Margin Rate Definition: Day Trading Terminology - Warrior
What is Margin Trading? - Fidelity
What is Margin Trading? Definition of Margin Trading
Not sure if this is allowed, but fuck it, we're hurting and desperate times create desperate people who do desperate things. TL;DR: Local butcher shop with cheap prices. Trying to keep afloat and keep folks fed. Address at bottom. Sup ya'll, it's your favorite local meat boy (for those that don’t get it, here's my first post: original NYC meat boy post). Despite COVID cases in NYC having dropped a fair amount, a lot of businesses that have opened up aren't doing so hot, and still some are not going to open up ever again. While there's unemployment insurance for individuals, there really isn't much for small local businesses. I also know that the pandemic boost for UI is about to run out end of month, so if you're sweating about how you're going to eat, I got you. Most of America's economy began to feel the effects of The Rona around March of this year, but businesses located in Chinatown were fucked as early as January. America's reporting on COVID centered around China being the bad guy, which trends to loop all Asian Americans as "others" and "not really American." Chinese businesses tanked and hate crimes shot up. People within the community began their own self-imposed quarantine due to increased fear of being caught slacking by some racist fuckstick. Then came the formal lock down in March, which really flipped us over, bent us over the couch for good leverage, and fucked us deep and hard. At the time of 14JUNE2020, less than half of Chinatown's restaurants are open, and less than a third of total businesses are open (Bloomberg article supporting claim). Most funds meant as relief for small businesses got snagged by large corporations. And now all the SMEs are floundering. As of now, the end of July, still less than a third of Chinatown businesses have opened up, especially since most of them couldn't apply for any assistance due to language barriers. So again, here I am peddling my wares. I also have $9.75 left from someone that wanted to pay it forward earlier in the year for what it’s worth. We’re a small local meat shop. A butcher shop. A boutique culinary protein throwback to simpler times. Whatever the fuck you want to call it. We sell meat. You get the idea. Our prices are real fucking low. Lower than your self esteem. Lower than what your parents think of you. And that’s a good thing. Cause you like cheap things, you cheap fuck. Save all the money you can. While I can’t guarantee that we’re the cheapest you’ve ever seen, I can guarantee that we’ll be top five in cheapest prices in NYC. What do you want? Cause more likely than not, we got that shit. POULTRY. We got all kinds of birds. Chicken, silkies, qual, squab, duck, goose, stewing hens. Fuck you want? Still debating on whether drums or mid’s are better with your friends? Fuck around and cop a pound of each for under $5 per person: mid-wings are $3.89 a pound, drums are back to $.69/lb. Want more meat? Fine. A whole ass chicken leg and thigh, $.89/lb. You fuck with feet? It’s 2020, more power to you my guy. Chicken feet stands at $1.69/lb, duck feet at $1.49/lb. You into titties? Of course you're into titties: chicken breast coming in hot at $4.95 for a 2.2lb net weight bag. Into retirees and GILFs? All you Jack Black: Stewing Hens are two for $5.95. Haven’t gotten neck and head in a hot minute cause of COVID, or your Tinder and Hinge profile is just that basura? Say less: duck heads and necks at $1.39/lb. Into spawn kill? My guy: we got a dozen eggs for $2.95, 30 pack for $6.50. Duck eggs, six for $3.95. PORK. My man, let me tell you something. You fuck with pork chops? Even if you don't, for $2.39/lb, you fuck with pork chops. We got tenderloins for $3.19/lb. Bones for stock? $.99/lb. Let me guess, you miss eating authentic char siu over rice with the sauce from Chinatown. At $2.69/lb for char siu meat, you can afford to fuck up three times and still come out ahead instead of buying it from a restaurant. Since it's getting hot, you're going to want to throw BBQs, right? Hopefully they're socially distanced, everyone is responsible and wearing a mask, and all you motherfuckers got COVID tested prior. Got you some ribs for $2.89 a pound. You want some of them dim sum ribs? Them itty bitty, little tiny cuts of ribs? Small just like your feelings when your ex left you? $3.59 a pound. You been going through a rough time and need an ear to listen to you. $3.39/lb for pig ears buddy, say more. If you been fucking with feet and chicken and duck feet don't cut it, do it like J. Cole "so big it's like a foot is in yo' mouth" cause I got pre-cut pig trotters for $1.49 a pound. Oh, you deadass want the whole foot in your mouth? Weird, but we're being open-minded here: whole uncut pig trotters at $1.79/lb. BEEF. Let me guess: you haven't gotten enough foul language from this post and need a better tongue lashing? You filthy, sick, sorry, piece of shit. Beef tongues will run you $6.99 a pound. Or you want to boss up, but instead of being bad and boujee, you've been sad and boujee cause of COVID. Well, fear not, cause with femur bones at $1.95/lb, you can split them right down the fucking middle to get to that sweet, sweet, succulent marrow and feel like you're out brunching, spending $80 you don't have for a meal you can't afford to flex on hoes you couldn't really give less of a shit about. What's that? Pig trotters don't cut it? You trying to deepthroat the shit? I mean, do mama proud I guess. I got beef trotters/feet at $1.89 a pound. I mean, with skills like that, why you even buying from me? You belong on the yacht of some old rich man. But do you. Oh what's that? Your girl says your stroke game shit and you falling short of getting up in her guts? No fix for that, sorry, but you can cop honeycomb tripe or stomach at $3.39 a pound and know for a fact you can absolutely beat the ever living fuck out of these guts. You trying to fuck with flank steaks? $7.45 my guy. New York Strip? $8.99. T-Bone? $7.99. My bone? Ten camels. Where my Jamaicans at? Waa gwaan? I know oxtail is AT LEAST $6.75/lb where you’re at. We have them on deck for $5.99/lb. Or maybe you’re a rapper. You’re on SoundCloud pushing music and living out your mama’s crib. No shame, it’s rough out here King. Want to know how to really blow up? What did Eminem call himself in 8 Mile? That’s right, B-Rabbit. And you know what I got? Rabbit for $4.69 a pound. You are what you eat man. I’m not saying that eating rabbit will immediately blow your rap career the fuck up and give you the lyrical genius of Eminem, but I’m not saying it won’t either. For less than $5 a pound, you really gonna chance it? What if the other rappers cop it and you don’t and they blow up? Don’t get left behind my guy. You a King and King’s gotta do what they don’t want to do sometimes for the betterment of the folks. And the folks want to hear your music. Or maybe rabbit not your thing. You right, it’s too lean and lacks fat. Eat too much rabbit and nothing else and you’ll starve your body of fat. So how about goat? You want to be the GOAT, don’t you? Reddit’s even got a badge for it. If you want to be the Goat, guess what you gotta do? That’s fucking right, you are what you eat and here I am, your fucking pusher man for goat. You're fancy and trying to be boujee. Let me guess: lamb? Say less, I got you that bonjour hon hon hon rack of of lamb chops. Want a quarter of lamb? Got that too. All you gotta do is ask. I'm not going to really keep going down the list. You get the idea. I work at a fucking meat shop, I'm going to sell meat. I sell wholesale to restaurants and retail to walk-in folks. It's a pretty simple fucking concept. Is our meat fresh? As fresh as, if not more so, than any large chain due to constant turn over on wholesale side. Why are our prices so low? Because we're a small mom-and-pop brick and mortar shop. We're located in Chinatown. Ever heard of FUBU? Same concept: we're built by Chinese immigrants, for Chinese immigrants. Unfortunately, the Chinese population in NYC is one of, if not THE poorest communities we have. Raising prices will price out the community and jack the reason why we're even here: to feed the community. This also means that our margins are fucked, but we're making it work. Yes, we look janky asf. I know, we're not "modern" and our aesthetic looks like some tossed together shit from the 60's. Shit, our band saw is from the 80's. But we're clean, we're sanitary, we pass all health standards and inspections, and we're doing our fucking best. We're literally the definition of "no frills." To hear some say it, we'd be considered ghetto. I prefer the term resourceful, so fuck you. Because we're local and serve local, we only accept cash, EBT, SNAP, and debit. We don't do credit. Venmo is @FourSevenDivisionStreetTrading. PSA as the last one: if you think you can roll up to squeeze us, find out if you're a better shot than I am. Not my job to judge your life choices, but I will send you to someone who will. I'm the only person here that is fluent in English, so unless you're feeling real brave about pointing at shit and figuring it out, you speak a dialect, know how to read Chinese, or know what cut you're looking for, come on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons (02:00pm - 06:30pm) since that's when I'm directly on the floor. If you're a restaurant and you're looking to keep overhead low, PM me, I'll work something out with you. Our location is: 47 Division Street Ground Floor New York, NY 10002 B/D to Grand Street, F to East Broadway Our hours are: Monday - Saturday 0800am - 0630pm 23JUL2020 0323AM Edit: Added beef and lamb, added venmo acc, schedule and times. 25JUL2020 0015AM Edit: Changed schedule to add in Saturday.
Post 1: Basics: CALL, PUT, exercise, ITM, ATM, OTM Post 2: Basics: Buying and Selling, the Greeks Post 3a: Simple Strategies Post 3b: Advanced Strategies Post 4a: Example of trades (short puts, covered calls, and verticals) Post 4b: Example of trades (calendars and hedges) --- This is a follow up of the first post. The basics: Volatility and Time Now that you understand the basics of intrinsic and extrinsic values and how together gives a price to the premium, it is important to understand how the extrinsic value is actually calculated. The intrinsic value is easy: The intrinsic value of a call = share price - strike (if positive, $0 otherwise) The intrinsic value of a put = strike - share price (if positive, $0 otherwise) The extrinsic value is mostly based on two variables: volatility of the share price and time. Given the historic volatility, and the predicted volatility, how far can the share price go by the expiration date? The longer the date, and the higher the share volatility, the higher the chance of the share to change significantly. A share that jumped from $25 to $50 in the past few weeks (hello NKLA!) will have much higher volatility than a share that stayed at $50 for several months in a row. Similarly, an option expiring in two months will have a higher extrinsic value than an option expiring in one month, just because the share has more chances to move more in two months than a single month. The extrinsic value is calculated as a combination of both the expiration date (how many days to expiration, hours even when you are close to expiration), and the implied volatility of the share. Each strike, call or put, will have their own implied volatility. It is quite noticeable when you look at all the strikes for the same expiration. Sometimes, you can even arbitrage this between strikes and expiration dates. The basics: Buying and Selling contracts Until now, we have only talked about buying call and put contracts. You pay a premium to get a contract that allows you to buy (call) or sell (put) shares of a specific instrument. As your risk is the cost of your premium, you can notice that buying options is a risky proposition. To make a profit on the buying side:
You have to be directionally correct. The price must go up for calls, down for puts.
AND the share price move must be bigger than the premium you paid.
AND the share price move must happen before the option expiration.
You will notice that it is pretty unforgiving. Sure, when you are right, you can make a 100% to 1000% profit in a few months, weeks, or even days. But there is a big chance that you will suffer death by thousands of cuts with your long call or put contracts losing value every day and become worthless. We were discussing earlier how volatile stocks can have a high extrinsic value. What happens to your option price if the share is changing a lot and suddenly calms down? The extrinsic portion of the option price will crater quickly because volatility dropped, and time is still passing every day. The same way you can buy options, you can also sell call and put options. Instead of buying the right to exercise your ITM calls and puts, you sell that right to a 3rd party (usually market makers). To make a profit on the selling side:
You have to be directionally correct.
