To Trade like a Sniper

In the 4 month trajectory of AnySniper till date, our team has churned out one update to the Trading DApp after another. Despite the platform still being its beta phase our obsession with building something bold and hitherto unseen means that we listen closely to our holders and their feedback. We spend considerable time in researching trading practices not just in DeFi, but TradFi, to see what tools we can bring to bear and empower our holders with.

One persistent feedback has been regarding the complexity of the DApp’s user interface.

This underscores a topic that goes right to the heart of what we are building at AnySniper. Our promise has always been to deliver a suite of nuanced trading tools that enable users to trade swifter, smarter and safer. This means being able to place and execute buy and sell orders rapidly, with a diverse array of data points provided by our contract scanners, and in a way that is gas efficient and protects against getting rugged. This translates into the reality that a user has to consider numerous factors while setting up a trade.

More information means greater awareness, but without the ability to parse through the information, one can be drowned in noise. We understand that some users find this task daunting, but we believe that the solution to that isn’t less data, but more training and discipline.

An interesting analogy becomes relevant at this stage. We won’t have to travel far to make a point, the setting is in the name of our project — the concept of a ‘sniper’ in the modern military. The term conjures a convenient mental image. A lone sharpshooter in a ghillie suit, scourge of the modern battlefield. This reputation was earned the hard way, and the trade has evolved over more than a century of warfare.

Understanding the role that a sniper plays in modern warfare offers a window into what it means to trade like a sniper. More importantly, it offers a new trader context about why certain aspects of crypto trading cannot be oversimplified!

The concept of experienced sharpshooters has existed throughout human history, as ranged warfare has long been a staple of combat. With the advent of rifled muskets by the century, Dutch and German states often hosted competitive shooting matches, where participants were referred to as scharfschützen, that is, sharp shooters. The term ‘sniping’ itself can be noticed some time in the 18th century in the letters sent home from India by British colonial officers, where some “referred to a day’s rough shooting as ‘going out sniping’”. The ‘snipe’ was actually a small game bird, rapid in flight and unpredictable in pattern, making it a particularly tough target. Sportsmen competent to shoot down a snipe with the rifles available in the 18th century were considered skilled in the game of ‘snipe shooting’. The term sniper was used to refer to sharpshooters themselves, sometime around the First World War.

Modern military doctrine took centuries to evolve and assimilate the sharpshooters amongst their soldiers into organized units with their dedicated training and armament. One of the earlier moves in this direction was made during the American Civil War. A visionary officer in the Union Army named Colonel Hiram Berdan collaborated with Caspar Trepp, a Swiss soldier, to conceptualize, equip and train a regiment of sharpshooters with the goal of functioning as scouts and skirmishers. Two regiments were eventually raised, achieving fame over the course of the war as ‘Berdan Sharpshooters’.

‘California Joe’ (real name Truman Head) of the 1st US Regiment of Sharpshooters stands behind Colonel Hiram Berdan. Source: Sniping in the Great War, Martin Pegler (2014)

At the end of the American Civil War, most of the forces raised were disbanded, including the sharpshooters. But the lessons learned from the experience were the foundation upon which all later wars built their specialist sniper training. Having said that, even as early as the American Civil War, certain traits typical of a sniper became clear, be they in character or operation. Researchers note often that the men engaged to become snipers were typically better educated and more intelligent than their infantry brethren and consequently less inclined to blindly obey irrational orders from their superiors. The latter streak of independence makes sense in light of their operational realities in the battlefield, which is that most of the work of a sniper is done close to or deep within enemy territory, unseen by friendly forces and operating with a certain degree of autonomy. More importantly, even as early as the Civil War, snipers operated with the knowledge that their capture would almost invariably lead to execution. To summarize, intelligence, independent thinking, ability to analyze the information on hand dynamically to made decisions on the go have always been traits essential to the survival of a sniper.

Intelligence, independent thinking, the ability to quickly analyze a vast range of data points that are dynamically changing are also traits essential to the survival of a crypto trader. Ironically, just as with snipers in the military, ‘sniper’ traders are a cut above the rest and typically disliked by other traders!

