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I’ve been financially cursed since Jan 2018

Little did I know that Dec 2017 was going to be the peak of my life.

As soon as Jan 2018 rolled around I basically lost any semblance of my past life – no Korean gf anymore, all my SF friends split apart, I lost my SF apartment and I lost my life savings.

Since then, I’ve tried to recover from that by saving up money, getting a Korean gf again (long distance of course), and trying to mend my relationships with past SF friends.

But it’s been difficult – for whatever reason, my financial luck has been especially horrid – I have not made a single cent of capital gain since Jan 2018 – lets go through them:

Jan/Feb/Mar 2018 – $72,000 USD – took out 3 loans worth $85k USD (yes I know this was one of the stupidest decisions I made in my life) – crypto subsequently crashed and I lost at least $72k of this money by Dec 2018. That’s 85% of it. The reason I lost so much is not just investing in Bitcoin – had it been just Bitcoin I mostly would have recovered it all last summer. No, it had to be in altcoins – and those NEVER recovered and most went down 90%+. As if Altcoins weren’t enough, $8.5k was put into ICOs which were essentially all scams – out of that $8.5k I think I got back maybe $500 that’s it. Then Masternode coins scammed me even further – along with ICOs, the shittiest of shitcoins designed to scam people – lost at least $20k from these. So $20k from Masternode coins, $8k from scam ICOs and  the remaining $44k from Altcoins going down and never recovering. I put a total of $150k into crypto throughout 2017-2019 and didn’t get out until Feb 2020 – this loss was the total realized loss for me.

May 2018 – $500 USD – tried to buy a call option on NFLX right before their earnings to try and make a play – of course they reported good earnings, but the stock still went down. I lost all my money here.

Dec 2018 – $432,000 USD – yes this was the full value of the amount I lost in the QuadrigaCX scam. The proceeds had come from selling my SF apartment, and subsequently my financial luck was bad enough that I had transferred all my money over to Canada using the worst exchange at the worst time. There was only 4 months (Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec 2018) where I could have gotten scammed with this exchange – and I was in Oct. Talk about unlucky. It doesn’t help that the exchange went bankrupt in Jan 2019 – right when Bitcoin was at it lowest ($4k per bitcoin). Bitcoin subsequently rebounded to $13k in the summer – had I kept all my money in bitcoin on Bittrex instead of sending it to QuadrigaCX to cash out into CAD, I would have been a millionaire since I bought over 60+ btc to transfer all at an average price around $6500 in Oct/Nov 2018. In this case, holding all my money in crypto (which one would have thought to be more risky) would have made me a millionaire whereas trying to cash it out into fiat lost me all my money. Talk about cruel irony.

Mar 2019 – $1150 USD – this was money paid to my landlord for my first apartment in Vancouver as a security deposit. My landlord took advantage of my desperate situation and wrote an extremely strict contract that I didn’t read carefully enough. After I finally moved out in Feb 2020, he took my security deposit and basically scammed me, giving me a BS reason like ‘breaking too many house rules’ which doesn’t make sense as I wasn’t even in the house half the time. This was more financial bad luck.

Jun 2019 – $750 USD – made a bet that the Golden State Warriors (who were healthy at the time) would win the NBA championship. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson got subsequently injured, and the Toronto Raptors (out of all teams) won the championship. So yeah.. lost all my money here.

Aug 2019 – $1,000 USD – for some reason decided to get back into Bitcoin by putting $3k more into it. Bitcoin was $11k at the time.

Feb 2020 – $72,000 USD – I sold all my crypto holdings for $48k (could have sold for $58k had I done so in Jul 2019). 

Feb 2020 – My landlord scammed me of my $1500 security deposit by saying I had ‘violated house rules’ multiple times. I’ve never heard of a landlord with that kind of rule plus I wasn’t even using the place half the time yet still paid him the full rent. He also asked my copy of the contract back to him and took my last months rent; when I asked about the last months rent being taken from my security deposit he said ‘that’s not how it works’.

Mar 2020 – BTC dropped down to $5k and I did not buy it because I got burned too recently by crypto so I stayed out. Of course, it went back up to $10k the next month and I missed this opportunity. 