OR the share price does not move as much as the premium.
OR the share price does not move before the option expiration.
Buying calls and puts mean that you need to have strong convictions on the share’s direction. I know that I am not good at predicting the future. However, I do believe in reversion to the mean (especially in this market :)), and I like to be paid as time is passing. In case you didn't guess yet, yes, I mostly sell options, I don’t buy them. This is a different risk, instead of death by a thousand cuts, a single trade can have a big loss, so proper contract sizing is really important. It is worth noting that because you sold the right of exercise to a 3rd party, they can exercise at any time the option is ITM. When one party exercises, the broker randomly picks one of the option sellers and exercises the contract there. When you are on the receiving end of the exercise, it is called an assignment. As indicated earlier, for most parts, you will not be getting assigned on your short options as long as there is some extrinsic value left (because it is more profitable to sell the option than exercising it). Deep ITM options are more at risk, due to the sometimes inexistent extrinsic value. Also, the options just before the ex-dividend date when the dividend is as bigger than the extrinsic value are at risk, as it is a good way to get the dividend for a smaller cash outlay with little risk. In summary:
Buying a call, you hope the price to go up significantly.
Max loss is the premium. You lose money with time.
Max profit is infinity, minus the premium.
Buying a put, you hope the price to go down significantly.
Max loss is the premium. You lose money with time.
Max profit is the strike price, minus the premium.
Selling a call, you hope the price to not change much, or to go down.
Max loss is infinity (just don’t sell straight calls, at most do verticals - see next post).
Max profit is the premium. You profit from time.
Selling a put, you hope the price to not change much, or to go up.
Max loss is the strike price.
Max profit is the premium. You profit from time.
The Greeks Each option contract has a complex formula to calculate its premium (Black-Scholes is usually a good initial option pricing model to calculate the premiums). Things that will determine the option premium are:
Current share price
Call or Put
American or European style options
Cost of money (or risk-free rate)
And the time to expiration
There are four key values calculated from the current option price: delta, gamma, theta, and vega. In the options world, we call them ‘the Greeks’. Delta is how correlated your option price is compared to the underlying share price. By definition 100 shares have a delta of 100. If an option has a delta of 50, it means that if the share price increases by $1, the new price of your option means that you earned $50. Conversely, a drop of $1 means you will lose $50. Each call contract bought will have a delta from 0 to 100. A deep ITM call will have a delta close to 100. An ATM call will have a delta around 50. Note that on expiration day, as the intrinsic value disappears, an ATM call behaves like the share price, with a delta close to 100. Buying a put will have a negative delta. A deep ITM put will have a delta close to -100. Selling a call will have a negative delta, selling a put will have a positive delta. Gamma is the rate of change of delta as the underlying share price changes. Unless you are a market maker or doing gamma scalping (profiting from small changes in the share price), you should not worry too much about gamma. Theta is how much money you lose or profit per day (week-end included!) on your option contracts. If you bought a call/put, your theta will be negative (you lose money every day due to the time passing closer to the contract expiration, and your option price slowly eroding). If you sold a call/put, your theta will be positive (you earn money every day from the premium). It is important to note that the theta accelerates as you get closer to the expiration. For the same strike and volatility, a theta for an option that has one month left will be smaller than the theta for an option that has one week left, and bigger than an option that has 6 months left. In the third post, I will explain how you can take advantage of this. FWIW, with the current volatility, I get 0.1% to 0.2% of Return On Risk per day, so roughly 35% to 70% of return annualized. I don’t expect these numbers to keep like this for a long time, but I will profit as long as we are in this sideways market. I also have an overall positive delta, so I will benefit as the market goes up, and theta gain will soften the blow when the market goes down. Vega is how much your option price will increase or decrease when the implied volatility of the share price increase by 1%. If you bought some puts or calls, your vega will be positive, as your extrinsic value will increase when volatility increases. Conversely, if you sold some puts or calls, your vega will be negative. On the sell side, you want the actual volatility to be lower than the implied volatility to make money. This is why we often say that you sell options to sell the volatility. When volatility is high, sell options. When volatility is low, buy options. Not the opposite. This also explains why some people lose money when playing stock earnings despite being directionally correct. Before earnings, the option price takes into account the expected stock price change, so the volatility is significantly higher than usual. They bought an expensive call or put, numbers are out, share price moves in the correct direction, but because suddenly the volatility dropped (no uncertainty about the earnings anymore), the extrinsic value of the option got crushed, and offset the increase in intrinsic value. The result is not as much profit as expected or even a loss. Bid/Ask spread Options are less liquid than the corresponding shares, especially given the sheer quantity of strikes and expiration dates. The gap between the bid and the ask can be pretty big. If you are not careful about how you enter and exit the trade, you will transform a profitable trade into a losing one. Due to the small contract costs, the bid/ask spread adds up quickly, and with the trading fees, they can represent 10% or more of your profit. Beware! Never ever buy or sell an option at the market price. Always use a limit order, start with the mid-price, or be even more aggressive. See if someone bites, it happens. If not, give up $0.05 or less, wait a bit longer, and do it again. Be patient. If you are at mid-price between the bid and the ask, and you think this is a fair price, and the market or time is on your side, again just be patient. It is better to not enter a trade that is not in your own terms than overpaying/underselling and reducing your profit/risk ratio too much. LEAPs Leap options have a very long expiration date. Usually one year or more. ETF indexes, like SPY, can have leaps of 1, 2, or 3 years away. They offer some advantages as they have a low theta. A deep ITM Leap can behave like the stock with 30% of the cost. Just remember that if the share drops by 30% long term, you will lose everything. Watch out! This is a personal experience of mine in 2008, where I diversified away from a few companies to many more companies by buying multiple leaps. It was akin to changing 100 shares into options with a delta of 250. However, when the market tanked, all these deep ITM leaps lost significantly (more than if I only had 100 shares). Good lesson learned. You win some, you lose some. Number of shares The vast majority of options trades at 100 shares per contract. But during share splits, or reverse splits, company reorganizations, or special dividend distributions, the numbers of shares can change. The options are automatically updated. The 1:N splits are easily converted as you just get more contracts, and your strike is getting adjusted. For example, let’s say you own 1 contract of ABC with a strike of $200 controlling 100 shares (so exposure to $20k). Then the company splits 1:4, you are going to get 4 contracts with a strike of $50, with each contract controlling 100 shares (so still the same exposure of $20k). The N:1 reverse splits are a tad more complex. Say you have 1 contract of ABC with a strike of $1, controlling 100 shares (so exposure to $100). Then the company reverse splits 5:1, you are going to still get 1 contract, but with a strike of $5, with each contract controlling 20 shares (so still the same exposure of $100). You will still be able to trade these 20 shares contracts but they will slowly trade less and less and disappear over time, as new 100 shares contracts will be created alongside. Brokers and fees In my experience, ThinkOrSwim (TOS owned by TD Ameritrade, being bought by Schwab) is one of the very best brokers to trade options. The software on PC, Mac, iPad, or iPhone is top-notch. Very easy to use, very intuitive, very responsive. Pricing on contracts dropped recently, it’s now $0.65 per contract, with $0 for exercise or assignment. You may actually be able to negotiate an even better price. I also have Interactive Brokers (IB), and that’s the other side of the spectrum. The software is very buggy, unstable, unintuitive, and slow to update. I tried few options trades and got too frustrated to continue. Too bad, it has very good margin rates (although if you are an option seller it is not really needed, as you receive cash when you open your trades). However, it’s perfectly acceptable to trade plain ETFs and shares. Market Markers Most of the options you buy or sell from will be provided by the Markets Makers. Do not expect that you will get good deals from them. You will see in the third post how you selling a put and buying a call is equivalent to buy a share. When you buy/sell a call / put from the market makers, you are guaranteed that they will hedge their corresponding positions by buying/selling a share and the opposite options (put/call). The next post will introduce you to simple option strategies. --- Post 1: Basics: CALL, PUT, exercise, ITM, ATM, OTM Post 2: Basics: Buying and Selling, the Greeks Post 3a: Simple Strategies Post 3b: Advanced Strategies Post 4a: Example of trades (short puts, covered calls, and verticals) Post 4b: Example of trades (calendars and hedges)
https://preview.redd.it/41gp3gv0bdg51.png?width=578&format=png&auto=webp&s=8efaa3dbd334c1adce493869153462c862392e3b I post these editorials in the morning because before bed and early are when I do my best slow thinking. They are actually hard for me to post because they make me feel a little vulnerable, though I'm not sure why - or why still. I used to just delete them about an hour after I posted them. I get up before dawn so I doubt any of you caught it. Then I started leaving them and saying I would delete them later. Either they had a time sensitive stock "idea" or just something I changed my mind on later. Then people asked me to stop doing that. I try to be more selective about what I post and make sure it has real value to learns like I do. These posts get the least Up-votes so I know they are not read as much because those are generally good "I've read this" checks to know whats popular. They are always at the bottom of the sorted lists and I'm lucky to get one comment. But the comments I do get are usually profound ones like "I can't believe no one explained it that way to me.. I finally get it". That was me. I never got things the way other people did. Since I was a kid. I had to find people who taught me things in a way that I understood. Now I think I have advantages for the way my brain learns a little differently, whether I shaped it or not. But it doesn't make it any easier to know that when most people read your stuff they just don't care about half of it. But now I know that's them not me. I finally realized like me, some people don't learn like I do, so this part of my content does not interest them and that's just fine with me. I really started this sub to help my fellow slow thinkers. The people who can read something like this and extrapolate some hidden value that I might be trying to get across. That's who I am anyway. And as long as every once in a while, I get a note that says I helped someone see something new for the first time, then I'll keep trying different tactics to get through to different minds. If you don't like them, just skip anything labeled "Opinion". https://preview.redd.it/8fdwfa3dxcg51.png?width=512&format=png&auto=webp&s=80209f3941f8d6bcb5aa5be244402c8eaa88dbc8 Yesterday I posted the content from our Guest Mentor, John Chao. For our Q&A I let him do his own editing so he chose what words he bolded. The only one I added bold to out of the whole thing was this sentence that he came up with in the moment. "To be a consistently profitable trader, we need to be disciplined like a professional athlete." One of my favorite novels of recent years was a book called The Art of Racing In the Rain. It has since become a movie, and one I quite like. It's about a dog who's owner is a race car driver, told through the dogs perspective. The owner meets a girl and a lot happens, but without spoiling it, there's some health crisis that occurs, which is probably what made me connect to it so much. The dog's owner, a racer named Denny Swift, is not a big guy. He wasn't in the book either. But he was sharp. Sharp physically and mentally. He was alert and wired and ready to go. But he was also cool and calm and the longer he raced the more cool and calm he appeared on the outside while on the inside he was corralled team of horses waiting to be let out to pasture whenever he needed them. All the terrible struggles and victories he faced seemed minor because he was always cool - always ready. I had one bad group/mentor that I regret. It actually was not a bad service, but it was just pay-to-win setup. I had no control over what I bought. I did place my orders, but they picked the stocks and prices. I never took a trade for a while because it made me feel so sick. They posted winning members trades on a Facebook, sort of like I have been posting our member's great trades recently. I was sure it was a scam. I thought, they are only posting the good ones. It bet that's like 5%. I spent all my time finding new ways to get angry at other people, when I was just angry at myself for wasting all this money that I was already hurting for from a horrible loss streak. I actually have been angry about that until this morning when I was talking to a new member about possibly posting a good trade she had, but she wanted to "wait for a better one". (Good for you!) In the shower this morning, my best slow thinking time of day, I asked myself, am I just like that guy who ran that service? I don't charge money but the effect is still the same. Maybe I don't want to be famous or rich from this mentoring but I do want a big following of people committed to independence. So am I selling out in a way? I then emotionally re-processed what I went through with that paid service. I stayed about a month, even though I paid for a year because it was 50% off, and I was not making good choices at the time. Every day I got a tip