Thursday, July 20, 2017

Why do I not invest with robo-advisors

By the way, I was inspired by this post from Finance Smiths.

Wow, shocking title, isn't it?

From the same shill that peddled why robos are so awesome? What has changed? Why the sell out?

Let me assure you, it has nothing to do with robos themselves per se. I have been watching both Smartly and StashAway come to market (StashAway is doing a way better job at marketing and acquisition imo).

I think both of them look great and it is definitely a step-up from the shitty offers that traditional financial institutes offer.

And I still stand by my entire article that robos are excellent.

But.

But what?

But I think the timing is off. The product is great, but the timing is off.

I know that DCA is supposed to remove time from the equation, but for me diversifying and deploying capital into the markets even through a smart way like robos is still not good enough for me.

Perhaps it is because I am in the camp that every single freaking thing is bloody expensive, or because I walk around with a tinfoil hat warning about financial armegeddon, but I really don't think that anything in particular is a good buy.

And this isn't me just being contrarian for fun. This is me looking at the context of where asset prices are and what are the risks and rewards in all these trades.

Unfortunately, I don't really see much upside to almost anything.

Pfft, even with my pretty decent track record (my SGX portfolio's money weighted return has outperfomed the STI by almost 7.85% in absolute returns, and yes I included the dividends), I am very suspect about the future returns of a lot of stocks in Singapore.

So pray tell, what does GMGH invest in then?

Honestly?

Plenty of cash. This is my war chest to help relieve desperate sellers of firesale assets, hopefully sometime in the near future. Over-exposed to risk assets? We might trade in the future!

Gold, silver and cryptos. These are my low-beta investments, invested on the basis that they are going to be worth a lot, a lot more in the future. Sure, they have no cash flow. But hey, I heard people can flip Taylor Swift tickets for some good profits. Next greater fool theory still, isn't it? My time horizon just happens to be longer and the asset that I'm hoarding is different.

Sometimes I wonder why I've wandered so far out to the fringes. But once you've seen the Matrix, you know just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

$7,600,000 Crypto Scammed

I was out tonight when I read that the CoinDash ICO got hijacked and scammers managed to switch the real address with their fake address.

The result? $7.6m scammed over 3 hours.

Well done. Very well done, I must say.

Instead of launching scam coins and sham ICOs, I think a lot of scammers and hackers have realized that it is just more profitable to outright scam people.

Why come up with a huge elaborate ICO scam idea when simple scams work out so well?

Creating fake twitter accounts and slack accounts with admin-sounding names are all free too.

I think the loophole of slackbots and slack DMs were also quite effective.

After watching the evolution of scamming go, I really have to say that this takes the cake.

What these hackers did was freaking ingenius.

1) They managed to access the website
2) They posted their own address instead of the real address during the actual start of the ICO

Boom.

$7.6m worth of Ethereum in the bank.

Honestly, it was a very smart scam because they took full advantage of the FOMO and rush of a popular ICO and just did a simple switch.

Unlike other silly ICOs that got compromised whose hackers tried to "launch early" and basically gave away that they were compromised, this tactic managed to trick a lot a lot of people.

They did not make the mistake of showing their hand too quickly.

I believe that this really sets the precedence for best practices for future ICOs. Part of the actual ICO address should be released beforehand. The address should be resolved to an ENS name which is also publicly known to have been legitimately acquired beforehand. Also, the address should be published slightly before the start of the ICO, so people can quickly look through the code and also verify the address. Finally, the smart contract should just be able to bounce all incoming early transactions.

To those points, I must say that TenX that launched last month did a perfect play that effectively would have rendered a similar hacking situation like this to not even be able to go through.

For hopeful ICO participants, I have some tips to share. Why trust me? I've successfully taken part in more than 1 ICO. Have you?

Tip #1: Only send from wallets which you own the private key. Don't have one? Generate one at myetherwallet. It's free and it takes like 2 minutes.

Tip #2: Double and triple check the ICO details and address from a few of their official channels: website, twitter, facebook, reddit, youtube, slack.

Tip #3: Etherscan an address before you send to it

Tip #4: Don't set gas limit too low, transaction will fail

Tip #5: Don't set gas price too low, transaction might take a very, very low time to go through

With these 5 tips, I hope that you guys can stay safe and will be able to participate in future ICOs safely and successfully.

Remember, Ethereum itself launched as an ICO for $0.30 an ETH. Even after ridiculous declines in recent weeks, it is still worth $175 (at time of writing). 500+ times returns investment? You tell me a stock that can give you that over the past few years and I will clap for you. In case my point flew over your head, "all ICOs are scams" is not a true statement.

Stay safe, remember, cryptos is the wild wild west. Anything goes. Like making away with $7.6m.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Weekend Crypto Bloodbath Aftermath


Bitcoin went down 20% just this weekend.
Ethereum went down 35% during the same time too.

I hope you managed to bunker down and dodge the massive shit storm in the crypto markets that happened over the weekend.


Well, you really can't say that I didn't warn you, right?

I mean, I even had a full length blog post with Hyuna bouncing around singing "Bubble Pop". If that wasn't enough, frankly, nothing would be.

 aiguuu, y u no listen to oppa GMGH~?

Bitcoin went down a whooping 40% from its high.
Ethereum, the new kid on the block, went down a massive 70%.

The entire crypto market is now at a more sane 60b instead of the 110b that it was at. This pretty much means that almost everything has had it's value cut by about half. (Didn't I say "60b" just a few days ago? Damn son, that's some good levels I've got targetted.)

I hope anyone heavily gambling on cryptos on margin was wearing pampers when they saw it crashing over the weekend. Cos they would've definitely shit their pants. Leverage with cryptos is a very, very bad idea. (pro tip #4)

That said, my crypto portfolio has finally turned negative. *booooooooooooo*

However, you know what they say about blood on the streets right?

Buy when there's blood on the streets, even when some of that blood is yours.


Personally, I don't invest in cryptocurrencies to flip them for a quick buck. I know many people do, and that has been a very, very profitable strategy.... until the last month.

I'm invested because I believe that cryptos are going to be a large part of the future, whether or not you care about the economics of it. Just the technological possibilities it opens and businesses that it disrupts is good reason enough. Add the fact that they can and are be used as an alternative currency, untainted by profit-hungry banks (can't blame them, but can't say that I like them either), shitty governments and stupid central banks and you've got 2 birds with 1 stone.

I honestly wouldn't be able to tell you if cryptos will be bottoming in the next month or so and if we take off from there (which we very well could, once we shake out all those weak hands), but alas what I hope for has nothing to do with the outcome in reality.

If cryptos drop another 50% from here, you can be rest assured that I will be buying even MORE.

For those who have reached maximum allocation, all I can say is to make sure that you aren't holding some shitcoin. As long as you've got something somewhat decent, once the killings are done and the recovery starts to happen, your coins would be the ones taking part in the recovery, not staying at zero valuation.

If you guys are here, you should know that huge market sell offs are a time to be buying, not selling. As a gentle reminder, the ONLY way to make money is to buy low and sell high.

Stay safe guys, it's crazy out there.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Things you REALLY need to know before buying Cryptocurrencies

This post is inspired by the IG-sponsored post on D&S.

1. You own the underlying asset when you trade

When you buy cryptocurrencies, once the coins are in a wallet which you have the private key to, you are the owner of the coins.

2. There is no counterparty

Unless you are leaving your coins within a centralized exchange to make trades, all the coins that you can access with your private key are yours and you don't have any counterparty. You directly interact with the blockchain to send your coins, or receive more coins directly to your ownership

3. There will be volatility

In a market with plenty of speculators, the volatility is high. Even for the "large cap" coins, it isn't strange to see swings of 20% within a day.

