Monday, January 22, 2018

Trump’s New SEC Chairman Fighting For Control Over Bitcoin


  • Many people are interested in cryptocurrencies, but are concerned about government intervention.
  • The SECs Chairman Jay Clayton made a statement about cryptos last month that was largely overlooked.
  • Clayton is doubling down on the “21(A) Report” at a time when his regulatory counterpart is embracing Bitcoin.
  • It appears a showdown is brewing: who controls the regulation of the fastest growing asset in the world.

I enjoy talking to people about the viability of bitcoin. It appears to have a different value proposition for everyone. For some, there is no value proposition because they are certain the government is going to shut it all down. These people are not stupid — they know their government. For this reason, I think it’s important to track statements made by government institutions like the Federal Reserve and the SEC pertaining to Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and ICOs.

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton


On December 11, 2017, the SEC issued a statement regarding Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
“This statement,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton sworn in by Trump in January of 2017, “provides my general views on the cryptocurrency and ICO markets…
Among the more interesting points Clayton points out in his statement are the following:

1) “to date no initial coin offerings have been registered with the SEC.”

2) “The SEC also has not to date approved for listing and trading any exchange-traded 
products (such as ETFs) holding cryptocurrencies or other assets related to cryptocurrencies.

3) “If any person today tells you otherwise, be especially wary.

Translation: The SEC has not approved any crypto or ETF.

“Please also recognize,” Clayton goes on to say,
that these markets span national borders and that significant trading may occur on systems and platforms outside the United States. Your invested funds may quickly travel overseas without your knowledge. As a result, risks can be amplified, including the risk that market regulators, such as the SEC, may not be able to effectively pursue bad actors or recover funds.
It is Clayton’s job to protect investors, but I think he goes beyond that role here. In particular, he tells investors to be weary because at any point in time someone could run away with your money overseas — as if this can’t happen with other investments.

This is a specious argument. Your invested funds may quickly travel overseas if you invest in stocks as well. In fact, they very likely do. Corporations spend the money we invest with them overseas all the time, why not? So yeah, this is a risk, but nothing we aren’t already very much accustomed to with our current system of currency, which is over 90% digital.

On a good note, regarding ICOs, Clayton believes that:
initial coin offerings — whether they represent offerings of securities or not — can be effective ways for entrepreneurs and others to raise funding, including for innovative projects.
So that’s good, but he goes on to say that:
replacing a traditional corporate interest recorded in a central ledger with an enterprise interest recorded through a blockchain entry on a distributed ledger may change the form of the transaction, but it does not change the substance.
Translation: “The reason I like ICOs is because they’re essentially IPOs. If these are really IPOs, I (the SEC) should be regulating them.”

The 21(A) Report


Clayton has two options regarding his views on crypto. He can say that ICOs and cryptos are legal or illegal. Here Clayton does not mix words. He urges market professionals to use a document referred to as (the “21(A) Report) as legal precedent. The 21 Report is an investigative report released in July of 2017 in the SEC vs. The DAO.
“In the 21(A) Report,” Clayton says,
the Commission applied longstanding securities law principles to demonstrate that a particular token constituted an investment contract and therefore was a security under our federal securities laws.
He goes on to say that,
brokers, dealers and other market participants that allow for payments in cryptocurrencies, allow customers to purchase cryptocurrencies on margin, or otherwise use cryptocurrencies to facilitate securities transactions should exercise particular caution, including ensuring that their cryptocurrency activities are not undermining their anti-money laundering and know-your-customer obligations.
Or what? This statement may sound threatening to those worried about government intervention, but it’s more like the roar of a toothless tiger. Money laundering disclosures are a joke in the financial industry. Just during the week of Christmas, the Federal Register announced that the Trump Administration would be waiving fraud and corruption fines for Citigroup (5-year exemption), JPMorgan (5-year exemption), Barclays (5-year exemption), UBS (3-year exemption), and Deutsche Bank (3-year exemption). This is the same list of megabanks that the Obama Administration extended one-year waivers to as well, though it is particularly troubling that Trump, unlike Obama, owes these banks a large amount of money. Even if the exemptions weren’t in place, any fines rendered are a tenth of a percent of the profits made. What’s ironic is that the SEC has been rendered impotent over the last five years by the very institutions that are asking for its protections today.


