BCM reFIREment Fund

person holding leafed plant

Upending the FIRE game through DeFi stablecoin yield farming

Decentralized finance, or DeFi, is a broad term that refers to projects on Ethereum and other smart contract platforms that are rebuilding the world’s financial infrastructure on the blockchain. While it is certainly risky, the rewards are currently beyond anything available within traditional finance. Just look at your “savings” account. The amount of yield currently available among DeFi projects can put financial independence within reach for many people. Here, I take a deep dive on how I positioned myself for reFIREment, and allocated an emergency fund that will hopefully pay for itself and allow me to live my dreams.

I won’t get into the details of fiat on-ramps or using the Ethereum network, nor do I endorse blindly following my any of my positions. Black swan exploits and rug-pulls are still a huge risk, and my purpose here is to discuss the analysis and decision-making process that I went through in order to mitigate some of that risk. I hope you find it useful.

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The Devil’s Playthings

I understand the old saying about idle hands. With our vacation cancelled, Younger and Missus on quarantine from school and work, and the rest of the company on leave, I’ve been less than productive. I have no drive to do anything, really.

As much as I’d like to throw a pity party for myself for missing out on the vacation of a lifetime, I can’t stomach it. I’m not some pining teenager feeling sorry for myself, but at the same time I find my lack of ambition disturbing. I haven’t been able to bring myself to do anything really, other than binge on video games and Netflix, beer and cannabis. I’m not happy.

I had an insight while I was falling asleep last night. My birthday is in two weeks, and I usually get a bit moody around that time. When I had explained it to Missus, or tried to justify it, rather, I had told her it was something to do with my contemplation of my own mortality. I don’t think it’s that. I think it’s the fact that I don’t have any friends. I have had a couple friends whose birthdays were a couple days on either side of mine. One of them, Trevor, was a huge help to me when I was a young man, he was a Jamaican man who let me move in with him and mentored me when I was in my late teens. He was a big influence on me, and helped me out growing up. Unfortunately, he got involved in a nightclub shooting and was deported from the country a decade or two ago, and I’ve fallen out of touch with him and his family.

My other friend I won’t say much about, other than he’s found sobriety and most of our relationship was about doing the opposite. We don’t have much in common anymore and I don’t think we find each other’s company appealing given my proclivities. We’ve tried to rebase our relationship around fitness, but it’s not worked very well.

I was hoping that I’d be able to make the best out of our extended staycation, but the weather hasn’t cooperated. It rained all day yesterday, today is drizzly as well, but tomorrow might clear up and present an opportunity to go on a biking trip with the fam. Or maybe we can go to an amusement park. I’ve got climbing shoes coming tonight, so I’d like to go do that as well, preferably by myself one time before I take the girls.

i just can’t imagine what life is going to be like next week when work starts back up. I’m not excited about it at all, and that is very disheartening for me. I don’t even know what I want though, nothing seems to be bringing me joy, and I just don’t know how much of that is in my head.

The Mill

Today I did everything to start the week out on top. I went to bed on time after finishing the last book of the Mistborn trilogy, and slept in a bit before taking Elder to school. My Whoop showed I was fully recovered, and I wanted to check my performance against a run so I went on a 2.5m run. It was my best time yet, an average of 9m45s. Then, as promised, I took Younger for a bike ride on the easy trail over by the reservoir.

We got there around eleven or so, and she was a trooper. The easy trail is about 1.5m, and she handled it without much issue. We stopped a few times as she had a bit of uncomfortableness, but it wasn’t anything like the whining and complaining that her older sister gave me when we went. After the short trail, I wanted to take her along the outer paths like I had done with her sister, but we didn’t make it very far.

The Mill, as it is known, contains a man-made reservoir system that serves drinking water for the county, in addition to the bike and multi-purpose trails that run through the woods, there is also a series of high-voltage transmission lines that cut through a part of it. There are also horse and what appears to be tree farms as well. And there are numerous paths that crisscross through the woods, carves by large machinery with large wheels that leave ruts in the mud two feet wide and six inches deep. I had wondered what sort of activities went on back there, and assumed it was some sort of logging. I was wrong.

