Legendary Master Trader Tony Saliba Interview [Founder of Liquid Mercury]
Sat, Dec 31, 2022
trading, crypto, mercury, liquid mercury, trader, tony saliba, liquid, trade, market, exchanges, options, traded, liquidity, people, episode, crypto travels michael, listeners, token, point, Chicago
Tony Saliba, Crypto Travels Michael
Welcome to the New To Crypto Podcast designed to guide you through the crypto landscape with pinpoint accuracy created for the new and intermediate crypto investor. Join your host Crypto Travels Michael as he takes you through the different facets of getting started and succeeding in your crypto journey. New To Crypto Podcast brings you new episodes daily Monday through Friday with surprise bonus episodes sometimes on the weekend. Let me ask you, Are you new to crypto and don’t know where to start? Are you more experienced but have questions? Then you’re in the right place. This podcast is designed for you coming at you from the training center in the lifestyle design studio. Here’s your host Crypto Travels Michael. Hey, welcome to today’s episode. I’m excited about today’s episode. Today I have a legend on the show. I have Tony Saliba, the founder of Liquid Mercury here today. Tony is a globally recognized renowned business leader and a pioneer in the trading industry for the last four decades. He is a serial entrepreneur and a master trader, as well as a trainer of traders. He has been a board member of the Chicago Stock Exchange. He’s the founder of the international trading Institute, liquid point matrix, holdings group, and Efficient Capital Management. He’s also the author of numerous books, including the title managing expectations, definitely do not miss this episode. It’s gonna be packed with golden nuggets, Tony, man, it’s a true honor and pleasure to have you on the show. Thanks for coming out.
Tony Saliba 01:44
Thanks, Michael. My pleasure being with you. Hey, before
before we dive in for those that did not hear our last interview that we did earlier in the year, can you share with our listeners just a little bit about yourself?
Tony Saliba 01:56
Sure thing. Well, I started as a floor trader at the CBOE actually, I’m in the Board of Trade building now. We just moved here in May. And I started in this building in 1978. And I started trading shortly thereafter, in early 79. I spent 13 years as a floor trader market maker, you know funded I was funded with some seed capital by an investor that I caddied for, and then bought him out shortly thereafter. And then spawned a trading company where I had as many as 27 traders trading for me at one point, we got to DPM, which is a designated primary market-making designation, and CBO we had clients and listed a number of stocks that we traded through the 90s. My brother ran that while I got into technology. And I started I wrote my first app in 1984 for the PC. And over the years, I used those tools that I built for my own trading needs and quickly realized that it would be probably good to make them for other people to use. And I got involved in front ends and in the early 90s I spawned Liquid Point in 2000 Liquid Point became the largest workflow automation options system, which still exists today under the name of Dash. The matrix which I started in 2017 competes with Liquid Point and Dash. And then shortly thereafter I started Mercury digital assets which I came over to run full-time at the end of the first quarter of this year. And Mercury digital assets as the name said, but liquid mercury as our new name is a technology company for professionals and institutions that have clients to trade crypto spot crypto derivatives and options. And it’s we just rebranded it, so liquid mercury.
Okay, awesome. Thanks for sharing with us Tony. What I actually wanted to bring up about the rebrand so what was the reasoning behind the decision for the rebrand?
Tony Saliba 04:43
Well, our URL and domain were too long of a time. No, I’m just kidding. It was I who came up with the name because of mercury digital assets. I’m very specific and literal in a lot of cases. is, and I wanted everybody to know that you know what we did with digital assets. And over the last year or so we started kicking around a name that was a little bit more descriptive in terms of what we’ve done in our past, we’ve helped bring liquidity to customers. That’s the name Liquid Point, which was the point of liquidity for options, still very relevant. And we didn’t want to lose the mercury part. So we kind of, if you think about mercury as an element, it is liquid, it can be solid, and it can be a gas. And each of those forms has meaning in our business in terms of liquidity in terms of the speed and the ethereal aspect of the gas, but also the solidness of solid mercury, which, in Chicago, we have a tourist attraction called the beam. And anybody who’s been in Chicago kind of goes to Millennium Park, Millennium Park, and it’s made out of solid mercury. And it looks like a beam. It’s called the cloud, I think. And so it’s a sort of a rallying point for us liquid mercury. And we have a whole somatic set of swag and everything that we’re coming up with bringing out here shortly.
Oh, awesome. Totally. I’m totally with you on the mercury Paulo’s guide you’re absolutely pretty Yeah. I love the meaning behind mercury. You know, I’ve just been studying the last few months, periodic table with my nine-year-old son, and this is the second time we’ve been over it. The first time was when he was five. And we actually just came up with mercury, we just you know, that was one of the elements that we’ve been studying. Here. You break it down. It was awesome. Awesome.