What’s Next: Wall Street Is At Odds With Itself Over Bitcoin

In my next article we’ll continue to look at the battle brewing between the CFTC and the SEC. Both want control over this growing industry. On the one hand government regulators like the SEC want to shut Bitcoin down. On the other hand, the CFTC recently approved bitcoin futures contracts for several institutions including the CME, CBOE and Cantor Fitzgerald. Both sides have many stakeholders with deep pockets. My money is on Bitcoin.

Disclosure: I am/we are long cryptos. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Mine Cryptocurrency For Free Using Cointiply: The Bitcoin Faucet Experiment

Bitcoin Faucets are a great way to obtain cryptocurrency if you don’t have the funds to invest in Bitcoin, but still want to invest in this growing asset class. Who knows what Bitcoin will be worth in 7 years.

Mine Bitcoin Directly From Your Computer

You don’t have to be wealthy to invest in crypto. You can mine Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through what are referred to as “Bitcoin Faucets”. To make a “claim” on one of these Bitcoin faucets all you have to do is register and follow the claim instructions. Claim instructions generally tell you to click on a captcha that proves you are human to make the claim.

What are Bitcoin Faucets?

A “faucet” is a term used in the cryptocurrency world. It means a place where you can go to claim a small amount of crypto (like 1% of $.01). There are hundreds of faucets out there. Some are scams, some are real.

 At first I (like many others) dismissed this as a Ponzi scheme. It isn’t. You are investing your time, nothing else. Faucet owners get paid by advertisers and in exchange they give you a portion of those earnings. I’ve been doing it for about a month and have made a successful withdrawal of coins to my wallet. I’ve also researched these faucets and they are highly reputable.

All you need to sign up for the faucet is an email address and a computer. Never give your ID, address or any payment information to any faucet.

Bitcoin Faucet Claims Are Small

Early investors of Bitcoin paid just $.06 for a Bitcoin. A $100 investment seven years ago would be worth $28 million today. One year later at $3.19, $100 would have bought you 31 Bitcoin. In 2013, Bitcoin really took off to $724. Six months ago, in June 2017, no one thought Bitcoin could go much higher than $2,500. At the end of 2017, Bitcoin was trading for $13,170.

 No wonder people are fascinated with Bitcoin as an investment.

The biggest complaint about Bitcoin faucets is that “the amount of the claim is small.” If you are already wealthy or got in on cryptocurrency 7 years ago, I can understand your concern. Bitcoin faucets make small claims, but you never know where Bitcoin will be trading in 7 years. Still, this is a valid concern, especially for people with bills to pay and no extra time on their hands.

 This is my response to these concerns:

 1) The amount is small, but there are ways to maximize your earnings. Each faucet, like a game, has a few secrets that can greatly increase your earnings, sometimes by 500%. I’ll explain the key to maximizing your claim amount for each faucet in a moment.

 2) You can’t make a decent income by yourself, you need referrals. Those referrals must be users as well. It is not enough to simply give someone else your referral code. You also need to help them optimize the claim amount.

 3) Bitcoin is the front-runner in the fastest growing asset class in the world. As you can see from the chart below: the value of Bitcoin is highly volatile and tends to go up over time.

This is perhaps the most important aspect of this experiment for me. It gives anyone with an email address the ability to earn/mine crypto, just like Bitcoin miners were doing 7 years ago.

 In one year the value of the Bitcoin you have may be 10x what it is today. It could also be 10x less, but at least you don’t lose any money if you “mined” your Bitcoin from a Bitcoin faucet. In other words, the value of what you hold may be small today, but the value of cryptos is going up and if the trend continues, this is a way for you (for everyone) to invest even if you don’t have the money. If you don’t have access to your own computer, go to a computer lab or a library. Use your phone. It’s also a great way to hedge against those dollars in your savings. As the value of cryptocurrencies goes up, it will be against the dollar.

 4) These faucets give out more than Bitcoin. They also give out Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Dash and Dogecoin. You are actually earning a diversified set of cryptos. Each one of these is on the top 50 list of cryptos by market capitalization, which is to say they have a lot of growth potential.

 5) Finally, think of your daily claim potential as you would interest on savings. The amount may be small, but it has the potential to add up over time.

Not all faucets are the same

Some are definitely better than others. I’ve earned well over $1,000 on Coinpot (NOW CLOSED) and I believe you may be able to earn even more from Cointiply. Not only do they reward loyalty in several different ways, but they have more activities to obtain “coins” and you can even earn 5% interest after you have 35,000 coins (which isn’t much).

