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!

Friday, June 2, 2017

1.85% Savings Account?! LEGIT, NOT CLICKBAIT I PINKY PROMISE

Edited because of some errors, changes in green.


I opened my Citibank MaxiGain account last year in June. I talked about it in Jan about it being a great cash savings vehicle.

It's an interesting account, to say the least.

It gives you a variable base interest rate, based on 80% of the 1m SIBOR (current 0.81%, so effective 0.648%).
It also gives you an increasing fixed rate, based on how long you had the account. (increase in 0.1% per month, cap at +1.2%)
The drawback is that if the lowest balance breaches the previous month's lowest balance, you lose half of your counters.

Well anyway, I've good news to report!

After having this account for 1 year, for the month of June I will be receiving about 1.85% interest for my balances this month! So come 1st July, I should be looking at some nice phat interest returns, ehehe!

However, I must point out that I made a silly mistake. Citibank calculates the bonus interest to be paid in the current month by looking at the lowest balance of the previous month. This is important. Why?

I made the mistake thinking that it is based on average balance, instead of lowest balance. This means that even though this month I will be receiving the full 1.2% bonus interest, this bonus interest is only on the lowest balance of last month (May 17).

I transferred in a lot of cash during the 1st week on May thinking that I would now be fully maximising my interest, but I was wrong... my bonus interest credited 1st June is based of my lowest balance in May!

But it's okay, next month I'll be getting 1.85% returns instead of 0.8% that I used to get with CIMB. Thanks Citibank!

Honestly, ~1.85% (because of 1m SIBOR fluctuations) is really dope returns for cash. I can immediately cash out if I want to. There is no liquidity risk. Thinking about it, it's actually the same interest rate that OCBC 360 offers you AFTER making you jump through 3 hoops, and OCBC 360 has a lower eligible funds cap.

This account is like a hybird fixed deposit / savings account. I get the higher rate of a fixed deposit (MUCH higher rate), and I also get the liquidity and flexibility of a savings account if I want my money back.

In my opinion, this account is best used as an emergency fund. Good interest rates, but quick access to money if you need it.

It cannot be used as a day to day account because there is a risk that your balance might drop below the previous month's and that would halve your interest rate from the fixed counters bonus.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Project Ubin: Singapore's secret SGD-backed crytocurrency

We really cannot say that "ah gong" doesn't look out for us.

When I first read the article from Coindesk, I was shocked. Not shocked that Singapore would actually do it, but shocked by how quickly they got their shit together.

Project Ubin, in a quick nutshell, is basically using blockchain technology between banks and also MAS.

How can you tell this is serious shit? Well, first there's MAS. Next we've got all 3 local banks - DBS, OCBC and UOB. We have other banks that are here too. And finally we have the technical experts.

R3 helped the Bank of Canada with something related. JPM has their Quorum blockchain. Deloitte has experimented successfully with Stellar Lumens.

Why is MAS experimenting with blockchain? What benefits could it bring?

Well, I think I've mentioned them before, but here's a direct screenshot from their paper itself:


1. Disintermediate - does not require a central facility, no single point of failure
2. Secure and Private - requires no further explanation
3. Smart Contracts - ability to make complex agreements
4. Immutable - records cannot be amended, which is good for auditing
5. Real Time Settlement - immediate transactions, need I say more?
6. Trustless - 2 parties can directly transact without a trusted 3rd party

These then in turn benefit the system in a secondary way:
1) reduction of internal systems / human errors
2) better monitoring for regulators
3) no counter party risk
4) no settlement risk
5) less capital, more liquidit
6) fraud prevention

Blah blah blah, technical jargon and what not.

You want it straight and simple? Faster, safer, cheaper, better, more accurate transactions and records.

This was a conclusion of their first phase, and they are going in deeper since everything has turned out smoothly. I guess the technology is sound. It is more about the integration with the current bank's system and just having a live prototype.

