Today was rough

I’ve been having trouble falling asleep and the past couple nights, probably either due to too much caffeine or alcohol withdrawal. And I’ve been waking, or being woken up, rather, several times throughout the night, so the past few days I’ve been in a mood.

The kids haven’t helped. Both of them are trying their best to test the limits, and it’s been a battle. Elder seems to have fallen behind on her homework and has been boycotting it. I let her deal with the ramifications yesterday, but today I put my foot down and wouldn’t let her watch TV or play outside with her friends. Missus managed to get her to sit down this afternoon. It takes a village. I’ve been trying to drill the last few letters of the alphabet with Younger. She’s been getting caught up with lowercase b, d, g, p and q. So I thought up a mnemonic to help her remember: big dogs go poop quickly. Mature, I know, but she won’t forget it. I’ve promised her an ice cream party once she gets her letters down, and these will be the last of them.

I spent some time today exploring homeschool options. Unschooling, actually, but I have to start somewhere. I’m not really sure how we’d pull it off.

I’ve got an appointment scheduled Friday to sell my car. It’ll be a big change. It’s a sellers market, in cars and real estate. One of our neighbors sold their house the day it was listed, and I’m wondering if we could figure out a way to move back in with family and sell ours also, while the going is good. I’d be able to pay of student loan debt in four years.

I spent the rest of the day working. I had a few tasks throughout the day, they were spread out enough that I was able to spend enough time researching market opportunities and reading up on the “debate” from last night.

Voyager CEO Says Revenue Growth Accelerates 8-Fold as DeFi Trading Surges: I’d never heard of these guys before, but bitcoin mining companies and exchanges seem to be my thing right now, so I pulled the trigger on an order for these guys without too much thought. I did my calculations on risk management and put in a lowball order.

Last Night’s Debate

I’m not going to say anything about it, but I’m actually somewhat optimistic given what happened. I take it as a sign that Trump thinks that he’s losing and knows that he’s going to jail broke if he loses. Sure, it makes him dangerous, but it was all on display for everyone to see last night.

I’m going to spend the rest of the evening working through the Rust book. I saw a posting for a Rust/Solidity engineer, and that seems right up my alley. There seems to be a lot of stuff going on with Polkadot that looks really interesting, so I want to get in on the action as soon as possible.

I’m so over my current job.

The Bitcoin Standard

I just finished reading the last pages of The Bitcoin Standard, and I’m a bit conflicted about it. Obviously, Samedian Ammous is a great mind and deserves a ton of credit for the work he’s done as an advocate and professor, however the book has left a bit of bitter taste in my mouth. I’m not sure whether it’s because he challenges a lot of my progressive ideals, or whether he’s really as insufferable as he seems.

On the one hand, I have to admire the man for being so sure of his beliefs. He is fanatical in some respects. The way in which he regards his ideological opponents, Keynesians, Leftists, and most of the crypto community with disdain, is something to behold. If I could only dismiss opposing viewpoints with such aplomb… the wonder!

His sound money premise seems logical, and he does a good job carrying the torch for the Austrian school. His interpretation of the history of money and is solid, and he stakes his interpretation for the last two hundred years with much conviction. I’ll admit that the ramifications if he’s correct are quite dire, and offer a plausible explanation for the past hundred years of monetary policy. And seem to offer a roadmap for what comes next.

And if he is correct, then it means that the direction and role of bitcoin as an alternative to the current fiat system is ordained, and gives me even stronger incentive to go all in and hodl, hodl, hodl.

One of the most important points that he makes (and he stressed this during the recent interview with Laura Shin,) is the comparison of high versus low time preference. High time preference is of shorter duration than lower preference, and Ammous provides historical evidence of unsound money systems being tied to lower time preferences.

Unfortunately, a good deal of the book is filled with Ammous’s moral judgements of everyone he disagrees with. Keynes is a “libertine” who never studied economics, and apparently a pederast. Milton Friedman and others are treated harshly as well, but perhaps the most cringe sections of the book is where he rails on “modern” art, and pop music, notably Miley Cyrus, dismissing their lack of skill or craft compared to Michelangelo and Bach. It has a distinct “get off my lawn” flavor.