So, I want to start off by saying that there are several different ways to earn coins on Cointiply. There’s the main faucet, which can be boosted by increasing your Cointiplier (we’ll talk about how to do that in a moment). There’s also offer walls (visiting webpages, downloading apps, watching videos), surveys, videos, and paid to click ads. You can also boost your earnings temporarily and permanently by playing the game Cointivity, which is a little mining game created by the folks at Cointiply (we’ll talk about this a bit later as well). Last but not least, you can earn 5% interest on your balance if you have over 35,000 coins, which isn’t hard to do. After I walk through each of these earning opportunities, I’m going to discuss withdrawal methods and then you’ll be ready to get started!

Ways To Earn Faucet

The primary way that you make money on any faucet is through the claim. Cointiply has one of the best faucets out there. It’s attached to a progressive jackpot, which as of now is for 272,881 coins.

On average, I make around 30 coins per claim, but I could have made anywhere from 22 to 280 coins. The amount depends on the roll and the Cointiplier.

The Cointiplier rate determines how much you can earn from each faucet claim. The higher the rate, the more you earn. The payouts listed next to the faucet are determined with your Cointiplier rate. Everybody starts with a rate of 1.5x. It is determined based on Cointiply’s own secret algorithm, which is based on your level of activity (offers, surveys, videos, referrals, paid per click ads). The rate is adjusted daily. 

Offer Walls Cointiply offer-walls are a great way to earn coins. According to the website, top users earn 100’s of thousands from offer walls. The most popular offer walls are Theorem Reach, Tap Research, Adscend Media and Adgate Media. There are more than a dozen others. They are all different, so find one you like and work it. The good news is, you have variety.


Offer walls are great, but the #1 way people earn is surveys. Tap Research, TheoremReach, and Revenue Wall are all great places to do surveys. You also have Jungle Surveys, which is available for all countries and has no daily limits. It is not unusual for one survey to pay thousands of coins (keep in mind that as of today 1,000 Cointiply coins is equivalent to approximately 1,000 satoshi.) You’ll find all kinds of topics covered and they are updated frequently.


This is one of the most passive ways to earn coins because all you have to do is pull up a video and have it streaming. My favorites are VideoFox, EngagMe and You will also find videos in Opinion Capital’s offerwall for some countries.

A quick note about EngagMe videos is that you don’t have to do anything to link EngagMe videos. You just have to open the videos page from the Cointiply website and you are ready to go. You need to see 3 ads before your account will be credited. The same applies to Hideout.TV. You earn points for every three ads that plays between videos.

Cointiply Paid to Click (PTC) Ads

Cointiply paid to click ads are pretty normal. You earn coins for visiting a webpage and they’re available all around the world.   Cointivity The Game This is perhaps the main reason I like Cointiply so much. There are so many ways to boost your earnings. In addition to your Cointiplier (which increases your faucet claim), you also have the ability to boost your earnings by playing a game. The game is called Cointivity.

CointiPoints are Cointiply’s reward point system. For every 10 coins you earn , you’ll receive 1 CointiPoint.

You play the game for points that can buy you items. The “items” are used for your “mining business”. The goal is to collect as many “items” as possible to help you be successful with your business. However, you can only collect items if you have a “slot” to place the item in. Each level unlocks more “slots”, which allows you to have more items.

How do you increase your level? In addition to CointiPoints, there are “Experience” points. You are also given 1 “Experience” point with every 10 coins earned. The more coins you earn, the higher your level will rise and the more “slots” you’ll have to place “items” in.

Now, let’s figure out what kind of “items” you can place in your slots.

There are two types of “items” that you can use to help your mining business:

Equippables and Consumables. Consumables are items that are consumed or used in a short period of time. They are short-term in nature and the earnings boost from consumables is temporary. Equippables are items that are part of your equipment. They are long-term in nature and they boost your earnings permanently.

Each item is also classified as Common, Uncommon, and Rare quality. Rare items are valued higher than Common items.

Everyone starts off with 2 slots: 1 for Consumables and 1 for Equippables. Every time you unlock another level, you also get more slots to put your items in. Remember, you want lots of items because they boost your earnings.

Where can you find items? In Pods. You can buy Pods with either CointiPoints or coins. Every Pod contains three items. The higher quality the Pod, the higher your chance of getting Uncommon and Rare items, which are worth the most.

Pods are also classified as Common, Uncommon, and Rare quality. Here’s a graphic from the site’s Help Pages.

In these Pods you will find “items” like the ones below.

So, you earn points that pay for “items” that you can be purchased in Pods.

We’re not done. There are also Cointivity Collections. Cointivity Collections are a way to get an even higher earnings boost. This is a great way to maximize earnings if you know you’re going to be on Cointiply for a few hours.

