Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Cashless in Singapore

This CNA article about being cashless in China and this video from the ST should really be a wake up call to Singapore.


Cashless in Singapore?

Wait until neck long long.

Can just crawl to the corner in the hawker centre, roll into a ball and die of starvation.

Except for a handful of places offering the very fail DASH payment system (this is the SCB initiative, not to be confused with DASH, the $2B cryptocurrency), the new and unadopted LiquidPay and of course NETS FlashPay, I would imagine that 99% of transactions at hawker centres are still done by cash and coin.

Reading our own local reports on how it is going (CNA and Today) and comparing it to China clearly shows our lack of progress. It's both embarrassing and pathetic.

It is embarrassing af. That's right, af.

Pathetic why? Smartphones, check. 4G network, check. "Financial hub of Asia", check. Like a bazillion people in the financial industry, check. Cashless P2P payment method, er.... is PayNow counted? LOL.

After reading that articles I got second-hand embarrassed. Maybe we all should go back to our villages in China, kampungs in Malaysia? OH WAIT, the villages in China would still have more advanced payment methods than us, GAWD DAMNIT.

"How can we expect hawkers to suddenly embrace these kind of technologies? THEY ARE SO OLD, THEY DONT KNOW HOW TO USE HANDPHONES."

Well, I'd be damned if old people in China can learn and adopt the shit out of this, but we in Singapore can't.

While most people seem to think it is poor user adoption, I would also say that it is poor merchant adoption. I think 90% of people under 30 would be all for mobile cashless payments, not even a physical card is necessary. But of course, 50% of merchants still don't support NFC technology. "Sorry Sir, no PayWave". Okay, can.

Reluctant to change, lazy to press the buttons, lazy to check phone notifications...

I don't know, sounds like really bad excuses to me. Really. Bad. Excuses.

One of the biggest issues that I had with Japan was their unbelievably archaic way of using money to pay for stuff.

However, I was told that this is not because they can't, but it's largely because all small businesses under-declare taxes, and only businesses that accept cash can do this.

Then again, I can probably think of quite a few occupations in Singapore where the perk is "self-employed means can under declare taxes and don't need to contribute to CPF". Not I say one hor, is I heard people say.

Anyway, whatever.

I have a credit card with me and I always keep a minimum amount of cash, in a variety of small denominations because I am sure I'm going to end up somewhere "Cash only".

Majulah Singapura.

Friday, August 18, 2017

How to send $165,000,000 USD in 2 minutes for $0.67 USD


Bitcoins, that's how. A friend showed me this link and my jaw just dropped.

And of course, you should not just trust, but also verify.

Thank god we have the blockchain because that means we don't have to blindly trust shit on the internet. We can fire up the blockchain and check it and verify it for ourselves.

Here is the tx in question that you can look up yourself: 2248452e2122ff2d446565462cac276bbc8420c5874695a9b5c8e3bca8afa2b2

Check 1: Blockchain.info
Check 2: Blockexplorer.com
Check 3: Blockcypher.com

So there you have it. In 1 minute 55 seconds, 40,000.32 BTC worth $165,000,000 USD then was sent at a cost of $0.67 USD.

People tell me Bitcoins are worthless. The whole mainstream media are throwing around the "tulip" buzzword of the week.

Yet it is still shit on like it's some crazy kook technology used only by criminals and geeks.

But show me how you can move $165 mil in 2 minutes and I'll give you a standing ovation.


Wait, I take that back. Why should I give anyone a standing ovation for doing that?

It's nothing special. You'd just be doing something that can already be done.

Honestly, Bitcoins are the tip of the iceberg about how mindblowing blockchain technology is. I know I'm well on my way on being a full crypto-retard. Never go full-retard. I'm trying hard not to, but I see this is as the freaking biggest opportunity that I will ever get in my life.


Sorry, future GMGH reading this. Your past self is utterly convinced that we have passed the Point of No Return.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Let's talk Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

I've actually talked about ICOs before, but I just wanted to come back and touch a bit on this topic.

ICO stands for Initial Coin Offerings. In a nutshell, it is a digital Initial Public Offering (IPO).


That was actually in the Straits Times, and I think it's a timely reminder that ICOs are really dangerous and risky.