4. Don't use leverage

Related to #3, with the huge amount of volatility in the cryptomarkets, you don't need to use leverage. With a leverage ratio of 5:1, a 20% move is all it would take to wipe out your account.

5. Know your fees

There are a bevy of fees everywhere in crypto. There is the exchange rate "fee" for pricing the coins in a specific currency, there are exchange fees for using the exchange. There are payment processing fees for different types of payments. There are withdrawal / transfer fees for moving the coins out of exchanges. There are also transfer fees when moving coins to different wallets. There are deposit fees when sending coins to be traded on exchanges. There are exchange fees on those coin exchanges as well.

The good news is that there are plenty of people offering a wide range of fees. It is possible to buy coins and have them in your private wallet for less than 1%, after taking into consideration all the fees involved. It varies widely, so be careful.

6. Ownership has possible benefits (and downsides)

Some coins generate interest for owners. Most coins just sit around and do nothing. A rare minority of coins have a holding cost. Understand the benefits of having ownership of coins and what you would have to do to make them work for you.

7. After the fiat conversion portion, there are almost no regulations

From the point that you have coins transferred out of an exchange, you are on your own. There are no regulations. The decentralized nature of most blockchains make them extremely hard to be regulated.

8. You are trading a currency that is immune to central bank's policy

No country or central bank control's cryptocurrencies (unless they make one themselves), so they cannot influence how it works. This gives transparency and consistency to cryptos.

9. Risk management is key

With such crazy volatility and new technology, there are bound to be failures. Don't risk more than you can afford.

My 2 cents:

If you are buying because of the hype, the fear of missing out and stupid ads and articles saying "If you had bought $5 of Bitcoin 5 years ago you would have $5 million", you should definitely NOT be buying any cryptocurrencies.

However, if you:
1) Understand the technology and how it works
2) Understand why a particular crypto can be successful
3) Have money that you are prepared to lose

then, by all means, welcome to the wild wild west.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Crypto Bubble Pop


Presenting to you... Bubble Pop! (pro tip: pause at 0.27)


Wow, I'm impressed. It took the market this long to realize that it was in a bubble. But hey, it might obvious to you and to me, but look at all the people still in the S&P500, amirite? Hur hur.

As history as my evidence, on 13th June 2017, I did call out the ridiculous bubbly nature of the crypto market.

Anyway, I'm fairly certain that this is indeed mania. Will ETH be $380 still next week? I seriously don't know about that.... Drop back to $10 and let me get in, will ya?
Just a heads up, with such a massive pump, it is probably prudent to be on your toes and watch out for the possible massive dump that comes after. - GMGH, 17 Jun 2017

Hey, $114b compared to the $116b when it peaked is pretty darn good imo, less than 2% off!

Will crypto prices go down in the future? Actually, I really hope that it does. To me, it is a bubble for the current participants and the froth is still in the midst of settling. I wouldn't be surprised if cryptos continue to lose value over the next few months.  - GMGH, 6 Jul 2017

Another way that I could tell that this was absolutely coming was the fact that some shitcoin called Digibyte made it into the crypto Top 12 in June. Bytecoin was more fantastic and managed to get into top 6 in May. There were PLENTY more than have surged from dead projects and they are all going back to fair value now - zero. When people are just buying whatever for no good reasons, I think it's a pretty good sign of bad things to come.

Now that the market is down to under $80b (30% drawdown), I think it's safe to say that I am validated in my call that it was ridiculous just a few weeks ago, that and also for everyone to stop kidding themselves to HODL and that coin and that coin is going TO THE MOON. A lot of coins are NOT going to participate in the next bull market.


I hate the word HODL. What does it mean? It means to hold. Why do people type hodl? Because a lot of people that "invest" in crypto are unable to spell, that's why.

Now quite a lot of these people (not all, but a lot) who spell hold as hodl have not only been pumping shitcoins like Bytecoin, but they have been pumping up the entire market. Almost 99% of these people do not understand just exactly what they are investing in, other than that if you hodl, it goes to the moon and then you get to drive a lambo to work to resign in a week. Expected returns are 100% within a year. Well then lads, these prices ain't gonna cut it.

Blockchain technology is amazing, but I cannot stress it enough that the failure rate is astronomical.

Where we go from here, nobody knows.

We could go back to down 60b or even 45b. We could bounce around 40-60b for the next 2 years. We could go back up to 110b. Anything could happen. Personally, I'm positioned for a long, drawn out bear market to shake out all the weak hands who have just realized that the majority of their holdings are in some shitcoin peddled to them by a 16 year old kid with a crypto youtube channel who probably got paid peanuts to pump and hype coins.

All I can say is that if you invest in cryptocurrencies, be prepared for some crazy times. This is the wild wild west after all.

Cryptocurrencies are the wild wild west. You think buying shares in small caps are risky and volatile? Pfft, you've obviously haven't heard of cryptocurrency investors and speculators. - GMGH, 6 Jun 2017

Stay safe, stay level-headed and don't take risks that you don't understand.

Monday, July 10, 2017

PayNow is Released

PSA for all.

PayNow has been released as of today. ST piece is over here.

DBS landing page for it is over here. Took me 3 minutes to register my phone number. The other banks have their own pages too, but I like to use DBS to receive money because most of my friends have a DBS account and are familiar with it.

What is it? A system to link a bank account to a phone number or NRIC
Why have it? To simplify the process of sending money around
Why use it? You can designate internally which bank account to receive money while the sender still sends to the same details

Downsides: Traditionally kept private information of phone numbers and NRIC will circulate more widely.
Upsides: Maybe more spam, more phishing attacks. Possibly people will send you free money.

What you need to know: You don't HAVE to use this service if you don't want to, like if you feel that it is going to be a problem for your personal privacy. You can just not opt-in and instead just give people your long string of numbers for them to send you money. I mean, people still write and send letters these days, right?

Personally, I have registered for this service and I have linked it to my mobile phone number.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Why NOT Government-backed Cryptos


While many people are just waiting for the day that a government will back a crypto (I'm talking tokenization of a sovereign currency, not legalization as a form of payment), legitimize it and make it mainstream before they jump in on the crypto hype, I am personally not too thrilled with that idea (not thrilled with the idea of a government-backed crypto, but still thrilled about cryptos gaining mainstream traction).

In fact, this can already be EASILY be done, similar to the fashion that Tether is able to issue USDT which are supposed to be valued 1:1 with actual USD.

This is a short video clip, about 5 minutes.

At about 1.58, shit starts getting real. We can already see it happening, where governments are both openly and secretly racing to develop and push out their own STRAINS of digital currency (Project Ubin? Coming to a mainland near YOU soon!). And rest assured, your balance and activities will be watched and monitored.

Some people thought it was just crazy when China announced it is planning to monitor its citizens and grade them based on certain things. Some actions get you more points. Some actions deducts points. Points determine your standing in society. Imagine if the government has one extra way to watch you, and a massive crippling way of punishing you too. It's sounds crazy, doesn't it?

But just watch Season 3, Episode 1 of Black Mirror to see how ridiculous society can get in such a system, yet how such a system can be almost immediately adopted today if it was rolled out.

But I digress.

Personally, I do NOT see Bitcoin becoming the cryptocurrency of the future. Yes, it definitely is the cryptocurrency of today, mainly because of 2 reasons:

1) It is the main gateway from fiat into cryptocurrency
2) It is the base pair to trade into any other coin

However, will it be the cryptocurrency of the future? There are problems with its transaction cost, speed, governance, centralization and exclusivity (of mining, and hence securing the network).

