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From “half-a-million” to broke

Racso started trading cryptocurrencies in 2020 with $40,000. He eventually turned that into $440,000. Unfortunately, his day trading was fueled by immense leverage as high as 17 times his equity.

That’s excessive by conventional metrics, but not unusual in the cryptocurrency industry, where platforms can offer leverage ratios as high as 125. However, excessive borrowing is a double-edged sword, as Racso eventually found out.

He said he lost 70% of his portfolio when the trading platform FTX and cryptocurrency Terra/Luna collapsed in 2022. Based on his own analysis done via vedic astrology (which focuses on karma over personality traits), the events that happened to Rocso were driven by the “eclipse of Taurus and Scorpio.”

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) estimated that more than $450 billion in market value was destroyed when the Terra/Luna project collapsed, while FTX’s bankruptcy dissolved another $200 billion.

Altogether, the cryptocurrency industry lost $1.8 trillion that year, leaving three-quarters of retail investors (40% of whom were men under the age of 35) with significant losses.

Undeterred by his failure to predict this market collapse, Racso now believes he can make a living as a vedic astrologer predicting the fortunes of others. He admitted, however, that he isn’t currently earning any income.

Meanwhile, his portfolio is down to pennies, so his monthly budget is fueled by credit cards.

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Unsustainable debt

Racso has several cards, some with outstanding balances as high as $4,373, and he admitted to using some to pay off others. Even his rent is paid with credit cards as he can only manage the minimum monthly payments.

He also has an auto loan for partial ownership of a car that he shares with his sister.

The consumer debt binge is a more enduring trend than cryptocurrency speculation. Non-housing debt had reached $4.9 trillion by the end of 2023, according to the Fed’s latest household debt and credit report. Credit cards alone account for $1.13 trillion in aggregate debt for Americans. Meanwhile, auto loans now outweigh student debt.

Racso justified his auto loan because he intends to use his car to generate income from ride sharing. Although he has signed up, he hasn’t started offering rides yet. His lack of income and monthly debt servicing has left him with just $2 in his checking account.

Hammer simply described him as a “ridiculous clown.”

However, Racso's situation, although dire, could potentially be salvaged with a robust source of income, tighter monthly budgets and weaning off the credit card addiction. The only problem is that he first has to acknowledge the issues to himself if he hopes to overcome them.

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About the Author

Vishesh Raisinghani

Vishesh Raisinghani

Freelance Writer

Vishesh Raisinghani is a freelance contributor at MoneyWise. He has been writing about financial markets and economics since 2014 - having covered family offices, private equity, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and tech stocks over that period. His work has appeared in Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool Canada, Motley Fool UK, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Post, Financial Post, and Yahoo Canada.

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