And I'm not just talking about the risks in investing in a early start-up company. There are plenty and plenty of risks. One of the biggest ones is that it turns out to be a scam. Some people found out the hard way and lost $7.6m of Ether last month, which is now worth $13m. Madness.

There are risks that the company sucks.
There are risks that the company is okay but the product sucks.
There are risks that the company is okay, product is okay, but the market is not ready.
There are risks that the owners run away with all the money.

And the lists goes on and on. Add in that there are also like 20 ways to get hacked or scammed along the way and you can probably realize by now that this is NOT a riskless path to be troding on.

If you currently only "invest" in fixed deposits and endowment products, this is DEFINITELY not for you.

tldr - PLENTY OF RISKS. If you can't handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

Now that we've got the MANY risks clearly spelled out, let's see why this is happening. Michael from Boxmining did a fantastic job in this video and that spurred me on to write this article.


The main thought that I have is that this does not prove a mania in cryptocurrencies. Why do I think that? I feel that the hype is actually surrounding the fact that average Joe investors like you and me can now actually get into and be involved in early round startup funding. This used to be exclusively meant for venture capitalist and deep pocketed angel investors, but blockchain and decentralization has quickly marked these people as the first people to be on their Death Note - the profits to be made there are TOO high, and its a no-brainer for blockchain to disrupt that market.

A very big point to note. Very very big. And this is important, so listen up. Investing in startups is risky. Period. With or without cryptocurrencies. The risk profile of a startup company is still very big either way, though I admit that there are pros and cons to each method that helps reduces risk in certain areas.

But the point is that even before cryptocurrency was a word, both the RISKS and REWARDS in startup funding are beyond comprehension for normal people.

So this "ICO bubble" that we are seeing here, to me it is just what happens if you allow the general public to take part in such high risk investments. Deals that would have previously be made behind the scenes (and probably with unfavourable terms to the startup) and now out in the open for anyone to fund.

Sure, the quality of the projects are dropping, the quantity of projects are increasing and the amount that they are asking for are increasing too. Who is to blame them? The market is signalling their intentions to be involved in more risky ventures.

Now that pandora's box has been opened, why would a startup choose to take VC money that has strings attached, when they can take the general public's money and retain much more control?

I think this is a good thing. People CAN invest in ICOs if they want to, but they should be willing to assume all the risks (and rewards) associated with such an investment.

Personally, the thing I'm peeved most about is regulations. Anyone that steps foot into the crypto space immediately denounces any form of recourse - there is none in the crypto world. It should go immediately without saying that touching an ICO is like the biggest risk you can take, and no amount of government regulations can save your ass if you made bad decisions.

Long story short - while ICOs might seem like digital IPOs, I think they are much riskier due to (1) the complicated and non-standard process of investing in it and (2) the much earlier start point of business development, which invariably leads to a much higher fail rate. Of course, that also means that the returns can be phenomenal.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

First Crypto Cash Out


Slightly over a month ago, I bought a certain crypto (I will not name it).

Today, I decided to sell some of it.... at a +446% gain.

I won't give you a dollar figure (obviously), but I can assure you that the profit is in the thousands, NOT in hundreds.

Actually, I don't mind revealing a slight ballpark figure, but I will not elaborate further. The profit from this single trade, which is only a portion of my total tokens in that crypto (<10%), which is in turn only a portion my entire crypto portfolio (<25%), is almost the same as the entire profit of my SGX portfolio, which I have been carefully and slowly investing since Mar 2014. You could argue that I'm a shit stock picker, therefore my stock returns are low, but I don't think my stocks returns are that bad. The STI was 3.08 when I started and it's 3.34 today + dividends along the way. By my calculations, I've outperformed the STI by a solid 7% in total returns.

So, the returns of <2.5% of my crypto porfolio in less than 2 months is about the same as the return of my entire SGX portfolio for the last 3 years.

And it would clearly be more if compared to a simple portfolio of only the STI ETF.

And mind you, this is without any leverage at all.

--------------------------------------------

Again, you can take this post that GMGH has lost his marbles, forsaken traditional investing, has balls of steel and is now posting his returns from a good gambling run at a casino. What a douche. A lucky douche, but a douche nonetheless.

