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One Year Later: Where is Pranav Bastawade, who started with Crypto at 19

A year after our previous interview with Crypto Millionaire, investor and accomplished trader, 23-year old Pranav Bastawade, we caught up with him once again for his journey so far and his views on the market. Here’s the conversation you should certainly check out. 

In our Trader Story segment we cover lives of people who got into crypto early, tasted huge profits, survived the bear markets and are still working towards strengthening the Crypto ecosystem. Crypto assets are one of the most volatile, high risk – huge return type of investment and no one should invest without doing adequate research. This post is not meant to be financial advice or encouragement to invest in Crypto assets.

Please tell us about your crypto journey so far? What got you started?

I started my crypto journey in 2017. I was 19 at that time, and it’s been five years since I’ve been in the business. One fine day I happened to come across an article in The Economic Times about cryptocurrencies. That’s what got to me. I started reading more about Bitcoin and found out that it was trading around 1000 USD at that time. I was new to the field and thought I’d have to buy an entire Bitcoin. Little did I know that I also could have opted for 0.01 Bitcoin. 

Nevertheless, that got me to Ethereum, the second biggest coin. It was trading at 6-7 USD at that time, and it kick-started my journey. I watched a lot of videos of Vitalik Buterin on YouTube and him explaining the whole ethereum network. There has been no turning back ever since.

What were your first few picks, and how did they turn out?

When I started, my capital was around 100-150 USD (15,000 INR). My first ever trade was buying Ethereum when it was about 6- 7 USD. The other trade was XRP which made me the most money. I purchased one XRP at 0.4 cents, and I sold it off at 2 USD. 

Recently there has been a massive crypto crash, and the Bitcoin dominance has fallen. What are your thoughts about it, and what do you suggest traders should do to recover from that? 

To be honest, it has not fallen that much yet. Because of what we saw from the 2017 crash until March 2020, Bitcoin had retraced more than 60 – 70%. Right now, it has done around 50% retracement, but I still feel that it can go down to 10 – 12,000 USD and then continue with the uprise.  

What do you think is the reason behind the retracement? What makes you say that it will experience the uprise post-retracement?

Miners are leaving China. That has reduced the hashing power, which will be very difficult. Once they set up their base someplace else, the difficulty will start going up, and the network will become more secure. 

More than that, there are external factors that influence the market. Michael Saylor, Elon Musk. The transactions for Tesla will start again if Bitcoin can do sustainable mining.

What are your views on the influence that Elon Musk has on the market? 

It is a boasting game. He does not care about the money because he already has the money. More like a superpower, he enjoys trying to move the market with his enigmatic tweets. But we can’t question him because he’s not directly controlling the market. His claim that he only owns 0.25 Bitcoin will never get him under the SEC’s radar.

Pranav Bastawade One year later, crypto millionaire settled in Dubai
Pranav at Palm Jumeriah, Dubai. Source: Pranav Bastawade’s instagram profile

What does it say about the crypto market? Is it fair that his tweets are a reason to market reactions?

It is not just him, I would say. There are a lot of other people that have come into the market during the lockdown, especially in India. I have seen many of my friends who were not interested in the crypto market at one point are now investing in it, day in and day out. It is human nature that when you suddenly see people around you making money, you would want to stand in the crowd too. Most of them are losing money, and I believe that the main reason would be looking at the tweets by Mr. Elon Musk about Dogecoin doubling overnight. They lost a lot of money now that I think of it. 

One piece of advice that I would like to give to people is research. Without doing research, you cannot put your money blindly just anywhere and become rich overnight. 

How do you suggest new traders trade in the current range given the market scenario and the volatility? 

There are two types of traders – one, who trades intraday. They’ll be happy with a couple of percentages of profits. The other would be a long-term investor. If you are a long-term investor, you must keep your 5-6 coins with you after your research for best returns and add to them like a SIP (regardless of the price you buy).

The daily traders must be very strict in their trading. There should be a strict stop loss and a profits position, and it must be within the loss range. 

If you’re a new trader, I would suggest getting into cash trading first and leave the margin trading alone for a while.

What are your price predictions for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other altcoins until the end of this year? 

