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The Inventivity Pod
Bitcoin: What is it Good For?

Is Bitcoin a store of value during a financial crisis? What role does it play in a portfolio? Scott Melker, a successful trader and one of the leading voices of Cryptos discusses the origins of bitcoin, its uses, and what the future may look like. *This episode was originally released on March 25, 2020.*



Intro (00:01):

Inventors and their inventions. Welcome to Radio Cade the podcast from the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention in Gainesville, Florida, the museum is named after James Robert Cade, who invented Gatorade in 1965. My name is Richard Miles. We’ll introduce you to inventors and the things that motivate them, we’ll learn about their personal stories, how their inventions work and how their ideas get from the laboratory to the marketplace.

James Di Virgilio (00:38):

Today, we are joined by Scott Melker. He is a leading voice in cryptocurrency. He’s a trader he’s an advisor. He formerly was a DJ and at times like these discussing cryptocurrency is more than just whether or not Bitcoin is an investment. It’s actually an indictment on where we are as a society, monetarily, fiscally. What does all of this mean? Scott, welcome to the program. It’s great to have you.

Scott Melker (01:04):

Thank you so much for having me. I’m truly honored.

James Di Virgilio (01:06):

Now, Scott, I know your background really for the first 15, 20 years of your career was as a DJ. In fact, you gained a significant amount of fame doing that. Then at some point in time, you got into dealing with the cryptos. Tell us about that transition and how that happened.

Scott Melker (01:20):

As you said, it was about two decades of DJ and music with a million other projects. On the side, I was always superficially interested in trading and investing. My parents gave me a pretty good base and understanding of money and finances and how to save. But as a trader, I was pretty much an amateur and actually pretty terrible at it, especially riding through the recession of 2008 and all of those things. But as I began to feel like I was aging out of music, I’m in my forties. Now I was deejaying to kids that were twenty, just became very awkward. I started to look for other things, but at the time when, if you were trading anything, crypto became just absolutely huge. You couldn’t stop hearing about it. It was at the end of 2016, beginning of 2017 and so I put a little money into it. I started trading it and just by virtue of being in the right place at the right time, it quickly became something that could sustain and become a career. So I sort of fell into it to some degree. And then interestingly, at the same time, my daughter who’s now five was born and alongside, already feeling like I was too old for a music production and deejaying having her really took me off the road and put me back in front of my screens to trading. So she was born and I had to go to South by Southwest to play a concert literally the next day and going away and having that feeling. I knew that that was just not going to be my future path. And so I decided to pack it in and focus on trading crypto.

James Di Virgilio (02:39):

Now learning is a large part of this podcast. We’ve had chances to talk to so many different innovators, entrepreneurs, creativity, leaders, you jumped into a field that was entirely different from what you did, how difficult was it to learn the concepts behind how to trade, how to trade correctly, how not to lose your money, how to invest. And then how did you learn? What was your primary tool for learning?

Scott Melker (03:02):

Like I said, I’ve had a level of base knowledge. I at least understood the basics of technical analysis and charts and had a bit of an understanding of chart patterns and things like that. And I think I also had a generally good understanding of how to balance a portfolio, not trade with all your money and basically just be responsible as a whole. But to some degree it was a trial by fire. Like I think it was for anyone else. Trading crypto is very different than trading stocks or any other assets. It is primarily technical being that almost everyone is using charts as opposed to fundamentals. There’s no PNL or quarterly earnings report for Bitcoin. There’s no CEO to call and see what your expectations are for the next year. So you’re really trading based on charts, which is effectively just trying to guess, where are the big players in the market are likely to inflict the most pain on retail traders, where they’re likely to sell and where they’re likely to buy and try to be on their team. So that’s something you can do by gaging sentiment and looking at a chart. But as I said, it was somewhat of a trial by fire. Luckily I found a friend who became a mentor who is an exceptional trader for over 20 years. His name’s Christopher Inks of Texas West Capitol and to some degree I forced myself under his wing. And when 2017, I really learned even more by multiples of what I knew before. And at that time, I really think I honed it in and became a pretty exceptional trader.