and every day I didn't take it because I felt like it was resigning to the fact that I would not make it as a trader. I went to the Facebook every day and kept reading those winning trade recaps. I was furious. I wanted my money back but I knew I made the decision and it was one I wanted to live with. After a couple weeks I took one trade. I made back all the money I paid for the course and deleted my account. This was less than 5 years ago That was the last time I spent money on anything that I did not know exactly what it was and how it would help me be independent. I did not resign myself again after that day though I came close many times again. I took desperate measures to get back above PDT and it hurt but I did it. I can feel my heart rate increasing as I type this and had to get up to walk around, that's how traumatic it was. I had already taken some really quality education before this, for over a year. I already knew cycles, waves, divergences. I knew how to race. I just hadn't done it enough and thought I should be Denny Swift, the racer from the book, without having his ten thousand laps. To me the stock market is a race track. The scans I give out, or watchlists anyone else does, are race cars. They are great tools in the right hands, but like a new racer who's tires were not changed by a team the driver trusts, they are just as likely to crash it as make a clean lap. They read the books and watched the videos. But they haven't raced enough. They should have gone 5 miles and hour, but they went 60. They could gone for one lap, but they went for two. They don't have the best gear and don't even know what the best gear is. Is there even a best set of gear for everyone or do they need to study more books to find out what their best gear is? There's tons of race cars and they all work just fine. If you can't drive one yet, switching to another one won't help. https://preview.redd.it/69y6meu09dg51.png?width=512&format=png&auto=webp&s=fecc7d6278d3d29858b617e74655a833bc183b05 I think I'm finally over that bad program I paid for at one of my lowest moment in trading. But, boy, did it take a while to figure that one out. If you took anything from this post, or are new to trying to find the hidden message then let me help you this time. Notice all the links I put about a Nobel-prize-winning-book that helps you determine if you are a slow or fast thinker and how not figuring that out can hold you back for life. Notice how I actually figured out what my most thoughtful time of day is (in the shower) and I know what to think about during those few minutes to get more out of it. I know what foods literally cause me to make poorer choices when I trade. I mention a novel I read because I thought it might be insightful to my life and now my trading. I can't race a car, I've never watched Nascar, and I rarely drive myself anymore. I have health problems that make just getting out of bed feel like a long hard race most days. But even on my worst days, my mind is sharp. And if I'm not well enough to exercise one day, I'm probably reading about how to improve my exercise for the next day. I never miss and opportunity to improve myself and apply learning in everything I do. My mind is a corralled team of horses and I am always ready to meet a challenge with full force and commitment because I am prepared. I was born a thoughtless baby just like you. I had more disadvantages then most but I want the mind of a racer, not that helpless trader I was a few years ago, so I work at it constantly. It's contagious and addictive and I love it so much more than sitting around waiting for things to change when I know they rarely do. https://preview.redd.it/84but6qaadg51.png?width=512&format=png&auto=webp&s=50a3f318cc90e997572f8de4c57b4ef5dfce7eba skotlaroc is one of our members and someone who has made more progress than most. He can't race full speed yet but his racer's mind is developing rapidly and when he's ready I am confident he will crush it. One reason he is making such progress, and others like him, though its not always apparent when we they are the ones driving, he talks to me and other trades constantly. He happens to be in Australia and trades the ASX which puts him at a huge disadvantage because he doesn't trade the tickers I talk about, his market has totally different volatility and his market opens when mine closes. But rather than give up he learned how to drive on a wet track. Rather than be upset about the time difference he uses it to his advantage with my weird sleeping schedule. Since he is going to bed when I am waking up, he actually figured out that that my (Ryan's) slowest thinking time is before dawn and right before I turn off my screens at night so he always catches me then to get my more insightful feedback. He probably doesn't even know he did this but he knew how to get the most out of a situation by figuring it ut. He's making choices and his team of horses is growing in his mind and his car is revving up on the track. He just has to survive long enough until he can take his off the speed limit control and go full speed with a full team of horses in his engine. https://preview.redd.it/fjodtyp2bdg51.png?width=512&format=png&auto=webp&s=805442fe7e4ecea9c742f305c7e5d1e1fc5bff11 I don't want you to think I don't have fun and just work all day. I work a lot because I love it and the only thing I do more than trade right now is this community. But I get my ego handed to me by a 10 year old every day at 3:00. https://preview.redd.it/vlckly7c1dg51.png?width=578&format=png&auto=webp&s=b821d982fdb115b6da2a8632e803c3d0b6424a44 I bought the Cadillac of bubble machines to add excitement to our squirt gun fights. https://preview.redd.it/ylopkn422dg51.png?width=535&format=png&auto=webp&s=e8c65e9eb8c29c637925eb07b06f39dfa824d5a8 And even go down the slide I put in last year for her. https://preview.redd.it/9nvi0gf92dg51.png?width=633&format=png&auto=webp&s=24992c2de64986335761ee5c489e8361ef734f65 I still play first persons shooters when a good one comes out, I watched the second season of Umbrella Club twice and I probably have more THC in my blood than your teenage children. But everything I do is deliberate and thoughtful. It doesn't mean I always work hard or work it all. I just know that life is finite and mine probably more than most. I will never again waste one minute feeling sorry for myself or blaming other people for anything when I can choose to use that time to try to resolve what got me upset in the first place. I know most people who take my scans never look at the code to learn, even though I say this is its purpose. I know people buy things I just post a ticker of, which is why I rarely do. I see oh so many people talk to me about concepts and they are showing they understand them but then I click their names I still see them still posting on other reddit's asking complete strangers "what do you guys think about XYZ?" https://preview.redd.it/eeoh1n0lbdg51.png?width=512&format=png&auto=webp&s=696809c70939b6d188ed61b5644b16f21d97a87d I woke up to a new message from skotlaroc this morning before 3:00am. His market had closed so he was done for the day. I told him I was going to get some coffee and to leave me an update on his trading. He knows he is at risk of being posted about if he talks to me. just don't judge us for our typo's at that time of day. https://preview.redd.it/kvt71c8h4dg51.png?width=1335&format=png&auto=webp&s=ae03af84799529bd4e6c3a83b575ab439436d010 You notice he doesn't tell me how much money he made or lost because I don't care what he does in a day. I care what he does in a year. What I can tell you is that is the dialogue of a racer in him. Neither of us are Denny Swift's and I might have a faster lap time, but he knows how to drive and that's all that matters. He slowed down now so he can control the car better. He can always go faster later I've said this before, and it's not just hyperbole: the quality of people in this group and the promise of this community is far higher than anything else I have been involved in by a huge margin. I think we have a lot of real racers here. Just don't crash the car before you take your thousand laps. Good Luck. Buckle Up. https://preview.redd.it/d0eczm3h5dg51.png?width=300&format=png&auto=webp&s=47087cf023ff3adb8ebd31cbfbb583c86d3f8721 https://preview.redd.it/j3ojqzul5dg51.png?width=104&format=png&auto=webp&s=71c4de459ed414bd817233e86bec4efbb47bfc90
Considering swapping my S63 Coupe for an AMG GTR or 4-door GTS.. thoughts?
Hi all, TL;DR: Thoughts about trading a '20 S63 coupe with ~3600 miles (maybe up to 4k before I'd trade) for a '20 AMG GTR w/ 4500 mi or a 4-door GTS with around 5500 miles? It would be at an even or near-even trade value (one dealer asked for $10k plus trade, though I feel like I'd negotiate to half that tops, and really am aiming for a straight up trade). I now have an S560 which makes the luxury of the S63 a bit redundant and makes the sports car nature of the GT appealing.. So some might remember my posts around the time I took delivery of my '20 S63 Coupe back in May, most probably don't, but I was thrilled to get it and finally step up to an AMG model, and a particularly nice one at that. Fast forward 3-4 months later and I still love the car, but unexpectedly, my girl decided she'd rather a sedan than an SUV as she'll be driving my second car / it'll be unofficially hers, and once she decided on a sedan we both came to love the look, amazing comfort and price of a '20 S560. You can probably guess what I'll say next: This has opened up the option in a realistic way of switching my car to a CPO '20 AMG GT R (4500 mi) or the 4-door '20 GT S (5500 mi) - which for some reason I like despite looking like a panamera, maybe partially because of its cool back seat screen thing and general ability to hold 4 people in what still feels very coupe-y - Though I'm definitely leaning more towards the GT R if I were to trade my S63 (3600 mi) for one of these options. I'm liking it because it's just soo much more of a sports car than the S63, which is a great luxury cruiser, I have zero complaints, but for a long drive I now unexpectedly have a new S560 sedan that provides all the same comforts and tech of the S63C4 if not the manic power. The GTs provide a completely different look inside, button layout etc., which is nice, definitely more of an eye-catching look, which I'm split on as the S63 is kind of a sleeper as far as benzes go, but at least would feel like a different car when hopping into the 560 from the 63 or vice versa. Obviously in the end it'll come down to what feels right, but as I've yet to even drive the GT R (as, understandably, they want to be sure someone is very interested before letting miles add up on the odometer, and in the interest of a good relationship with the dealer I only want to test drive them if I'm certain I'm interested), I'm unsure if it's as fun as it seems or if I'd still be missing some aspects of the S63. I'll say a bit more of my thoughts on it but you can comfortably skip the next paragraph without missing much and get to the point of the post, my questions related to this. Definitely interior looks aren't gonna be my exact taste - I love my saddle brown and black piano flowing lines trim, and hated carbon on the S63, though it does feel much more appropriate on the GT which is good since almost all of them have carbon trim. The GTR I'm looking at has a nice yellow stitching / yellow seatbelts and yellow brake caliper theme going on that matches the very central TCS knob well, and while for some reason it has the center screen disconnected from the dash, unlike the GT S, it looks a lot better than the older standalone screens that looked like ipads glued to the dash. The central button and infotainment navigation area looks nice and is way different than the S's, and it seems to have most of the amenities I like most like the active seat bolstering, multi color multi zone LEDs, Burmeister surround, HUD, 360 parking cameras, etc. etc., plus I think the GT R (but not the S? I gotta double check) beats the S63 to 60 by .1 or .2 sec, and I'd guess both handle far less like the boat the S63 is, albeit a very fast one. Since I work from home and my girl doesn't really work by any normal definition (lol), I also don't have to worry about space as it'll always be an option to hop into the 560 for shopping trips, errands etc.. So assuming I decide I like the idea enough and am sold by the test drive, there are just a few considerations I'm hoping to get some input on. The dealer with the GT S made an initial offer of the trade +10k for the car which is listed at $158,000, and I haven't got a solid offer from the GT R dealer though the salesman estimated a trade value of about $150 and the GT R is listed about $160k. Ideally if I went for either I'd do a straight up trade, though I have a feeling they'll insist on getting at least 3-5k minimum out of the trade; the GT S also has the ugliest wheels I've ever seen so it's possible by giving them some profit margin on new wheels I could get that down. Since the cars are all 2020 and both were traded in by regular customers that like switching cars often, I feel like this isn't a bad deal, especially considering what a new GT R costs and the fact that I negotiated the new S63 coupe down to $177 from a $194k sticker, so getting one within a couple thousand miles that likely cost north of $200k even after negotiations seems like a decent deal. Any thoughts are welcomed though. There's also a point one dealer brought up that I'm not sure I buy - he commented on how the S63 coupe will be done soon and never made in the styling line it's been at since 19 and which is a really beautiful look, and suggested due to the relative scarcity of the S63 coupes that it has a decent potential to hold it's value far better than something common and with undeniably better new versions - I've seen the taillights they're trying next year and I think they're going to ruin the S line's styling. However, the idea of appreciation on a new Benz is absurd, so at best we'd be talking about it holding a value between 125-150 with low mileage longer than it otherwise would. I think the GT R and certainly the GT S are hard enough to come by that this really won't be much of a factor and by trading for the GT R especially, it gets the honor of being widely considered a "supercar" and so I'd think would, if anything. hold up in value better than my car if the mileage is kept pretty low - though if they are willing to give me nearly the ask for the GTs in trade, I guess that means at the moment the S63 is considered more valuable? Anyway I've rambled enough.. so what would you do? Leave the comfort to the S560 and go for a more pure sportscar (I've always wanted to but have still needed space for groceries etc.), or a 4 door version, or just keep the S63 I know and definitely am very fond of. If my second car was anything but another S class I think I'd no question keep it, but now it almost feels redundant and if I'm going to put the miles on the 560, which I definitely plan to do, it opens up the opportunity of driving a GT mainly for fun. Sorry for the length... Kinda processing my own thoughts here too lol.