The multipurpose trails that run through the area are use by horses, droppings are everywhere. The bike trails can also be used for hiking, but I’ve yet to see anyone walking back there. There are three trails, the first novice trail is a mile and a half, and dumps out at near a 3.5m intermediate path. There was no way I was taking Younger, but I had taken her sister around the outer perimeter of the multipurpose trails, and there was some good riding back there, including a short run near the back that was gently sloping downhill that one can build up some good speed on, so I had planned to go there. Instead of following the gravel road from the exit of trail A the mile or so past the entrance to trail C, where the aforementioned run was at, I usually followed some cut throughs made for these large machines. That’s where we ran into some trouble.

After we left the gravel, I started noticing that there seemed to be a lot of horse droppings around. A lot. After a few dozen yards into the woods I noticed that it was everywhere. I couldn’t avoid it. It didn’t seem like droppings, it was too … runny, like big blobs of mud. It started sticking to my tires, caking to the tubes and picking up pine needles and everything else, like some sort of dirt frosting around the rims. Then Younger got stuck.

And did I mention the smell? It wasn’t great. I laid my bike down, carefully, and went back to help her, hoping to push our bike through to the main path, but it got worse. It was sticking to my shoes, despite my best attempt to avoid it, and Younger was not having a good time. I finally reneged, pulled my bike out of the woods to one of the access roads, which was also covered in the muck, which I now assumed to be treated waste. I went back for Younger, letting her piggy-back ride as to avoid stepping in the mess in her tennis shoes. We made it back to the main access road, which was free of the … stuff, and tried to catch out bearings by a field.

We saw one of the trucks appear, a large machine towing a trailer, which I could see was filled with more of the muck. I considered pushing forward, but the road was still half covered with the stuff, and I figured I had tortured Younger enough for the day. I tried slamming the bikes on the ground to remove some of the stuff off of the tires; the last thing I wanted to do was take off at speed and risk the muck flying off the tires onto our backs, so we carefully made our way back to the trail entrance and our parking spot near a fishing area.

We came across a pickup truck leaving a side road, and I approached the driver as he got out to close a chain across the path. “What the heck is going on over there?” I asked him. It wasn’t sewage, thankfully, but just waste product from the water treatment. Sediment from the reservoir, with a bit of fish shit, apparently, but it wasn’t human waste. Apparently it was dumped into the large machines and then sprayed out into the paths in the woods, miles and miles of gunk sprayed out into the woods.

We made it back to the parking lot, and loaded the bikes back up. Once we were home I sprayed the tires down with water to get the mud, or muck, off of them as best as I could. Thankfully our shoes weren’t too bad, and nothing smelled.

I had hoped to bring Younger on an adventure, but it didn’t turn out to be quite the one I had in mind.

Over it

So my bout with COVID is over, and Missus is mostly over hers. Some lingering tiredness remains, in her case. I’m well enough, well enough to stay up till 2AM playing video games and watching TV, at least, although my Whoop is showing very low levels of recovery due to my shitty sleep schedule. The girls remain unaffected.

I also seem to be over the blues I’ve been feeling over the loss of our Hawaii trip which was probably even worse than the sickness itself. I’ve been out of sorts, even before I got sick. I’d stopped meditating in the mornings, and most of my other good habits seem to have fallen by the wayside as well. I don’t really think that it was related to the bear markets and financial ruin that has been going on, but maybe I’m in denial.

I’ve got another week to recharge. Due to a quirk in the fact that the girls go to different elementary schools and have different school nurses who are interpreting the city’s COVID policies differently, Elder is going back to school tomorrow, while Younger is out next week. So I plan on loading up our bikes and going on an adventure tomorrow with her, to the same bike trail where I took her sister a few weeks ago. If she does well, then we’ll be able to go on a family trip with the four of us. Missus is ready to pick out a bike as well.

I don’t think that we’ll be able to make up for the Hawaii trip here at home, obviously, but we’re going to try our best to fill the week out with activities. I’ve been researching trails online and have found that we live a few hours from what is considered a world-class biking area.

