From DJ to Crypto Trader : Interview with Scott Melker (All Interviews)

Scott Melker is the Wolf of All Streets. He is a trader and investor both privately and at TexasWest Capital. He is the host of the popular “The Wolf Of All Streets Podcast,” the author of “The Wolf Den” newsletter, and a prolific writer and thought leader in the crypto space. He is also an advisor to a number of blockchain-based projects and has been featured in many big magazines like the New York Times, Forbes, Businessweek, The Wall Street Journal, and many more.”

Interview Date : 30th September 2020

Scott Melker (All Interviews)

My name is Scott Melker, but I am better known as “The Wolf of all streets” on Twitter. That moniker started as a joke, but people started calling me that name, and so I kept it. I have been interested in trading and the financial market for as long as I can remember. During my career as a DJ and musician, I spent quite a bit of time in Japan. I had the role of the DJ and percussionist in the band of a very famous Japanese singer, Toshinobu Kubota. Thanks to that opportunity, I was able to visit over 35 cities in Japan in 2006.  After that, I visited Japan again in 2017 for an MTV show. Japan is one of my favorite places in the world, and it is a place I have fallen in love with over time.

How did you become a Crypto Trader?

I found interest in the crypto space after I started trading. This was when I retired from DJ-ing in late 2016. Like many, I was drawn to it because the trading was so appealing, and because “mythical coins” would take you to the moon. Later on, I became a believer in the use-case and the importance of crypto. Certainly, all the global issues that we are seeing now amplify that importance.

Who should be investing?

I think that 99.9 % of the people on the planet should be investing. When investing, one should not think about their investment constantly. Investments should be checked a couple of times every year to make sure if re-balancing is needed or not. Investors have become insanely wealthy since the beginning of markets. That is how people accumulate wealth; the way to get rich is through putting away money early. In other words, put away the money you do not need when young, and do not touch it until the last possible moment. I only trade with about only 15 % of my portfolio. I have 70% in investments, 15 % in cash, and 15 % in trading. I think some of the best traders in the world are probably trading with only a small part of their total capital. Nobody should trade with their entire portfolio on a day-to-day basis. If you do, you are guaranteed to lose all your money.

How hard is trading?

After years of trading, one will have tried every indicator and “technique”. My charts in my early days as a trader had so many lines, it was hard to decipher. I think most people who start trading get caught up, and do over-analysis paralysis. You analyze so many things, and have too many indicators telling you opposite things, it becomes perplexing. However, as you become more experienced, you can look at a chart and see through it eventually. The price action in volume and simple support and resistance is what truly matters, I think. Today, I am able to look at a chart for some minutes, draw the lines I want, and set a stop-loss on the lines I think are important. I usually don’t look at the chart again until the price hits one of my alarm areas.

What was your first interaction with Bitcoin?

Someone tried to pay in Bitcoin for a DJ gig in 2012, and that was the first time I heard about it. I rejected the offer because I didn’t know what it was. I thought that they were scamming me. That is probably the biggest regret of my life. In 2017, I got entangled in the crazy game of crypto till the bubble popped. Nevertheless, I stuck with it throughout the whole time even though it was brutal. I sold a lot, but I was still trying to trade this futile market.

During the 2017 crypto winter bear market, a lot of people stopped trading and started to read about this market. The more you learned about the federal government and monetary policy, the more important and clearer Bitcoin became. Today I know that is hard money, a superior form of store-of-value to anything else we have today. This realization led me to further research all the problems with central banks and governments. Bitcoin has sculpted and changed my view on what money is, the disparity between rich and poor, and how that is perpetuated by monetary and government policies.

How did you Plan your Podcast career?

Becoming a podcaster was not part of the plan. Nothing has gone by any plan I have done so far, none of that is gone by any plan. I was just a guy interested in music who one day stopped caring about music and started tweeting about crypto. Half of the people following me unfollowed me saying, “who is this nut and why is he talking about digital internet”. After that, my following slowly built back up, and it got to a point where I had so much fun talking about crypto that I thought Twitter was not enough. Thus, I started writing a free newsletter and the content writer within me flourished. I put all the thoughts and ideas I had down on paper circulating in my, and all ideas on paper. As the newsletter gained popularity, I was contacted by a company called Blockwork, the company that produces Anthony Pompliano’s podcast as well as Charlie Shrem, Luke Martin, and Meltem Demirors. These were people who are known figures and faces in the crypto world. Ever since I started, I have enjoyed it, and things have snowballed from there. Today, I feel like I have gone back to college in my 40’s thanks to the podcast. I have the opportunity to learn about crypto-related from insanely passionate and knowledgeable people from the space.