If you made it this far down the post and sort of understand this and why it's such a huge improvement for banks themselves, imagine the massive effects on society if your average ah beng and ah seng had access to such technology and can make transactions with the benefits of all the above?

Maybe I can give you an example:

You want to sell an item. You meet up with the buyer and he inspects the goods and agrees to buy it. You show him a QR code generated from your phone. He scans it. 5 seconds later, you refresh your phone and you see your money has come in. You pass him the item. You both part ways.

You did not need to handle and hold any money that could be robbed or taken from you.
You did not need to hand over any personal information to receive the transaction.
You did not need to remember, and possibly recite wrongly, any bank account information.
You did not need to issue a receipt, since it is recorded on the blockchain.
You did not need to worry about counterfeit money.

And if you were using a cryptocurrency that is privacy focused, here are some extra benefits:
Gov doesn't know if you made a transaction.
Gov doesn't know how much was the transaction.
Gov doesn't know who you made the transaction with.

This really isn't some sci-fi shit that is just fiction. This is real and people are using it already. Albeit only a small population of the world has ever used currencies (0.2%, or 2 in 1000 people. active users are probably even smaller, probably 0.1%).

The technology of this is moving FAST. However, so are the markets. The market cap of CCs can ballooned from 72b to 88b in over a week. Is this sustainable? I don't think so.

I think I'm falling for Cryptocurrencies


While a lot of the Soverign Man is about how the sky is falling down, I think he does make a good case about the primary appeal and function of cryptocurrencies - to cut out the unneeded middle man.

The internet and the power of technology is already raping and murdering middlemen jobs, left, right, up, down and center.

Like... email?

When is the last time you were worried that: Your email got lost? Your email provider opened your mail and took things out? Your email provider dropped your email into your neighbour's inbox instead?

Never. That's the answer. Now replace email with mail and email provider with postman and you see just how many problems can occur with middle men.

The business of mailing will always exist. Postmen will remain, but it will be niche. Like for Singpost parcels and online shopping. And free ad mailers to put my food on so my table doesn't get dirty / oily.

Then we have insurance and property agents being, slowly, but surely, chopped down by technology. Again, the business of insurance and real estate will always exist, and so will insurance / property agents, but it will be niche. Like for buying inferior products *COUGH COUGH ENDOWMENT PLANS / WHOLE LIFE INSURANCE COUGH COUGH** and complicated property deals. Bread and butter transactions like a freaking shield plan or buying and selling a HDB? Please, I  can't even. I'm trying to being serious. You don't NEED agents to do that, but if you WANT agents for that, you are of course free to pay whatever you think is fair for that "piece of mind", but understand that you are outsourcing because you doubt your competency or you are too busy or you are just lazy.

Those agents who can survive must accept a lower return on their outdated and increasingly useless skills.

Proof?

Most of you would probably place a heavy weight on what top financial bloggers (not saying me hor, people like AK or Kyith who can move the market with their posts) say when they weigh in on particular issues. What about your financial advisor? Or better yet, the xiao mei mei relationship manager at the bank?

Not only is it cheaper to listen to financial bloggers, you probably trust them more. On top of having easily accessible, near instant information from them, you can probably also accurately verify the things that they say (unless its an opinion, as opposed to facts).

Middle men in the past used to have a role. That role involved gathering information and being trusted not to manipulate that information when presented, or profit from confidential information that they are transmitting.

And for doing that job, we pay them for it.

But that was in the past, when there were no other options.

In today's world, you want to know who is selling their house, at what price, and all the previous transaction data in the neighbourhood?

How much does it cost and where can you get it, and how quickly? Free, instantly, over the internet. Sure, it might take you a few clicks on a few different sites, but hey, it's free. Not happy? You can have your money back. Oh wait, it was free. Do you need me to remind you again how it was FREE?

Basically, with today's modernization and technological advances, using banks as financial intermediaries is like insisting on calling Comfort to book a taxi. Uber / Grab is easier and faster? No thanks, I like to do things the slow and expensive way, #thanksnothanks.