Mar 2020 – $6,000 USD – I decided to short the stock market because the coronavirus seemed very likely to cause a recession. I put $20k in. This seemed like a good play at the time. But for whatever reason, the stock market rebounded not long after I shorted it and so far I’m down $6k because I shorted the market too late, and because I bought stocks that were affected by COVID19 like airline stocks and travel stocks when I should have bought other cheap stocks that were not affected by COVID19. 

May 2020 – $350 – I bought a Motorola Razr Fold on ebay for $1100 which I thought at the time was a good deal (it retailed new for $1500 at the time) – and literally less than a week later, Verizon decides to cut the price of the phone in HALF with a buy 1 get 1 free deal, effectively lowering the price of the phone to $750. So FML, seriously.

May 2020 – found out I’m getting 8.5% – 12% back from the QCX lawsuit because 100% of the big whales that were using the exchange had filed a claim and EY apparently didn’t think any of them were suspicious and we are probably going by Apr 15 crypto valuations (date of the bankruptcy). Oh yeah and CRA is going after us too. Nice.

Jun 2020 – I STILL have not received my tax refund from the CRA – they mailed it to the wrong address, then I couldn’t get in contact with them – they kept hanging up the phone – until May, then the agent told me they would send me a replacement check to the new address. 3 weeks later, I called them again asking where my check is and they said oh they were supposed to send me this form to fill out and return to them. I have to sign it with a witness saying that I have not received my refund check yet and then mail it back to them. Then they have to do an investigation to prove that I didn’t receive it. So that’s going to be another 2 months of waiting. This is insane.

See? I’ve not made a single cent in capital gains since Jan 2018 – all stupid losses. My timing is just so horrible. I have a LOT of capital losses to report on my tax return…

 

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2019: Year in Review

Every year, I do a year in review, with highlights and lowlights and a summary so this is my year in review for 2019.

Highlights

-I found a great job at a great company with great co-workers at Kong
-Had a great time in Korea this year, met all my friends again, made a Korean gf
-Went on a nice cruise with my family this year

Lowlights

-Still recovering from all the financial issues I suffered last year mainly losing the majority of my life savings because of the QuadrigaCX crypto exchange collapse
-More difficult to make new friends in Vancouver than I expected

Summary

I don’t have a whole lot of updates for this year, because this year was pretty much a recovery year from the disaster that was last year. Last year took away my San Francisco apartment, my life savings, and most of my best friends away from me. I started out this year with almost no savings, no house, unemployed and with no friends in Vancouver.

The start to this year was really rough. I was told that the exchange that I used last year to transfer my savings over to Canada, QuadrigaCX had gone under with over $215M CAD owing to creditors once the CEO died under mysterious circumstances in India. The rest of this year was basically waiting for updates from the ongoing lawsuit – Ernst&Young being the bankruptcy trustee and Miller Thomson being the lawyers.

So far they are still processing claims, and have been doing so for the last 4 months with no updates to us creditors so far. They have roughly $33M + $12M (the CEO and his widow enriched themselves by purchasing Nova Scotia property so there’s extra assets here) for us but roughly $7M I estimate will be in legal fees paid to EY and MT. After that there’s roughly $38M left in the pot for us creditors, depending on how much people claim. There’s $215M in total claims outstanding but me and several other creditors theorize that at least half of those claims are not real or left on the exchange by money launderers. And then there’s the CRA (Canada’s IRS) waiting to take even more money from us.
So I calculated it and I think roughly we’ll get back anywhere from 15% (worst case scenario) to 40% (best case)  with 25-30% being the most likely percentage we’ll get back. I have no idea how long this process will take but hopefully sometime next year we’ll get it back.

So that being the backdrop, a hammer that was dropped on me at the beginning of the year, you can see the rest of the year takes a backseat to this whole lawsuit thing.
I did manage to luck out finding a great SF company to work for (Kong Inc) that I could work remotely for, and everything about that company I liked better than my previous company. My manager, coworkers, the type of work I was doing etc I learned way more in 6 months than I did in a whole 1.5years at my previous company.
And I did manage to have some time to travel to Korea for a bit and that was a really great experience, much better than last year (God really had it in for me last year), got to meet all my friends again and dated a bunch of girls, etc it really transported me back to the days when I lived there (2015-2016). I also got a chance to go on a cruise with my family (to the Bahamas) which I haven’t traveled with since late 2013 and especially getting to see my brother again is nice since he’s usually busy and very isolated since he lives in Winnipeg.