Podcast Journey During COVID

I started recording some of the first shows 2 or 3 weeks before COVID-19 hit. The world was a very different place when I started the podcast. The concept was “ interview anyone who has an interest in crypto”. I wanted to hear stories from interesting crypto people. Suddenly, the world situation becomes serious due to the pandemic, and you could not put out a podcast that was not serious. So, I started to have epidemiologists and world leaders come on the show to have serious conversations about the situation. After a while, people become used to the COVID, and I was sick of being depressed of listening to how horrible everything in the world is. I went back to my original mission, and so far, have had most of the big names in crypto like Anthony Pompliano and Samson Mow on the show. I have also reached out to individuals from different fields, including DJs. Justin Blow has also been the only show, and we were talking about the NFT space as both of us are interested in digital art. I also had Micah Johnson, former Dodgers baseball player who is a crypto artist today.  I discussed general finance together with Jeff Booth, who wrote an incredible book about believing in deflation and avoiding inflation. Interactions with such brilliant people who tell their stories have become the core concept of the show.

How was your childhood?

My parents used to say that I would sing and dance as a baby. Back then, Fleetwood Mac was my favorite music, and it still is. I started playing the piano when I was 5 years old. I played classical piano competitively as a child but burned out from it around the age of 15-16. I wanted to be an ordinary teenager and play sports like everyone else. I picked up the saxophone along the way, did some singing, and ended up trying a little bit of everything in music. I picked up DJ-ing in college doing college parties and eventually moved downtown to Philadelphia.

What kind of music did you compose?

I produced music for a very long time. Everything I compose is mainly done on the piano. I have done many DJ gigs and played with Kanye West, Rihanna, and many more. Most of the time, I would be the DJ playing before they came to the stage. I have done work with most rappers, but I have played with Sheryl Crow, Crosby Stills, Nash, etc., all the crazy 70’s bands as well. Because my style was mashed up and based on classical music, I can play any genre. Thus, I ended up with crazy jobs doing shows with people from rappers to folk music my parents listen to. So, I have worked with a lot of different known people.

How do you balance family and work?

I have a 5-year-old and a 16-month-old, so I am spending my days parenting. The rest of the time, I am immersed in crypto. I am the type who fully dives into something once I get interested. I don’t spend much time doing music anymore unless I am playing on the piano for fun. I have a newsletter that releases 2 days a week, and I have a podcast that comes out twice a week so I am recording at least 2 podcast episodes a week. On top of that, I have an advisory role with a few companies, hence I am always on endless phone calls. Doing all of that takes a lot of work, but the remaining time that is left, I spend on trading.

What kind of student were you?

I was a very good but bored student with ADHD. I always had behavior problems in class. I was the kid who would scream answers and never raise my hand. Therefore, I was constantly in trouble for being loud or obnoxious. Despite that, my grades were good and I never found a school that challenging. I went to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and I got the opportunity to take business classes at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Yet, I was more interested in my social life and DJ-ing, partying, etc. in college than I was interested in my classes. Like the old saying goes “education is wasted on the young”, which was true for me too. At that time, I did as little as I could to get by with school so I could do things I wanted to do. All that time I spent on DJ-ing, I realized I am a social person with an entrepreneurial spirit. With this combination, I was never the kind of person who would work for someone else. For example, during my DJ years, I started a website with three friends from college in 1999. It was a nightlife portal with a list of all the restaurants and bars in the city. It was very early for such websites, but I always tried to create things to forge my path.

Is Crypto the Reason for people getting scammed?

We don’t need crypto for people to get scammed. I get probably 3~4 phone calls a day telling me it is the IRS, and that there is a warrant out for me. These are common things, and scammers have prayed on all kinds of people since the beginning of time. Scams are not unique to crypto, but it is easier because of the web-savvy community engaged on social media. As everything is technologically based, it is an easier barrier to break. I don’t touch things that I think could even potentially be a scam. One has to be very careful with the kinds of projects that are emerging. I size my position on a lot of the DeFi projects in case it would go to 0 in value, so it would be a small loss relative to my portfolio.

Have you been hacked?

I have been hacked, and sim-swapped, and those have been some of the worst experiences in my life. I am one of the few people who have my face and my name on my Twitter profile. I was a public personality before joining the crypto space. As I cannot be anonymous, I have become an easy target for many hackers. I took some drastic steps to protect my money, my family, and myself because we would get extreme threats and calls from scammers. Today, I have made it almost impossible to access my coins. I switched off from the major cellphone careers in the United States and now work with a company called EFANI. My friend, Haseeb Awan, runs a phone service for people who want to make sure that their sim card is protected. Instead of imposters calling T-mobile convincing them they are me, the scammers have to call Haseeb’s team, go through a 12-step process, and show their face on video for verification.

How often do Sim-Swaps happen?

Charlie Shrim, who is also registered with Haseeb’s EFANI, was sim-swapped 3 times. Anthony Pompliano and Jason Williams talked about their experience of being sim-swapped too. For them, it escalated to the point the FBI, guns, security forces were involved. Jameson Lopp is another influencer and cypherpunk who has also received similar threats. Scammers are insane, and they can go to limitless ends. Crypto is looked at as a much more accessible asset of value than the Dollars.