Or you can take it that cryptos have mindblowing potential and that people with SOME sort of investing experience and knowledge actually have an edge over all these self proclaimed crypto gurus, and can reasonably make very respectable profits in the crypto space.

I'm not telling you to jump into this. I'm just showing you what is possible.

Seriously, this isn't a shill. This isn't a sell. I don't even want to tell you what crypto it is that I bought and sold. Later you say I only say so that others can pump it while I dump it on them and cash out, no thank you.

It's up to you to decide what you want to do. And this is just me rambling on about stuff on my blog.

The big question of the day: What am I going to do with my profits?
Answer: Plow it right back into another crypto.

Wish me luck, it looks like financial freedom has just jumped forward 20 years earlier for me.

Oh, would you look at the time. I'm due for my medication now. Excuse me.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Don't Crybaby To Me About Bitcoins & Cryptos

The market bubble popped a while ago and went from 120b to 60b.

Now we're back above 120b. If you were in ANYTHING at that point of time, your portfolio would've been up about 100%.

I am currently up over 100%.

That statement is not meant to be a brag, but a fact verified by me that such intense gains are not just imaginary, they are possible.

(I have to point out that I am expecting another correction again. But hey, the crypto markets are volatile and random af, if you're getting into this you should already know the risks involved)

Screw bonds. I've liquidated all my Singapore Savings Bonds and I have put 100% of that capital into cryptos. Insane? Madness? Maybe.

Screw the stock market. I'll be liquidating large chunks of my stock portfolio too. At least 20-30% will be liquidated by the end of the month if things go as planned.

A lot of people cannot grasp the fact that 0.01% of the population that hold cryptocurrencies like Bitcoins and whatnot are getting and will be insanely rich.

Isn't it unfair? The wealth distribution gap is so wide!


My response: So what?

I am going to be insanely wealthy and fabulous because I put in real, spendable SGD and bought these online digital funny money that could be worthless the second after the SGD leaves my bank account. I took this risk. You didn't.

Let that sink in.

I gave away real money today for something that is extremely risky and could be worthless tomorrow.

What should my risk/reward be? It should be freaking high since normal people wouldn't even want to spend $1 on such things. They don't want to be involved in it. They don't want to know about it. Heck, I'm sure a lot of people would just want it to go away.

If Bitcoins goes to zero, who is going to refund me and pay me back? Nobody.
If Bitcoins go to the tens of thousands, who is going to get rich af? Me.

I take the risk, I reap the rewards.
You didn't take the risk, you don't reap the rewards.

Don't think of it as a loss to you and a gain to me. Just think of it as a missed opportunity.

If you want to sit on the fence, that is totally okay. I don't blame you. I was sitting on the fence looking over at Bitcoin and other cryptos occasionally over the past few years until I reached the point where I decided to jump the fence.

Now at this juncture, I have put real money in this thing. To me, it's real and it's the future. I see no signs of development in this area slowing down.

HUGEEEEEEEEEE RISKS. Very huge. I'm risking 100% of the capital that I put in. Could it go to zero? Yes. Will it? I'm betting thousands of dollars that it won't.

I have to reiterate it again - I'm taking huge risks, therefore I will be reaping huge rewards if it is successful.

You can use your SGD to save in the bank, invest in the stock market, buy new and shiny gadgets and eat delicious food. You are NOT taking the risks that I am, why should you be rewarded what I get?

Anyone who throws a bitchfit about cryptos being unfairly distributed ought to ask themselves this:

what the f*** is stopping you from getting in now?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

GMGH Crypto Blackbox Investing

I know a lot of people are curious about "investing in" cryptocurrencies like "the bitcoins" and whatnot, but this is NOT a post about that.

This is instead going to be an introductory post about a group of blackbox investments that I will be doing.

Why is it blackbox? What does that mean?

It's a blackbox because:
- I will not be proving my investment capital
- I will not be naming the actual investments
- I will not be proving the returns from those invesments
- I could make making up the entire thing and you wouldn't know

That means that I only will be listing down the amount of my capital invested, some arbitrary name to call the investment and the returns of those investments.

As far as you, the reader, are concerned, GMGH just put some capital into this blackbox and at the end of the month he shakes it out, counts it, records it, then puts it back in for another month.