Each collection requires a different group of items. The most valuable Collection also has the most Rare and Uncommon Items. Here’s a graphic from the website of the Collections currently available:

When you have all items in a Collection, a “LOCK IN” button appears on that Collection. Click the button, and you will be asked to confirm that you wish to activate the Collection.

All of your items are part of your “Inventory”. So, at any point in time you can check to see how many items you have by clicking on Inventory. You can check out your level, your boosts, your slots, and the items you have in those slots by clicking on your Cointivity Profile. Also remember, that you can use the items to boost earnings or you can sell them for coins.  Cointiply Multiplier I’m not a big fan of gambling, so I didn’t mention this in the opening remarks. You want to earn and hold (or hodl as the bitcoin community likes to say). That said, if you’re into this for the gambling, you can wager as few as 10 coins or as many as 50,000 coins in Cointiply’s multiplier game. The maximum multiplier is 61.3x so you could make as much as 613 coins from a 10 coin wager, but it’s highly unlikely.

When you start a new round of the CointiPly Multiplier you will be presented with 11 different “targets” on the screen. The targets look like small white circles. If you win, you can either press your luck or play it safe and click the “Take Win” button at any time to claim your coins and end the round. 

Why gamble when you could be earning interest though?   Earning Interest As of December 1st, 2018 Cointiply pays 5% annual interest on coin balances over 35,000 coins. Remember, in today’s terms, 1,000 coins is approximately 1,000 satoshi, which is approximately $.10. So, 35,000 coins is approximately 35,000 satoshi or $3.50.

To earn interest, you have to maintain this balance and make at least 1 claim each week. To start earning interest, you need to go to the settings page and toggle the “Enable Interest” switch and then save your settings. Interest is paid every Sunday night.

As a word of caution, be sure to place a 2FA on your account if you have enough to earn interest. You can find the 2FA set up in settings. Withdrawals Cointiply gives you several ways to withdraw your coins.

Final thoughts: Crypto is For Everyone

The world of investments is largely cut off from people that don’t have the means, but crypto isn’t. I have family and friends on both sides of the wealth spectrum and this is a great way for both to accumulate coins. Those that have money, but are worried about Bitcoin’s viability, can use faucets as a no risk way to participate in the crypto boom. Those that don’t have the money can also use this as a way to participate.

Translation: If you don’t have $1 million (or even $10,000), Cointiply is a great way to build a diversified portfolio of high potential crypto. It is a portfolio strategy in and of itself.

Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Dash and Dogecoin represent a good cross-section of cryptos available on the market today. The only one that’s missing is Ethereum and I’m looking for a good Ethereum faucet to recommend now.

You can look up the price of any cryptocurrency on

Saturday, January 13, 2018

How To Analyze Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)



  • ICO's are no different from any other investment, you have to do your due diligence.
  • The process starts with researching the offering and the team behind the offering.
  • The process ends with finding a good technical price to buy at.

I've been asked on several occasions how to analyze an ICO. The process of analyzing an ICO is no different from any other investment. 

First a few reminders: Don't ever invest your money in anything without feeling comfortable with it. I also wouldn't invest in any crypto-coin with money that you can't afford to lose. As much as I like crypto, extreme caution is required in new markets. There are tiers of risk in the crypto-world and ICOs are among the highest because you have no historical data. 

With that said, let's take a quick look at scams.

Vetting Out Scams

Before getting to the analysis process, I want to put an umbrella of context over your goal. I hate to say this, but there are many scams in this space. The truth is, like the Federal Reserve and quantitative easing, a good scam is hard to detect. These are a few things you can look for:
  1. Be wary of ICO's with an incoherent message or purpose.
  2. Be wary of ICO's that have a project that sounds similar to others -- you may even find an identical white paper or technical detail being used.
  3. Be wary of ICO's with fake credentials and websites -- click on ALL of the links of the website to see where they lead and if they're live.
  4. Be wary of ICO's with no names or transparency. You want to see faces and those faces should be attached to real people. You can vet people by looking at social media accounts or LinkedIn. Even these can be faked.
  5. Be wary of ICO's that are uncapped.
  6. Be wary of ICO's that have no time limit.
Keep this list in the back of your mind when going through the analysis process.