James Di Virgilio (04:22):

So as a voice for crypto, as someone who’s living this and breathing this every day, we’re going through a financial crisis right now, due to coronavirus. There’s a lot of thought that something like Bitcoin or maybe another coin, but cryptos in general could serve as the antithesis of what we see with central banks around the world here in the US we’re printing trillions of dollars to bail out the country. And obviously the idea for something like Bitcoin is if you can have a stable currency that maintains its value, you’re not going to have a Fiat currency, right. A currency that can be manipulated by a government that can be inflated. That can be cheapened. Do you see that as a narrative for Bitcoin in the long run? Or is that an idea that was nice and novel, but not reality?

Scott Melker (05:06):

Uh, honestly, it’s a bit of both. So I think that the notion that people would rush to Bitcoin when they’re losing their money in a risk off environment is somewhat absurd. Never in history have people when they’re losing their money in the market, run into something that’s perceived as riskier, they run to cash, right? And so at presence, even though a dollar is inflationary, it’s behaving somewhat deflationary in that the entire world is trying to rush into dollars. So I don’t know if you’ve seen lately, but for example, recently against the Australian dollar, the dollar rose 20% in value in a matter of hours. So right now people want dollars. And so I don’t think that notion is correct at the moment, but when you look at Bitcoin as a whole, it’s not a hedge against your portfolio dropping what it is a hedge against is that inflationary environment of Fiat because Bitcoin itself is deflationary. So I think there’s a differentiation between what the given price of Bitcoin is at any moment and what its actual true value is to look at a society like Venezuela country, like Venezuela, where they have hyperinflation a suitcase of money. It doesn’t even buy you a loaf of bread. There are people who, regardless of what the price is on Coinbase or an American crypto exchange, are there are people who are surviving strictly because they’re mining or trading or transacting in Bitcoin. So it has real life use cases in a lot of countries and a lot of the situations around the world, but that’s just never been seen on a macro level. So I don’t believe it’s a store of value like gold or something like that. I’ve never really subscribed to the digital gold or store value narrative. But I do think that in certain environments, when it really goes somewhat madmax on the planet, unfortunately, which could be a future that we’re somewhat headed towards. I think that it has tremendous value. So I believe that everyone should have at least minimal exposure to Bitcoin, just in case of the worst case scenario. Not because they believe that next week it’ll necessarily be priced higher or lower.

James Di Virgilio (06:59):

Well, the Venezuela example is interesting because as you mentioned, if we live in a Keynesian and if you’re not an economist, John Maynard Keynes, a leading economist in the 1920s and thirties, you could say is largely responsible for how most of the world manages debt and fiscal responsibility, monetary policy. Nowadays, you can certainly make, as you mentioned, this longterm argument that Bitcoin, if you lose your currency, right, runaway inflation becomes something you may go to because now you and I need to exchange goods and services in Venezuela. The last thing we want to do is do that in the Venezuelan currency, because that is wildly losing value every single day. So we choose to use something like Bitcoin, obviously gold function this way, really, for most of human history, the idea is Bitcoin of course could function that way. I think you’re articulating very nice that it’s nowhere near that yet. And the reason for that, it’s very simple to be a usable, consistent currency. It needs to be stable. And that’s why the U S dollar, despite I think a lot of real fundamental issues that we could bring up and spend an hour talking about today is still that safe haven is right now. As far as history goes, that’s your most proven safe asset.

Scott Melker (08:01):

The only true safe haven in my eyes. But I do think that we’re going to see that change likely very soon not to be alarmist, but the fact that the value of the dollar is rising so fast is not actually a particularly good thing. But like you said that’s a conversation for another day.

James Di Virgilio (08:16):

Right? And that is certainly an interesting one. I mean, like we said, fundamentally where we are as a world and what we’re doing with monetary policy matters a lot. In fact, that’s something I talk about in my profession. Maybe more frequently than anything is to learn about monetary policy study. What’s good or bad. That’s going to change the world significantly. And that could certainly in the future be an opportunity for something like Bitcoin. Now I think a big hurdle for most people on Bitcoin is understanding why it’s possibly even theoretically, a stable currency. Let’s assume the best case scenario in this becomes stable. What is a Bitcoin? How do we get a Bitcoin? It’s easy to understand gold it’s in the ground. I mine it, people think it’s valuable. Explain to us how Bitcoin has any value or how it’s stable or what it really is. Cause I know that loses most people right here in this part of the conversation.