If you can already see the immense value in terms of speed and accuracy (no mistakes or misunderstanding when transmitting information from 1 party to another) of technology like:

email - instant sending of information
online ticketing - instant knowledge on prices, availability and NO SPELLING MISTAKES
uber / grab - instant availability and price transparency

I could go on with dozens more, but I think you get the idea. Things today are near-instant, with drastically lower costs compared to traditional methods (some even free), and with almost perfect accuracy (unless you input the data incorrectly, or the server is acting up, which is rare). We made the technology and we have vetted the codes to ensure that the technology runs the way that we have dictated it to be.

Fast.
Cheap.
Accurate.

If so many things are going this way, why not Banking and Financial Services?

Why does my payment go from my credit card to my bank account to another bank account to the recipient? Why are fees 3%?

Why do I have to trust someone to update my bank balances correctly? Calculate my transaction costs correctly? Keep enough money for me to withdraw instantly?

Why do I have to pay cable fees + exchange rate spread when I send money? Why does sending money overseas take 3 business days?

Cryptocurrencies answers all these questions with actual, working solutions (NOT PROTOTYPES).

Account is completely controlled by you to manage.
Funds can only be sent by you. -> No deduction can be made without your consent
Funds are transferred directly from you to recipient.
Funds can be transferred near instantly to any destination, any person, any time.
Funds can be transferred cheaply 0.0005% - 0.02%
Funds can be transferred completely anonymously (sender? value? recipient? can all be hidden)

This address a plethora of issues and risks that transacting through the current financial system has. A custodian holds your money. You have to trust a 3rd party or multiple ones to make transactions. You have to pay everyone in the chain. Some transactions take a long time to complete / confirm.

These sound like small risks. Or risks that you've already accepted since there has been no other way around it.

However, in the future, you will not have to assume these risks. You can remove custodian risks. You can remove 3rd parties and not need to trust them. You can save money by not paying for these unneeded actors. You can transact privately and instantly with completely control of your funds.

The business of banking will always exist. Banks will remain, but it will be niche. All of the basic banking functions can already be done on the blockchain, and I wouldn't be surprised if most, if not all, can be done in the near future.

This isn't some imagined future. The technology is here. It is rapidly improving so that it will be user-friendly and adoptable by the general public.

Take India for example. With large parts of its population out of the banking system, and now adding to the currency controls, mobile payment platforms like Paytm are being overwhelmed. Sure, it doesn't use blockchain technology (at least I don't think so), but looking at how mobile transactions being so useful is just an example of how much potential this could be. Paytm even allows purchase of digitally backed gold that can be sold online or delivered. Cryptos can sever the link between weak government fiat and monetary policies if replaced inside this system. Instead of mobile wallets being charged with IDR and transactions being done with IDR and domestically within India, what cryptocurrencies can do is enable mobile wallets to be charged with cryptos, and transactions can be done in cryptos and it could be used internationally. Paytm is just an example of how a crypto marketplace could look like - mobile wallets and online purchases, but with the added stability of a decentralized network, the accuracy and confidence of blockchain and elimination of custodian risks (since the funds are always yours, not held in custody by a 3rd party).

Honestly, the more I find out about cryptos, the more I believe and see how life changing this technology is and can be for many many people. I'm thinking if I should start expanding my core competency and start covering CCs regularly on my blog. What do you guys think?

I guess I'll probably be the only blogger in Singapore doing it, but it is something that I can see taking off once the UX becomes friendly. The underlying technology is already here, the problem is now communicating the benefits and getting adoption and acceptance.

Lads, the future is bright, crazy and amazing - all at the same time.

Anyway, just some things for me to consider. Maybe I should review all the available crytocurrency gateways in Singapore as a start? I'm sure people are wondering just exactly how does one convert money to cryptocurrencies, and more importantly, how do they cash out if they feel uncomfortable or want to pocket profits. What do you guys think?