I spent the last 6 weeks playing all 13 main series Pokémon games. Here's my experiences
Some of you may remember me. Most of you probably don't. I made a post about it six weeks ago, which you can find here, about how I was gonna play 13 of the main series Pokémon games within six weeks, which I did. I was gonna make weekly updates, but they got automatically removed for some reason, so that's fun So what I'm gonna do now is the biggest part of this whole 'project.' I'm gonna summarize exactly 306 hours and 35 minutes of gameplay within one reddit post. And if you're wondering how I know the exact times, I made a Google Sheet to document my journey, which you can see here, if you want all the boring numbers. If you don't want my summary of every single game, just scroll down to the bottom, where I'll share my thoughts about the whole ordeal. So let's get started on this, shall we?
Honestly, I enjoyed Blue a lot more than I thought I would, even though the flaws of Gen 1 were hard to ignore. And may I say, thank god for LP compilers and podcasts, because 95% of the time I was playing Blue and Crystal, I was listening to something else. There's only so much beep-boop music one man can take. Overall, it was a great start to this journey. Some miscellaneous notes I took while playing:
Wrap is terrible and can go die in a fire
Damn some of the old sprites were terrible
I used a Snorlax in the latter part of the game, which I nicknamed Monokuma. But I should've named it Critikuma, because he was ALWAYS hit by critical hits. I know that crits are more common in Gen 1, but I cannot stress enough how frequent he was slammed down to half health immediately. It was so bad I just boxed him partway through the Elite Four
I captured all 4 legendaries in this game within the span of a few hours. After that, I considered the game 'completed.' (more details on what I consider 'completed' later)
The team I used: Venusaur, Golem, Alakazam, Ninetales, Vaporeon, Snorlax
Crystal was where the... difficulties of this challenge started coming up. I actually started Crystal on July 6th, just after capturing Mewtwo, and I played up to beating Bugsy. Unfortunately, I stayed up way too late, and woke up with a massive headache. So I spent most of the next day unwinding and mentally preparing myself for what's coming up. The rest of the game wasn't too difficult... until the 10th. I wanted to stay on a '1 game per 3 days' schedule, and this was the last day for Crystal, and I was just started on the Pokemon League. I was a little underleveled, so I spent the first half of my day repeatedly grinding up farther and farther up until I beat Lance on my 5th or 6th attempt. So I had to speed through all the Kanto section to stay on track. Which I did, to my amazement. I beat all the Kanto gyms super fast, and managed to get to Red... and immediately got slamjammed by his Pikachu So this lead me to a question: 'when can I stop playing a game?' So I made this rule: Once I've beaten the Champion and the credits roll, I'm free to move on to the next game as I please. This is the hard rule I'm gonna adhere to. I don't want this to become stressful or a job, so I'm making this rule for my own sanity That all out of the way, here's a few notes I took while playing:
I think this game made me appreciate color again. You don't realize how much you miss color until you spend 3 days only looking at a monochrome screen
I find it so strange that Jasmine's Steelix is the same level as the boss of the radio tower, but you have to beat Jasmine in order for Team Rocket to attack
One of my team members was a Slowpoke/Slowking that was so ugly, anything with Self-Destruct or Explosion immediately went off. Fortunately my Gengar usually stepped in to block in, but goddamn it was uncanny how often it happened
Using Forretress before the invention of Gyro Ball was a mistake. He was always the least useful of my team, and I straight-up boxed him during the Elite Four and Kanto
The team I used: Typhlosion, Gengar, Slowking, Forretress (aka the mistake), Umbreon, Dragonair
If I had to create a line graph detailing my enjoyment of Emerald, it would be a line steadily going up... until Flannery, then just a slow painful crawl down to the end. I can't place an exact reason why, but this was the only game I played that I've actively disliked playing through. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say it's because the RNG of Pokemon finally broke me. If there's one lesson I took out of this, it's that you can NEVER chance it on Sleep/Paralysis/Confusion not working. If you wanna work past them, you just heal. And if you inflict it on an enemy, it just won't work. I know it sounds like I'm exaggerating for comedic effect, but this was way too true for me. And the critical hits in this game were maybe the worst yet, even more so than gen 1, although I realize that might've just been me I ended up using Rayquaza to speed through the Elite Four, because I was just genuinely exhausted of this game, and I did not want to try grinding through it. I'm gonna try to avoid using legendaries, but if I have to, I'm not gonna feel sorry about it That being said, here's some various extra notes:
Whoever decided that Flannery's Torkoal should be level 29 when everything else is 26 or less should be shot. Similarly, fuck Liza and Tate. I have no clue why these kids are the smartest goddamn trainers this side of Orre. Seriously, I spent 30 minutes of my precious time grinding up, and I was still 5 levels lower, and barely survived with my Skarmory. Fuck. Them.
On the other hand, I need to shout out my Skarmory, who was the absolute GOAT of my team. Seriously, I cannot overstate how great she was. I always liked Skarmory, but she has easily been one of my favorite team members so far.
Actually, my entire team was solid this time, although Skarmory ended up outshining them. Even Torkoal was a solid team member (a lot better than the Forretress, anyways)
I debated using Shedinja and Armaldo, but I dropped them. I evolved a Shedinja, but after the first few battles with her ended up unsuccessful, I boxed her for my own sanity. I also revived Anorith, but I boxed him after learning that he evolved at level 40. F in chat for Ninjask/Shedinja and Anorith.
The team I used: Swampert, Gardevoir, Breloom, Torkoal, Skarmory, Rayquaza
This game was a lot easier to play through than Emerald, fortunately, although I don't have a lot more to say. It was pretty fun, but my Blue playthrough might've been more enjoyable due to my choices in team members. I decided against capturing all the legendaries this time around, with one exception. I captured Articuno to replace my Fearow for the Pokemon League, since they were long outclassed by this point, and I couldn't cheese my way through Lance with poison-types this time. Still, my Fearow did better than the useless Forretress, so I still appreciate them. Overall, it felt like my Blue playthrough, except slightly worse. But it was still better than Emerald, so I won't complain That's pretty much all I have to say, so time for some extra points:
I have no clue why they made the L and R buttons bring up a tutorial menu. Maybe it's because I already know all of this, but it feels absolutely unnecessary
I am 90% sure that Magnitude can only be 7-10 when enemies use it, but only 3-7 when you use it. I have no proof to back it up, but that's what it feels like. Similarly, the chances of me switching my Pokemon, only for RoaWhirlwind to immediately drag them back out cannot be a coincidence
Holy shit, my Gyarados was the damn hero of this playthrough. Bulky as hell, hit hard with Surf despite it being a special attack, and when I gave them Secret Power, they paralyzed so often. Ever had a Gyarados that could paralyze? It's fantastic
On the opposite hand, my Dugtrio was good... up until I beat Koga, then they were useless. Even for Blaine, my Gyarados did most of the heavy lifting. They just could not take a hit, so they really underperformed
The team I used: Charizard, Fearow, Gyarados, Vileplume, Dugtrio, Magneton, Articuno
So this is my favorite Pokémon game, so I really tried to be impartial about it and treat it the same as the others... which didn't work, since it was the game I spent the most time on and explored the most in. Whoops! But I'm not ashamed; this was the best region out of everything I played. Honestly, I'm glad to know that my joy for this game wasn't just misplaced nostalgia, and still holds up to today. Although it was really unfortunate that I was having technical issues that I had to devote a lot of time to dealing with, otherwise I could've probably beaten this game in three/three and half days. I'll go into more details in the SoulSilver section. So here's some notes about my experience:
Replaying this game made me realize how great the ground type was in gen 4. Torterra, Gastrodon, and Garchomp, just to name a few
Team Galactic is still my favorite evil teams in the Pokémon franchise, mixing evil campiness and serious threat perfectly in ways the Team Plasma and Team Flare don't. Also their aesthetic is really cool
Did you guys know the Storm Drain only redirected water-type moves instead of absorbing it? I didn't, so imagine my surprise when I bring my Gastrodon into Wake's fight and get whooped
And while we're talking about my team, wow my choices made the Candice fight hard. If it wasn't for my Bronzong, it would've been a lot harder
The team I used: Torterra, Staraptor, Gastrodon, Bronzong, Garchomp, Porygon-Z
If I had to rank my favorite Pokémon games, SoulSilver would be in the top 5, only just below Platinum. So it sucks that my house was suffering internet outages (around the 19th-24th) while I was supposed to be playing this game. And since gen 4 is the slowest of all the games, that DOUBLY sucks. So I had to devote valuable time to fixing that, and ended up not getting to play the Kanto section of this game. That sucks, but since I already went through this with Crystal, so I'm not too fussed. Other than the circumstances, this wasn't too different from Crystal, although my team choices were a lot better Yada, yada, yada, notes:
This was the first game I decided to play as the girl player character this time, because she's the cutest thing in the entire franchise. This is not up for debate
I ended up bringing trading some stuff from Platinum, mainly Houndour and some evolution stones for my Togetic and Exeggcutor. I would've gotten the stones legitimately, but I'm on a time crunch here. I brought Houndour over because it's one of my favorite gen 2 mons, and the only way to get it before Kanto is by trading it in, and it's super easy to grab in Sinnoh, so... fuck it
I ended up keeping Metronome on my Togekiss for way too long, just because it was too much fun. It wasn't until after Clair that I ended up dropping it
Whoever decided that Koga's Muk should spam Minimize, gave it Black Sludge, use Toxic on everything, AND gave him a Full Restore... I hope your children hate you. I'm still upset just remembering it
The team I used: Feraligatr, Ampharos, Togekiss, Houndoom, Exeggcutor, Mamoswine
WHITE & WHITE 2
(I'm combining the two because I don't have a lot to say about them individually) So as a child, I really disliked White, because I was a child who couldn't appreciate how much effort was put into them, and I was upset I couldn't use any of my old favorites. But as an adult, I can really understand the work behind it, or at least behind White 1. Although I still say the lack of options in White 1 is a major downside, since anybody who's not challenging themselves are gonna have some combination of the same 15-ish Pokémon on the story campaign. But while the 2nd game has a better Pokémon choice, the story is also factually worse, so pick your poison. But back to the point, I really enjoyed these games. A lot more than I did when I was younger, anyways So here's my extra notes; two for each game: (White)
I thought Platinum and Soul Silver were rough with encounter rates, but good fucking lord, this game was bad. I could not count how many times I walked 1-2 steps into the grass (not running, walking) and got an encounter, often just after one encounter. I ended up yelling 'I TOOK ONE STEP' so many times
I really, REALLY hate the Reshiram vs Zekrom fight with N. Seriously, it's absolutely stupid. N's dragon has two extra levels, so it's guaranteed to outspeed you. And since the dragon's stats are near-equal, it's gonna do as much damage as you do to it, so there's next to no way you can beat it with just your dragon alone. Ugggghh
When I fought Elesa, she was a massive level spike, which I never got to overcome. But the game got easier, even if the numbers said I should be struggling. Maybe because trainers started to use less Pokémon, but I couldn't place my finger on it
I did a small challenge here: I used a Swoobat on my White 1 team, and a Crobat on my White 2 team, as a pseudo-experiment to see which one was better. Unsurprisingly, the better performer was my favorite Pokémon, Crobat. But Swoobat was still a favorite of mine, and performed a lot better than I thought they would
The team I used for White 1: Serperior, Swoobat, Excadrill, Scolipede, Carracosta, Chandelure The team I used for White 2: Emboar, Azumarill, Crobat, Sigilyph, Sawsbuck, Escavalier
A lot of my friends consider X/Y some of the worst games in the franchise, and while they may have a point, I still enjoy them a lot more than... another title we'll be talking about later. Personally, I think the gameplay is pretty much a straight upgrade from Black/White, although the story... UGH. Easily the worst. Especially Team Flare. I could make an entire post about them, but to simplify: They're a team all about style, yet their admins are way too overdesigned and forgettable to make a point. Instead of the cold uniformity of Team Galactic or the easily understood motives of Team Plasma, they're just a hot mess whose admins are completely forgettable. And Lysandre is just President Rose, but more obviously a villain and somehow more overdramatic I had a loooooot of notes about this game, mostly about Team Flare, but here's what I condensed it down to:
Did you know that you can buy Hyper Potions after getting the second badge? This is when your Pokémon are around level 25. Why the hell would you need a 200 HP heal at this point in the game?