Tonight, I’m going to finish reading the last book of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy. I’m about a hundred pages from the end. It’s a good series, and it frustrates me that Missus has refused to pick up the first book in the series. We watched S3 of Love, Death, and Robots earlier today, together, and I’ve been binging Nightflyers for the last couple days. It’s decent show, but not great. I also grabbed Prey from the Epic Games freebies on Friday and played that a bit yesterday. It’s a Bethesda game, and has Bioshock written all over it. I’m not sure how much time I’ll put into it, I just needed a break from Tarkov.

Fighting the Rona

I never finished the last post, about the trip out to see my brother. It had ended at dinner on Saturday night, but ended before the part where my dad and I stayed up almost till midnight waiting for the total lunar eclipse — which was actually the following night. Whoops. Still, it was good bonding time with my dad. Who knows how many more days like that I have, eh?

Since then, we found out that my mom’s husband, Papa (pronounced paw-paw) was at a superspreader event on Thursday and tested positive for the Rona Sunday. Monday, I went for a short run, and felt very sluggish. I didn’t get much work done. Tuesday I knew I was sick. Sore throat, muscle aches. So I called out for work and laid in bed, or the couch. Last night my temperature hit 102 degrees and I finally had to take ibuprofen after my lips started feeling numb. I slept well and woke up this morning feeling better, and confirmed my diagnosis with a home testing kit. I’ve been cloistered in the bedroom for two days now, quarantined in the bedroom while the girls are home. I’ve finally snuck out of the bedroom without a mask to sit in my writing spot.

Of course all this had to happen the week before we were supposed to be going to Hawaii. That’s all a mess now; I’m trying to give the girls the opportunity to go without me, offering to send my mother in law, Momo, the chance to go in my stead, but trying to make all these changes is a fight I don’t have in me at the moment.

I had to go pick Younger up from school on Monday. CDC guidelines say that families that don’t need to quarantine (i.e. vaccinated) should wear masks for ten days after “close contact”, but the school nurse didn’t know our vax status so I picked her up, then went and picked Elder up from Momo’s before she went to class so I wouldn’t have to go out and pick her up later. I sent a message to her teacher, and then got a call from the school nurse. After I explained the situation, she told me the correct school policy and even called over to Younger’s school to talk to the nurse there. By this time Missus was back, so she took them to work and I continued my miserable existence.

I am glad that Elder’s nurse cleared things up, because I was about to have to deal with the kids home for the whole week, and lord knows what kind of problems that would have caused. Missus has been picking up the slack really well, but I can only imagine that having the girls home during the day would have broken her. Either that or I would have had to watch them and probably gotten them sick. So far none of them are showing any symptoms, and just had negative results on their home tests.

When I went to pick Younger up, I told her teacher that if they were going to make her stay home five days, then the Hawaii trip would mean she’d be gone for two weeks. I asked if there was anything we needed to do to help her keep up with the class — I’d already warned her about the trip — and she said no, Younger was well ahead of the rest of the class.

That’s my girl.

Glamping

We spent the weekend visiting family. My brother has been living overseas for the last decade or so, and has come back to the states for the first time in six and a half years. I’ve never met his daughter, except for Facetime calls, and he’s never seen Younger either.

We had originally booked a hotel for the weekend, but Missus decided to rent a cabin at a campground. I’ve been talking about “outdoor life”, biking, climbing, hiking and so forth, so much, she figured it the campground would be a better fit. Plus, it was closer to where my brother is staying.

The campground was very nice. It had a mix of RV lots and a few trailers, plus the little prefab log cabins that we stayed at. There were tons of activities and amenities for us, although we really didn’t get a chance to do too much there. We took a half day on Friday, and drove the three hours to the resort. We got settled in to the cabin, a two-bedroom unit with a full kitchen. It was right on a lake, and we had lots of geese and duck families come by to see us. There were gosling and ducklings galore.

The weather was a bit drizzly, but it was better than we were expecting. It was clear enough Friday that we were able to meet my brother and took the girls to the playground. We shared sips from a bottle of bourbon while the kids played.