His hatred toward the authoritarians of the twentieth century leaves no room for communists, socialists, and by extension, liberals and progressives. Everyone who might disagree with him gets similar treatment. It is totally on-brand for Ammous, given his reaction to the Coronavirus lockdown on Twitter.

It’s a shame, really, as it seems to spoil much of the book, and probably puts off a lot of readers. I’m sure Ammous could care less, as he has enough fans and acolytes of his worldview. Still, I’m left wondering if there is a gentler, less irascible version of this book out there. The historical presentation is A+, but the high-mindedness I could do without.

Lastly, he does dismiss almost all of the crypto community, especially the “blockchain, not bitcoin” crowd. The only purpose of blockchain is for digital cash, he argues, and all other implementations of it are a waste. Ethereum and other altcoins are waved away as useless since they do not share the main quality that makes bitcoin important: its lack of centralized control. Bitcoin is what it is because of the way which it was brought into the world and released to the wild. Ammous says that no one will ever be able to change the immutable characteristics of bitcoin, the consensus mechanism, the emission rate (block rewards and halvings,) or even the block size. He makes an exception on the possibility of SHA-256 becoming vulnerable at some point in time and requiring a fork, but that’s waved off because of the economic vulnerability.

In all, the book is worth a read if you can stand having your assumptions challenged in such a sanctimonious way. I don’t know if I would recommend it to someone as an introduction to bitcoin, since it is so dense. For those already well down the rabbit hole, it does help fill the gaps in why bitcoin is destined to be the sovereign currency of the internet, and possibly even the world of the twenty first century and beyond.

Evening pages

First day back to work post-vacation, and I was kept busy by a few fires that were waiting for me when I got back. A router configuration to support some VOIP equipment; a user account breach due to a phishing failure; and and urgent server maintenance due to an actual failure on my part. Nothing critical.

I spent most of the day reading The Bitcoin Standard, “researching” finance stuff on Twitter and checking charts. I didn’t change any positions or make any decisions on anything. The Bitcoin Standard is making me very, very bullish on Bitcoin, especially given what I’m seeing and hearing online in the news.

Our plans to keep the kids isolated for the next couple weeks have already failed. We decided to let them play with one friend earlier today, and they were outside for so long that our other neighbors came by, and next thing I knew I had five kids jumping in a trampoline. I think the kids will be alright. One of my neighbors, who works at the local hospital seemed a bit nonchalant when I asked him about COVID numbers at the hospital. He said most of the cases are milder than what they were seeing months ago.

I did have a bit of tense conversation with my other neighbor, who described himself as a “Trump fan”, regarding the upcoming election. He seems more optimistic than I am about Trump leaving office if he loses, but thinks that things will be worse if he wins. I don’t even know what to say to him about it, but thankfully we were able to steer the conversation to other things. While the kids were playing in the back I grabbed my skill saw and started cutting down old deck screws, but he knocked a couple over with a hammer so easily that I grabbed my crowbar and knocked out several dozen in a few minutes. He saved me a lot of time.

Only two more days left in September, then it’s time to move some money. I’ll be pulling BTC out of BlockFi and onto the exchange so I have some capital to deploy. I really wanted to have some to deploy during this last week that might have done well, but I can’t back that up with any hard numbers. I’m two for four this month, so I’m not in a hurry to do anything else at the moment.

For the rest of the night I think I’ll work on Rustlings. I’m more bullish on leaning some of these new chains like PolkaDot and Cosmos after listening to Olaf Carlson-Wee hype on Unchained from earlier this month. I’ve got a lot of work to do on those, and I’ve got some thoughts on how to restructure my trade planning notebooks/programs after seeing some spreadsheet porn on Reddit.

No alcohol since coming back from vacation. My body doesn’t hurt, so we’re back in Atomic Habit mode.

Home, Sweet Home

Today was our first full day home following a week-long vacation with the fam. It was our first beach rental with my father-in-law in several years, and had quite a different tenor to it than past ones.

First off this was an off-season rental, Elder had school during the afternoon — poor thing — and we didn’t really go anywhere. No restaurants, or touristy excursions. We took the girls out one day to the candy store, and the rest of the trip was spent at the house, either on the beach, or watching television.