Remember before you could save Xerneas/Yveltal, and you had to fight 4 admins, who collectively had 6 Pokémon? Why not just condense them into one admin, and actually give them a personality?
Ok, I really need to rant about Lysandre's final fight. He uses four Pokémon that're pretty much the same as the ones he uses when you first arrive in his lair, the background is a burning area for some reason, and he's wearing some stupid sci-fi nonsense that does nothing! I sweeped him with my Meowstic, who was five levels higher than his Gyarados
This was the first game I was a higher level than the Champion, and my Meowstic made Diantha trivial by just putting up Light Screen/Reflect and letting the others 1-hit ko 2/3rds of her team, with only her Gardevoir putting up any meaningful resistance. Seriously, this was the easiest game yet, by a large margin
The team I used: Chesnaught, Talonflame, Florges, Meowstic, Barbaracle, Goodra
(So a quick preface, I actually played Ultra Moon before Omega Ruby, since the cartridge I had was corrupted, so I played UM while I waited for my new cart to arrive. Just thought I'd mention it) So Alpha Sapphire was is in the top 5 games for me, alongside Platinum and SoulSilver. Which is why I'm kinda surprised that this is the game I spent the least time on (17 hours, 18 minutes), being one of the two games I spent less than 20 hours on. Which is absolutely strange to me, since I spent at least an hour grabbing useful TMs for the Elite Four and getting Heart Scales to remember moves, so it really should be higher. Whatever, what about the gameplay? Well, it was like Emerald, but the exact opposite, since I actually really enjoyed it. I don't have much else to say except Pelipper, Zangoose, and Cacturne were all surprisingly fun team members. Seriously, Cacturne might be my new favorite grass-type Extra notes, blah blah blah:
Why did they make the lower floor of Granite Cave inaccessible until you got the bike? I had to wait until I got the Mach Bike to go catch my Aron, and I have no idea why they did this. It's not like having one would be game-breaking, but whatever
I decided to catch a Manectric here, since I knew they could be Mega-Evolved in the main story. But they weren't too much stronger when they were Mega'd, so that was a little disappointing. Still, at least they were a strong team member overall
I didn't mention this in the X notes, but lemme clarify: I abused the hell out of the improved Exp Share, since it really helped me cut past any grinding, which is great, since I'm on a timer here
I tried to cheese the Steven fight by teaching my Cacturne Spikes, so imagine my surprise when his Skarmory also uses Spikes of his own. Touché, Mr. Stone
The team I used was: Blaziken, Pelipper, Manectric, Aggron, Zangoose, Cacturne
So I originally promised to play Sun and Ultra Sun in my original post, but some circumstances led me to cut it down to Ultra Moon. More details can be read about it in the Google Sheet, but trust me, I have my reasons. I decided to play the Ultra version because the bonus versions of the games are supposed to be the "definitive version" of the games. Not sure if I agree on that, since there's basically no difference between Sun and Moon and USUM, and what is different is sometimes worse than what it was. This isn't the time or place to review these games, but if you ever want to replay the Alola games, pick up Sun or Moon, and avoid USUM. As for my experience... I dunno, it was ok. I liked my team, had a few challenges, yeah yeah yeah. Look, this is like the 10th or 11th game I played, this whole thing's become routine at this point But at least I got a few notes to add:
I guess we'll slightly critique the story: I really hate the Aether Foundation. They're like Team Flare, but if they had Team Plasma as a side antagonist before they came out of nowhere. I adore Team Skull and how they're really sympathetic, but them Team Aether comes in, and then we're back to the typical Poképlot
And I'm still upset that they turned an eldritch horror story about an alien creature corrupting a mother into insane obsession into the standard evil dragon Poképlot. Also whoever came up with the Ultra Recon Squad should never work on Pokemon again
In the second visit to Aether Paradise, you fight three scientists, each with one Pokémon. Why not just one scientist with three? This bugs me so much, and I don't know why. Also, one of the double battles later had the same Houndoom/Manectric pair as one of the Team Flare admin fights, because thinking up another good pair of Pokémon that look good together costs too much/is too much work
I almost used a Lopunny on my team, but then I relaized I could use a Metagross instead. So I used a Metagross instead. But I am gonna include Lopunny on my team list because they did a lot of work
The team I used: Primarina, Lopunny, Alolan Muk, Ribombee, Alolan Marowak, Lurantis, Metagross
LET'S GO, EEVEE
UUGGHHHH. This is my least favorite game. I insisted on playing it, since it was technically a main series game, and that was a mistake. I forgot how hand-holding this game was. If you don't know what I'm talking about here's my example: In the original games, you could immediately go from Lavender Town to Celadon, and then go into the Rocket base, no problem. Here, you have to go up the tower, see that there's ghosts, and then leave the tower (which to my knowledge, no other dungeon in Pokémon ever does) then go see Jessie and James talk out loud about the ROCKET HIDEOUT in the CELADON GAMES CORNER. Then when you get there, you can get close to them, and they'll talk out loud about the HIDDEN HIDEOUT with the SWITCH BEHIND THE POSTER Also, the gym requirement thing is just dumb. The fact that the game requires you to have a grass/water-type to fight Brock or have a Pokémon at least level 45 before fighting Sabrina is insane, and makes it nearly impossible to lose. And Koga's requirement of catching 50 unique Pokémon is uniquely cruel in a game where there's only 150-ish Pokémon available, especially to people like me who just like to capture a core team and stop catching unique Pokémon Even besides those, the catching mechanic was broken. Seriously, it was terrible. I had to throw the ball at a 90-degree angle to throw the ball at a target just a little off to the side. One time, I tossed the controller upwards to throw the ball, and it was a perfect throw. Uggghh, I don't even wanna talk about my experience, I just want to complain. So whatever, I'm moving on, no notes this time The team I used: Eevee, Victreebel, Mr. Mime, Rhydon, Starmie, Magmar
I'll admit, I enjoyed this game more than I thought I would. Maybe it's just because it WASN'T Let's Go, or because it was so easy to grind up levels with wild area candies. Either way, this was my second-fastest game played, clocking in at exactly 20 hours played. If I devoted myself to it, I could've beaten this in two days. But since I've got nothing much else to talk about, I'd like to discuss the stories of these games. Because I think I've found the perfect metaphor for these "Poképlots." It's like there's a good story somewhere in there, but half of it we're told to stay out of because we're not adults, and the other half of the plot was ripped out of a better story and painstakingly refitted into the Poképlot format. And if you're wondering why I'm talking so much about the stories, it's because that's the only thing meaningfully different about these games at this point Alright, one last set of notes:
I hate Eternatus' design. Like, I understand that it's supposed to be like an unknowable alien creature, but it's so alien and incoherant that it's just a meaningless skeleton. I know it's supposed to be the bow to Zacian and Zamazenta's sword and shield, but it just doesn't work. It looks like something ripped out of a different JRPG. Even its name sounds out of place
Also the Eternamax fight is pointless, it should've just been a cutscene. Zacian and Zamazenta are the only ones who can do meaningful damage, me and Hop are just pointless additions
I think I've discovered the telltale sign for a pokemon antagonist. They show up for no logical reason in the early game, talk some exposition at you without any real interaction, then walk away
The thing that infuriates me most about this game is that for some unholy reason, some goddamn Burger King has some long-lost tapestry about ancient legend. Seriously, imagine going into a Five Guys, and seeing the Venus de Milo on top of some grill. WHAT THE FUCK. HOW ARE WE THE FIRST ONES TO NOTICE THIS???