Almost every new cryptocurrency out there have made changes to tweak and refine certain aspects to improve it - in their opinion. Each coin out there is working to find out the "secret sauce" to make the next global cryptocurrency and I would say that the study of this could be an entire field of its own.

Airdrop? Pre-mine? Fair start? Inflationary? Fixed supply? CPU / GPU alogrithm? Blend of hashing algorithms? Or should POW even be used? POS? Hybird POW-POS? POI? Blend of Proofs? Mining rewards? Nodes? Masternodes? Minimum stake? Staking deposits? Governance system? Foundation funds? Voting rights?

There are plenty more questions that can be debated about what would constitute the "perfect" cryptocurrency, but I think it would be a mix of perceived fairness (I feel that the current avenues of accumulation is more important that the mode of initial distribution), a store of value and real-world utility for the average user.

Maybe a globally pre-announced ICO that lasts a FEW years, that accepts all fiat, governed by a DAO? Hybrid POW-POS with multiple algorithms and see-saw rewards? I'm just thinking outloud here. Actually, it sounds a little bit like Decred. 

One of the things which Andreas does say, which I believe in, is that the initial early adopters who took massive risks in the beginning on a completely untested technology with barely any other users, should be rewarded and become rich.

Let's be honest here. If the knowledge that the government can, and will, and have been, printing ridiculous amounts of money hadn't scared you enough to move into hard assets like precious metals, this 5 minute Youtube video and my blog post certainly isn't enough to get you to move into cryptocurrencies.

Maybe it's disbelief. Maybe it really is ignorance. But the outcome is still inaction regardless of the reasons.

I am unfazed that the majority of the people are NOT in cryptocurrencies at this point of time. Just like I am unfazed that almost no one has any precious metals, yet it is my largest position. The best trades are the trades that everyone else don't even know about. You know me, I hate crowded trades. (Probably the reason why I don't really fancy BTC even as a crypto-enthusiast... but that doesn't mean I don't have any)

No doubt a government-backed cryptocurrency will have uses and be widely adopted, but that doesn't mean that unbacked ones are not worth looking into. The fact that they are not backed makes it even more attractive in my opinion.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

GMGH Crypto Thoughts Jul 17


I'm sure you guys are probably not aware, but I've been really busy lately in the crypto world.

It is tough for me to write a blog post about cryptos on this at length, especially since I am sure that 90% of readers will have no technical familiarity with the terms, but I'll try to keep that in mind while I write.

I am completely confident that blockchain technology is here to stay. The current form that it may be in now might be not be much, but how many technology launches perfectly in it's first iteration?

The first car was built in 1885, yet only in 1927 when Ford released the model T that cars really took off. Before that, it was just a niche thing that strange people dabbled in.

Bitcoin was developed almost a decade ago, and I must admit while blockchain technology is revolutionary, the application on it with bitcoin is very rudimentary. Since then and now, blockchain technology has come a long, long way. That's one of the reasons Bitcoin has so much internal fighting - they are arguing over the upgrades to apply to it. Ethereum is another very good example of how much blockchain tech has advanced. People are now using it as a platform to skip VCs and get funding directly from the public without any middlemen in between.

This is rocking the crypto world because something that used to be a totally privileged right for the connected and wealthy to get in on some great investments at infancy has now been unleashed to the public to invest in as well. Many companies of our time were not launched without VC funding along the way. Although I don't think that it is going to change overnight, the ramifications are obvious.

Start-ups want to raise money. VC's will only provide money with terms and agreements and basically hold them by the balls. Crowdfunding though blockchain technology not only serves as a CHEAPER way to get funding, you also have almost no strings attached to these funds. Also, it serves as pretty sweet marketing to hype up your company.

Why would anyone NOT go the ICO route and choose the VC route instead? Perhaps strategic partnership, but at the expense of founder's flexibility and decision-making? I don't see many people opting to go the VC route if they could ICO. The reason why this isn't more popular (but it is getting more so) is that because people are just unaware that this can even be done, or are not familiar with the idea enough to do it.

That said, there IS a problem with the current ICO scene. I think this has to be made very clear - just because you can put it on a blockchain, doesn't mean you should.

There are now endless streams of ridiculous things being thrown into the blockchain because they want to ride the hype. I would advice extreme caution when approaching any business that has no reason to be on the blockchain, but are just trying to do so anyway.

Blockchain tech is immensely powerful and it is going to be massively disruptive, but it is NOT going to be applicable for everything.

That said, people and businesses are going to try and try anyway. And many are going to fail. But that's just life and business. Looking at coinmarketcap, there are 956 cryptos listed. I can assure you, 90% of them are not going to be worth anything in 5 years time. The failure rate of these are high.

Let me repeat - the failure rate is ASTRONOMICAL.

You don't have to take my word for it, you can look it up yourself. Compared to 6 Jul 2014, exactly 3 years ago, only 19 of the top 100 coins are still in the top 100 today.

And of these top 100 today, I'm sure 3 years down the road not even 50 would still be in the list.

It is important to note that we are still in the very, very early stages of cryptocurrency. I wouldn't really call it outright gambling because I am certain that quite a few of these coins are going to survive and thrive. However, plenty of them will not.

Just like how many start-ups and small business ideas fail, that isn't a reason to avoid them completely. It is more about refining your approach and diversifying a bit to avoid total and complete failure.

Some people out there might be advocating putting $10 in each of the top 100 coins and your $1000 investment will be worth fortunes in the future. I really don't think so.

I think you'd be much better off by instead using really broad cuts to filter out most of the junk and trash and instead invest $100 in the best 10 ideas of the top 100 coins.

Honestly, this isn't too different for approaching stocks to buy. Use simple filters to weed out the trash, and more and more comprehensive ones until you are left with but a handful of the most promising ideas.

The crypto market is a wild and volatile one, but I can assure you that it will be extremely, extremely profitable in the medium term. With close to nobody even aware of how to get in, this is akin of already sitting in the Titanic's lifeboat with your lifevest strapped on before the iceberg hits.

We all know that in stocks, we are risking 100% of our capital when we go in. Sure, it might not be LIKELY, but it is still POSSIBLE. I would put it onto you that this is similar for cryptos. Sure, cryptos can COULD go to zero, it is not impossible, but I would place that probability as extremely UNLIKELY.

While in stocks, making 10% a year is considered a job well done, in cryptos, returns could be in the 1000s of %. I think that the risk and reward is VERY assymetrical. There is a ton more volatility that you would have to sit through and stomach, but there is also massive upsides to be reaped.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still a believer of stocks and traditional assets... for now. At least the next 10 years. But I can guarantee you that in my lifetime we will see stocks traded with blockchain technology. Trustless, no custodian, full ownership, near-instant, almost fee-less. Stocks and other securities are one of the easiest pickings for blockchain technology and I am sure that it is going to happen eventually. So will be the tokenization of sovereign currencies, but that's a different story for a different day. (For those who know crypto, imagine how easy it would be to auto implement GST into the code such that each transaction automatically sends 7% to IRAS?)

I am very happy that I have found something else to spend my time and efforts on. To be honest, the stock market these past few quarters have been mind-numbingly boring. Cryptos are pushing my brain to the limit these days. It is uncomfortably exciting. The asymmetrical risk/rewards and the 24/7 nature of cryptos has won me over as at least something to occupy my mind until the markets all crash.

It's a question of when, not if. I am patiently waiting for that to happen.

Until then, I am using all the self-control that I have to stop myself from allocating more and more into cryptos. I still need money to enter the bloodbath in stocks and real estate, don't I?

While Ethereum has dropped 40% from it's highs ($258 USD at time of writing), my portfolio is up 18%. I think I've been doing rather well for myself. Will crypto prices go down in the future? Actually, I really hope that it does. To me, it is a bubble for the current participants and the froth is still in the midst of settling. I wouldn't be surprised if cryptos continue to lose value over the next few months. That said, I'm still going to keep investing every month and I'll be swooping in on opportunities as I see them.