Scott Melker (09:02):

Well, it’s certainly not stable and I don’t necessarily believe that it will be. And actually as a trader, the volatility is what draws so many people to trading Bitcoin and their interest in it. But a Bitcoin it’s a protocol it’s math. And the computer has to effectively at the most basic level, computers around the world are competing to solve a complicated math problem. And when they solve it, that creates Bitcoin. It’s a ledger that keeps these transactions on the blockchain. And once an individual block is locked, it’s effectively unhackable. And so the idea is that you’re not on a centralized server somewhere. You know, it’s decentralized, it’s spread all over the planet and the miners are creating Bitcoin. And like I said, you have these unhackable blockchain decentralized it’s trustless. You don’t have to trust a government or a central party. And that’s really the appeal to a lot of people because you want to use PayPal or your bank or whoever it is. There’s a third party involved in you transacting with someone else. And this eliminates that third party in a manner where you’re at much less risk. But that said as an average person to understand that, you have to understand that you are now your own bank, nobody is going to bail you out. If you get hacked or if you get your Bitcoins stolen, you’re not insured. So for the average person, I think it’s actually terrifying. Most of them don’t even understand that. I think they just buy it on an exchange and they leave it there. When you buy Bitcoin on an exchange and you leave it there, it’s not really yours. There’s a saying in crypto, uh, not your Bitcoin If you don’t have the private T’s basically. So unless you put it on your own hardware wallet or move it somewhere offline, I mean, there’s a conversation that could go for hours. And, and it’s funny because I actually was recently the victim of a pretty major hack attempt by some famous hackers in Europe. They swapped my SIM card. They attacked my exchange accounts, but because I have my proper security in place, I didn’t actually lose any money. They made my life really miserable for a couple of weeks. But stories like that are going to drive your average retail person away from Bitcoin. And let’s be honest, in 2017, when everyone was interested in Bitcoin, they were not interested in it because it was a hedge against inflation or because it could protect them from their government. They were buying it because someone told them that they make a ton of money selling it later. That’s not a use case. That’s just FOMO, fear of missing out. So at the end of the day, you can’t explain all of that to a five-year-old effectively. And I think that’s been one of the greatest impediments to Bitcoin because people just don’t want to learn and they don’t want to deal with that. They don’t want to go buy a private hardware wallet and understand their seed phrases and private T’s, and that they got to put one on a safe and one of the safe deposit box. It’s really crazy. I mean, you really are your own bank.

James Di Virgilio (11:32):

Yeah. And everything you just said there, I think is exactly the reason why Bitcoin is nowhere near a currency adoption, despite in a theoretical world, how nice it does sound on a macro level. Look at what it can do. Look at the hedge against currencies. Those are all nice thoughts. But the function as that kind of store of value, one of the things is it really needs to be simple and easy to understand. You mentioned something that obviously a significant hurdle for Bitcoin, and this is this idea of safety, your digital wallet being safe every single day. We know of people getting robbed or mugged or their money being stolen, their dollars being stolen. Right? But it’s rather unlikely that someone’s going to get into your bank account and pull your money out without stealing your credit card or something of that nature. But even when that happens, Scott, the banks will usually cover you, right? But if somebody comes and takes my digital wallet, what happens?

Scott Melker (12:21):

If they’re not taking your digital wallet, per se, what they’re basically doing is they transfer your Bitcoin through many ways of hacking, but they’re sending their Bitcoin from your wallet into theirs and becomes untraceable. They spread it around and it’s gone and there’s no way to go get it back. So yes, you’re at tremendous risk, but there’s a flip side to that, which is that if you’re carrying cash, say you’re leading an African country right now, or you’re a refugee, or you’re running away from this virus and you get to the border, we’ve all heard the stories you want to come into the country, give us everything you’ve got. Your cash, your gold, your everything. So physical goods are still far easier to steal and in an environment like that, going back to it, yes, we’re not talking about going into your bank and stealing your money.

Scott Melker (13:02):

But if you’re really in a desperate situation and you have physical goods, those are more likely to be taken from you. If you have your seed phrases in your head, you don’t even need to have a physical hardware wallet, all that is the place to store your private keys. Well, your Bitcoin goes with you wherever you go, and nobody can steal it from you in that regard. So as a hedge against bad actors, as a hedge against dishonest government or the hedge against all of these bad things that could be coming for us in the future, and I’m not trying to be alarmist, I don’t think we’re going on mad max or anything, but it happens in other places in the world and Bitcoin or some digital currency can save your life. In that scenario, you will be able to trim back when you cross that border.