The Analysis

The same questions you have for any start-up should apply to ICOs. Analysis is a function of 6 main areas: Quality, Team, Team Investment, Blockchain, Social Media, Total Project Funding
  1. The first thing you want to look at is the quality of the project. Is it something that looks thrown together, or does it seem like a well thought out idea. Quality is a large category that can be split into others. In general, it refers to the idea potential. Is the road map overly optimistic? What are the merits or features of the token used? Does the coin derive value from the product or something else? How will it be used (for transactions or investment)? How is value created for token holders (staked interest, a % of profit)? How many tokens are being issued and is there a cap on the number of tokens.
  2. The Team: This is a group of people you are going to trust with your money. Where have they worked, what have they worked on before, do they have advisers? Are they qualified? You also want to note how many developers they have? Do those developers have profiles on Github?
  3. How does the project use blockchain? The value proposition for using blockchain should be clearly stated. Is the market big enough to benefit from the new technology or service provided? The start-up is going to have to unseat others in the market -- can they do that?
  4. Browse social media to see what people are saying. Can you pick up a general feeling about how people in the community feel about the ICO? I tend to shy away from ICOs backed by celebrities. I never buy an ICO endorsed by a bank or government (Venezuela excluded). If I do pick them up, it's after the "pump and dump".
  5. Check to see how much the team has already invested. Have they invested their own money in the venture?
  6. How much money does the total project need? I'm not fond of pre-sales, but if there is one I want to know how many offerings will take place. I also want to know what the allocation process will be.
If you can get to this point, you can progress to the next step: technical analysis.

Moving From Fundamental To Technical Analysis

Technical analysis is difficult without historical prices, but there are some tricks. Now that you know what you want, accumulate low. You want to buy at pre-pump prices.

There are a group of ICO buyers that like to buy and sell into the pump. They have no intention of holding. Once these guys bail, where is everyone going to hang out? That's where you need to place your order. Look for the buyer with the largest order at these prices and place your order just before theirs. You also want to monitor the number of coins in circulation during the ICO. Distributed coins shouldn't be for more than 40%. Too many is a sign of a dump. Wait and pick up on pre-pump prices.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

How Is Silicon Valley Preparing For Mass Automation?

"Most humans won't have any saleable labor in the future", said one ex-techie in the video below.

"Techies can see that the future is coming and they are reacting to that future".

What is that future: automation.

The result is a big rise in unemployment and it has some folks in Silicon Valley "terrified", especially people with money and/or resources to lose. One venture capitalist in the video below refers to what's coming as the new French Revolution.

This is an enlightening video about how some ex-Silicon Valleyers, the coders of automation, are preparing for the next 20 years.

What do they fear: biological weapons, nuclear war, economic collapse.

What are Silicon Valleyers collecting: guns, renewable energy, food, generators, masks, health supplies

Silicon Vs Doomsday Prepper

Even though techies are buying $500k bunkers and guns like the stereotypical "doomsday prepper", they are also doggedly focused on "quality of life". Many of them view what's coming as the "new economy" rather than "the coming apocalypse".

Perhaps the most persuasive aspect of the "techie prepper's" argument is that unlike the typical "doomsday prepper", these are the men and women that were hired to create a program for the average American job, which is to say they know what they're talking about. In other words, if the guy sitting next to me on the plane is scared, I'm ordering a drink. If the flight attendant is scared, I'm ordering two drinks, reading the emergency manual and saying my prayers.

Translation: A techie warning about the impact of automation is far more reliable than the average guy sitting next to you on the plane, even if that guy claims to have biblical proof (prophesies always tend to be off by a few years).

So who's the pilot of the tech world and what's s/he got to say about flight status?

There are many noteworthy pilots in the tech world, but Elon Musk is among the best. Here's a quick clip on what he thinks about the impact of automation.

This is a data driven response to a fair question about the impact of automation around the world. His directness is both refreshing and startling in its implication.

What I like about the tech version of the coming "apocalypse" is that it is surprisingly optimistic. Instead of scripture, prophecy or fake news, techies are basing their prediction on data. They know that what's on the other side of the hump is a time period when people are not valued for their work. For some this is a terrifying prospect, even for the techie, but for others it is a kind of Eden. To gain value from your own self-betterment and the betterment of mankind is both noble and obtainable when much of the work is being done for you by machines. Now, we just just need to reclaim the stolen wealth accumulated by central banks -- enter crypto -- and use that as the basis for universal income.

Final Thoughts: "Prepping" for the future brings together two profiles often depicted as being diametrically opposed. This unlikely coalition is starting to form the backbone of a movement. And, this notion that techies are somehow responsible for the downfall of society is as ridiculous as blaming war on the soldiers that fight it. Automation is an inevitable conclusion to market demand.