The team I used: Inteleon, Boltund, Tsareena, Centiskorch, Perrserker, Grimmsnarl
So I ended up completing my challenge, but what was the point of this whole thing? Well, I wanted to try and revive my love for the Pokémon franchise, since the past few games have really burned me out on the series. So, did I accomplish that? Yeah! Despite all the hard times and frustrating moments, this was actually really fun. I feel like I should hate Pokémon now, since I've literally spent the last month and a half doing nothing but playing the games, but no. I came out of this whole challenge with a greater enjoyment of the series and a few new favorite Pokémon. So... mission accomplished! Although I don't think I'm gonna play any Pokémon games until the Sinnoh remakes come out (whenever that happens). I'm not burned out, but I think I need some time away at this point So... that's it. I'm done. It's over. Feels free to reply about how right/wrong I am with my opinions. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk EDIT: I'm glad this blew up, all the discussions I've been having have been super interesting, especially since we're talking about literally any Pokémon game right now. Thanks for making this post so incredible with your replies, guys. I'm happy my experiment was so interesting to read about
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
Technology and some more:
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
Down the rabbit hole
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here. Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017. Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand. Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”.Scilla design story part 1
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
“Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
Business & Partnerships
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
Marketing & Community
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
Edit: Thank you for all the comments and chat messages! I'm trying to go through each one. Writing thoughtful comments in the midst of having a full-time job is HARD WORK. I think I've missed a few questions, drop me a message if you're interested in continuing a discussion, I'm open to listening! There has been a lot of good comments, a few with great perspectives, and now I have a whole lot of things to read up on. --- Now that the 2020 General Election is firmly in our rear-view mirror, there is something that I have been meaning to write about: institutionalized racism affecting the minorities, especially the Malays, in Singapore. If you are groaning at this thinking you have been misled by this post’s title, I assure you that by the end of this post you will understand the caveat behind the above-mentioned title. I plead for a little of your time and patience. We have seen many discussions online about majority privilege and systemic racism impacting the minorities. Many of you may have even participated in some of these discussions. I will not try to explain those terms for they have already been repeatedly debated to death. What this post aims to achieve is to bring to light Singapore’s history and government policies that have either benefited the majority race or kneecapped the minority race. Or both. Why am I doing this? It is frustrating to see some Singaporeans fully buying into the narrative that Singapore is a truly meritocratic society; that the government’s policies do not discriminate against minorities, or if a Singaporean worked hard enough he or she will succeed (whatever the definition of success is), or that we have anti-discriminatory laws that protect the minorities. Some even claim that the Malays enjoy special privileges due to Section 152 of the Constitution describing the special position of Malays, and that the Malays are blessed with free education in Singapore. Section 152, “Special Position”, free education for all Malays?
Minorities and special position of Malays 152.—(1) It shall be the responsibility of the Government constantly to care for the interests of the racial and religious minorities in Singapore. (2) The Government shall exercise its functions in such manner as to recognise the special position of the Malays, who are the indigenous people of Singapore, and accordingly it shall be the responsibility of the Government to protect, safeguard, support, foster and promote their political, educational, religious, economic, social and cultural interests and the Malay language.
"The aim of the government is not to turn out a few well-educated youths, nor a number of less well-educated boys; rather it is to improve the bulk of the people, and to make the son of a fisherman or a peasant a more intelligent fisherman or peasant than his father had been, and a man whose education will enable him to understand how his lot in life fits in with the scheme of life around him".
"The great object of education is to train a man to make a living.... you can teach Malays so that they do not lose their skill and craft in fishing and jungle work. Teach them the dignity of manual labour, so that they do not all become krannies (clerks) and I am sure you will not have the trouble which has arisen in India through over education"
https://preview.redd.it/it6vqxvxzci51.jpg?width=900&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=d5ba4c7f80a1439c4283f4b30e3514629fcf504b Now that we have passed the opt-out deadline and are only about three weeks away from the Chiefs and Texans kicking off the 2020 NFL season, I wanted to put together my pre-season power rankings and put all 32 teams in separate tiers, to give you an idea of where I see them at this point. When putting together this list, I considered the talent on the roster, coaching staff and what will be a more important factor coming into this season than it has been in previous – the continuity as a franchise, since the COVID situation has limited the amount of preparation and ability to build chemistry as a team. That will be especially tough for new head coaches and inexperienced teams. With that being said, this is how I would group them:
Super Bowl contenders:
This group of four represents what I think are the four elite teams in the NFL. They all feature complete rosters, excellent coaching and continuity as a franchise. I think these are the franchises that will most likely square up against each other in the conference championship games on either side of the bracket. 1. Kansas City Chiefs We have heard this many times over the course of the offseason – the reigning Super Bowl champs bring back 20 of 22 starters (actually 19 now) on offense and defense combined. They have the best player in the league, the most dangerous receiving corp, above-average O-line play and a still improving defense, that just added some much-needed speed at the second level, which will allow DC Steve Spagnuolo to even more versatile. So at this point I can not have anybody unseat them. I think Clyde Edwards-Helaire (LSU) will be a star in that offense, they get a couple of guys back that missed their playoff run and there are plenty of young, developing players on that roster. What general manager Brett Veach has done this offseason in terms of securing Patrick Mahomes for the next decade and still opening up cap room to also sign their best defensive player in Chris Jones is amazing to me. My only two concerns for Kansas City at this point are a lack of depth in the secondary and the fact they will have to go on the road when they face the four best teams on their schedule – Baltimore, Buffalo, Tampa Bay and New Orleans, which has me favoring the second team on my list for the number one seed in the AFC and which this year means having one more game in the playoffs on their road to another Super Bowl for Andy Reid’s troops. 2. Baltimore Ravens Right behind the Chiefs, as the biggest competitor for the AFC is Baltimore. They were the best team in the regular season from this past year, but the Titans handed them only their third loss of the season in the Divisional Round at home. While they did lose what to me is a first-ballot Hall of Fame guard in Marshal Yanda, outside of that the Ravens to me have an even better roster. The reigning MVP Lamar Jackson is only entering his third season in the league, the Ravens just added a top prospect in J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State) to a backfield that set a league-record in rushing yards and some of these young receivers will continue to develop. On defense, they addressed the two areas that needed some help, when they brought in Calais Campbell to boost their pass-rush and two top-six linebackers on my board in the draft (Patrick Queen & Malik Harrison). They may not have as many superstar names as some other teams, but without a full offseason to prepare for it, that Greg Roman offense could be even tougher to stop if Marquise Brown becomes a more dependable deep threat (now fully healthy) and I love how multiple Wink Martindale is with his defense, combining the different pressure looks to go along with more versatile pieces up front and one of the elite secondaries in the game. You combine that with a rising young special teams coordinator in Chris Horton and a great motivator and in-game decision-maker in John Harbaugh – I just can’t find a lot of L’s on their schedule. 3. San Francisco 49ers Obviously the Super Bowl hangover will be brought up a lot of times with the loser of that contest, but unlike a lot of these teams coming off the big game – yet similar to the actual winners in the Chiefs – John Lynch did a great job re-tooling for the few losses they did have and didn’t overspend on some of their talented guys. Kyle Shanahan to me is the best offensive play-caller and game-designer in football, with a diverse rushing attack and the type of personnel to match it, while Jimmy G, despite some issues, is coming off his first 16-game season in his career. Defensively, they are losing what I thought was their best player in DeForest Buckner, but they did replace him with a top ten prospect in Javon Kinlaw (South Carolina) and Fred Warner is an emerging superstar. Their Seattle-based scheme under Robert Salah may not be very complex, but the Niners have a ferocious pass-rush, fast-flowing linebackers and a great safety tandem to be very sound in their execution. The Deebo Samuel injury is definitely a concern for me and if he doesn’t get back a few weeks into the season, I might drop San Fran a spot or two, plus I don’t love what they have at that second cornerback spot, but as for now I see the recipe that made me predict them winning the NFC West ahead of 2019 and what allowed them to be up double-digits in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. 4. New Orleans Saints One of the themes this offseason for me has been how loaded this Saints roster is and that they just need to win this year. This is the final season with Drew Brees at the helm, they are already in a horrible place with the cap – before that even goes down in 2021 – and to be honest, a lot of their key contributors are getting pretty old now. While I have seen a significant drop-off in the arm-strength of Brees, other than that I don’t see any offense with this Sean Payton-led offense – the front-five is elite, Alvin Kamara should be back to 100 percent as a dynamic dual-threat back and they finally found a number two receiver in Emmanuel Sanders. When healthy, that defensive line is a dominant unit, I think third-round pick Zack Baun (Wisconsin) gives that linebacker group some versatility and they have a lot of experience in the secondary, including a guy I thought would be a future star on the outside in Marshon Lattimore. Before anything else, they need to take care of divisional-rival Tampa Bay – which is a very tough challenge already – but if they can do that, they are fairly in the hunt for the NFC’s top seed. There’s a lot of pressure on this group because of the cap situation, their all-time great QB having his “Last Dance” and brutal playoff losses in recent years, but they have all it takes to finally break through all the way.