James Di Virgilio (13:40):

And this is not historically unprecedented. If you think back on the history of gold and monetary value in general, that same problem that you just illustrated was the original problem that led to winding up with a dollar in your pocket, right? That was the issue. Hey, I’m carrying all of this value from the goods that I have just transacted with. And now I’m at risk of being robbed or mugged, or my train is going to get stolen. And so how do we find a way to deposit money now in the city I’m in. Travel to the next one with effectively, nothing but still have access to that money. And that was a very, a nice example. I think of something that does become appealing in a frontier situation. If you will, now let’s focus back in on trading it. You mentioned it’s very speculative in a lot of ways and an overly simplified version trading Bitcoin, it sort of feels like tulip mania and that it’s largely people driven. That’s kind of what you’re talking about. When you’re looking at sentiment and charts, no one has any idea what Bitcoin is worth, right? And you couldn’t tell me what it’s worth, but it’s fundamentally worth what you’re looking at is what people think that it’s worth. Talk a little bit about the human behavior impact on cryptos.

Scott Melker (14:41):

So it’s my opinion and on chain metrics, somewhat support this, but everybody has their own opinion. I believe if you look at the way that Bitcoin transacts, the it moves between exchanges and the ways that it trades is that it’s still a highly manipulated asset. And by the way, I believe everything is a highly manipulated asset. So that’s not necessarily a point against, but it’s a highly manipulated asset. That’s traded by a few huge players. That’s in our industry. We like to call whales and effectively in markets in general, they just players like compound operator or whatever you want to call them. Their general goal is to inflict as much pain on retail as possible. They want to take advantage of where your stop loss might be or where you might be interested in buying and selling. And they want to just basically abuse you. And that’s the way that markets work. And so it’s a very frictionless environment with Bitcoin trading. One person with a whole lot of Bitcoin can move the books, 30, 40, 50% in a matter of hours, but that offers a tremendous amount of opportunity. If you’re a trader and you can get on the right side of those moves, which is basically what I mentioned earlier, that you think about it. Everybody I think is somewhat, at least superficially aware of what happened to Bitcoin two weeks ago. And it dropped 50% in one day. But if you look at the on chain metrics, 70% of all Bitcoin basically has not moved in ages, right? It’s the people who mine it, the original holders, whatever they’re holding onto it for dear life, it’s going nowhere. So when you look at the way that Bitcoin moved around and also there’s a huge percentage that’s been lost, and obviously there’s a finite amount of Bitcoin that’s going to ever be mined. So you’re really talking about 20, 25% of the Bitcoin that exists in the world is what’s being traded and moved around and affecting the price of the market. So it’s very strange in that regard, but if you look at what was happening, it’s basically a few people likely got together and decided, Hey, we’re just going to dump all this Bitcoin on the market, on the exchanges. And we’re going to absolutely destroy the price. Why would they do that? There’s a million reasons to speculate. Maybe they had a margin call because the market was crashing and they had to sell Bitcoin for a margin call. Maybe they’ve mined so much Bitcoin since 2009 or 2010, that they have so much supply to dump on the market. That for them, it doesn’t matter if they sell it at 20,000 or 2000, it’s just profit. They did it for a dollar who cares if they sell it for 2000 or 10,000, maybe they want to move into cash. It doesn’t really matter the reason. We just know that it’s a few people who are doing it, but when you look at the price of Bitcoin, as we speak in the mid six thousands, it dropped basically from 8,000 to 3,600, that’s a humongous move, but it’s already back to 6,600. And from 3,600, it bounced to almost 6,000 in a matter of 12 hours. So as a trader theres far more money to be made by longing catching the bottom, buying somewhere between 3,640-4500 and just selling it 12 hours later at 6,000 than there even was in being short or selling during that entire move down.

James Di Virgilio (17:34):

So right. I mean, absolutely. Is there any element of catching a falling knife there? Did you just time that based upon, Hey, I caught the falling knife correctly, it didn’t cut me. Or is there a level of predictability, like you said, you’re telling story of really low volume, significant price trades that you feel like, Hey, there is a floor here, right? Basically cryptocurrencies, aren’t going to zero. Bitcoin’s not going to zero.