And we didn’t get as much of the beach as we wanted to. Tropical storm Beta was off the coast, stirring up solid winds with thirty five mile and hour winds. We felt like we were getting sand blasted when we arrived, and the lifeguards didn’t even take down the red flags until Thursday. Still, the girls enjoyed digging and playing in the sand. The house was right on the beach, perched on stilts and surrounded by large dunes.

The house itself was a dump. The owners were obviously hoping for it to be taken out by a hurricane instead of doing any repairs on it. The upstairs felt like it was on a slope, there were signs of water damage everywhere. Handles missing from one of the patio doors, visible mold and peeling everywhere. It really needed to be bulldozed.

And it was just us, my father in law and his wife. My wife’s nephew joined us a couple of days in. The girls enjoyed spending time with him. He’s a realtor, so he, my FIL and myself spent a lot of time talking money: equities and property markets, and me with my crypto.

I spent a good deal of time reading and learning Rust. Cooking, eating and drinking. It was actually one of the better trips given that it was just the seven of us, instead of the bigger family trips that we take with my sister and brother and law and their family. Next year will probably be different.

We left a day early to get get home. We usually tire of being away from home for so long. We were all so glad to be back in our own beds last night. And I missed my piano.

This morning I finally got started on my deck project. I picked up some furniture dollies, ripped up some boards, then jacked up the hot tub with a breaker bar and scrap boards till I could fit the dollies underneath it then slid it across the deck and got to work. It’s going to be a miserable project, but I need the physical exercise. I have to rip the boards to pieces with a circular or skill saw, then cut the old screws off at the joice. Then I can start putting more boards down. I can do it, it’s just dragging on, and it’s a matter of personal pride at this point that I finish it.

Tomorrow it’s back to work. Usually I would feel energized to be going back to work, but at this point I feel absolutely no joy in going back on Monday. At this point it’s just taking time away from focusing on the things I really enjoy doing. Sure, it pays the bills, but I have really got to figure out a way to make a move to something different. Waiting for bitcoin to moon is getting tiring.

I got a mailer from my car dealership while I was out. They want to offer me “top dollar” for my car, which is five years old and has three years left on the payments. Seems I have equity in the car, so they want to put me in a brand new one with a nice discount and zero APR. I’m going to call them tomorrow and see if they’ll take the car off my hands just so I’ll be free of it. It’s costing me $225 in car payments each month, not to mention some $1200 annually in insurance costs. I will need that extra cash when student loans come due in January.

For now, I just got to focus on these kids. We told them that we want to resume social distancing again, and that they can’t play with their friends down the street for at least a week. People have been getting really sloppy, and things are just getting too crazy around here. Trump was in town while we were gone — three thousand people showed up, and you know they weren’t wearing masks. We’ll see if we can make it.

Last note, this election is going to be nuts. The wife and I have been talking about getting the family’s passports issued or renewed. If Trump does get re-elected, or refuses to accept a loss, we’re not sure we want to hang around the states. The uncertainty is already playing hell with the markets, and RGB’s death has already made it more apparent what’s at risk here. I’m not sure what to do. My focus is on finance and crypto assets right now, so I think I just keep eyes on that for now.

Decisions, decisions

This week has not been very productive. I’ve been learning the Rust programming language. I don’t have much to say about it quite yet; I’ve been reading over documentation and trying to follow along with the Rustlings tutorials. I was spurred to do this following the release of the new Cosmos developer environment, Parity.

I finally decided what to do with my Uniswap airdrop: I sold half of it and staked it in the Uni-Eth pool, and I’ll let it sit for now.

I read Infinite Detail in a day earlier this week. The author’s name came up in my feed and I was interested, so I found a copy and blazed through it. It’s good. A more dystopian version of Rainbows End, I suppose. Given the backlash to all of the tech companies, it’s also a bit of wish fulfillment as well, to see “the network” get shut down.

Still reading The Bitcoin Standard. I wonder how it’s affecting my politics. Ammous does not hold back his disgust for leftists. There’s a lengthy note about Harry Dexter White, a senior US treasury official, who dominated the Bretton Woods conference. Apparently White was performing some sort of espionage with the Russians, and Ammous goes into this long rant about progressives. He also has zero respect for Keynes, who he said had no academic or professional insight into economics.