Tony Saliba 07:18
Yeah. Well, tell ya. Good luck with that. I mean, I was always thrilled with mercury when I was about his age I, we would break thermometers and put the mercury into little jars. And then I heard that, Oh, my God, it could be poison. And we thought it was poison if you just touched it. So we learned, but we like our new brand. Okay, we have a new website, but we’re also adding to that website our recent new partnerships and the new token and everything that we’re doing. So it’s pretty exciting. Okay.
Absolutely. Can you break down your institutional grade infrastructure and liquidity for our listeners so that this may, you know, might be their first time listening?
Tony Saliba 08:04
Absolutely. So anybody who’s traded anything, if you’re in the listed market, if you’re trading equities or, or options, or even futures, the world is kind of split up. And every function is done by a different type of company that’s regulated. You have your broker, and then you have, you know, a clearing agent and possibly a prime broker in the middle of that. And then, of course, the exchange where you’re traded on but in crypto, for the first 10 years. It was hard, first five or six years of hard-to-find trades, and they were you know, exchanges set up. But more recently, that’s three, or four years with Coinbase and finance and others. You have kind of these large, monolithic exchanges, but they do a lot of those functions all in one place. So you get their front end, you get their routing services, you get the liquidity that they provide, and the clearing and then the banking. And what Mercury has done is split those apart. We have OTC liquidity providers that give deeper tighter markets than you’ll find on the exchanges. And we deliver that with no additional charges to that. We have very high-grade professional front-end and middle Office tools so that you can do more analytics. You can see more of the market with you know, where the books are and where you know where the liquidity is. We have a lot more order types. And then everything we do, we come from traditional finance, Wall Street as well. So everything we do is built in that sort of fashion, not as an eCommerce website, for instance. Okay, so regulatorily reporting, fast execution. And we’re b2b. So all of our customers are other institutions. But we just came out with this b2b to see a solution where retail people can now get these tools through an intermediary.
Okay, thanks for unpacking that. Tony. I wanted to ask you, you know, being a master trader, and let’s just be honest, a legend, what would you say is the most valuable piece of wisdom that you could pass along to all of us?
Tony Saliba 10:56
Well, some of the things that are fairly trite are true, you know, don’t overdon’t overtrade your wallet and money management, for instance. But for me looking back, and I’ve done this a lot over the last 30 years is what made me different ones made me different, maybe then the guys I was standing next to or that are trading. And that is, I seek a sounding board, right? And I think that’s today’s chat rooms or commute, you know, trading communities to bounce ideas off of other people, which I’m not, not advocating that the communities are in and of themselves going to be helpful for your viewers and listeners, but find the right one, to share ideas. My internal nickname, as I said, is Mr. What if so, I’m constantly doing risk analysis, what if on everything I do in business, but also particularly, particularly trading? So to have a board that you feel confident can pick apart? Your thesis is very valuable.
Okay, awesome. Well said. Thanks for sharing that gold nugget for sure. Let’s talk about your you have new partnership your firm does with Gemini. Yeah.
Tony Saliba 12:28
Yeah, absolutely. So we were very fortunate we negotiated this for a while in the first part of the year, and we were a good fortune is that we were able to strike this deal with Gemini, which is the Winklevoss brothers accompany Gemini is in the top 10 us exchanges for crypto highly attenuated to regulatory norms and paths forward what might be expected in the regulated environment. So a very upstanding exchange, and one of the more highly touted custody services. And we’ve created a unique one-stop shop to onboard which is AML KYC. With trading through our platform, which is OTC Markets, which are deeper and tighter than you’ll find on most of the exchange venues for no added fees. And, you know, cleared in custody with Gemini so you get professional trading tools, professional service, professional, direct to OTC Markets all in one stop. And we’re ready to go live. And then any day now with our first institution called Launch pub, they are extending this to their audience. And if your viewers and listeners are trading crypto, they can find their way to liquid mercury.com. And we’ll introduce them to the launch club because we don’t you know, we don’t interact with individuals, but we do service them through our business partners.
Okay, excellent. Well, we’ll definitely have that link on the episode blog page. And I understand you have you also have your new product liquid mercury plus.
Tony Saliba 14:57
So that’s the name of the out outbound solution is a partnership with the Winklevoss brothers.
That is the one. Okay. Yeah.
Tony Saliba 15:08
So so what we will bring into the market with plus, is that one-stop shop, where, you know, the average everyday individual trader can’t get tools that our institutional traders get. We also have a section where they can watch their equity trades. Okay. And do portfolio analysis with their equity portfolio, and crypto pairs.
Okay. No, That’s huge. That’s definitely a benefit for all the listeners who trade. You know, I also wanted to ask you about the current state of the market and your thoughts.