Scott Melker (17:58):

Right. It’s not, but there’s a leverage exchange. That’s the biggest in the world that almost took Bitcoin to zero during that move because of an inefficient exchange. So Bitcoin on that exchange could have touched zero that day. If it had not turned the exchange off, which is somewhat astounding and shows you how much the market is affected by traders and those being high leverage traders, which is effectively worse odds than throwing craps in Vegas, at least you get free drinks there. I think there’s always an element of touching a falling knife. I generally, as a trader and this becomes a technical thing, but I look for when a level that seems key is recaptured as support, as opposed to just trying to catch it on the way down. But I’ll tell you, I got very lucky on that move. I had orders at 4,000 that had been sitting there for I mean months and it happened in the middle of the night. I woke up, I looked at my phone, the price of Bitcoin was $5,800. And I had bought it at $4,000, three hours before, while I was sleeping. I sold it immediately for an almost 50% profit.

James Di Virgilio (18:54):

Yeah. Those are the moments as a trader, right? That keep you coming back now, how do we apply this? What’s your advice for the average family out there? They’re investing in their 401k. They’ve got some real estate they’re doing the very normal things. How do they employ or should they employ Bitcoin or a crypto in their portfolio?

Scott Melker (19:12):

I’m certainly not a financial advisor. I guess I should put that disclaimer out there. As I mentioned before, I believe that everybody should have at least minimal exposure to it. 1%, 2%, for me, I’m comfortable more 5% to 10%, but how do you do that? I think that the best way, like any market might invest in your 401k is to start small and dollar cost average until you have a full position. I mean, it’s such a volatile asset that one week you can be buying it at $8,000 in the next week at $3000 and then a week later at $14,000. So trying to catch a price that you’re comfortable with for most people, if they’re not traders is an extremely uncomfortable thing. So set up an automatic buy and buy $500 worth of Bitcoin every Monday until you’ve bought the $10,000 allotment that you have for yourself or do it once a month or whatever that is. I think that’s safer for more mentally stable people than traders, the safer and smarter way probably to acquire a position.

James Di Virgilio (20:06):

So Bitcoin is a tremendously creative and innovative idea. If this podcast could interview the founder of Bitcoin, of course, no one really knows exactly who this person is. Right. We would certainly do it because of creativity. I often find that fields overlap in life, whether you’re an artist or a musician or a trader, you can find commonalities. What commonalities have you found between your life as a musician and your life as a crypto guru?

Scott Melker (20:31):

The obvious ones, which is that I’ve forged the path where I never had to have a boss, which is always very important to me. It’s funny you guys had my dad on the show recently, definitely got the best of what the Melker had to offer in that case. You know, my parents and I was very fortunate. They sent me to an Ivy League University. They were able to leave me without student debt. And then one day I called them and said, I’m going to be a DJ. When I graduated with my Ivy League degree, I could have gone at that time. It was very easy to get investment banking job and go to the wall street route, like all of my friends, but I was just never the kind of person. I don’t know if it’s an acceptance of authority or that I’m a bit of an ADHD case and I’m scattered. And I don’t fit into those environments, but I was always someone who was trying to forge my own path. So I’d say the most common theme obviously is that I make my own schedule. I work when I want to work and I worked as hard as I want to work, which usually is very hard, honestly, when you’re doing it yourself. So that’s one I can tell you on a creative level, it’s very funny. I produced music for forever and using all of these different DWS, you have all your workstations, Ableton, Logic, Pro Tools. To me, it almost feels the same to sit in front of a naked chart and draw the patterns and lines. Even the shortcuts that you use on the keyboard are very familiar. So to me it’s actually very interesting, I almost feel like I’m making music when I’m drawing and identifying levels on a chart. And that’s something that other musicians have actually mentioned to me as well. So there is some creativity and kind of a big game, but I would say that those are the biggest similarities. Really. I think that transition was more of retaining the same sort of lifestyle of being a self starter and not having to really answer to someone

James Di Virgilio (22:05):

Let’s go to that moment where you told your parents that you were going to be a DJ after graduating from an Ivy League school. What was that moment like for them and for you? Were they supportive? Were they frustrated? Tell me about that.

