Visitors to the Currency Cafe might be a little surprised to find that there are no barristas. They don't serve lattes and tall, grande and venti are not an option. What they will find is a state of the art trading facility complete with up to the minute information on currency transactions being conducted over the Internet.
The "cafe" is the brainchild of entrepreneur Lee Young, who has worked as a commercial fisherman and bush pilot in Alaska, fighter pilot in the navy and market maker with Merrill Lynch. He is now president of a company that is currently part of grass roots movement that might make brick and mortar exchange trading obsolete.
Using an Internet based platform that is available to the general public, Lee is teaching novice traders how to participate in and take advantage of the worldwide currency markets, which historically have only been available to banks and brokerage firms.
The way it works is that anyone who can meet the minimum requirements for setting up an account with a particular exchange can pull up a chair at any one of The Currency Cafes trading stations and start buying and selling currencies for their own account. Lee provides the necessary hardware, software and training for his clients to dive head first into the high stakes world of foreign exchange.
"This is a hidden market," said Young. "The Internet has broken this thing wide open." Lee is teaching free of charge his trading strategies and techniques to would be speculators, who have the means and stomach for live, 24-hour, fast paced trading of currencies on the world spot market.
Lee warns that this is a business with a downside as well as an upside.
"You can lose money just as quick as you can make money," he said. "A person who is adapted to trade is a person who can tolerate risk." Lee advises that only those with discretionary income should engage in the buying and selling of currency and currency related products.
For those with a low threshold for risk who wish to engage in the world of currency exchange, Lee suggests buying into a foreign exchange fund, which operates similarly to a mutual fund. He said, "You can participate and get returns without being in the actual market."
Young is confident that with a sound trading strategy and the discipline to follow it, traders can minimize their losses while maximizing their profits.
"My system is simple," he said. "Ride your winners, get rid of your losers, diversify your portfolio and never be too proud to admit when you're wrong."
Young's inclination towards foreign exchange stems from his belief that currencies are more predictable than many other markets. He compares the currencies of the world to super tankers. He uses the U.S. dollar and the Japanese Yen to make his point.
"It's basically the Federal Reserve versus the Bank of Japan," he said. Young points out that both entities do things in a very predictable fashion. He said that there are only a few factors that drive prices up or down in the currency markets. Therefore, he said, "It's a lot easier to get your hands around."