Anyway, this is just a vomit post of the things that are on my mind that isn't too in-depth and technical. I hope that if any of you guys get into crypto that you guys stay safe, stay level-headed and don't be taking risks that you don't understand. If you want to learn cryptos, throw in $10 and read and play around for a month. Don't throw in $10,000 and try to buy into any ol' ICO that popped up as an ad while you were surfing around. You might as well just give me $10,000 then.

Stay safe! It's a crazy world out there!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

[SGX Portfolio] Sayonara Croesus Retail Trust and thanks for 75.5% Gains


Wa, how come I totally missed this big news? I only realized when I saw my portfolio value go boomz and read the post by AK.

Quick summary:
- Offer for CRT at $1.17
- CRT holders will also get approx $0.0406 dividends
- Offer price is 23% over NAV
- Yield drops to 6.8%

If you want the info, you can read yourself. The long one, the short one and the one with pictures. You know me, my brain small small so I read the picture picture one.

So, what do I think? I guess I'm in favour of selling. Blackrock can happily pay me a premium to take this hot potato off my hand (Of course, since SCB is my custodian, I'm not gonna be doing anything about it). I'm slightly on the fence since it has been a pretty good investment so far, but then again I think that letting go in these circumstances are okay as well. I am extremely pessimistic about Japan. I love travelling in Japan, I like anime and Japanese food (maybe Japanese girls too HEHE), but I think that they are on a very clear and adamant path on financial suicide.

Don't get me wrong. I love Croesus. It was the very first stock that I bought, all the way back in Mar 2014. Almost 3.25 years ago! I bought it at $0.875, I held on through the bumpy times. While I was very tempted to sell off Croesus in May 2015 after prices had recovered a bit, I decided not to and I was "rewarded" at the end of the year with Croesus rights and subsequently applied for them in excess and managed to pushed down my average investment price to just $0.787 per share.

Throughout my time as an investor in REITs, I always felt that generally most people were VERY adverse to overseas REITs. Hence, solid (in my opinion) names like Croesus, First, Lippo Malls, Saizen and Religare were all shunned as "risky" investments until recently. I felt otherwise, therefore I had invested in these companies at those prices. (Full after-action review of my Saizen play with 40.4% profits)

Offer Price = $1.17
Dividends + Final Divideds: $0.1789 + $0.0406 = $0.2195
Average Purchase Price: $0.787

Captital gains = 48.7%
Income gains = 27.9%
Total returns = 75.5%

Based on 3 years and 3 months as of now, I'm looking at annualized returns of 18.9%. That's not too shabby in my opinion. If we take by year end 2017 as the figure, then it's 16.2%, which is still pretty dope.

I'm probably not gonna do anything with Croesus and just wait for the offer to go through (and I do think that it will go through). However, if I am able to sell above $1.22 for whatever strange reason the market decides to go there, I'd sell off my stake on the exchange.

It's been a fun ride Croesus. I guess it's back to the drawing board to look for opportunities again.

Mind you, there aren't many. I've been doing a lot more selling than buying these days. The ones that I've recently gone into are Singpost and SPH. Fugly might be an understatement to describe these counters, especially SPH.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Creating Unemployment 101: Seattle Minimum Wage Case Study


While most people think that ZeroHedge is trash news, they did report on this rather factually.

The University of Washington (located in Seattle, FYI) has been doing a study on minimum wage. They published their findings for Seattle this month, which you can read in detail if you are so inclined, or don't believe me.

Facts:
- Minimum wage per hour was increased from $9.47 to $11 in 2015
- Minimum wage per hour was increased from $11 to $13 in 2016

After the $13 wage:
- Reduction of low wage jobs by 6.8%
- Those who retained their jobs were working less hours (9.4% less)
- Low-wage workers on average saw a reduction of $125 per month (6.6% drop in income)

So summary:
Less people working for less hours and taking home less pay.

Positive intended outcome? Well, I will let you be the judge of that.

You may want to bookmark this page to re-visit at the next GE (and the next, and the next...) when certain *cough cough not saying who cough cough* politicians keep coming back to this notion of minimum wage.


Legislating a minimum wage is the same as legislating unemployment, period.

The minimum wage OBVIOUSLY does not create any prosperity. If it did, why stop at $13 an hour? Why not $20? $50? $100? $1000? Now that question is gonna keep minimum wage advocates up all night.

This is the sad reality that you don't want to hear: Some people's work are not worth $13 an hour. Heck some people's work aren't even worth $5 an hour. In fact, some people can be rather worthless.

Yeah I said it. It had to be said.

"Orh hor, GMGH so facked up, so insensitive." Well, is microwaving burgers and shaking salt on fries worth 13 USD an hour? You tell me.

I don't merely oppose the minimum wage. I detest it. It is forced unemployment and encourages discrimination.

I'm not stupid. I know the arguments for minimum wage. But that doesn't mean that they are good arguments. Every time I talk to minimum wage advocates, I feel like I'm stuck replaying the beginner's tutorial of some shitty economics game.

The idea that business owners should share profits with employees is complete nonsense to me (if businesses want to, good on them, it could be a strategic HR move, but it is by NO means an obligation). An investor gets profit sharing AS WELL as loss sharing. An employee is not an investor, but a stakeholder. Employees still get paid even if the company doesn't sell anything.

You can't be an employee and expect zero downside but all the upside. By opting for salary, you trade away profit and loss sharing in exchange for a stable salary. Not happy with it? Become an entrepreneur / investor and get both the upsides and the downsides then. You can't have everything without giving up anything.

However, from a governmental and social point of view, I understand why it is important not to have unemployment for citizens, especially given the context of a competitive and fluid global workforce. This is especially so if you have citizens that are low-skilled, have high expectations, or the dangerous combination of both. In SG, I think the the government has made very smart decisions by choosing to tackle this through quotas, levies, education subsidies and workfare. Workfare for the low income is the next best thing since kaya toast. It's basically almost like minimum wage, but paid by the government (the people who want it) and not by businesses (who would otherwise find alternatives than hiring these people). I find this a fantastic solution that solves both unemployment benefits and the minimum wage in a very elegant way.

On the topic of competition, just a heads up and friendly reminder that your competitor might not only be from overseas - undercutting your salary and working twice as hard - they might also be faceless and have the ability to work 24/7 at the cost of $0.2072 per kWh.


In case you don't believe me, please visit your local McD's or KFC when you have the time. I wonder how much this terminal costs an hour... How often do you reckon it takes MC or urgent leave on Mondays and Fridays? Last I heard, they don't get called up for reservist or give birth to babies either.

If you can't beat that "damn foreigner", what do you think are your odds against a machine?


Personally, I believe the solution to unemployment is continuous improvement. The Red Queen hypothesis. But you can do whatever you want to do, I'm not forcing my beliefs on you. Just sharing my thoughts.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

[SGX Portfolio] Goodbye CDLHT!

B's recent post on CDL reminded me that I have CDL H Trust in my portfolio!

I bought CDLHT back in Dec 2015, when it was trading at $1.28 against it's book value of $1.593. It was at a discount to NAV of a whooping 20%, along with spitting out dividends of 7.2%.

If memory serves me well, back then the sentiment for all hospitality REITs were that they were crap. Nobody wanted them and suddenly everyone knew what is RevPAR and how it is dropping and it means doom and gloom for the tourism industry. I happily picked up said crap and just chugged along, collecting dividends on the way.