This second tier consists of eight teams that to me have only or two holes on their roster, while their coaching gives them an advantage over the majority of teams in the league and they bring back most of their pieces from a year or at least improved in those areas. I expect all but one of these squads to make the playoffs in 2020, as long as they don’t suffer significant injuries along the way. 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Number five in the entire league seems pretty high for a team that finished below .500 last season, but this is not just about Tom Brady coming in, but rather the roster Tampa Bay has built around him. To me Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are the top receiver duo in the league, the Bucs arguably have the best tight-end room in the league and the offensive line only got better with superhuman Tristan Wirfs (Iowa) playing one of those spots on the right side. I have talked about this a lot over the offseason, looking at the match between Bruce Arians’ vertical-based passing attack and what Brady is used to, in terms of spreading the field and getting the ball out of his hands quickly. My bet is they go to a bit of hybrid and figure things out. Maybe more importantly, I don’t think people realize what they have put together on defense. Last season the Bucs finished number one against the run, they forced the fifth-most turnovers (28) and tied for sixth with yards per play (5.1) in the league. Todd Bowles is excellent defensive mind, who now enters his second season with as much talent as he has had since his Arizona days. Jameis turned it over 35 times last year (12 more than any other player in the league), while Tom didn’t even crack double-digits once again, and he immediately improves their situational football awareness and overall execution. This is a very dangerous squad. 6. Dallas Cowboys When you talk about some of the most talented rosters in the league, the Dallas Cowboys come to mind right away – especially on the offensive side of the ball. Dak Prescott now has one of the premiere receiver trios with the selection of Ceedee Lamb (Oklahoma) in the draft, still probably a top-five offensive line and Zeke looking to re-establish himself as a top-tier back, after looking a step slow for most of last season. Defensively they are getting back Leighton Vander Esch, whose energy they desperately missed for stretches last season, and they have a very deep rotation at the defensive line (even though nobody knows what we’ll get from a couple of guys that were out of the league), while Mike Nolan will change things up a little more and get his guys into the face of opposing receivers. We have yet to see how much Mike McCarthy will want to have say in the offensive play-calling, but I like that they retained a young and creative OC in Kellen Moore, and as far as in-game control and CEO duties go, I certainly believe McCarthy is an upgrade. There are some questions with the secondary after the loss of Byron Jones and losing Travis Frederick to retirement hurts, but I think those are things that can be overcome. Something that I think should not be overlooked is the signing of former Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein and his special teams coordinator John Fassel, after converting only 75 percent of their field goal attempts last season (6th-lowest in the league) and missing a couple of crucial kicks. 7. Philadelphia Eagles Right behind the Cowboys, I have their division rivals from Philadelphia. I think the Eagles actually have a better quarterback, the best defensive player among the two teams in Fletcher Cox and a more experienced secondary. However, with Brandon Brooks out for the season and maybe the worst group of linebackers in the NFL, I could not put this group ahead of Dallas, even though they have come up victorious against them in the big games recently. Last year Carson Wentz carried a group of skill-position players from the practice squad and a banged-up O-line to a division title. This upcoming season he will go from already wasn’t an overly dynamic receiving crew to a group of track stars, most notably with first-round pick Jalen Reagor (TCU) and a hopefully healthy DeSean Jackson, plus Miles Sanders I think is ready to emerge as a star back for Philly. The defense did lose some long-time stalwarts like Malcolm Jenkins and Nigel Bradham, but I loved the addition of Javon Hargreave in the middle to free up the other guys to attack upfield and with Darius Slay as their new CB1, not only does that move everybody one spot lower on the depth chart, but it also finally makes more sense for Jim Schwartz to be as aggressive with those zero-blitzes, since he has the guys to cover. Those two newcomers also fit perfectly when matching up against Dallas, because of an improvement interior run defense and having a guy who can match up with Amari Cooper, after the other guys got toasted for the most part. 8. Buffalo Bills For the first time in about twenty years, a team not named the Patriots will enter a season as favorites in the AFC East – and it’s actually not that close for me. Buffalo made a switch last season offensively to more 11 personnel and quick-tempo with Brian Daboll moving to the booth. This offseason they finally got the big-armed Josh Allen a dependable deep threat in Stefon Diggs, who averaged 12.0 yards per target last season (second-highest in the league), which – similar to what I just talked about with the corners in Philadelphia – moves everybody else down one spot in the food chain. And I love what they do defensively, with Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier’s game-plan specific zone pattern coverages, with a versatile secondary to execute those, to go with a deep D-line and two super-rangy linebackers. Even outside the Diggs trade, Buffalo has made some sneaky-good deals since losing that Wildcard game at Houston in such heart-breaking fashion. Whether that is Mario Addison as double-digit sack guy in four straight years, added depth on the O-line or a really solid draft class to complement what they already had. I don’t want to crown them at this point, but to me they are the favorites for the AFC’s number three seed as for right now, since I think the South doesn’t have that clear front-runner to win the majority of their divisional games. 9. Seattle Seahawks I would have probably had the Hawks as the final team of this group or right at the top of the next one a couple of weeks ago, but after acquiring Jamal Adams, I think they have re-established themselves as that second team in the NFC West, since I had them very close with Arizona originally, I did not love what they did in the first two days of the draft (somewhat of a trend with them), they lost their second-best defensive player at that point in Jadeveon Clowney, I’m not sure if they upgraded on the offensive line and we don’t even if know if Quinton Dunbar will be suspended at this point. With that being said, Seattle has finished above .500 every single year with Russell Wilson under center and while I’m not a fan of their conservative approach offensively, where they don’t allow Russ to throw the ball on first downs and push the tempo a little at times, they are one of the most effective rushing teams and they have two lethal weapons to catch those trademark rainbow balls from the Seahawks QB. Defensively there are still some questions about the edge rush and at second corner spot, but Pete Carroll at least has what he wants most in a team at those positions – competition – and you already saw them go to more two-high looks in coverage than we are used to, telling me they utilize Jamal’s versatile skill-set more than what that strong safety mostly does in that system. 10. Green Bay Packers The whole Aaron Rodgers-Jordan Love drama has been looming large over the offseason and that has brought us some interesting discussions, but let’s not allow this to take away from the fact Green Bay just had a first-round bye in the playoffs and made it to the NFC title game. While they were 8-1 in one-score games and should regress more towards the mean in terms of the success rate in those close games, the North is still wide open and they have a few things going for themselves – they have the best quarterback in the division, the best offensive line, the most versatile and effective pass rush and a lot of young talent in the secondary. The first-round selection of a future signal-caller aside, I wasn’t too fond of what they did in the draft. Even though I liked Cincinnati’s Josiah Deguara and can see what they want to do with him as H-back/move guy in this offense, I thought they did not get Aaron Rodgers help in the receiving corp, which has no proven commodity outside of Davante Adams. Their defense got absolutely steamrolled in two games against the eventual conference champion 49ers, but I hope to see Rashan Gary develop in his second season and I think Christian Kirksey was a very under-the-radar signing as a run-stopping linebacker. I think schematically with Matt LaFleur’s offense based on what they did under Sean McVay and Mike Pettine being very creative himself they are one of the better coaching staffs in the NFC, but I would like to see them open up the offense more for Rodgers and break tendencies more often with their coverage calls. 11. Pittsburgh Steelers Another very dangerous squad for me is the Steelers. I have talked many times about how bad the Steelers quarterback situations was last season, as both Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges finished near the bottom in air yards per attempt, percentage of throws beyond the marker and many others. We have only seen Big Ben throw in some short clips on the internet, but if he is just 70-80 percent of what he was in 2018, this team is bound for a playoff berth. There are some question marks with this group of skill-position players, but I expect Juju to bounce back in a major way with a capable QB and being healthy himself, I have already picked Diontae Johnson as a breakout candidate for this season and I like the diversity of this group of backs. Pittsburgh’s defense was already elite last year, finishing top five in both yards and points allowed, tied for first in yards per play (4.7), the most takeaways (38) and sacks (54). If former Raven Chris Wormley can replace Javon Hargreave as a two-down run-stopper at least and rookie Antoine Brooks Jr. (Maryland) can fill a very specific role as their second sub-package linebacker in place of Mark Barron, I think they will one of the scariest units in the NFL once again. So the best all-around defense for my money and an offense who I would say has top ten potential at the very least is a tough match-up. Maybe not quite battling with the Ravens for the North, but the top Wildcard spot for sure. 12. Indianapolis Colts If there is one team in the AFC that could go from finishing sub-.500 to making it all the way to the conference championship game, the Colts would be my pick. I thought Philip Rivers had a really rough 2019 campaign, in which his arm looked rather weak and his decision-making hurt the Chargers on multiple occasions, but he will play behind by far the best offensive line he has ever had and they will run the heck out of the ball. Indy already had a pretty good back in Marlon Mack, but Wisconsin superstar Jonathan Taylor, who they selected in the second round, will be one of the front-runners for Offensive Rookie of the Year if given the chances in combination with what I believe is the best front-five in the entire league, plus their other second-rounder Michael Pittman Jr. (USC) will be that Vincent Jackson/Mike Williams type target for Rivers. More importantly, with the trade for a top 50 player in the league in DeForest Buckner, this entire Colts D immediately takes a step forward, since he is a perfect fit as that 3-technique in their front and help them disrupt plays at a much higher rate, to go with range in zone coverage behind that, including the “Maniac” Darius Leonard chasing people down. I’m a big fan of Frank Reich and the coaching staff he is has put together, in terms of in-game decision-making, offensive gameplans and just the intensity his team plays him.
Fringe playoff teams:
This middle tier is made up from all those teams who I expect to be at .500 or above, firmly in contention for a Wildcard spot at least. They can be some areas of concern, but overall they have the roster ready to compete with the big dogs and/or feature above-average coaching. With a couple of these there is a change at quarterback and head coach respectively, but they have enough around those to overcome that. 13. Tennessee Titans This definitely seems a little low for a team that is coming off an AFC Championship game appearance, but people seem to forget the Titans were 8-7 ahead of week 17 and if it wasn’t for the Steelers losing their final three games, this group wouldn’t have even been in position to lock down the six seed. Things were also made a lot easier by their division rival Texans, who sat most of their starters after beating Tennessee two weeks prior. So as impressive as their playoff run was, you have to think of what happened before that and put it into perspective a little. With one more playoff spot in each conference, their chances of making it to the tournament should be at least equally as good, but I believe the Colts are the favorites to win the South and for me the Steelers are the favorites for the fifth seed. With all that being said, there is plenty to like about this team still – they can pound you with the Derrick Henry and the run game, Ryan Tannehill at least gives them the threat of pulling the ball and going deep off play-action, they have some young weapons catching the ball and defensively they are very versatile in how they set up gameplans. I also like the mind-set Mike Vrabel installs in these guys and I was impressed with what OC Arthur Smith did in 2019. If there are two spots that could decide if this group is fighting for a division title or that final playoff berth, it will be their rookie right tackle Isaiah Wilson (Georgia) and recently signed edge rusher Vic Beasley. 14. Cleveland Browns While I don’t see them competing for the AFC North – just because of how loaded the Ravens are – the Browns are pretty clearly the most talented team that is considered to be third in their division. In terms of their group of starting skill-position players at least, they are near the top of the NFL, the O-line to me already just made my top ten ranking with room to move up, if healthy they are at least in the conversation for that with the D-line as well, with a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Myles Garrett, and I like how they have assembled their secondary. Now, they have some unproven guys at the linebacker level and Cleveland’s potential is largely dependent on which Baker Mayfield we will get. With Kevin Stefanski coming and installing an offense that will be built on the zone run game and bootlegs off that, where his quarterback is put on the move, I could see much more efficient play and more comfort in that system. Something that really jumped out to me on tape was how many times Baker seemed to not be “on the same page” with his receivers, expecting routes to break off differently and unfortunate drops in certain situations. Even though the preparation for the season does look a lot different and QB & WRs haven’t been able to spend too much time together, I expect this to improve and more suitable roles for those pass-catchers overall. And if they are ahead in more games, that pass rush will be a problem. 15. Arizona Cardinals There are certainly still some issues here, but the Cardinals are probably the most exciting young team in all of the NFL. Kyler Murray was a one-man show last season and is due for a big jump, with DeAndre Hopkins being added to a receiving corp that severely lacked dependable weapons, to go with some other youngsters fully healthy, Kenyan Drake looked like a different player once he came over from Miami and the O-line should at least be marginally better. Defensively they transitioned a little up front, with big gap-pluggers on the line and Isaiah Simmons being that ultra-rangy player on the second level, who can run guys down on the edges, if those ball-carriers forced to bounce outside, plus they have maybe the most underappreciated edge rusher over the last four years in Chandler Jones. I don’t think they are very deep in the secondary, but Budda Baker is an absolute baller, Jalen Thompson emerged late last season and I already predicted Byron Murphy would have a breakout second season. With Kliff Kingsbury and Vance Joseph, Arizona has creative play-calling on both sides of the ball and they now have the personnel to execute at the needed level as well. Like I mentioned, I was ready to have the Cardinals at least go toe-to-toe with Seattle for a playoff spot, but the addition of Jamal Adams has shifted the balance again to some degree. And if you just go based off my rankings, two NFC Wildcard spots already go to teams from five to seven. 16. Denver Broncos A team that has been getting a lot of love this offseason is the Broncos. They have pretty much all the pieces that you usually see with those rising squads – a promising second-year quarterback with a lot of weapons surrounding him, a ferocious defensive front and having shown signs late last season. My belief in them has taken a bit of a dump unfortunately since I thought they did well to improve the offensive line, with Garrett Bolles on the left end being the only weak-spot, but now that Ja’Wuan James won’t be available at right tackle for the second straight year (injury last season and now opting out), their duo of OTs is a concern for me. Defensively you have to love what they have in the front seven, with Von Miller and now again Bradley Chubb coming off the edges, Jurrell Casey added to the interior to go with Shelby Harris and Alexander Johnson being an under-the-radar standout at linebacker. I’ve always been a big fan of Justin Simmons, but that second corner spot is still up in the air. I like Vic Fangio and that coaching staff they have put together in Denver, with Pat Shurmur providing a QB-friendly offense, the game’s best O-line coach in Mike Munchak and most of the people that have helped Fangio put out elite defenses at multiple stops before. So the Broncos are still the most dangerous opponent of the Chiefs in the AFC West, but now I’m not sure if they can add some drama over the fourth quarter of the season. 17. Minnesota Vikings At the same time, a team that has been a little overhyped to me this offseason is Minnesota. While I don’t love how the Packers have operated since February, what have the Vikings done to really improve? They traded away the best deep threat in the league last season in Stefon Diggs, stalwarts on the D-line in Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph are now gone, their entire group of corners has combined for less than 1500 career snaps and their offensive coordinator is now in Cleveland. I’m intrigued by the combination of Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, who could be pretty interchangeable in their roles and I like their 12 and 21 personnel groupings, but they lack depth at the receiver position. And the defense will be relying on several inexperienced pieces to step in. I mean their three starting corners from last year are off the team now. So I don’t really get how most people all of a sudden put them ahead of the Packers. With that being said, I like the offensive scheme and always thought Gary Kubiak was a huge factor in their success on the ground at least. On defense there are certainly question marks – especially in the secondary – but Minnesota could easily have a top five player at their respective position at all three levels, with Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks and Anthony Harris, plus they still have some promising young guys like Ifeadi Odenigbo, Mike Hughes and a deep rookie class. Their only true shade nose Michael Pierce opting out hurts though. 18. New England Patriots This offseason must have been a rollercoaster for Patriots fans. First, Tom Brady leaves and everybody goes crazy. Then people start getting onto the Jarrett Stidham hype train and talk about how good the rest of this team still is. Out of nowhere they sign Cam Newton for the veteran minimum basically and they are back in the conversation for the top teams in the AFC all of sudden. And now, they lead the league in players opting out of the season, with key defensive pieces like Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung, to go with a couple of role players on offense at least. So now they are right at the bottom of these fringe playoff teams for me, because purely based on the roster, they are not even in the top 20 league-wide, but they still have maybe the greatest defensive mind in NFL history in Bill Belichick and one of the best offensive play-callers right now in Josh McDaniels. Obviously a lot of this will come down to what version of Cam Newton we will get and even if he is and can stay totally healthy. Not only is New England the most adaptable team in terms of how they can adjust to personnel and how flexible they are with their game-plans, but Cam is a great fit in that offense, where he can spread the field and make decisions based on defenses adjusting. The one area that took the biggest bump – outside of quarterback I’m guessing – is the offensive line, because they lost a legendary position coach in Dante Scarnecchia and their probable starter at right tackle in Marcus Cannon. While the Pats do have some young players, who can replace part of the losses, they were already more in plan for the pieces that left before there was any virus outbreak.