There was rain overnight, and the next morning was pretty wet. I had packed the girls’ bikes so we spent an hour or two exploring the grounds while Missus slept. The area was full of rolling hills, we had to hump our bikes up the hills and then sped down them. There were dams and spillways, other playgrounds and a short wilderness hike around an island that was accessed after walking over a suspended bridge. It was nice.

Our plan for the day was to spend the day at a local amusement park. I spent close to four hundred dollars on tickets for everyone, and rode up there with my dad, who had stayed at a crappy hotel the night before. The park had indoor and outdoor amusements, video games and a climbing area above the games. I took my niece up, and the two of us ran over rope bridges and ziplines, twenty feet above the arcade floor. It was fun. My brother took Younger, then we switched and I took Elder up. She got to the first obstacle at the top of the stairs, then her fear of heights took over. I didn’t press it, so she went back down.

My mom and her husband showed up an hour later, and we took a break for pizza. The sun had come out, and the park finally opened up the go-kart track. I was so glad it did as I would have been super disappointed if we had missed out. I wound up going around it two or three times, once with my niece, once with Younger and an final time without a passenger. The girls wound up taking turns with my brother and their Papa.

My dad was a bit of a sad sack while we were there. He had no interest in video games, and he was too unfit to do any of the more physical activities, so he mostly sat around watching us the whole time we were there. He wanted to take us out for dinner — at Texas Roadhouse of all places, but by the time we finally left the amusement park and go to the restaurant it was prime time Saturday night and the wait was fifty-five minutes. That was a huge nope, so we split off to do dinner at the cabin.

My mom went by the grocery store for steaks, dad and I went to the general store at the campground and got charcoal and some other supplies to start a grill. Dinner was delicious, the steaks, baked potatoes, mac and cheese, beer and wine. I toasted the fact that both my parents were there, despite being divorced for some thirty years. I warrant that is not normal for most families, but everyone was jovial.

Inflation

Just got back from Missus’s niece’s 18th birthday dinner. It was in the city’s business district, a perpetual Mexican joint that has gone through several different iterations. I wound up spending over two hundred dollars. Dinner: three appetizers, two margaritas, two kids meals and two entrees. Most of my entree will be lunch tomorrow, the appetizers were shared with the whole table. So that came to one thirty-five, I added twenty-five as a tip although the young man wasn’t on top of his game. Throw in a twenty with the birthday card and another twenty-four dollars at 7-11, and we’re close to two hundred dollars for tonight.

I did go for a long run today, so maybe I was overcompensating.

The weather around here has been strange the last few days. It’s been unseasonably cool, very, very windy. Although the rain has died off lately, I saw a lot of high water everywhere I went today. I’m guessing it’s runoff and not just neap tide. Thankfully the weather is returning to normal over the next few days.

I’ve got a lot of travel planned the rest of the month. I’ve got a 4-bike trailer coming tomorrow, and we’ll be on our way this weekend to see my brother.

Some help I am

Neighbor Dan messaged me this morning, asking wtf is up with BTC and asking me for advice. I basically said that I was still buying, and that it wasn’t just BTC in general but an overall collapse of economic assets. Inflation, price gouging, and tapering — by which I mean a combination of COVID stimulus programs ending and the Fed raising interest rates — have all contributed to a drawdown in what some are calling The Everything Bubble. It seems the tail end of the debt bubble is finally catching up with us. There’s evidence that the automobile market rapidly cooled off last month, and that real estate may be doing the same. BTC was just dumping along with the S&P and broader markets in general.

There has been a bit of technical shenanigans going on. A stablecoin is failing, falling off its peg, and has been selling off BTC reserves. That seems to be the general consensus with this dump down to below $32k, and there are likely other factors at play as well, but I’m still buying.

I actually finished buying a large tranche of BTC, SOL and ETH a couple of weeks ago and found myself wishing I had spread out my DCA implementation a bit more. I still have a smaller amount that I’m doing, but it’s about a tenth of what I just went through. I told Dan this, but that you do you, man. I pointed out that we’re only down to the price we were at eighteen months ago, while reminding him of the adage that in the long-run, we’re all dead.

I had another message today from a kid I met playing Tarkov over the weekend. Saw my name was BlockchainMan and asked me to shill my project. I don’t shill. Told him to read the whitepaper. Turns out they just wanted someone to guide them, so I sent him a Robert Breedlove podcast and told him to get back to me after he had listened to it.