Scott Melker (22:18):

My parents have never been, even for one second of my life, anything other than supportive, it’s more nuanced than that. So first I want to see a music business while also deejaying. So I got a job in New York with a music agent moved to New York. And the first day that I showed up for my job, he told me that he had given the job to his nephew instead. So it was a somewhat forced exit from the music business very early in that regard, but deejaying and making music was always at the core of what I wanted to do. My parents were extremely supportive. I think they always believed that I would find success one way or another. And I didn’t always, I mean, I’ve failed more than I exceeded to some degree. JingingThat’s definitely stumbled forward through certain portions of my life. And I have needed help. There was a time when I was an Ivy League graduate five years out of college and I was deejaying once or twice a week in New York at night for some somewhat of a pittance. And I was delivering packages during the day while all my friends were on wall street. It definitely, wasn’t always easy, but my parents never batted an eye for a second. I have an older brother who’s a very successful physician. So I think that I can’t speak to their mentality about it, but I guess it’s good that they had one who was on the right path out of the way all right for their creative lunatics son kind of came through. But yeah, I’ve never had a conversation with my parents that I felt was uncomfortable about my future, because I always knew that they would talk it through with me, provide good advice and then get behind me.

James Di Virgilio (23:37):

So they gave you a lot of independence and what that independence, you find yourself in New York, you’re deejaying a couple of gigs. You’re delivering packages. What was your mindset at that time? And how’d you get through it? How’d you stick with following your passion, pursuing the path you were on?

Scott Melker (23:53):

It was hard. I was broke and there wasn’t really that much hope, I guess. I mean, I always had hope, but there was no really a major light at the end of the tunnel. At that point, musically, I was playing local bars and clubs every once in a while. I get a big club gig, but you’re talking about sustaining yourself without health insurance. You know, you have to pay for your own health insurance or without any guarantee that that gig will be there next week. So great. You made $500 tonight, but maybe next Friday the club’s going to close or nobody’s going to show up and you’re not going to have a job the next week. So it was always a constant grind and hustle for the next gig or the next thing. And then eventually like an actor or any musician, you kind of catch your break for me, it was in 2006, a friend called me in and said, listen, they’re auditioning DJs for this big tour in Japan, they audition 50 DJs. I got the job for an artist named Toshi Kubota, who is effectively, you know, they call them the Michael Jackson in Japan. It was his 20th anniversary tour. I had no idea what a big deal it was. I was just trying to get a job. I happened to bond with the drummer who was doing the auditions and we kind of jammed out. And so I spent the next two months rehearsing. And then five months after that, traveling in Japan, playing stadiums in 30,000 to 50,000 person shows as the DJ and opening act and percussionist in a 14 person band for this huge Japanese artists that not only offered some financial help because I got paid well for it. But it also gave me a lot of confidence in the platform to jump from there and do other things.

James Di Virgilio (25:18):

So you mentioned that you’ve failed quite a bit, right? Like anyone who’s done anything successfully, especially somebody who’s blazed a trail on their own. How did you keep learning from the failure without letting it beat you down to the point where you would just quit?

Scott Melker (25:32):

I dunno. I think it becomes routine to some degree, not to say that you become negative about it, but hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. I started a print publication in Philadelphia after I moved back from New York to Philadelphia, where I went to school and it launched and it was really like great success, well received. And two months later, 9/11 happened and all the businesses that were my advertisers started to go out of business. And so that was interesting experience and kind of lighten it probably to a lot. What’s going to happen to people now, but I think I’ve always had a positive support system for better or for worse. I would say that I knew that if something really went bad, I would have a soft landing. I never feared being homeless. I could have always gone back to my parents. I never did, but I guess mentally, you know that. And so I’m very fortunate to have a good support system in that regard as well, but I really never cared so much when I failed. I always just looked on the bright side and enjoyed what I was doing. I absolutely absolutely loved music from the earliest age. I started playing piano at five. I was a singer and saxophone player and everything. So it was just, music was always what I wanted to do. So at any point, regardless of what my financial situation was or how much I was working, I was just really excited be making music and to be a part of that scene, my passion for what I was actually doing, carried me through largely the rough times.

James Di Virgilio (26:50):

And this is interesting because given your background as a musician, what would you say to people that are inspiring to follow their passion, but maybe there’s no money in it or there’s inability to make a career out of it at the moment, do you have a view on the balance between continuing to drive for your passion, but also maybe providing for yourself and your future and your family. It’s a delicate dance to make. What’s your counsel on that? Having done that successfully kind of in several arenas.