I do not think scammers think of such actions and behaviors as extreme. I had Haseeb as my guest for a podcast to teach us about the scamming world. It scared me to know how easily accessible our information is, and how easy a sim swap is. Sim swappers can go on the dark web and buy hundreds of phone numbers and names. They can receive your basic information for pennies, and no one is spared. After a little research and some social engineering, they find your name, email address, and your phone number. Then. They proceed to find out if you trade crypto, which are all easy things to figure out. Scammers learn facts about your family from Facebook. Next, they go on your social media to gather more information about you to build a fake profile of you, which requires your phone number. So, they call your phone career company and convince them that it is you to switch your sim into theirs. That is one way only one of the many methods.

The second method is much simpler but frightening. The scammer bribes a person who is making 10 dollars an hour at a phone company. The scammer convinces the employee to sell the client’s information and does a sim swap for some 1000 dollars. Even if the scammer would be unsuccessful 9 times out of 10 tries, on the 10th try, they steal a million dollars, so it is worth it for them. This is like their job, and most of them have an insider at a company.

What is financial literacy?

I believe having smarter people around is a private equity. Sahil Bloom, a good friend of mine, is like an advisor for my business and he is brilliant in guiding me in my financial life. We have a passion for education and aim to make people financially literate. I don’t know the situation in other countries, but financial literacy is not even on the map in the United States. Unfortunately, it is not yet to be considered important enough to be taught. I still remember facts about wars the United States was engaged in decades and centuries ago, but no one taught us how to balance a checkbook or how to use a credit card. Simple economics is what ought to be taught and understood.

If you went even one year to a school where they taught you about monetary literacy, and how to invest, it could change your future. If they taught us about “how to purchase a stock” in practice, it would change an individual’s financial situation. Also, everyone should understand taxes, but nobody does. It just seems very obvious to me that financial literacy 101 should be part of the core curriculum of our educational system. Statistically, it has been shown that people who have had even the smallest education in financial literacy, have gone ahead in life with savings and a better financial standing.

“Short the Bankers, Long Bitcoin”

They say that Bitcoin is used for criminal activity, but nothing has been used for such activity more than the US dollar. And the banks know about it. To me, something like the FinCEN news story was like someone telling me “guess what, the sky is blue and water is wet!” We know that banks assist criminal enterprise and that governments are involved as well. There is a reason that Bitcoiners say “Short the bankers, Long Bitcoin” as Anthony Pompliano stated. Banks are corrupt. The whole banking system structure is meant to enrich the wealthy and hold down and discriminate against the poor.

Does SNS Influence your trading?

As a trader, I look at my analysis and make my own decisions. I am not affected by what is put up on social platforms. For example, Twitter is the best social media platform in the world for finding information fast. However, the problem with a social platform anywhere is discerning good information from bad information. It is recommended to have a base level of knowledge before engaging in the trading community on Twitter. If someone does not know how to trade, they should not go to Twitter to learn about it. Most of the people who do that will end up buying something with no knowledge about the asset, no plan and there is no accountability, so they will end up losing money.

For me, Twitter has been a blessing in that it has allowed me to have a successful newsletter and podcast. Being a part of the crypto community has been incredible, but I remember when I first joined it. Not knowing what was going on, I found it very difficult to navigate the waters.

Tribalism is Meant for Humans

As far as politics is affecting the country, today, the United States looks like “the collapse of a kingdom”. It is a clown show, and thus hard for me to be passionate about it. I think at the core of humans, tribalism is an innate part. People want to associate with a group, which could be the same religion, country, nationalism, sports team, and political views. The two-party system is the right example of that. Nobody can agree with everything one or the other says. You could be passionately pro-life and believe in flat tax rates, which would make you a republican. However, you could also think that immigrants should be allowed at the same time. So, you have this cognitive dissonance to associate with one of the other parties. Yet, until 2020, you had a president like Trump, who does not ascribe to either party. All the Republicans become what Trump says as opposed to the core principles of their policies.

We need to have a constructive discourse over issues. I respect anyone who has an opinion or an educated feeling on something specific based on facts and education. If you are passionately on the other side of an issue from me, and you have a good reason and explanation, I respect that. However, we live in a world where you just say things not based on any facts or truth. What is even more dangerous is that people view their opinion as a fact. It is sending us on a downward spiral to a failed economy where capitalism does not exist. What we have today is “corporate welfare” and “socialism for the rich but not for the poor”. Moreover, it is the very same rich people who are benefitting from all these bailouts and free money who tell you how bad socialism is. We do not have any rational discourse anymore. We are in this post-fact dystopia where anyone can say anything they want, and the audience will believe it. Fake news is read X times faster than real news, and you can say anything on social media, and if enough people retweet it, it becomes a fact.

Interviewer , Editor : Lina Kamada


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