But once I got back to Vancouver, it became lonely again, and I think it might be just because its hard in general to make friends once you’re out of school but even harder when you work from home and have no co-workers to really talk to. At least in San Francisco I still have one really good friend to hang out with. In Vancouver I didn’t know anyone. I tried going to some language exchange meetups but the people I meet there are always very transient, they change every time so its hard to meet someone stable.
I did get into a relationship with a girl I met in Korea but its long distance and that’s always really difficult to maintain. I hope I can though, because she seems much more stable than my ex gf was, and much more mature (she’s 3 years older than me). On top of that, I don’t really like my landlord and am looking to find a new place to move to next year. He is incredibly strict with his house rules and seems always ready to fine me since he blames me for  everything that happens around the house (I have 6-7 housemates) and raised my rent by $100 because he said I ‘stayed at home too much thus using more electricity’ which is ridiculous. 

So yeah this year is mostly a recovery year, but after the initial shock that happened early this year and lucking out into finding a good company to work for, the rest of the year went reasonably smoothly. Let’s hope that next year will continue to go smoothly and hopefully I’ll have some luck finally with crypto (I still have some reserves but its down a whopping 80% and I missed a good chance to sell it in the summer, hopefully it will go back up next year), and with the lawsuit as well (oh please don’t let that $215M in claims be a real number, hopefully most of those big claims are fake).

Otherwise I’m just slowly saving up money again trying to afford a place in Vancouver eventually. This process might be considerably faster or slower depending on how much crypto goes up/down next year and how much/when money I get back from the QuadrigaCX lawsuit…

 

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Why do I keep getting screwed?

Well my worst fears came true. Looks like QuadrigaCX, the exchange I used to transfer my money back from the US to Canada, is going bankrupt and is probably a ponzi scam. Crazy. All sorts of conspiracy theories going on. Also, haven’t been able to sleep well these past few days. Been busy talking to other people on telegram who lost their money + getting lawyers into action, signing affidavits etc.

So basically I sold my beautiful SF apartment for nothing. Just great. Last year I thought I had reached the bottom. Lost $150k of my money to the crypto crash + ICO scams + masternode scams. Broke up with my gf. Forced to sell off my apartment to pay off loans.

Now as if that wasn’t enough, this year I’m having trouble finding a job again, the US probably won’t let me get another job again due to their strict border security and too many past TN visas and of course losing the rest of my money in a ponzi scheme (over $400k).

I’m an idiot. I fell to the same trap I fell in last year. I got too greedy, I was too impatient. Why did I put everything in one place? Why did I transfer all my money over when I never even got a single withdrawal from this exchange yet? I trusted them too much. They were Canada’s oldest exchange, I just never thought it would come to something like this. It’s unbelievable. That’s all my life savings gone because of basically just using the wrong exchange to send my money back. And now I have to deal with a lawsuit that will probably take years, just for me to see pennies on the dollar back.

So yeah, 2018 was not a good year. 2019 so far has been even worse. What’s worse than losing my apartment and 1/3rd of my net worth? well losing the remaining 2/3rds of my net worth of course!

I have really been stressed these days preparing for interviews in Seattle/Vancouver on top of that, but it looks like my plan will all have to be put on hold. Paying back my parents, buying a Vancouver condo, making passive income, renting a place out etc it will take me years and years to make back this money. On top of that, no Korean girl (or any other girl for that matter) will want to date a guy with no money or apartment anymore.

I don’t really know how it could get much worse than this. Most of my Korean/SF friends are busy with their own lives so I haven’t talked to them much. I guess the only solace is that at least I am still alive and breathing, and I’m not brain dead or paralyzed. My family is still there – for now. and that’s really it. Start over anew again just like in 2011, except this time I’m 30 years old, not 23 anymore :/ I suppose this is a life lesson on how I shouldn’t be greedy or materialistic and start cherishing the invaluable things in life.. not money, but rather my friendships and relationships and memories I’ve made over the years.