The markets are very volatile right now, and it’s probably only going to get worse as we approach the election. I’m still sitting on cash, and am considering buying gold, or maybe some put options on SPY if I can figure out how to do that. Now’s probably not the time to be taking huge risks like that.

I had a dream two nights ago that I pulled cash out of my IRA so that I could quit my job and focus on my own business, building masternodes or validators for various blockchains. Probably not a great idea either, but maybe it deserves more thought. I was listening to an Invest Like The Best podcast with one of the Y Combinator judges, so he had some interesting advice.

I think part of my problem is my lack of a network; I don’t have others who I could trust with a venture of this type. Que Sera.

I’m reminded of another quote from The Bitcoin Standard, something about the capital flight from unsound to sound money systems. It reaches a point where it’s more lucrative for people to gamble, or speculate, than it is to actually build things. I sort of feel like that’s what’s happening, in a way. There was a scene in infinite Detail as well, when one of the main characters has an interaction with a tech bro. They’re watching a BLM protest from the vantage on top of an NYC skyscraper, and the bro admits that no one knows what’s happening, the algos are just running things and no one knows how they work.

It made me think of all these Vaults and AMMs.

There’s a scene later in the book, where the bro runs into the same protagonist a few days later. The finance bro has made a killing on a short following their earlier conversation, and the social hacker is disgusted, ready to burn it all down.

Feeling down

I finished reading The Ascent of Money yesterday, and immediately started on The Bitcoin Standard, by Saifedean Ammous. The book has been touted on perhaps the best book on bitcoin economics, but Ammous remains a bit of a firebrand to me. I follow him on Twitter, and he’s a bit of a Coronavirus skeptic. Not necessarily from the disease itself, but from the shutdowns and economic effects that they’ve had.

He’s very vocal, say the least, and a bit arrogant. He was actually just on Laura Shin’s Unchained, and she asked him about his response to something Yuval Noah Harari said in Sapiens about debt, and Ammous said something to the effect that “I have no interest in what a Marxist anthropologist has to say on economics,” before going off for several minutes on the subject. That’s not to say that the man isn’t brilliant or hasn’t written a great book, but he comes off as a bit insufferable. I should have known when I saw the introduction was written by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

I spent way too much time today on Zero Hedge, questioning everything. Now I’m ready to short hotel chains with put options, hoard my cash and set tight stops on all my equities positions. Apparently Europe is about to institute martial law or something and go back into lockdown, and we’re about to have a huge market correction. I don’t know. I went down the rabbit hole a bit today and looked at a blog focused on economic collapse. I haven’t felt this paranoid since I was into 9/11 trutherism and peak oil. The proximity to the election is a bit a unnerving.

My Amazon position stopped out this week, closing a position I’ve held for over ten years. Now my portfolio is a quarter cash, another quarter $GBTC, and the rest is split between three dozen or so equities, with $NFLX and $ATVI being the largest of those.

I have added Compass Pathways ($CMPS) to my watch list. They have a synthetic version of psilocybin that they currently have in phase three trials for treatment resistant depression. It’s something I’ve been interested in for a while. MAPS co-founder Rick Doblin made the rounds on Tim Ferriss and Peter Attia‘s podcasts last year, and it amazing to think that they may actually get this approved in the United States.

Other than that, I haven’t been too active today, just taking it easy with the family.

Buying opportunities

Yesterday, $CELO pumped tremendously. This one has been on my radar for a week or two, and I passed up an opportunity to pick it up last week. For one, it was on Bittrex, and I didn’t feel like moving funds around to pick it up, and two, I was focused on moving funds into Yearn. So I missed out on this pump.

I’ll continue keeping an eye on this one. In the meantime, here’s an Epicenter podcast with two of the founders of Celo.

In light of this missed opportunities, I thought I might share some other positions that I are hitting my buying criteria.

ChainLink ($LINK)

LINK hasn’t been this weak since May, when it last touched it’s 200-day moving average. It would be a great time to pick some more up if I wasn’t still holding from the ICO. I might reconsider if it touches the 200MA.


I’m not sure how I feel about this project anymore, I haven’t heard anything out of it in some time, which is more my fault than theirs. I’ve been holding on to this one since 2017, meaning that while I’m still up 90% from my entry, I’m still down 90% from early 2018. Another lesson in why you should take profits, or at least set trailing stops.


