Is there a coin that you have raised and used as a simple agreement for equity or token? Did you leave tokens out of it?

We left tokens out of it. It’s something that we would consider at the right time but for now, we are an equity-based business and there’s no specific use case for a token for us.

Is the finance coin not compelling enough?

That’s down to Binance to think if their token makes sense or not. They have their blockchain BSC and whatever one thinks of it. There are a lot of use cases around it. BNB is the native token so that’s fair enough. The token that makes sense for a company that doesn’t need the token is a governance token but we are not yet a decentralized company so what would we be doing with the token? We are looking to go more towards DeFi over the next years. If it will make sense, it’s something we will be open to.

I was hoping that my readers could also be like, “There’s a Coinrule token. This is new. These are great and growing fast. Can I get in on this?”

If the token comes one day, which is an if, for sure there would be some reward for early adopters. In crypto, it always pays to be early.

I got iTrustCapital for my self-directed Roth IRA. It worked fine but they charged me about $30 a month and they put out an email saying, “We no longer have monthly charges.” I’m like, “That’s nice. I don’t know how that worked but I appreciate it.” I’m like, “That’s $30 a month I could put onto another membership and get a different value.” It’s valuable to me knowing that I had a Roth IRA sitting and invested in crypto. That was important. This is a whole new value proposition. I’m not a user yet but I would like to become a user especially if you might end up incentivizing us with coin later.

Please do. One thing we’re especially proud of is also our community. Our community is active. We have been growing it in a very curated way and haven’t allowed it to explode because that tends to reduce the quality of the conversation. So far, people are creating and sharing strategies. There are a lot of good vibes in there and I love to see that.

The community aspect of this as well as the membership gets you a full community to swap ideas, have like-minded people and people with other strategies to share with you. That’s what I was missing with Google Portfolio back in the day. That sounds cool.

Please do sign up. You and your readers, feel free to drop us a message on Intercom or drop me an email. We will be able to push or sort you out with a trial, discount or anything like that.

Maybe we can figure out a referral link or discount code for the audience. We can put that for you on our show, see if we can start running and getting some more people to you. It’s an exciting time. It’s such a good B2C offer that I would love to see more of our readers get a chance to get involved. This has been great. We hit all the high notes because I didn’t want to miss anything about what you were up to and offer.

Many of our readers are going, “Where do I begin? How does this work?” You still begin at Coinbase but after that, you go to Coinrule. That’s what you do. We should have a how to do it 101. I should have an interview with someone from Coinbase and be like, “Talk to me like I’m five.” I will send everybody to that first. I appreciate you coming on and telling me about Coinrule. This has been a nice conversation.

In crypto, it always pays to be early. Click To Tweet

Thank you so much for inviting me. It was an absolute pleasure. I enjoyed the conversation.

You have been great. I do hope you go have a happy hour or something, get out of here and have a good time.

That’s the plan.

I will wrap this up by saying thanks for reading the show. Oleg Giberstein and I are going to sign off. We will catch you on the next episode. Thank you so much, Oleg.

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About Oleg Giberstein

NTE 78 | Crypto TradingI am building Coinrule. Coinrule is a beginner-friendly platform to send automated trading instructions to cryptocurrency exchanges. Coinrule is your smart assistant for trading, allowing you to take full control of your trading while being able to fight back against hedge funds and automated bots.

Read more about Coinrule at https://coinrule.com/

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