Last night CDLHT was trading at $1.68, but after the news which B wrote about, price dropped and I decided to sell at $1.63. That's still a nice solid $0.35 capital gains there, which translates to 27.3% capital gains.

On top of that, CDLHT has also paid out $0.1537 worth of dividends to me over the time that I held that, which means the dividends collected adds another 12%.

Adding those two together, I'm looking at gains of about ~38% after taking into account the transaction fees. That works out to be ~25% annualized.

Valuations of CDLHT are no longer attractive to me. Book value has actually dropped since 2015 and the stock is now trading at a slight premium. Yields have also been compressed to just 6% which is on the low end for REITs.

CDLHT is definitely not insanely overpriced like some REITs *cough cough 60% premium over NAV, 4.5% yield cough cough*, but I don't particularly have a lot of faith and conviction in the management to maintain and grow such a premium. To be fair, half of the equation is dependent entirely on investor's sentiment (which is out of their control), while the other half is the management's value creation (which they can only do so much).

That being said though, I don't like the valuations on a lot of REITs. Not just CDLHT in particular. And because I don't like those valuations, I am not a buyer, I am a seller. That's why I am more than happy to hand over the bags to the next person who believes in the CDLHT story.

I think this is a clear cut case of a easy value investing opportunity that played out as expected - spotting an undervalued opportunity, waiting for it to reach intrinsic values and then to sell it.

However, value investing is not really that simple and I think this post by Chin Wai really covers the thought process behind value investing extremely well. I myself am holding onto stocks which I have thought were great value buys at the point of purchase, but are now instead my biggest losses.

Question: If it is at intrinsic values, why don't I just hold it instead? It's like getting a good deal on something you'd already want, right?

Answer: I think intrinsic values will go down as the rest of the markets go down as well.

When valuations become more palatable, I'll go back in again. And don't worry, they will become more palatable. You don't have to jump into every boat. You just need to jump in a few and make sure those are the good ones. Don't let the fear of missing out blind you to the risks that you might be taking (either through sheer ignorance or gigantic risk-taking balls).

Anyway, I've far too little time and energy to try and squeeze blood from a rock. Opportunities are quickly disappearing and I'm just gonna sit on the sidelines and wait for an opportunity to present itself, rather than to force myself to imagine one and take unnecessary risks.

On a related note, the crypto markets are way more fun, interesting and rewarding. With the entire crypto market down 20%+ from it's peak, I'm actually up 6%. I guess I'm doing pretty well for myself over in the wild wild west.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Crypto Bloodbath


ETH is down like 20% in the last 24 hours. Since it hit $420 about 2 weeks ago, it's been just sliding all the way, now down about 45%.

Given that most crypto currency traders are boys between the age of 16-22, I think it's about a good time for the bigger boys to come in and graciously help them unload at losses.

My account with Gemini is up, but I think a bank transfer is going to take 2 days to credit, so probably by Thursday morning. I'm not sure how quickly I can receive my funds and take some shots at this situation, hopefully this FUD in the market lasts for a while.

Normally, I would be expecting a slow death to this entire space that will last about 1-2 months, but given the ridiculous speeds in crypto, I wouldn't be surprised if the window of opportunity to pick up some good stuff is NOW.

But to be fair, this space is serverly overheated. I actually hope we can properly shake out all the weaklings who are investing purely based on technical analysis. Personally, I think TA is almost worthless in the crypto space. I'm looking to pick up stuff which I think are both good technology and good value.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Kraken Exchange: Part 1


Kraken is a well known exchange in the crypto world. On top of being one of the few big well-known names that does coin-crypto conversions, they have a lot more crosses (cryptos) that can be traded.

I thought that a Kraken account would take some time to verify. I read that it could take up to 4 weeks. It took just 10 days for me to reach Tier 3 verification!

I wasn't too shocked that my account was verified for basic Tier 1 (crypto-only) trading after 3 days. However, I was pretty surprised to it took only 2 more days to get Tier 2 verification ($2000 deposit limit) and even more surprised that 4 days after that I got Tier 3 verification ($25,000 deposit limit). Good job Kraken.

The MAIN plus point about Kraken is the large amount of crosses available to trade. Let me give some comparisons:

Coinhako (2): BTC/SGD, ETH/SGD
Coinbase (3): BTC/SGD, ETH/SGD, LTC/SGD
Gemini (3): BTC/USD, ETH/USD, BTC/ETH

As for Kraken? HUGE. It has the obvious BTC/USD, ETH/USD and BTC/ETH crosses that Gemini has, but on top of that it has support for a lot of currencies in either BTC or USD as the base currency. This gives you direct access to some of the better, but less accessible currencies, such as:

DASH, ETC, LTC, XMR, ZEC and even DOGE. Yes, even DOGE.

This means that quite often you would be able to trade USD directly for these less popular cryptocurrencies, instead of going through an additional step and changing it into BTC.

While I am a long term believer of cryptos, I still prefer pricing in fiat, such as USD or SGD as compared to BTC. This is because I find that BTC is itself too volatile and just looking at BTC/whatever is not a good gauge for someone to decide if they should change more fiat into cryptos to take advantage of price weakness.

Kraken does have one particular issue which I am not sure how to get around. To fund them in USD, you need to send USD to their bank in Japan. I'm not sure how to do this properly and if remit will work, since the country is NOT USA, but Japan instead. I have a feeling that because of this, I will not be able to send over USD without incurring the normal extra charges for cable fees and such.

I will be trying to think of how I will tackle this, but this limitation seems like it will make Kraken not as useful as I thought it would be, especially if the only way I can fund it is through BTC from another exchange like Gemini. Or through USD, if I can figure out the exact charges that I will be having to pay. Kraken does looks like it would have no problems trading out the major cryptos into USD and then cashing out the amount in USD back to me.

While I will be thinking of where exactly Kraken will fit into my strategy, I am still happy to have it. It is always good to have extra options, especially in terms of cashing out. Most likely I will be using Gemini + Bittrex if there are no screw-ups by Gemini to receive money.

I'll be posting a part 2 when I eventually use Kraken for something, haha.

Does anyone have experience funding Kraken? How did you do it? I'm quite curious about the cash and work flow of other users when buying, trading and selling cryptocurrencies. Let me know in the comments below, or send me an email if you prefer!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Gemini Exchange: Part 1


As recommended by a reader, I went to read up about the Gemini Exchange.

It looked pretty good, and it's actually has very decent volumes. The three nicest things about them is that:

1) They explicitly accept Singapore customers (source)
2) They have zero transfer-in fees (source)
3) They have no deposit or withdrawal limits (source)

So far, so good, yeah?

I registered an account with them, was greeted with a nice clean UX and proceeded to do the verification process. 

I was expecting the verification process to take a few weeks, but I was pleasantly surprised that within a week I was notified that my account has been verified and that I'm good to go.

In preparation for possibly using US exchanges to buy digital currencies, I have opened by a DBS eMCA account (which took less than 6 hours to be approved!). However, I have since realized that I could also send USD directly from SGD just as easily and cheaply without an eMCA account. I suppose the main difference is that I get an extra step in between the transfer, which means that I don't have to immediately convert at spot rate, but I could "time" my SGD-USD conversions and possibly save a bit extra. A bit.

Anyway, today I remitted a small sum of money to test out the DBS remit function and also to test and see if the US exchange will be able to receive the USD without any problems.

Step 1: In Gemini, create an inward Wire Transfer transaction
Step 2: In DBS, remit money to the details shown in Gemini, not forgetting to put the memo
Step 3: Wait

The DBS rate compared to the mid market spot rate on XE was 0.67%. If everything is what I think it is, there should be no fees anywhere else, in which case 0.67% is very acceptable.