They’ve pivoted from their original project, REN Protocol, which was a dark pool trading platform, and now have one of the most popular tokenized BTC assets on the market. That last green sell signal may be acting as a strong support right now. I would size my position with the last sell signal as my stop and aim for another bounce off the ATH.

Litecoin ($LTC)

I could care less about LTC these days, but here it is. I’m not sure where the bottom is on this one, it could be anywhere between 3000-42 sats. I might just still be feeling burned when I bought it at $300 during a FOMO phase.

Basic Attention Token ($BAT)

My stop limit (orange line) would seem more brilliant if I hadn’t already been down 60% due to apathy. This seems like a really good entry, with some strong support slightly below the current level on the wider chart. Still, I took a loss on this one and should have shown better risk management on it about two years ago.


This one was probably one of the biggest mistakes in my trading career. I blame the TV trollbox. I managed to cut it after 90% losses. Another project that I don’t think got any traction, and one that I should have cut a long time ago.

Not quite there yet

These coins are all on a downward eight-count: Tezos, 0x ($ZRX), ZEC, Cardano ($ADA), Ravencoin ($RVN). I think AMMs like Uniswap have killed 0x, Cardano might have the most life left of them out of the bunch, but I’d probably feel differently if I had more at risk on that position. I mined a good deal of RVN when Overstock’s former CEO name dropped them; I wish I’d unloaded more back then, and might be hoping they have another run before I can take some profits.

So what’s the lesson here? Probably that I’ve been really bad with risk management in the past. I think I can excuse myself since most of my losers were ones I FOMOed into during my intro to crypto during the 2017 bull run. I’m definitely more wiser now (I hope), so I hopefully won’t make more of the same mistakes in the future.

I’ll be sitting out with these. Earlier this month I opened positions with ALGO, ZEN, and SOL, which are all down, and I made another position with COSMOS that finally triggered after everything else dropped. While technically, I could set some stops to limit my downside on these positions an allow myself to deploy more capital, I’m locked up in Yearn right now, and plan on waiting until October to make any further moves.

Still, I’ll be watching these symbols to see what happens to them, and will do some more research to see if any are worthy of further investment.

Turning wealth to income

Gas prices on Ethereum finally came down low enough yesterday, into the 200’s, long enough for my early ETH transfers from my mining account to come through to my main account, giving me the gas I needed to finally stake my USDC and wBTC into a couple vaults. actually recommended the YFV USDC Seed vault, and I used Yearn’s sBTC vault for the main amount.

Since I’m actually pooling assets from various funds that I’ve earmarked for various members of my family, it’s becoming a bit of a challenge to keep things straight. I’m working with a Notion database, with rows for each person, and columns for the amounts of ETH, USDC, and BTC that they’ve contributed. I have another row for fees, where I’m tracking the gas costs in ETH for each of the transactions in and out of the vaults. I’ll have to create some formulas to help compute each person’s percentage of the total pot; I’m not sure whether I can do it in Notion, or will have to do Excel. Ideally, I would do it on the blockchain, but managing three of four Ethereum addresses is too cumbersome.

I finished Mastering Ethereum earlier this morning. It’s a lot less mystifying now, although I’ve still got a ways to go to understand a lot of it. There are ton of links within the book that will take me some time to read if I want to go that far into it, for now I’m going to continue working through the Ethernaut challenges and will figure out how all Uniswap and all these Yield farm vaults work. That’s the awesome thing about Ethereum, all the contracts are public, most of them operate as open source with the contracts right out there in the open. It’s actually quite amazing.

The Unidrop earlier this week has also got me thinking a lot about the difference between wealth and income. Bitcoin, and to a certain extent, the FIRE movement, has really got me focused on savings and building wealth. Right now, my timeframe for net zero was really dependent on the next BTC bull cycle, but the twenty percent plus interest rates in DeFi are forcing me to re-evaluate my plans. I had planned to do some trading and see if I could build my stack higher that way, but the risk/reward ratio has been upended.