Tony Saliba 15:54
Well, you know, I, so, the last couple day yesterday, particularly, and today with a bunch of follow through on that, you know, we’re not in the, we’re not in the markets of 2017 to 2021. You are definitely seeing that Powell and the Fed, are hell-bent on reining in inflation, what they feel is, you know, over-exuberance, and in trading and investing. And like yesterday, I just saw it about as clear as day and I’m not trading all day, every day, I’m running Mercury. But I took time out right before the Fed meeting, to get some physicians in place because I just could have written the script that they were going to try to run this thing after the comments by Chairman Powell. And it’s just not going to be that the same way until we see a change in some of these inflationary numbers. I think you should have done this started this years ago, I wouldn’t have guessed that we would have gotten 10 years with a hold on interest rates as we have. It’s just really unfair to elderly savers. And now it’s gonna hurt, you know, mortgage, buyers and homebuyers. But this choppiness as we talked about before, yarded allows for a lot of great short-term trading opportunities, even bear markets. I mean, look, we had a what, two weeks whatever, bear market rally, it was more than most people I know, thought would, it would go. And it’s that certain that we won’t have a Christmas rally in year two, but I think that we’re in a bear market for a while and I think you trade from that bearish side. So if you can’t afford to short stocks, create otherwise. Put strategies, and, like what I like to do is put on 00 costs or credit collars and trade around them, along with butterflies, of course.
Okay, and going into 2023 and even into 24. How do you see, you know, in terms of the market, you know, you see us been in this for quite some time or
Tony Saliba 18:48
so, I’m I simplistically think that we can drill and pump our way out of this. Okay. I simplistically think that if a more rational mindset was at the helm, with regard to our national energy policy, we not only could address, the energy costs that permeate everything we touch, whether it’s manufacturing or shipping or actual energy itself. We can, especially with what’s going on in Ukraine, we can become the energy supplier, again, to our allies in Europe. So we have an important election Tuesday, that if you know what, the polls look to see happening and you have a change in the house, particularly purse strings, they’re in the Senate possibly where you can impact some policy. You know, the Biden administration may out like it, but eventually, they may go along with a face-saving modification to our energy policy that allows relief to the American citizen and revenues into this country by selling oil. And you know what? This gets into when traders will take oil down in advance. So yeah, so I think there’s a lot of opportunity to get out of this sooner rather than later. If, okay, control power doesn’t change, then 23 could be bleak. Bleak.
Okay. Yeah, that that I wanted to ask you, you know, what your thoughts were on q4 as well. And I’m sure what we’re talking about right now is part of that. Anything else to add to the rest of well, what do we have for two months?
Tony Saliba 20:53
Left? Like I said, I think, you know, I’m in some pretty exclusive conference calls that I’m, I feel honored to be a part of, there could be a reasonable, reactionary Christmas rally. Question is, when does it start? And how long does it last? But you’re getting a good clean out right now back to, you know, some sensibilities to where we were, you know, I’ve looked, look at the spoons mostly. So if you, you know, get back down under, you know, 3700 3650 could bounce and have a Christmas rally, maybe, you know, back up to 38 or 3900. But, as I said, I don’t trade full-time is anecdotal. I speculate here and there. I’m all about running mercury and trying to address problems and issues to help make crypto enthusiasts have an easier time trading.
Ah, excellent. It Tony, is there. Is there a story from all of the trading days that you could share with our for, you know, everyone listening? Well, there’s
Tony Saliba 22:13
different eras that I traded in. And when I started, Michael, you know, we didn’t have computers available to us. I mean, you could buy time on a mainframe and type in requests and get theoretical values printed out, for the most part. Everybody had different styles of trading, kind of based on their personality. But you had some tape readers, you had scalpers, you had value investors that use options against fundamentals, different timeframes. I was, you know, a very typical market maker where I traded the flow that came into the crowd, and try to protect myself with low-risk hedges and developed a love for the butterfly strategy, which, you know, was simply, you know, complex but simplistic in that it had limited risk, it had a defined return. And you had basically four bites of the apple to put it on, you know, the wings in the body. Right? So, different eras had different characters that I came in contact and, and there were lessons. Okay. So one of the more epic events in my trading career, when I was on the floor, was in 1983 when I traded a stock called Teledyne. And I would say the vast majority of your viewers are too young to understand that we didn’t have indexes to gauge different market conditions. So back in the day, you know, the first tradable index was the s&p 500. And that was right around 1983 or 84. Prior to that, okay, the marketplace had proxies surrogates for indexes, and you had IBM and Honeywell and Polaroid and Kodak, Texas Instruments, and Teledyne and, and probably, you know, five or six others superior Superior Oil, and these were proxies for what The market was going to do. As sentiment changed. Teledyne