Scott Melker (27:16):

I think it’s largely dependent on the individual, their financial situation, where they are in their life. And again, like how much of, I guess a support system they have. I think that at a certain age, you probably have to give up and become realistic. If you have a family, if you have kids, but if you’re a single person in this world with a true passion, I think that you should give it everything you possibly have until you can’t anymore. I know that if I had quit in 2005, I would have never known what was coming for me. But I really think that I would have a lot of regret not try my best and most passions that people have are things that they could probably do part time to some degree, go to your job and then come home and sacrifice your sleep and sleep four hours a night and make music and get it out there. I mean, it’s never been a time in history where it’s been easier with social media and all of these platforms, the SoundCloud and Spotify to get your work out there. When I was making music, I was one of those guys, on Canal St in New York City with CDs trying to get stores to sell my CDs and handing them out to strangers and stuff. So it is much easier now I think, I mean, you have to cut through the noise, but if you’re truly talented and you truly believe and you work hard enough, listen, the important thing to understand is you can be passionate about something, but if you’re bad at it, it’s not going to happen. I hate to say that, but if you have a discernible talent and you try your hardest, I do believe that the career that you dreamed of probably won’t happen. But I do think that you can probably make a living pursuing your passion.

James Di Virgilio (28:40):

Yeah. I think that’s really good advice. You balanced a lot of things there. One is balancing responsibility. Where are you in life? Who are you responsible for, is what you’re doing, going to cause others to have to pick up the slack for you towards significantly alters their life. And then secondarily, if you are actually really good at something and you continue to do it, if you live in a society that’s free and able to invest in that sort of talent, I totally agree with you. It could be longer than you wanted it to be, but at some point in time, if you are good, if you are skilled, you will find a way to be able to craft something out of that. Now, who knows how much you’ll get out of that. But that’s a good feedback mechanism. And often failure, Scott is obviously feedback. It tells us whether or not we should continue or whether we should keep going as a trader. You know, the failure is really a part of every single day, practically in your life. Uh, because traders traders are seeking to make very small wins, right? 52%, 53%, 54% of your trades are wins. You’re a hero. You’re a legend. So failure is something you learned to live with. I think it’s very helpful. I read on your Twitter about how you said really emotionally. You’re not that involved in what happens if you lose a lot, you can take it. You have a high pain tolerance, and it makes sense, given what you’ve just said in your life, there’s a lot of dots connecting there to the foundational floor. You’ve built what you view as success, which you view as failure. And one thing I’m not hearing a lot in your story is a prideful angle. I’m hearing a lot of humility with, Hey, I’m going after what I like and what I enjoy. And if I fail, it doesn’t mean I, myself am a failure as a person. It’s a chance for me to respond to what I’m learning.

Scott Melker (30:06):

I’ve never heard it put that way, but I do think humility was another thing that was deeply ingrained from my parents. I just feel like unless you become the biggest artist in the world or the biggest, this and that, where your ego is being fed 24/7. And I think that most people probably maintain that humility because especially as an artist, you know, that it can all be taken away from you in a second. I mean, how many, one hit wonders are there who bought their Ferrari and then returned it for half or had it repoed six months later? It’s just the reality of being a creative is that it’s not the 1950s. You don’t have a job your entire life. You don’t have a pension. Eventually you probably are not going to be at the top of your game and it’s somewhat a cycle. So I think that you just have to accept that whether you want to skin it as failure or whether it’s just the downturn or whether it’s that slow, steep descent from popularity into oblivion, that it’s coming for. Almost all of us who are not, like I said, just add a job and working for a boss who is able that boring and, and you know that you’ll have your job. So I don’t see how you can really be too prideful. You know, I’m proud of the things I’ve accomplished, but I also recognize that it was not all my doing. I had a lot of support and that it was very hard along the way.

James Di Virgilio (31:13):

Scott, it’s been excellent talking with you today. Kind of getting your background, hearing your stories, talking about cryptocurrency, music, trading. So many things you can follow Scott and find a lot of his insights on his Twitter feed the Wolf of all streets. Very interesting stuff there. He is Scott Melker. Scott, thank you for joining us today.

Scott Melker (31:31):

Well, thank you so much. It was really my pleasure.

James Di Virgilio (31:33):

And for Radio Cade, I’m James Di Virgilio

Outro (31:37):

Radio Cade is produced by the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention located in Gainesville, Florida. This podcast episodes host was James Di Virgilio and Ellie Thom coordinates, inventor interviews, podcasts are recorded at Heartwood Soundstage and edited and mixed by Bob McPeak. The Radio Cade theme song was produced and performed by Tracy Collins and features violinists, Jacob Lawson.

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