DBS claims same-day transfer if the transfer is made before 5.30pm (when I called up their hotline), while Gemini says same day or next day crediting if funds are received before 3pm ET, which is roughly 3am SG time.

Based on my hypothesis, since I have completed the transaction on DBS before 5.30pm, I am hopeful to be credited the amount in my Gemini account from 10pm onwards (slightly after the start of regular working hours) until 5am. In the worse case, it ought to be credited by the end of the next business day on their side, which is unfortunately Tuesday early morning, 5am. 

When the money gets credited, I'll execute trades and also withdraw the cryptocurrency. I'll post about that when it happens.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Why GMGH Gives The Best Advice


Skepticism and independent thinking is dead.

I have recently joined several cryptocurrency chat groups on Telegram and 80% of the people are sheep following the 20% who bark out buy/sell orders and attach a picture with some shitty technical charts.

The amount of people not knowing what the flying fried fishsticks that they are doing is mind-boggling, amusing and scary, all at the same time.

Yes, you can make a shit ton of money from cryptos. Or stocks. Or bonds. Or whatever. You can also win a shit ton of money from winning the lottery.

But remember, nothing is without risk. Just because you don't see a risk, doesn't mean that there aren't any risks. Don't be an Ostrich.

Oh, and just because I have the opportunity to chip this in, don't forget to follow your dreams! Who knows? You might be the next Taylor Swift! /sarc

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Investor's Insanity: Argentina's 100 Year Bonds

Argentina has joined the prestigious ranks of countries to issue 100 year bonds.

They just sold $2.75b USD worth of 100 year bonds at a 7.125% rate, and their subscription was 3.6X subscribed. 

Why is this considered insanity?

Because, HISTORY.

Let's see when and how many times Argentina has defaulted on bonds, and how much time between the last bond default, shall we?

(Source: Economist)

#1 - 1827 - no prior
#2 - 1890 - 63 years
#3 - 1951 - 61 years
#4 - 1956 - 5 years
#5 - 1982 - 26 years
#6 - 1989 - 7 years
#7 - 2002 - 13 years
#8 - 2014 - 12 years

Average time to default: 26 years
Median time to default: 13 years

(Source: World Economic Forum)

If we aren't at the cusp of madness yet, I am more than willing to be entertained to see what will top this insanity.

You don't need to trust me to know that this is not going to end well.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Change App: What really has changed?


On my newsfeed, this article from the Change blog was shared and that led me to visit the Change site.

While I initially thought to myself, "Ooo, what's this cool idea?", I realized that I had actually stumbled upon this before, and I thought it was rubbish.

I only realized it again after I visited the webpage and thought to myself again that it was rubbish.

So what is this.. "challenger bank" thingy? You know me, I love market disrupters like Uber and Grab. Let's see what this thing can disrupt...

Open an account in 5 minutes, okay that's not bad. I already have banking relationships with 5 banks thought. I don't know a single person who doesn't have a bank. Maybe if I read on I will figure out why we need them to be our bank?

Top security. I don't really feel like any of my banks are lacking security, but top security is a good thing, just not anything special that I don't already have.

Convenience. Expense tracking and recommendations? This is a bit of a useless overlap?

Mobile wallet. With all the different -Pay apps (Apple, Samsung, Google), why do we need another one? At least with those cards, the value proposition is that you can still get benefits from using those cards.

"A Door to Investment Opportunities". This seems like the only thing that they have. However, if you look closely at their screengrabs, they just seem like a broker or feeder service into other actual investment services, such as Smartly. Why would I need someone else to invest into Smartly for me, when I can just do it directly myself?

Cryptocurrencies?! Okay, this one caught my attention. If they do allow cryptos, that would probably be their only edge. But, FYI, the spreads between the SGD buying price of cryptos compared to the actual market prices in USD, even after taking into account exchange rates, it is still a freaking big gap. I highly doubt it would be practical to purchase cryptos after taking into account the huge price gap.

Hey wait a minute. That's it? Where is the hassle-free banking experience, better returns and lower fees that was in the marketing spiel from the blog post? Non-existent, I suppose...

Conclusion: This app is nothing more than a prepaid mobile wallet, with options to "invest" with your funds within the app. Calling

This is fintech in Singapore?! This is nothing.

If you want to see a real fintech company in Singapore that is going to make changes, keep an ear out for TenX. If they can deliver on their product, paying in FCY will cost less than 1%, compared to what we have today which charges between 1.8% - 3.5% fees (Source 1, Source 2).

Sunday, June 18, 2017

June 2017 Weekend Ramblings

There's been a lot on my mind lately.

It is no help that the cryptocurrency world is moving so fast! ICOs are popping up left and right, but the good news is that I'm rapidly learning, so I am able to get a feel of how good or bad an ICO is going to be. I think this is particularly useful if bullets are limited and accuracy becomes more important.

One of the problems that I am having is finding a good way to convert SGD into cryptocurrencies.

In my latest post here on the quick and easy (not best and cheap) way to convert SGD into cryptos, I ranted how Coinhako is charging 8% over spot. That means that if I had USD on another exchange, I could probably execute trades 7.5% cheaper than Coinhako. 8% spread is freaking enormous. As you can tell, I am highly displeased.

I am currently thinking that the most sane method of getting in now involves changing SGD into USD, following by wire transferring that money onto a foreign exchange, and then buying cryptocurrencies off the exchange in USD.

Still, my options are not plentiful. Citibank needs $10k USD. DBS is $3k SGD, but it's waived until 29. UOB is $1k USD. SCB is $2k. CIMB is $1k USD.

I guess I've no choice but to go with DBS. It seems like it should be pretty easy to fund it in SGD, convert to USD and send it to where I need it to go. Looks like conversion fee would only be less than 1% if my math isn't too bad (instead of the ridiculous 7% by Coinhako).

Actually, I also realized that instead of creating a USD account specifically to send money to an exchange, I can use the modern fintech solutions to do cheap FX transfers. I need to find out if the exchange I am thinking of using will accept transfers from companies like Transferwise. HMMM. I think this is actually the best and cheapest solution.

Alternatively, I could use this Transferwise (or any other 3rd party payment solution) to fund Uphold...

Ah, I definitely need to research a lot more options. 8% is definitely NOT a long term solution. I hope to find a better long term solutions to change SGD into cryptos. I'll definitely share my findings.

Option 1: Fund an exchange account with 3rd party payment processor
+ no need to open multi currency account
+ no need to pay bank cable fees
+ ~0.5% funding fee
- more counterparty risk
- 3PPPs and exchanges might not be able to accept this arrangement

Option 2: Fund an exchange account with multi currency account
+ more control
+ less counterparty risk
- more fees (~0.8% conversion fee + $25-35 SGD + $10 USD... so on a $10,000 SGD transfer, it would be ~1.3% total fees)
- extra micro management

However, from my quick look around, most 3rd party payment processors do not transact to exchanges. And most exchanges do not accept transfers from 3rd party payment processors as well, since they are not able to match the inward transaction to the account's name.

It is most likely that I am going to open an eMCA account with DBS, manually convert to USD and transfer to the exchange in USD, followed by making whatever trades and then sending back cryptos off the exchange to myself.

It sound's like a damn leychey roundabout way, but I would be looking at savings of about 6.5%. If it was a $10,000 that I'd be transacting, that's a good $650.

I'm actually currently thinking of starting a full cryptoportfolio. I'm considering something along the lines of $5,000 or $10,000 initial starting money, followed by maybe $300-500 every month.