Due to the nature of cryptos, I will not be answering most questions about my blackbox investing.

In my blackbox, I have a wide variety of funds within, each invested with a different strategy. To mask the names of the actual investments, I have given them all interesting names - easy for me to identify, yet mysterious but still intuitive enough for readers.

Steady Turtle Fund
Black Wolf Fund 1
Black Wolf Fund 2
Black Wolf Fund 3
Green Angry Kraken Fund 1
Green Angry Kraken Fund 2
Blue Crazy Dragon Fund
White Crazy Dragon Fund

As of now, only half of my funds are up and running, but I am hoping to have them all up and running by the end of Aug so I that I can officially start reporting monthly stats with all the funds running once 1st Sep comes. However, if I am unable to get into my investments at that point of time, I will just release the stats with those unfunded funds being dormant until they start running. I'd prefer nice monthly stats, but I've realized that a lot of capital will be moving in and around, so as much as I'd like to keep things simple and neat, I will not be doing that and forfeit potentially better returns by not re-balanacing and re-allocating my portfolio.

Right now my focus will be on getting into positions and to come up with a good tracking spreadsheet for me to track my portfolio returns, and also to create the censored version that I will be publishing every month, as long as it is profitable and it is of interest to people.

What kind of returns am I hoping for and expecting? Honestly, that is a hard question to answer. 

As this is cryptos, a lot of my invest profit/loss would actually come from "foreign exchange", since the crypto/SGD rate is in a constant flux. I cannot even begin to predict that, but it is in my view that foreign exchange will be a tailwind to the blackbox's profts.

However, in terms of crypto itself, I am looking at a wide possible range of returns, somewhere between 10% - 50%. My estimates are actually somewhere in the 30% range, but I think a conservative target is 20%.

Anyway, this is like asking a fund manager at the start of the year to predict his year end returns. Who knows, right?

As always, I would like to warn people who are not familiar with crypto that there are a lot of risks involved in crypto investing. Even all the investments in my blackbox are full of risks too. However, I am totally prepared for a 100% loss in my entire portfolio. Crypto is risky and dangerous, tread lightly and at your own risk.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

GMGH's Crypto Toolkit v1.0

Dear all,

With cryptos becoming more and more popular (I'm seeing even more and more sheep joining the herd, marching towards the slaughterhouse shouting "MOON MOON"), I thought that perhaps it would be of interest to some people to know what tools I use and if maybe they could be of use to you.

Since this is v1.0 and there are plenty of old tools being discontinued, and new tools and websites popping up, this might not be the most cutting edge list of tools out there. I have to emphasize that although I use all these tools myself, I am not perfect and right, so you also need to do your own due diligence when using these things!!!

Okay, let's get started!

1. Password Manager

Are you surprised that this is the first thing on the list? You shouldn't be, especially if you have made a few wallets and accounts. Every wallet has a public and private key which you need to know, and some wallets have a mnemonic phrase.

A password manager is infinitely useful for safely storing all this information. I use Dashlane (my referral link for 6 months free premium) to store all my login credentials to all the different exchanges and websites that I visit. I also use it to store all my keys and backup phrases.

Coinhako. Coinbase. Bittrex. Poloniex. Wallet 1. Wallet 2. Wallet 3. Etc, etc. You get the picture.

You don't have to use Dashlane if you don't want to. I use it because after much research and reviewing, I have determined that it was the best one at that point of time, and since then I have had only great things to say about it. You can use LastPass, 1Password, or even locally stored programmes like Keepass, which stores and encrypts your password databases directly on your computer or thumbdrive.


You can use Excel, Word or even Notepad, but I personally strongly recommend against doing that.

The benefit of having a cloud-based password manager is that your data is by default backed-up and accessible without your specific hardware. This means that if your house burns down along with your computer, safe and thumbdrive, you can still log-in via the web client, or even better yet (and more secure), you can download the programme onto a new trusted device and get back access to all your accounts and passwords. All your coins, safe and sound.

There is a reason why this is the first and probably the most stressed about tool. YOU NEED IT. If there's only one thing to take away from this entire post is that a password manager is essential in this day and age where we have hundreds of online accounts, and each password SHOULD be different, but yet we are somehow supposed to remember each and every one of them? Just like how handphones have removed the need to remember phone numbers, password managers have removed the need to remember passwords.