This broad group of seven teams represents all those franchises who will be dancing around .500 mark in the win-loss column. A couple of teams have the potential to win nine or ten games, while others could see those numbers on the wrong side of the column as well. There are obvious question marks in certain areas, even though they might feature top-tier players and/or coaches. 19. Houston Texans It’s kind of tough to put a team here that has won its division the last two years, but I think the Texans are pretty clearly number three in the South now. I love Deshaun Watson and I think he has fairly established himself as a top five quarterback in the NFL, but Bill O’Brien just took away an elite wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins and replaced him with an injury-prone Brandin Cooks to go with another always banged up Will Fuller and a declining Randall Cobb, to go with a David Johnson in the backfield, who was unrecognizable last season. I think the O-line is improving, but outside of Laremy Tunsil maybe, they don’t have anybody other than Deshaun who is clearly above-average in their role. And defensively they finished in the bottom five in yards allowed and tied with Cincinnati (who picked first overall in the draft) for an NFL-high 6.1 yards allowed per play. Hopefully having J.J. Watt back for a full season should help, I like the selection of Ross Blacklock (TCU) on the inside and there are some talented young corners on this roster, who could be better much in 2020. I would not be surprised if they are that .500 team at heart and their quarterback carried them to a couple of wins that they weren’t supposed to get – which we have seen him do many times before – but it’s more likely to me that they are fighting for one of the two bottom Wildcard spots. 20. Atlanta Falcons Very rarely do you have a team that was among the worst over the first half of the season and among the best over the second half. The Falcons started out 2019 with a 1-7 record, but would go on to win six of the final eight games. Their defense was absolutely atrocious early on last season, with no pass-rush impacting the opposing quarterback and several miscues in coverage. With Raheem Morris taking over the defensive play-calling, they showed a lot of improvement already and there are signs that trend will continue. While there are some questions about the back-end and if they can get consistent production from their rush outside the top two guys, I think Dante Fowler is an upgrade over Vic Beasley, I like Marlon Davidson (Auburn) as a guy with inside-out flexibility on sub-packages and Keanu Neal is back healthy, as that Kam Chancellor-type, who can be that extra defender in the box in their system and punish receivers when catching the ball over the middle or in the flats. Offensively I believe this is still a team that can move the ball – they just have to start doing so earlier in games. While the top NFL receiver duo is in their own division with the guys in Tampa Bay, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley could easily be that next one. They lost a very productive tight-end in Austin Hooper, but I believe Hayden Hurst can replace at least 80 percent of that production, and while we have no idea what we get from Todd Gurley and his knees at this point, last year the Falcons had one of the least effective per-touch backs in Devonta Freeman. Plus, the O-line should take a step forward with former first-round pick Chris Lindstrom returning from injury. 21. Las Vegas Raiders To me the Raiders are still in transition, not only moving to Las Vegas, but also in terms of roster construction and the culture Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock are trying to establish. Outside of Tyrell Williams, that entire group of receivers was overhauled, they have a lot of young pieces on the defensive line and the secondary, plus they will have at least two new starters on the second level of their defense. By far the biggest thing they have going for them is the offensive line and second-year back Josh Jacobs running behind it. When I did my top ten offensive lines in the NFL a couple of weeks ago, I had the Silver & Black at number five, and Jacobs was already a top 100 player in the league for me, with how physical and elusive a runner as he is. I could easily see the Raiders finish near the top in terms of ground production, and I also like the young guys they brought in around that, with Henry Ruggs III (Alabama) keeping the defense honest with his speed, Bryan Edwards (South Carolina) as a physical receiver, who will get hands after the catch, and Lynn Bowden Jr. (Kentucky) as that chess-piece potentially, that you can use in a multitude of way. My bigger question here is if Derek Carr is willing to push the ball down the field. Defensively I like the rotation they have on the interior D-line and the two linebackers they brought in via free agency, most notably Corey Littleton. There are still some questions about how snaps will be split between their corner group, but I’m excited to see a full season of Jonathan Abram hopefully. These guys have some attitude and an energetic head coach. 22. Los Angeles Rams Oh, how far we have come. Just one-and-a-half years ago the Rams were officially 20 spots higher basically, when they lost the Super Bowl to New England. Ahead of last season, I predicted them to miss the playoffs and while they made a bit of a run at it late, that’s what ended up happening. Now I see them as the fourth team in their own division – even though that says more about the competition they face rather than them. I still believe in Sean McVay and his ability to win on paper with play-design and game-planning, but Jared Goff has turned out to be an average quarterback, they don’t have a prime Todd Gurley setting the table anymore and the offensive line had some major issues, for large stretches of last season, especially in the run game. I was very high on Cam Akers, who they selected in the second round out of Florida State, but he will obviously be a rookie with shortened preparation, rather than an Offensive Player of the Year like Gurley was for them. Defensively, they have two elite players in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey and I like some of the other guys in their roles, but overall the high-end talent beyond the two biggest names isn’t overly impressive. Leonard Floyd might be their top edge rusher and he has always been more of a Robin, they have no proven commodity as stand-up linebacker and I have yet to see if Brandon Staley can actually be an upgrade over Wade Phillips as their defensive coordinator. 23. Detroit Lions While I was going back and forth with putting the Lions third or fourth in the NFC North, I recently said they are among the top two teams that could go from worst to first in their division and I would not be surprised if they were in the hunt for a Wildcard spot in the last couple of weeks of the season. His second year in a system under Darrell Bevell – where he wasn’t just going in shotgun 40 times a game and asked to make magic happen – Matthew Stafford looked like an MVP candidate as long as he was healthy in 2019. That duo of Kerryon Johnson and my top-ranked running back in the draft D’Andre Swift (Georgia) could be one of the most dynamic ones in the league, the receiving corp is highly underrated and I like those rookies competing for the two guard spots. Defensively, they seem to finally look like what Matt Patricia wanted, when he came over from New England, in terms being versatile with their fronts and having guys who can take on receivers in man-coverage. With that being said, there is also a good chance that the Patricia experiment could go to shambles, if some of the veterans get turned off by his style of coaching without having established that winning culture, and this team has simply been dealing with too many injuries to key players. I don’t think there is much of a gap between the Lions and Vikings for example, but Detroit has not shown the stability of some other organizations. 24. Chicago Bears A franchise that I don’t really hear anybody talk about – unless it’s their quarterback competition – is that team from the Windy City. I understand that the Bears aren’t really sexy because they lack those superstars on offense that people will recognize, but I’m higher on some of the guys they do have on that side of the ball and on defense they could be much closer to 2018, when they led the league in points allowed and turnovers forced, rather than being just inside the top in most categories last season. A guy I already predicted to break out for Chicago this upcoming season with a bigger workload is running back David Montgomery, to go with Anthony Miller as a gadget player and developing young pass-catcher and one of the more underappreciated receivers out there in Allen Robinson. Defensively, I thought the biggest issue last season was Akiem Hicks missing double-digit games, as a table-setter with his ability to disrupt plays from the interior, and Leonard Floyd didn’t provide much on the opposite side of Khalil Mack, who they upgrade from with Robert Quinn, who just had his best season since the Rams were still in St. Louis. Now, I don’t love what they have at that second safety spot to complement Eddie Jackson, someone will have to fill that second corner spot – even though I’m a fan of second-round pick Jaylon Johnson (Utah) – and nose tackle Eddie Goldman opting out is a huge loss. If the quarterback position can just complement the rushing attack and the defense plays up to their potential, this group could be competing for second in the North, but Foles or Trubisky could still hold them back. https://preview.redd.it/aep6uj385di51.png?width=1060&format=png&auto=webp&s=07674898e4de7d73699c065907983e69612c56a4 The final tier is in the comments!! If you enjoyed this breakdown, I would really appreciate if you could visit the original piece - https://halilsrealfootballtalk.com/2020/08/18/ranking-all-32-nfl-teams-in-tiers-pre-season/ You can also listen to my analysis on the Youtube channel - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zz7WE0epZw8
A margin account is a brokerage account in which the broker lends the customer cash to purchase assets. When trading on margin, gains and losses are magnified. A margin account is a brokerage account in which the broker lends the customer cash to purchase assets. When trading on margin, gains and losses are magnified. Definition of margin trading: Practice of buying stock with money borrowed from the broker. In this arrangement, the investor makes a cash down payment... Margin trading involves buying and selling of securities in one single session. Over time, various brokerages have relaxed the approach on time duration. The process requires an investor to speculate or guess the stock movement in a particular session. Margin Trading Definition: Margin Trading is purchasing stocks without investing the full capital. The trades have a systematized strategy for purchasing stocks in future market without having the capital.
This video contains: definition of the term "margin", calculation of the margin. Have you always wondered what it means to trade on margin? In this video, you’ll learn what margin trading is and if it is a strategy that could help you ach... Stock Margin is when you borrow funds from your broker to buy more stock. Margin can amplify your returns, but it can also hurt them if an investment turns a... Margin is the amount of funds that the broker requires from the trader as collateral, in order to open a specific position of volume based on the leverage that the client has selected. Watch the... Forex trading for beginners, part 5 - How Margin trading works, examples of why and when margin call and stop out happens. What is Equity and Free Margin. I ...