This sounds like a lot to some people, especially for something which seems like a "fad" or even just outright stupid, but every logical fiber in my body is screaming at me to go even BIGGER. I'm trying very hard to control myself and not let myself throw in the kitchen sink into cryptos. Blockchain technology is revolutionary. I am certain that in the future, many mainstream applications would be using blockchains without users even know. It's like how users of the internet have no clue about internet protocols, DNS, servers etc. While very interesting to know, it is not necessary knowledge. I believe that blockchain will end up being like that as well.

For what it's worth, I still believe that most traditional asset classes are ridiculously overvalued. Since my first priority is getting my own place, I still need to make sure that I am heading towards my downpayment goal. I can't forget my focus and jump into cryptos and get my money locked up in there while the good bargains and deals that I have been so so so patiently waiting for finally appear.

Since I started playing a bit in cryptos since the start of June, my returns has been mindblowing. However, I am not fooled. This move looks extremely bubbly and the way that you can tell is that pretty much anything that isn't nailed onto the ground has risen up in value tremendously. At these price points, not many cryptos are that attractive.


Anyway, to summarize:
All exchanges in Singapore sucks. Looks like I need to bring my business elsewhere.
Cryptos are in a bubble. You can tell because some stupid coins still have a sizable market cap. People aren't buying based on anything other than hype and technicals. Fundamentalists will have an edge here by staying clear of the crap coins.
I might start a cryptoportfolio soon. Maybe I'll update it monthly, like how I'm supposed to do it with my SGX portfolio (but I haven't been, haha)

Friday, June 16, 2017

Exchanging SGD between Cryptocurrencies (Short Version)

Okay, so here's the short version because I'm sure quite a lot of people want to know this.

You need 2 things:

  • Local bank account
  • Coinhako account

Okay, so let's be quick.

SGD -> Bitcoin / Ethereum

Step 1: Open up a Coinhako account and do whatever verifications necessary
Step 2: Follow the instructions on Coinhako to transfer SGD from your bank to Coinhako
Step 3: Buy Bitcoins / Ethereum on Coinhako
Step 4: Keep your coins with Coinhako (not recommended) or transfer to a wallet where you own the private keys (recommended)


Bitcoin / Ethereum -> SGD

Step 1: Send all the coins you want to cash out to your Coinhako wallet
Step 2: Sell Bitcoins / Ethereum on Coinhako
Step 3: Make a withdrawal request to your bank account


Before you start throwing money in and jump onboard the crpyto train, there are a few things you should know.

1. Creating accounts with these exchanges involves handing over a lot of personal information, such as your NRIC and bank account number. That's just how it works if you want to change SGD into cryptocurrencies.

2. Cryptocurrencies are pseudo-anonymous. Linking a bank account means that your transactions are NOT pseudo-anonymous anymore. The exchange, banks and even the government could find out all your transactions just by looking at the blockchain. (I'm not saying that they would, but I'm saying that they COULD. It is unlikely to be happening now, but it would become more likely in the future if mass adoption takes places)

*Yes, cryptocurrencies have a notorious reputation for shady dealings, so I will not share how to be anonymous with cryptocurrencies in case you might want to do something illegal and paotou me and said GMGH teach you. I'm not going to lie, there are ways to make anonymous transactions, but I'm not going to be the one that teaches you about that today, although I do strongly believe in the right to be anonymous.*

3. Cryptocurrencies are more gambling than investing at this point of time. If you can't handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

And no, Coinhako is not paying me diddly squat to talk about them. In fact, Coinhako has shit spreads. You can fit a freaking pregnant elephant between the market's price and the stupid prices that they quote. However, they are pretty much your only choice right about now, at least until Xfers gets it shit together and Coinbase becomes a viable exchange again.

Beggars can't be choosers. If you want to try your luck at this crypto stuff, they are your only way in and out of the SGD as of now.

*Coinbase cannot be funded because Xfers is down
*Quoine looks to have the same spreads at Coinhako, and it's more advanced (read: Complicated)
*FYBSG spreads also can fit a preganant elephant, but with what looks to be much lower liquidity
*Localbitcoins spreads can fit TWO pregnant elephants
*Luno doesn't even operate in SG anymore
*Remitano is.. lol

I hope you noticed the lack of any referral links. Honestly, all the exchanges suck. It's just that some suck less than others. However, none are good, so meh. If a better exchange comes along, you can be rest assured I would switch over. As I said before, it is NOT recommended to keep your coins with the exchange. You should transfer it off the exchange and keep it in a wallet where you own the private keys.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Pump N' Dump: Crypto style

the pump'

Lads, as I type this now, we are in the midst of one of the most epic pumps I've ever seen. If this isn't bubblelicious, I don't know what is.

Bancor just launched their ICO to massive fanfare.

How massive? $151 million in 3 hours.

It was such a money maker that they extended the unlimited cap time from 1 hour to 3 hours.

It was such a money maker that they raised the cap of 250,000 to... maybe 400,000? It's 396,000 ETH as I type it now.

(source: Twitter)

How is this a freaking bubble? Well, to my memory, I don't recall hearing of any ICO that has raised over $20m. I've heard lots under the $5m mark and a few over the $10m mark, but $151m is just ridiculous. (To be fair, even Mona.co could spam ads literally EVERYWHERE and raise $20m, and they aren't even done yet, so maybe everyone is just handing over money to buy anything that says ICO?)

Looking at the blockchain, you can see that they've got 396,000 ETH and $151m raised at the point that I am writing this (12.40am), which is just crazy.

Anyway, I'm fairly certain that this is indeed mania. Will ETH be $380 still next week? I seriously don't know about that.... Drop back to $10 and let me get in, will ya?

Just a heads up, with such a massive pump, it is probably prudent to be on your toes and watch out for the possible massive dump that comes after.

the dump'
(I actually had a better GIF, but I thought it was a bit TOO crude, lol)

I'm hoping to load up on a few choices crypto currencies if that does happen. Can't really decide which ones though. Maybe I'll just see which ones survive? Haha!

Monday, June 12, 2017

If you don't own Gold, you neither know History nor Economics

Just 1 huge infographic from the Visual Capitalist. Nuff said.


How much of my portfolio is in gold? Well over 10%, that's all I will say.

And yes, I buy my precious metals from BullionStar.

Full disclosure: If you enter BullionStar through my site, and you buy anything, I get a small commission.

This is my main source of blog revenue. I prefer this to asking for "donations" because I rather you get something that you want as well, instead of a tip.

Whether you buy at BullionStar directly or enter from my site, the price you pay does not change.

My personal precious metals investments are stored with BullionStar and I pay the same fees as any other regular customer.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

No-Bullshit Cashback Credit Cards

With all the banks flinging "cashback" around like groups of monkeys in a free-for-all, I think it's time that I drop in with my 2 cents.

There are cashback cards. And then there are no-bullshit cashback cards.

Cashback cards need you to fulfil some criteria, usually it's a minimum spending of some sort. Some of them only gives you cashback on transactions above a certain value (ANZ, I'm looking at you). Some have ridiculously low caps (Citibank, I'm looking at you).

No-bullshit cashback cards are no bullshit. There is no minimum monthly spend. That's the main thing.

Here's the no-bullshit list.


I have purposely left out ANZ Optimum because there is a minimum transaction amount and because you need to go and actively redeem your cash rebate. Sure, it gives you 1% on everything as well, but it definitely isn't a no-bullshit card. It does come with some shit.

HSBC has finally joined the cashback bandwagon, and has thus completed the holy trinity by allowing people to choose between Visa, Master or AMEX as their preferred payment method. But then again, who in their right mind would choose amex unless they will whack the 3% promo?

CIMB has no-bullshit cards for the longest time, but the problem is hitting the $120k minimum, LOL. Well, they do allow the card if you have a $50k fixed deposit with them too. But with the 1.5% cards with much lower requirements, why would anyone get the CIMB ones?