2. Wallets

Now that you've got a safe place to store your wallet keys, let's talk about wallets. I think Jackson Palmer (creator of Dogecoin) nailed it with this episode, but I think the order is a bit mixed.



Personally, I use a variety of wallets.

Exchange wallets are a definite no-go for anything more than just trading in and out, followed by sweeping it clean. OG clients require an every growing amount of space, so I don't really like it.

*NOTE* If you have stored your private keys and recovery phrase into your password manager, technically your account is not as secure compared to private key only being found on the paper wallet or hardware wallet. Private keys getting leaked out are the BIGGEST risk and you should be extremely aware of what method you choose and why. If you have a hardware wallet, I'd suggest keeping a backup of the recovery seeds it in case you lose or break your hardware wallet so the funds can be recovered by key regeneration. Also never ever digitally key in or record your private key else unless you are burning that account and migrating away to a new one.

Personally, between 1, 1.5 and 2, I don't see much difference for the security of the user. However, it is definitely better to have a full node and not rely on other nodes. However, that is with regards to security of making transactions, NOT with the security of your funds. This is a very important distinction. Not being connected to a full node does not increase your risks of your funds being stolen. The certainty that you can broadcast transactions and verify blocks yourself comes at the cost of having the entire blockchain on your harddrive, and constantly growing.

While paper wallets are great, I find them a major, major inconvenience. A better way to use paper wallets is to pair it up with a watch-only wallet (also applicable to hardware wallets!). This means you don't have to dig out your paper wallet to receive coins, you can fire up your watch-only wallet to generate your public key to receive funds. However, you do have to dig out the paper wallet if you ever want to send coins out though. As such, it's best to think of paper wallets like a piggy bank. Easy to deposit into, but troublesome to get the money out.

BTC watch-only wallet: Sentinel
ETH watch-only wallet: Lunary

I don't think I can go wrong by saying that I think hardware wallets are superior to paper wallets, though there are specific cases when a paper wallet would actually be pretty good.

3. Fiat-Crypto Exchange

In Singapore, the most commonly used exchange is probably CoinHako. I have a referral link, but meh, I personally think Hako is shit and I have a conscience, so sorry, no free $5 through signing up from me. You may ask your friends who also have no fiduciary obligation to you to recommend you to Hako. The margins and spreads are fat AF (I've seen conversion rates with premiums as high as 9%) and their exchange fee is a freaking 0.9%, lol. Actually instead of lol, it is more WTF. As much as I think Hako is pretty shit, I have to admit that they do offer a simple, easy-to-fund, easy-to-use platform with pretty decent support. It's a beginner's platform where they pretty much hold your hands the whole way. I guess that's what you're paying for? Expect final SGD cost over USD spot rates to be as high as 10%.

The next most common platform is Coinbase, which has actually been around for a while and it is also one of the biggest retail consumer exchanges. I use Coinbase because I find their rates very similar to the market, although their fees are high and flat. On the bright side, fees can be mitigated because they do allow you to charge purchases on your credit card. In my experience, the all-in fees ends up to be about 4.5%, so it depends on how you want to shuffle around your credit card purchases and which card you want to charge it to. I think it's a pretty good way to chalk up spending on your credit cards, especially if the bonus interest applied on your bank balance would more than offset the fees of Coinbase. Expect final SGD cost over USD spot rates to be as high as 4.5%, though credit card promos and rebates can drop that significantly HINT HINT.

Personally, I use the DBS/POSB + Gemini combination. It sounds complicated, but it really isn't. You just use SGD to remit USD to your Gemini account. Tadah. Done. The only fees in this equation is the SGD-USD conversion rate which I've calculate to be about 0.65%, and the exchange fee at Gemini for 0.25%. For a no-bullshit experience with this combo, you can expect a very good and reliable exchange with final SGD cost over USD spot rates to be just under 1%.

If you are going to buy buying large amounts of crypto on a regular basis, it's a no-brainer which option you should choose. I currently use DBS/POSB + Gemini for my bulk purchases and Coinbase for my impulse purchases. Please do your own diligence for these exchanges. These are just what I use, and as you know, the biggest risk and easiest point of failure (other than yourself) would be the exchanges.