was very illiquid. And the guy who ran it, he didn’t like people using it as an indicator for the market, because it distorted his stock prices on the turns, you know, people imbibed when they were bullish, and then when they were bearish, you would get tossed out with the rest, never really aligning with the fundamentals of the company. Okay. So what he did, which I thought was really clever and interesting. Occasionally, he would announce a stock buyback and anybody who’s been involved in a takeover or a stock buyback, if it’s open-ended, where the suitor says we’re going to take 10% of the company or more, you never know where that price is going to go. And you get, you get a short squeeze. So that’s all background is say, in 1983, the stock was trading at about $180. Cross the tape comes, Henry singleton announces stock buyback of at least 10% of Teledyne with no target price. Every short in the world came in to cover and the squeeze took the price from one ad to over $300. And in fact, that was a huge, huge move. And inverted all the time spreads. And people were just coming, begging us market makers, to let them you know, where can I get out of my, my spreads, you know, and it was really amazing. I mean, that’s kind of the setup to all these little vignettes where these big traders that didn’t trade in our crowd came in. And first, they’re like, Oh, screw it, it’s, you know, no big deal. And then they stock go, you know, to 200 to two and a quarter 250. And then this happened over a few days. And this thing, okay, upside squeeze, just brought everybody to their knees. And I mean, it was very, very telling and very enlightening. So I created. I was saying, I live by an AI advocate, anybody in your audience that is actively trading options, staying spread is staying alive. And I had a bunch of ends, mechanical pencils, with those printed boxes of them, and I had my clerks handing them out on the floor, kind of rubbing everybody’s face to me for a while.
Tony, thanks for sharing that, man. That was probably a trip down memory lane for you.
Tony Saliba 28:12
Yeah, well, yeah. You know, I, there are some really great ones, Michael, and next time you’re in Chicago, we’ll go out for dinner drinks with a bunch of my fellow floor traders because when we get together, we trigger each other’s memories on some of these things. And I, you know, as a journalist, you know, content provider, you know, Pat, and you’re like, well, let’s, you know, let’s develop that are pretty, pretty interesting. Absolutely. Not all PGE either.
I look forward to it. I look forward to it. I love Chicago. It was you know, the last time I was there, it was so uncanny there was no wind it was just gorgeous. I couldn’t believe it honestly, in downtown, you know, by the water. You have
Tony Saliba 29:01
Are you know, September is a great month and as I was saying earlier today it’s 70 degrees and sunny. It’s you know, late August, early September, day out it’s gonna be that way all weekend. So knock on wood we get lucky here every now and then.
Absolutely, absolutely. Tony, How can our listeners reach out to you and your team to stay in the conversation? Do you know if we have institutions that are listening to that are not dialed in and set up with you guys yet? You know,
Tony Saliba 29:31
well if they go to liquid mercury.com That’s our website and there’s a place to contact us if they mentioned your show Michael or your name, I’ll personally answer their question or respond to them are in the process of adding to our website you know, we UK launched our token, so we’re adding to it but the Contact Us Is there? And if it’s a trading question or something about the show, I will personally say hi and give him some feedback. If it’s an institution, I will, you know, have one of our great representatives, get in touch with them, show them how we can help them benefit from ours, our trading tools.
Awesome. Hey, thank you, Tony, that’s for all of our listeners who have a question, contact Tony on the Contact Us page on his site.
Tony Saliba 30:34
Either that or you can just email us at info at liquid mercury.com. So either way, okay, happy to make that connection with I know you have a worldwide audience, Michael, but depending on the market, I’m sure we can either help them or point them in the right direction.
Okay. Thank you, Tony. In closing, I wanted to ask you, if is there anything else that you would like to share with everyone listening.
Tony Saliba 31:01
I would just say that money management is the biggest factor for everybody don’t overtrade in these markets. Monitor your clip size. And, you know, use options wherever you can. Because staying spread is staying alive.
Okay. Well said. Tony, it was a pleasure and an honor to have you on the show. And as always, man, we welcome you back anytime.
Tony Saliba 31:24
Thanks. And look for the Merc trades on Wi-Fi or CX.
That’s your token. Yeah, the Merc token.
Tony Saliba 31:33
Yeah. And if you go to our website, our tokenomics are there. Okay, trading crypto or interested in trading tools. It’s a utility token that has something for everybody.
Okay, awesome. Well said that Tony was a pleasure. And, you know, we look forward to having you chime in again. If you liked today’s episode, definitely like and subscribe to the podcast. Show your support, and chime in here tomorrow for another special episode. Until then, make it a great day. Thanks for tuning in to the new to crypto podcast. If you liked the episode, be sure to follow and subscribe. You can listen to every episode on all major platforms and have an interest in being on the show or one advertising reach out at newtocrypto.io. Head over to our site newtocrypto.io to access the resources mentioned in each episode. Until next time, remember to navigate the crypto landscape with pinpoint accuracy.