So, long story short?

CIMB is out of the question because of the annual income AND lower rate.
AMEX is out because... AMEX. Haha.

The only 2 real contenders are SCB Cashback and HSBC Advance.

Question 1: Visa or Master?
Question 2: Do you spend more than $2800 in a month?

Personally, from a purely cashback point of view, I think that the HSBC Advance is better. Even though there is a $70 cap there, the odds that you hit ABOVE the cap is highly unlikely. Yet if there is a freak month that you do cross over the $2k mark (very possible during a holiday planning / booking month), you would get the enhanced 2.5%.

However, with no evidence to back anything up, I kind of feel that SCB has better tie-ups and promotions compared to HSBC.

Unfortunately, my usage with the OCBC 365 card still gives me solid rebates of over 3%, along with the bonus of 0.3% to my OCBC 360 balance. Haiz, I am still waiting for a better banking product to give me good interests, yet help me simplify the amount of work I need to do and things I need to think about.

If I was a simple man, I would go with HSBC Advance.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Cryptocurrency ICOs: Turning $10,000 into $8,166,666 in 3 years

We all know what's an IPO. What the hell is an ICO? An ICO is an "Initial Coin Offering", and it's pretty much exactly what you would think it is.

Instead of exchanging money for shares in an IPO, you are exchanging money for cryptocurrencies in an ICO.

And why might anyone want to do this? Please see 2 mindblowing numbers. I only picked these 2 because I could find their ICO price and dates without much searching.

Ethereum (ETH) ICO-ed on June 2014 at $0.30 USD.
Gnosis (GNO) ICO-ed on 1st May 2017 at $30 USD.

ETH is now about $245
GNO is now about $265
(refer to coinmarketcap for the latest prices)

ETH has made MASSIVE returns of 81,500% since ICO, or 835% annualised returns.
GNO has made returns of 880% since ICO, or 68,800% annualized returns.

If you bought $10,000 USD in ETH during the ICO, it would be worth $8,166,666 USD, or SGD $11.3m after 3 years.
If you bought $10,000 USD in GNO during the ICO, it would be worth $88,300 USD, or SGD $121,000 after 1 month.

Yes, 1 freaking month. I shit you not.

 Asians with money swag? #bestgif5eva

Cryptocurrencies are the wild wild west. You think buying shares in small caps are risky and volatile? Pfft, you've obviously haven't heard of cryptocurrency investors and speculators.

One interesting thing to note is that most ICOs do not accept cash. That's right, no cash. They usually only accept cryptocurrencies.

For those people that like to "huat ah" on IPOs, this one confirm give you more thrill. Confirm, plus chop.

Anyway, there are plenty, plenty of ICOs that are ongoing, scheduled or in the pipeline. Kind of seems like the dotcom bubble to me, given how the market cap of cryptocurrencies has almost tripled in the past month. But then again, that's only 2.5% of the monetary base. In the US. Globally? Less than 1%. The long-term upside is still ridiculous.

Seems like most people in cryptocurrencies now are big speculators. If you read blogs, forums and watch youtube videos, the only thing that is talked about are mainly charts. I wouldn't be surprised if many people don't even know much about the coins that they own. Many things looks very pump-and-dump to me, so be careful when going into the CC world.

As for myself, I am still in the process of analysing a lot of CCs and thinking which are the ones that would actually still be around in a few years time. It's no easy task when there's like 740 currencies and news coming out every other hour about updates and news about different currencies, exchanges, wallets and corporate partners.

I am contemplating taking part part in 2 upcoming ICOs in that are launching in June. I'm not going to say which ones, but I think my June clue is a huge freaking giveaway. Once I've successfully registered, maybe I'll talk more about these ICOs and why I chose them. I'm thinking of throwing away $1,000 each on those (I could call it investing, but let's face it, this is just gambling).

Then again, cryptos are CLEARLY in its infancy, so there is definitely plenty of upside to be reaped. While you might not get insane 80,000% returns, there looks to be a lot of upside to me. I mean, everything is up 200% over the last month, haha.

Blockchain technology is going to change the world like how internet changed computing, or how smartphones changed our daily lives. We are barely in it and I already see how so many traditional businesses are going to get raped. Hell, the stock market might not even survive if ICOs and DEXs are the way to go. 0.01% transaction fees + 0% taxes on dividends and capital gains + no geographical / exchange boundaries? It will only be a matter of time before people start to realize what the hell is going on when big businesses are suddenly imploding because they no longer have a function in the value chain. It's going to take a while, for sure, but I'm confident that this is life changing technology that I will definitely see maturing during my lifetime.

I'll try to write a post about how to change your SGD into cryptocurrencies in a safe, secure manner, with some tips about best practices. However, I'm FREAKING busy juggling work and life, along with keeping up with the stock market, and now also cryptocurrencies. Haiz, it should would be nice to be able to link up and talk to some smart people in Singapore about cryptos.

Monday, June 5, 2017

CryptoNews: Bandoo is a Local Insurance Startup that uses Blockchain Technology


Another day, another adopter of blockchain technology.

I found out about them from this techinasia article. The company in question is Bandoo, which is a platform to buy unemployment insurance.

While I clicked on it because it was about disruption in insurance, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the disruption is using blockchain technology! Ethereum to be exact.

Basically, they offer unemployment insurance in an interesting novel way.

I might be wrong, but this is how I understand it works:

1st layer of fees is membership fees that is paid monthly as long as your insurance is accepted.

2nd layer of fees is actually your premiums. This is where the interesting part comes in. People are grouped into insurance pools and based on the number of claims by people within your pool, it will determine how much premiums would be charged. If there are no claims by anyone in your pool, everyone will get their money returned!

Essentially, this is how insurance companies work and how they structure insurance plans. The difference is from 2 things.

1) While you would be returned your premiums if unused or only partially claimed by the group, insurance companies would keep the entire amount as their profit.

2) Bandoo separates the cost of insurance into 2 parts - the administrative part (1st layer), and the premiums (2nd layer). The administrative part ensures that the company makes a profit from being a middle man, for setting up the infrastructure and maintaining it. The premiums part is completely out of reach for them - even if no one makes any claims, they will not make any extra profit because it would all be returned back to the pool contributors. If your insurance pool has a lot of unemployment, then your refund would be greatly reduced. If the economy is fine and booming, then claims will be few, so the actual premiums paid for the insurance will be very low after the partial refund.

Bandoo uses blockchain technology to give transparency to their business. All membership fees, premiums collected and payouts will be recorded on the blockchain, which means that everyone can see it, verify it and no one can change it.

This immutable property is very important to verify if the insurance pool really indeed have any claims, or not. If there are no claims (which can be verified through the blockchain), then all members should get their 100% premium refunded! If there are claims, it can also be seen in the blockchain, and members can see how much of their premiums are being paid out.

If they can gain traction and get a lot of people into pools, this will really be a massive leap forward for unemployment!

Everything seems perfect - except for one thing. How will they check and prevent fraudulent claims? How do people prove their "unemployment-ness"? While blockchain solves a lot of problems, this is something that still requires human processing and due diligence.

Just to be clear, this isn't an ad or anything. I didn't talk to their team. I just read the website, the article and applied my knowledge of traditional insurance companies, blockchain and risk-pooling. If you really think about it, this is not a very complicated idea at all (but I bet the implementation was a bitch!).

Blockchain might sound like scary technology, but compared to the archaic ways that things are done in today's world, this is actually one of the best, cleanest, simplest, logical, practical and (hopefully profitable) implementations of blockchain that I have come across so far!

So, I still love this idea! Bandoo, good job!

Can I be an investor or spokesperson? I'll even settle for affiliate. Email me~ Ahahaha!