Other known fiat-crypto exchanges are Kraken (I have an account but I do not use it) and Quoine (I have NOT used before, but I know they have SGD pairs. There seems to be no market depth though).

4. Crypto-Crypto Exchanges

This is probably the big question everyone wants to know about, eh? Especially since buying just plain ol' BTC and ETH is so boring and passe.

The main exchange that I use for changing cryptos is Bittrex. I feel that Bittrex offers plenty of pairs and has a very simple and non-confusing user interface. Withdrawals and deposits have always been smooth for me and I've not experienced any issues. They handled the BTC/BCC forking fiasco perfectly as well, so in my view, they are the best exchange out there.

My next most used exchange is Changelly (yes, I have an affiliate link there) and I use it to change crypto when the amount is either small, or if speed is a factor. Changelly is similar to the more popular Shapeshift (no registration needed exchange), but Changelly has more pairs, lower fees, better rates and more uptime. No registration is the real shining plus point here, so for those people who came into crypto because of privacy concerns, this point ought to win you over. Just as a casual mention, Moneroj is a supported coin on Changelly.

As much as I like Shapeshift (and their innovations like Prism), I find Shapeshift to be rather unreliable with rates always worse than Changelly... if you can get them to quote you. It doesn't bring much user confidence that half the time I can't even get them to quote me a rate. However, still a pretty decent option. It's okay to have a Plan C even if you already have Plan A and Plan B.

5. Portfolio tracking Spreadsheet

This can be done in a variety of ways, but I imagine most people will settle for the plain ol' Excel or a Google Spreadsheet. Personally, I use the Google Spreadsheet option because I can access it on multiple devices.

While prices can be linked, I personally prefer my spreadsheet to be completely static with only inputs from me, and formulas that I create.

I have 2 main spreadsheets:
- SGD to crypto purchases (capital cost)
- Summary of all cryptos (market value)

Essentially, the main thing that I am concerned about is what is the value of my portfolio compared to the capital I invested. Having the first spreadsheet allow me to know when, where and what crypto I bought and at what rate (capital) and the next spreadsheet allows me to find out what is the market price of the cryptos that I am holding (market value).

This document isn't really top secret, because there is no need for you to put down your account information. Even if this document is leaked, your accounts are not compromised as long as you never wrote down your private keys. That said, if you understand how blockchain works, with your balances, people would be able to search for your account on the blockchain and would be able to link that public address to your own person. It is generally never a good idea to let people know your holdings.

6. Crypto prices

This is a split between coinmarketcap.com and coincap.io.

Coincap.io seems to have a more accurate price. The prices are also periodically refreshed on the page, so you don't need to constantly refresh the page to get the latest prices. It also has the 24 Hour VWAP, which is a nice little metric if you know how to use it.

Coinmarketcap has it's own benefits too, and the main one is definitely the price graph chart. I love seeing the small 7 day price performance chart that it provides, and it takes but a glance to figure out how the market has been doing lately. Coinmarketcap also allows you to go deeper in each crypto and see bigger chart, but most importantly, to see the exchanges that the crypto is listed on and the last price and volume at those exchanges.

7. Misc

This is just a collection of stuff which I think could be useful.

Bitcoin Checker (Android widget app for live prices)
Blockfolio (App to check prices, can insert portfolio)
Cryptowat.ch (Best web charts INCLUDING MARKET DEPTH for the major cryptos)
Ether Gas Station (Best way to find out current Gas prices for ETH transactions)
Bitcoinfees.21.co (Best way to find out about BTC Tx prices)

Conclusion

Honestly, cryptos are in their very early stages. Yes, STILL. There are no guide books and no one is going to hold your hand and walk you through the entire process. While the whole scene may be overhyped as of now (and I do think it is), I am sure that the market has much much much more to grow over the coming years.

If you're dipping your toes into cryptos, please stay safe and be secure.

There are no laws, no rules, no police and above all, nobody that cares about you in the crypto world.

Stay safe out there. It really is the wild wild west.

If you don't know what you're doing, I strongly strongly recommend for you to NOT get involved.