Shorting Bitcoin led to my investment loss of about 1.5 million Euro within months. Entire family inheritance reserved for a special project to benefit humanity is ruined.
I signed up in March 2017 with IG Markets to open several CFD and stock trading accounts through a London based introducing broker. Not realizing that I have just made the biggest mistake of my life, I started trading with Forex and shares. Mr. Justin from the introducing broker guided me on how to trade with IG web-based platform. He requested to constantly monitor my trading accounts. Whenever I need help, he was always available to give assistance. I developed trust that he cared about my success. I was doing average with my trading and not taking risks. Through active trading on a CFD account and gradual injection of inherited funds from my family bank brokerage accounts, my portfolio grew to about 400k within few months. I was confident that my trading strategy of holding on to positions to earn interests or dividends whenever market turn against me will be better than cutting out positions with losses. I wanted to invest short term or long term to take profits only or leave positions till losses turn to profits. I did not want to just speculate but I carefully traded with instruments that earned me interest or dividends. At this point, Mr Justin from the introducing broker took more interest in my trading and offered to visit me in Vienna. His reason was to help install L2 Dealer, a downloadable DMA platform for advanced traders. I found it very strange and felt uncomfortable that he will be flying from London to Vienna just for that. Not wanting to be impolite, I met him at Vienna airport and took him to the apartment where I worked day trading. He told me he is married with an Austrian and they have a grown-up boy. This removed my initial doubts and I developed trust and likeness after few hours together. After several unsuccessful attempts to download and install the L2 dealer on my computer, he called a technician at IG for assistance. The person instructed him to install a program on my computer that will enable him to control the L2 dealer installation from UK. After the installation was complete, Mr. Justin showed me how it works but I found it complicated unlike the web-based platform. I drove him to the airport and we kept good contact. Few days later, he sent me an email to trade with Bitcoin. I have heard of Bitcoin from friends and I was not interested since I knew very little about it. After few days of not reacting to his suggestion to trade with Bitcoin, he called me and convinced me that I should look at it with claim that the price action is fantastic. Out of politeness and trusting that he wanted my good, I checked IG Bitcoin product details, trading conditions and margin requirements which was at 12.5% in May 2017 for retail clients. I took a position which I closed same day with good profit. I was impressed and started reading everything I could find online about Bitcoin. It was few weeks before Bitcoin Cash fork. Two major factors that led to my losses:
BITCOIN FORK CONDITIONS: Statement concerning fork conditions for holders of Bitcoin was not on IG website prior to the fork. I never came across it on any of several crypto websites (Cointelegraph, Coindesk etc.) I was reading for information. Without this vital information and believing the fork shall translate to reduction of value for Bitcoin, I held several short Bitcoin positions through the fork which led to being credited with negative Bitcoin Cash positions by IG Markets. Worldwide Bitcoin communities, fans, longtime followers and enthusiasts were aware that holders of Bitcoin will be credited with free positive Bitcoin Cash after the fork. These much experienced insiders accumulated and built up positive Bitcoin positions to earn equivalent free Bitcoin Cash. Resulting short squeeze in combination with much hype and other forks drove Bitcoin price to about 20,000 USD. My trading strategy of never wanting to cut out positions at losses was playing out to be wrong. At the same time, I was convinced that the price was either being manipulated or being artificially driven up by large players that were somehow able to communicate with each other behind the scenes. I believed the price must reverse hard at a certain point. With this believe in mind, I kept pumping in more funds to secure my positions. It was at this point that a second factor I had not known or reckoned with was applied against me.
TIERED MARGIN: During the run up of Bitcoin, IG had been gradually increasing Bitcoin margin requirement till it eventually reached 100%. Margin requirement was also increased on Forex and stock positions I was holding. Up to that point, I was not aware of tiered margin and the accompanying rights IG had reserved for themselves through the signup terms. As margin increase was gradually being applied on my opened positions, I was covering with hundreds of thousands of Euro in constant stress to save my positions. I sold stocks on family brokerage accounts and pumped the money to IG. My trading account exploded to over one million Euro. Slowly realizing by December 2017 that something was not right, I finally found out about the tiered margins and the negative effects it was having on my CFD trading account. Mr. Justin and IG explained the rule (which I found very unfair) that IG reserve rights to increase margin on opened positions till 100% while charging and keeping up expensive CFD financing costs. I ended up financing the instruments 100% while being charged full financing costs for positions I opened at 12.5% margin. In my own opinion and conclusion which I communicated, IG was employing these and several other methods to trade against me, to force me into giving up my positions at losses when Bitcoin reversal was imminent or obvious. Accepting my fate, I finally stopped pumping money to IG, closed the positions and ended up with about 1.5 million Euro in losses.
I am broken, devastated and sad. Who are the players behind last year Bitcoin run up? Is it possible that exchanges, brokerages and big players were combining to manipulate last year events that caused Bitcoin run up? Can government regulators be of assistance in case of foul play? I need helpful advice and comments. D. John
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