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I keep coming back to this thought:

I just don't understand the complex "rules" or "patterns" of how the prices of Bitcoin (or any financial instrument) move up and down, so I will not "gamble" with my money to make money that way.

But then there are people who must know their stuff, because they make endless YouTube videos about it and seem to know so much. And they trade themselves.

If I simply copy their trades, except with much smaller sums, isn't that going to guarantee that I make profits perpetually? (Assuming that they will show me their trades.)

They are not going to suddenly make some crazy bet and lose all their money. If I just do what they do, every time, am I not going to keep making money, guaranteed? What am I missing? What is the flaw in this logic? It cannot be that simple...

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    $\begingroup$ The flaw in your logic is that someone making videos on YouTube will necessarily make a profit. The most basic principle of finance and the empirically best supported theory in all of social sciences is that it is basically impossible to make a guaranteed profit with no risk of a loss. $\endgroup$ Mar 1 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Economics:SE. Thank you for your question; please consider revising it to be more in line with our community expectations. Like many other stacks, we expect questions to provide evidence of prior research. That helps us to understand the question, and avoids our repeating work you've already done. Our help center, and other stacks provide additional resources to assist with revisions. $\endgroup$
    – 1muflon1
    Mar 2 at 0:53
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    $\begingroup$ "During a gold rush, sell shovels", during a bitcoin rush, make videos. $\endgroup$
    – Giskard
    Mar 2 at 6:00
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Within finance, there is interest in attempting to replicate the positions of strongly performing funds. So your basic premise has some merit. However, most funds attempt to obscure what they are doing to foil copycats.

However, what you describe has risks.

  • The investors you are copying may lose money themselves. In particular, there is no reason that people making videos on spreading them online are telling the full truth about their performance. Securities laws generally prohibit giving unsolicited investment advice, and professional investors are generally aware of those laws.
  • If you get information with a lag, you are not going to replicate their results. In the worst case, they buy before the price rise, and then recommend others buy at the higher price (allowing them to sell). This is a common feature of fraudulent stock trading schemes in penny stocks.
  • Even if you can avoid the previous problems, a smaller investor may not be able to trade all the instruments a larger investor can, and face higher transaction costs. If positions are actively traded, higher transaction costs (as a percentage of the portfolio size) can mean the difference between a profit and a loss.
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This 20 minute video provides an example of how to buy, hold, and sell a stock when applying one particular commercially available stock trading system:

https://youtu.be/PEOjBcn3GKw?list=PLL9UyG1oknHQewkbgP_g-IEODgAQAkSRu

Notice there is risk of loss shortly after the buy decision. The risk is reduced by making efforts to recognize patterns where you buy on the way up during a strong price advance and reduce the odds of taking a loss. Then the down side risk is further managed by setting a sell rule called a stop loss.

Notice also no one who is trading their own portfolio will disclose how to buy, hold, and sell all their stock positions in real time since it would adversely impact their own profits and potentially trigger compliance costs via legal regulations or criminal charges due to legal violations.

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