Same time last year, when I did an interview, I had predicted Bitcoin to go around 45-50,000, and it went up to 60,000. For this year, to be honest, I have a negative view. I see it at about 18-20,000 USD per Bitcoin. 

And with EIP – 1559 software, if that goes well, Ethereum can go up to 4000.

As for altcoins, I track and trust Matic. That has been my most profitable coin in the last given year. It is significantly undervalued at the moment.  And if it continues doing the same amount of transactions that it is doing currently, I think it can be a top 10 market cap very soon.

How has your journey been since the last time you spoke to us?

It has been good, I’d say. I invested in Matic, Ethereum, Bitcoin, and also Dogecoin. My money was on Dogecoin considering it a gamble. I had made up my mind; if I were to lose 100% of my capital in Dogecoin, I was prepared. 

I played my cards on Dogecoin in January 2021 when trading at 0.8 Rupees and sold it off around 57 rupees. So I was pretty happy.

Is there a bad trading experience or a mistake(s) you particularly pay attention to before devising a strategy?

Previously, I would hop on trends quickly. Some people trade according to what the charts say, while some people trade according to the momentum, like following influencers on Twitter (Elon Musk being the top in that list). Regardless of what a tweet means, Elon Musk, short-handedly, seems to control the coin’s value. In that case, prices go up to double if it’s a small coin (altcoin). My inclination was more to MATIC tokens after I sold off my Dogecoin.

A test of my patience, I didn’t jump to conclusions when I’d read a tweet about the low supply on Matic. I started tracking Matic when it was 0.4 USD but only got into it at 0.8 USD. The wait cost me double. Had I done it a bit sooner, it wouldn’t have been the case indeed. 

But my patience powered me when I sold the 0.8 USD valued coin at 2.1 USD.

2021 has me worried about the regulation in India. There is no clear indication from the government that Bitcoin is classified as a trading asset (trade online, make money, and pay tax). And I don’t see any time soon that the government is legally approving Bitcoin as a currency. I’m hopeful that it will be presented in the parliament session. In fact, banks are also causing a lot of issues for these exchanges. 

What issues? 

One of the main issues would be deposit and withdrawal onto the crypto exchange. Particular banks in India do not allow crypto trading, which is why I have moved my base to Dubai for the last six months. UAE is more welcoming of the crypto world, and its rules and regulations are also unambiguous compared to India. 

Another reason would be taxation. In the UAE, there is no personal tax. I did not have to pay any taxes for my gains or losses because I’m currently an NRI living in India.

Speaking about other countries, do you think India could follow any other country’s steps in inculcating these regulations? 

I think India should follow the US method. The exchange follows a process with a license for trading, and traders must be KYC approved. These set rules and regulations are inculcated and followed by exchanges in other countries, while I feel the Indian government has other issues to deal with at the moment. The concern is elsewhere. 

How do you measure a successful trade? 

If I’m making an intra-day trade, my profit hovers around 4-5%. I take my profit and close the cards of the market for that day. A new set of trading starts the next day. I also maintain a strict 2% stop loss. 

Do you still trust XRP? 

(laughs) Not with the ongoing case. Until the pending lawsuit with the SEC is clear, I would steer clear of it.

What has been a missed opportunity so far?

I regret not investing more in Matic.

Any advice for upcoming crypto traders?

Just be patient, do your research and trust your instincts

Do not, whatsoever, pay attention to any tweets of any influencer or anybody other than you. 

Because if you tend to go after a Mr. Know-it-all crypto guy, you won’t have anyone else but yourself to blame.

Be patient and not fickle about the fact that if the market is going down, you need to sell off and buy again. That loses you money.

I recall you mentioning that investors should research as much as possible. How do you do your research? 

I follow CoinMarketCap. Under “analysis”, you can have free access and also avail of it through a paid subscription. That is what helps me keep track. I see the exchange inflows and outflows and the number of people using the network currently.

For detailed research, in a long-term investment, it takes me a couple of months. And I would advise you not to rush your research but take as much time as possible. Even if it goes wrong, it gives you an experience, and the next time you would want to avoid those same mistakes. The research has to be your backing. 

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