Horseback

We made it to Friday, and the end of another sprint at work. I am definitely less stressed about that latter fact than I have been previously, mainly because I’ve become more comfortable in the role. Delegating and managing is much different that being a loner and doing everything yourself.

I spent a lot of time this sprint going through the wireframes designs and documenting each element in our web task list so that the team can do sprint point estimations. I’ve also been doing the same with Cowboy Cain on the blockchain side. Like me, he’s used to working alone and cranking projects out by himself, so I’ve been working with him to get the task list written out so that we can delegate to other resources. It’s work.

I went to sleep at 10:30 last night, and feel really rested, although my Whoop is telling me I need another hour and a half. I feel caught up, my recovery is over 90%, so I need to do something. We’ve had several rainy days this week, and this afternoon is supposed to be more of the same. So I’ll either need to go for a long run this morning or head off to the gym this afternoon. I’ll probably go do weights, but part of me wants to make the drive to the climbing gym. I’m not sure yet.

Tomorrow morning I’m supposed to get up early and take Elder to a horse farm so she can get her riding merit badge. She’s doing it solo since we have conflicts the next two weekends, but I’m not sure if they’re going to call it off because of the weather. I’m still waiting. It will put a damper on my normal Friday night game night, but it’s probably better that way.

I finished selling the last of the fiat in my IRA this week, bought BTC, ETH, and SOL. Unfortunately the financial markets are tanking, and BTC is currently sitting around $38k. I’m tempted to by more through my regular broker, but I want to build up more of a cash reserve, so I’ll probably just DCA slowly from here.

Fitness

The first rule of blogging is that thou shall not talk about not blogging. Enough said.

Today is Missus’s birthday.

The girls did a great job today. I took them shopping several times this week. Elder decorated the kitchen table: green tablecloth, flowers, ribbons from the door and balloons from the ceiling. Both of them bought her chocolate. Younger gave her a jar of pickles, which I thought was the funniest goddamn thing I’d ever seen when she picked them out. “Mommy loves pickles, and they’re healthy.” So cute.

I bought her a new iPhone, the 7 came out like six years ago, I got her an SE, no probs. Took her out to dinner and … that’s when things went awry. My exact words, to be clear, were “you were fit when I married you, but you’re not now.” So that went well. What I was trying to say was that she was focused on fitness, but wasn’t anymore, which I think is a true statement. The way I said it seems judgy, however I was trying to express the fact that the girls and I are doing all these activities, and we want her to participate. It just came out wrong. I’ve obviously had a waxing and waning focus on fitness over the past few years, and I’ve been taking the girls along with me, rock climbing and mountain biking. I’ve been trying to get us to go on hiking trips for some times. To be honest, I just want her to hang with us, and I’m worried she’s not going to be up to it.

But today is about her, not me. And I think despite my bone-headedness that she had a pretty good birthday thanks to the girls.

Daddy daughter day

What a day. Friday was game night, I tried to reel it in a bit because of today’s activities, so I only stayed up till 1:30. Apparently I made a friend on the Tarkov servers when they saw my name. NFT talk needed to be squelched in favor of in-game coordination. I was not on my A-Game.

Elder woke me up at 6:30, she had a Saturday field trip for school. They had raised trout at the school and released them into the wild today. So she was gone all day.

Younger and I went to the rock gym, again it wasn’t my best performance, but Younger did great while I belayed her. I did manage some tricky routes that I hadn’t done before, but my arms were not strong today.

After the gym we went to DQ for her hot dog and ice cream. She fell asleep on the ride home. We went back out after a pit stop and bought her a mountain bike, then we grabbed mine and went to the local BMX track for more intense activity. I was really proud of Younger, both at the gym and the track, she’s such a trooper. Hopefully she’s going to sleep real well tonight. We also went by the store and bought a card and some gifts for Missus’s birthday next week. Younger bought her a jar of pickles.

We picked up Elder from school, then I called in Thai food and went home. I’m beat. Gonna watch Moon Knight and maybe turn in early.