I’m still very tempted to move the remaining eighty percent out of my hard wallet and stake it in a vault, but the returns at this week’s levels isn’t high enough to justify. I’m not going to stake my entire stack against contract risk and the other factors inherent in the system for what amounts to one-sixth of my current salary.

If BTC hits $60k, though, that’s another story.

Uniswap Day

Heaven forbid you actually needed to use Ethereum yesterday

I was all ready to take the plunge yesterday and had moved a large portion of my BTC to wBTC. I just needed a bit more ETH to pay the gas fees for the zap into the vault. I set up a tx between my test wallet and my main wallet, with an average gas cost around 119 gwei. Metamask estimated a two minute transaction time, but after five went by I started looking at the gas costs. “Slow” was now 140 gwei. So I resubmitted the transaction. Five more minutes, then gas was up to 175. What the hell was going on?

Things kept escalating over the next hour, reaching 400-500 gwei. Something was happening. Etherscan’s gas tracker showed Uniswap’s router taking about a quarter of the available gas on the network. That wasn’t too unusual, it’d been up there for some time. So I decided to go on Twitter to see what was going on.

It didn’t take long to figure out what was going on. Uniswap had airdropped their governance token, UNI, into the hands of everyone that had used their service. At least four hundred UNI tokens were available to be claimed by everyone who had ever used Uniswap to make a trade, more, I’m sure, went out to LPs. Ethereum was clogged up with people trying to claim the tokens. Binance had already added UNI to their exchange.

Those tokens were worth twelve to fifteen hundred dollars last night, and are currently trading at about a grand. Unfortunately, the cost to claim and swap them is exorbitantly high right now, as gas pices are still well over 600 gwei.

It’s apparent that this trend will continue with Ethereum for the near future, as gas prices continue to rise, forcing small player out of the market. After all, what’s the use of trying to move around <$1000 amounts of ETH or other tokens if you’re paying $100 in gas for the privilege. That said, it will be likely that Ethereum will wind up being the chain for large financial operations, with other, smaller projects being forced off to side chains or competing projects.

With that in mind, I spent some time earlier today doing some research into Polkadot, looking at toward running a validator node, or even doing some smart contract coding on it as well. It’s an interesting project, but the cost of running a validator node and learning Rust will have to go on the backlog for now.

For today, I’m just watching equities markets get crushed and considering whether to buy some more ETHE. It’s holding steady today while everything else tanks, and I don’t have enough that I need to worry about setting stops on my position yet. The premium is sitting at this level, so I may

Crypto markets are mostly green. Haven is back up today, so I’m swapping out to xUSD a bit at a time. I’m still watching CELO, although I don’t have any capital free right now to grab any.

So for now, I’m stuck with transactions in mempool, so I’ll just wait a couple days, and hopefully things will calm down enough for me to get my funds moved into Yearn.

At the top of the diving board

DeFi is completely insane and massively complex.

I’m about to load up the yEarn valut with some wrapped BTC, and am planning on staking about twenty percent of assets under management. This is almost insanely risky, but I believe that of all the projects in DeFi, the one I’m picking carries the least amount of risk.

We’re putting our faith in several assumptions.

  • The wBTC protocol is secure, and that the BTC that we put in there will be safe when we decide to withdraw.
  • The Curve protocol is secure, and that the smart contracts are safe. Of course, there’s a ton of assumptions nested here as well, including the other tokens in the pool, renBTC and sBTC.
  • That the Yearn valut is secure, and that they know what the hell they’re doing.

Anyways, I must be insane.

I’ve got two out of three withdrawals out of BlockFi. I decided to use exchange funds instead of paying their thirty dollar fee to make another withdrawal. (I burned my freebie on a test tx.) I put in an order to convert BTC to wBTC, and that took all night to trade at an even price. After that completed I put in a text tx to my Etherum address, and then sent a max withdrawal after that cleared.

Now that those funds are sitting safely in my wallet, I have to choose whether to go ahead and proceed with loading the vault, or if I want to convert the rest of my BTC first. I think that’s wise. I feel like quibbling over the gas fee is probably stupid considering the size of the position here, but every bit will count in the long run.

If this works out, assuming that everything is safe and that my deposit grows at the respectable forty percent that I think it will, this could be one of the most significant, life changing decisions that I’ve made since getting involved with crypto.

We’ll give it three months and see.