Interview with Erik Von | Founder of Smart Options

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on March 22, 2023


Success leaves clues.

Finance Strategists sat down with Erik Von, founder of Smart Options. He shared his thoughts on the past, present, and future of the company, as well as the experiences that lead him to start the business.

Who is Erik Von?

Q: Who are you and what’s your background?

We are several like-minded people, all independent entrepreneurs who enjoy creating businesses from the ground up. I am Erik Von the Engineer/Trader. I am from Sarasota, Florida, and enjoy living the sun, sand, and sea lifestyle. My engineering background is in “Distorted Computational Dynamics,” and a few other areas of pure mathematics, which led me to the trading world and thus SmartOptions. By all normal means, I should be wearing a short sleeve dress shirt with a pocket protector and staring at screens all day locked in a room somewhere in NASA or other nondescript government agency. But I don’t like bosses or people of limited imagination; worse would be working for the government where you are paid to have no imagination at all. Lucky for me I am surrounded by the people of SmartOptions who are the high-quality, imaginative, and creative talent I seek and get to work with each and every day.

Q: Who has been your biggest influence, and why did they have such a significant effect on you?

After my parents, who I would say helped define me as a person, I would say, Jim Simons, one of the creators of Renaissance Technologies hedge fund. He proves a few things:

1) you can love math and make real money from it;

2) mathematicians/scientists who are smart and creative just crush about all other funds in the market; and

3) keep your knowledge hidden as the market is a zero-sum game as in life and the jungle, trading is ruled by the strong, survive, thrive and conquer.

Q: Knowing what you know now, what would you have told yourself when you were in your twenties?

I would tell myself don’t be so smart. What I mean by that is best stated by Mark Twain “it ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” If you are a trader and you do this for long enough to do it well you are taught absolute truth in time and humbled by it. In this humbling of time, much of the emotional baggage each of us carries is shed like dead skin from a snake. As a trader or engineer your only interest is a positive outcome for your time and effort, the questions of right/wrong, good/bad, and all the other emotional trappings most suffer from go away. Seek knowledge and truth in life, don’t seek being right.


Q: What is Smart Options?

Smart Options is a home for traders seeking Trading Signals in crypto, gold, and other assets. Our site started out back in the late summer of 2017 during the crypto explosion, mainly to promote crypto trading/signal providers of many who were on Telegram. My background was in trading and my partner was in marketing/writing, so we were a good fit to provide great info for the crypto trading community. In our remake of Smart Options we wish to expand on this and turn it into a much larger and more vibrant hub of trading knowledge, not just of crypto but other alternative assets that could offer traders big profits in the future. We are going to add all new features/categories to make trading not only super profitable but very fun and interesting for the average trader/viewer. Our pages include “Trading Porn,” “Crypto Enquire,” “Gold & Silver,” “Traders Corner,” “Reviews,” “News,” “Editors Picks,” “Trader Gossip,” and more to come. We have a very well-rounded and interesting site in the future. Profitable Trading Signals will still be a large focus but we want to expand into a more robust and fun/interesting experience for the average trader.

Q: What makes your company different from its competitors?

We are real traders and trading enthusiasts with real backgrounds in business, trading, and marketing. This level of experience and organization is rare in this particular field, so for us, it is very easy with a concerted effort to dominate this field. There is no way for us not to own it short of not doing the work involved, which each of us has committed to with a vehement work ethic that I believe can not be matched by any other team. Most of the competition we have reviewed in the space is very cloistered in a specific category, not encompassing any real focus or intent for their readers/viewers, and come across as a very unfocused mishmash of out of touch marketing bent only on trying to get conversions.

Q: What led you to start Smart Options?

Smart Options was born out of the ashes of the Binary Option industry .As a trader, I specialize in very complex algorithms, many of which incorporate TIME into their programming. I produce complicated equations that use TIME as a variable in the quant analysis. Unfortunately, the Binary Options space was run by gangs from Israel/Cyprus and Russia who were really just gambling houses that stole customer funds. If you were a profitable trader like me they would simply kick you off their trading platform. At the time I was connected to a group who were signal providers/educators. We loved Binary Options, which is a perfectly legitimate time-based asset class. Since they were technology creators they thought to use blockchain to eliminate the inherent fraud built into the primitive binary option platforms. Basically, with blockchain, you can’t manipulate the data, which ultimately destroyed the binary options space as they were raided and chased out of their own countries due to their criminal behavior becoming so prevalent. All that being said this group of individuals and I were already buying cryptocurrencies back in 2015 they developed a blockchain-based platform to trade binary options and advance them to the next level; hence the new Binary Options using blockchain was born. I coined the name Smart Options and then used the name in our new crypto trading site

Q: What has the experience of building the business taught you?

Simply put, to expand my horizons in how to deal with a very very eclectic global audience. I am a trader/mathematician first and foremost, and from there all things are born in what I do. Smart Options is an extension of my trading career and I am purely self-made in this area. My biggest challenges are mainly in dealing with people because it requires you to always think outside of the box due to the wide variety of personalities you come across. This too has taught me to be humble. In my opinion, getting data/information from people is far harder than working out equations and the like. In the online world, you need others a great deal, which is ironic because you are so separated from others! So many parts of your business are in the hands of individuals you have never met which constantly has you checking the quality of work being done as well as figuring out how to best utilize the resources that are best for your business. Building relationships are paramount in our day today. So I am constantly learning to be more and more of a people-person every day, even if sometimes I wish to have these digital dignitaries in my own physical space so I could beat the shit out of them in order to get my point across!

Q: Where do you see things headed for you in the next 5 years?

In my opinion, BTC should be well above 100-200k a coin in the next 5 years so I will have built up a good amount of crypto. And, with my trading activities not including the above 20x returns from the holding of coins from 2015 and earlier, but rather from over 300% ROI in 2018 over 150% ROI 2019, we will see what 2020 brings. Smart Options is a baby we are now putting in resources to GROW HUGE! I would like it to not only dominate the space but expand the audience we have manyfold in the future. Other than that I will just keep on swimming and swimming.

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About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.