US Army Snipers in the Somme, WW I. Source: Sniping in the Great War, Martin Pegler (2014)

A second factor that has always been highly characteristic of snipers in the military is that they have been afforded the best technology when it comes to combat equipment, be it advances in rifle, sight or scope. Thus, given their function and equipment, snipers began to distinguish themselves vastly from the operations of ordinary infantry, so much so that an American study revealed that in the First World War it took about 7,000 rounds of small arms ammunition to kill a single enemy soldier. By the time of the Vietnam war, this had risen to around 25,000 rounds, but the average sniper required 1.3 rounds to achieve the same effect. It becomes relevant to see how such vastly divergent results are possible between ordinary combat and sniper operations. The answer to that lies in sniper selection and training. A US military manual notes, ‘the sniper must possess true emotional balance, a perpetual self-possession, and serenity developed from maturity and patience.’. As for the training itself, the rigour and repetition cannot be understated.

In the same vein, any holder of $SNIPE that gets to use our AnySniper Trading DApp is equipped with some of the best DeFi trading tools on offer to retail traders. Yes, to a degree, they can be complex. But complex tools are required to do complex jobs! The only way forward in that situation is through, and for a new trader, the simple solution is to put in the effort into learning how the tools work by regularly using them. Trading like a sniper is a skill based endeavor and does not come easy.

An SAS Rifleman in Oman, c.1974 Source: Out of Nowhere, Martin Pegler (2004)

Take for instance the training received by snipers at the U.S. Army Sniper School at Fort Brenning, Georgia. 300 candidates are subjected to a rigorous 7-week course each year, but only the best make it through. Training in marksmanship on the firing range is only one of the various components of the course, which includes camouflage, stalking, reconnaissance and data gathering. Of course, when it comes down to it, marksmanship training is demanding. The third week of training puts the candidates through practice in day time firing, with 80–120 rounds fired each day. The fourth week incorporates marksmanship training through the day and night, with the latter sessions requiring 60–80 rounds each session. The rigor in marksmanship has to be maintained continuously, with very high degrees of accuracy.

US Forces, Operation Desert Storn Source: Out of Nowhere, Martin Pegler (2004)

You may think, dear reader, that this was a tortuous detour, but some arguments need to be presented rather vividly. The point we are trying to make here is that ‘sniping’ as a trader had numerous parallels to the trade craft of a military marksman. It requires long periods of tough training, under adverse circumstances, requiring great discipline from those who walk down that path. It requires a trader to be unemotional, mature and patient.

It doesn’t imply that trades that generate super-profits are made once in a while and the rest are spent in inactivity. On the contrary, it requires a trader to constantly monitor numerous streams of data, assess the risk and profitability of various trades and the fortitude to pull the trigger at the right time, sometimes at multiple shifting targets.

Over time, and with practice, the continuous stream of data will stop being ‘noise’ and start becoming actionable intel, allowing you to take informed decisions on the go, constituting the difference between a smart trade and a disastrous one. So rather than running away from the complexity of the game, one must delve head first into it and embrace its nuances. The pay-off is potentially lucrative, and the process tremendous fun.

The AnySniper team is constantly developing video and text tutorials which help educate our $SNIPE holders and traders on the proficient use of our Trading DApp. We always invite our users to equip themselves with all of the information we put out, as well as engage actively in our exclusive Snipers Telegram Channel where they can ask and answer a range of question and doubts about the nuances of trading and contract analysis. As a team, we would rather arm our holders and users with all the information and training material they can use, than suggest that trading can be ‘easy’ or ‘noob friendly’. To be honest, it isn’t, and it would be irresponsible to say it can be. Trading is high risk, and a retail trader competes against all kinds of malicious actors and institutional players.

Our job is to offer you the tools that allow you to trade swifter, safer, and smarter.

We had stated in our third Medium post that ‘$SNIPE holders will become more talented by using AnySniper’. We believe this to be true, and are happy to say that many of our holders already have improved their trading acumen by leaps and bounds over the last 3 months. The only solution to the daunting nature of crypto trading is training, practice and patience. Together we shall prevail!

Sources:

[1] Sniping in the Great War, Martin Pegler (2014)

[2] Out of Nowhere: A History of the Military Sniper, Martin Pegler (2004)

[3] Army Sniper school candidates discover the key to lethality is ‘a high tolerance for discomfort’, Don Wagner, Army News Service [army.mil/article/197930]

[4] A team effort: Army sniper candidates work together to pass grueling training, Don Wagner, Defense Media Activity [army.mil/article/197930]

[5] US Army Special Operations Target Interdiction Course, Paladin Press, (1994)

[6] Hay, Gen. J.H. Jr. Tactical and Material Innovation, Vietnam Studies, Department of the Army, 1974

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AnySniper

Level the playing the field in the DeFi space by giving access to a sniping tool for everyone