Harmony ONE Staking for Fun & Profit

12% rewards in just two steps

12% rewards in just two steps

Photo by Levi XU on Unsplash

I really like what Harmony has going on. First, they promise to solve Ethereum scalability by providing a sharding protocol with a trustless bridge. They also advertise 2-second finality and near-$0 transaction fees.

Those are great, but it seems like a hundred projects are solving these same problems. Harmony has the tools to be successful, that’s for sure. So, I love that the top priority on their 2021 roadmap is adoption. I was also excited to see partnerships with Reef and API3 announced.

On top of all that, the Harmony ONE token was still priced at just $0.03. I noticed that Binance US had staking available, but it required a minimum of 10k tokens and paid just 2–3%. Still, I was in. I bought my 10k tokens, and I was happy.


A better rate

So there I was, gleefully earning my 2–3% when, hey — what’s this? A staking announcement from Harmony?https://adamprescott.wordpress.com/media/9ce992d1250b300a2e93f76b77ab2f43

I could earn 12% by staking my ONE with Guarda? That’s more than a little better than what I was getting with Binance, so I needed to check this out.

The staking guide on Guarda’s site is very straightforward. It’s basically a two-step process: deposit funds & stake ’em. I grabbed some screenshots along the way, so I’ll show you what it looks like.


Staking tutorial

I didn’t have a Guarda wallet, so step one was to create one. Guarda is a non-custodial wallet. That means you’re in charge of the private keys, and if you lose them, you’re out of luck. When you create a wallet, you get a text file containing your encrypted private keys. Keep that file and your password in a secure place.

The default multi-currency wallet doesn’t have a ONE wallet, so you may need to use the Add new wallet link at add one. It’s a simple, intuitive process. If you do this, you’ll get a new wallet text file — again, back it up somewhere safe.

You’ve got your ONE wallet ready to go? Let’s get to business.

Deposit funds

Click your ONE wallet and copy the wallet address. This is where you’ll send your ONE tokens. This was my first experience with sending tokens on the Harmony blockchain, and it was refreshingly instant.

Source: Guarda wallet

I confirmed the withdrawal with Binance, and by the time I clicked refresh in my Guarda wallet, the funds were there. Well worth the $0.00 fee, I’d say!

Source: Binance US — transaction fee is 0.001 ONE, which is less than a penny

Stake ‘em

Now that the funds are in your Guarda wallet, you’re ready to stake! Start the process by clicking the Staking link beneath the wallet, followed by the Stake button.

This will bring up a prompt for you to specify how many tokens you wish to stake. There’s a minimum of 1000 ONE. Enter the quantity and click Next.

Source: Guarda wallet

You’ll be presented with a confirmation screen. We get hit with another transaction fee, this time for 0.000021 ONE — a tiny amount. It’s worth noting that, while wildly insignificant, you do need some funds to cover the small fees, so don’t stake 100%. I left 5 ONE, about $0.15, which is more than enough.

Source: Guarda wallet

Finally, click the Confirm button, and — boom — you’re staked!

Source: Guarda wallet

When you click the Staking link beneath your ONE wallet, you’ll now be given details about your staked coins and earned rewards.

Source: Guarda wallet

Conclusion

I’m so glad I found the tweet from Harmony & Guarda Wallet. The entire process of moving funds from Binance to my Guarda wallet and staking my ONE was completely painless. Given how slow and expensive it is to move things on Ethereum, this was downright enjoyable!

With just a few minutes, my confidence and excitement for Harmony grew, and I’m earning a return rate that’s 5–6 times better than I was! It feels like a serious win-win!


This story was originally published on This Crypto Life on March 9, 2021.

If I Could Start My Crypto Life Over

Five tips for new cryptocurrency investors

Five tips for new cryptocurrency investors

Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

In the grand scheme of the cryptocurrency universe, I’m still a relative noob. I’ve only been in the game for a few months, but I’ve learned A TON in a short amount of time. Now, looking back, I feel like Rod Stewart famously sang:

I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger

I mean, 100 days younger, but still — the point remains. So, here are 5 things I wish I would’ve known when I was getting started. I’m not trying to sell you on any of the products or services I mention, but I’ll include referral links at the end of the article to use if you’re interested.


#1 Learn the tax rules

It feels dumb to say, but I didn’t even think about taxes when I started. I was carefree and carelessly tradin’ and buyin’ and sellin’ and just havin’ myself a grand ol’ time. And then I learned that most of what I was doing probably had tax implications.

&*($#.

Luckily, this was only about one month into the journey, and it wasn’t too terrible to get caught up on things. Still, this was my biggest regret in the beginning.

Now, I keep a spreadsheet for all my transactions. I record the cost basis and realized gains & losses when selling or trading. It still gets pretty complex in a hurry, so I also use free services CoinTracker and Koinly to help.

The point here is to know that there are rules and get ahead of them, so you don’t find yourself playing catch-up later. Because it really stinks.

#2 Compare exchanges

I don’t remember how I ended up with Coinbase, but that’s where I started. I’m glad that’s where I started, though, because one of the cool things about Coinbase is their “earn” program that lets you watch videos about new cryptocurrencies to earn small rewards.

Currently, you can earn about $30 in rewards this way. Not only is it great for getting some free crypto, but I also found it interesting to learn about the new cryptos themselves. This helped me understand the bigger picture and how cryptocurrencies play an increasing role in the world.

So that’s one cool thing about Coinbase, but I also find myself looking longingly at Binance and wishing I had assets over there to move onto the low-fee Binance Smart Chain (BCS). And both Coinbase and Binance don’t have certain cryptocurrencies I wish I could buy.

This is why I suggest you shop around. Compare what promotions and sign-up there are to take advantage of. Look for cryptocurrencies. Consider what fees might be involved and lock periods before you can move funds off the exchange. Please do your research so you can maximize rewards and not feel trapped when it’s time to do the things you want to do.

#3 Invest some stablecoins

This one stings on the heels of a bad week because I didn’t do this. There are really great interest rates available, and having the non-volatile assets available to buy the dips is a real treat.

The first place I recommend for this is Celsius. They offer a 12.5% return on most stablecoins. In addition to great rates on stablecoins, they also offer returns for many popular coins like BTC (6%), DASH (5.5%), MATIC (13.99%), and many others. It’s set-it-and-forget-it gains that you earn just by having funds in your wallet.

Celsius isn’t available everywhere, though. Nexo is another site that offers 12% returns on stablecoins and many others. BlockFi is a third option, but they offer just 8.6%. (However, I just read today that BlockFi is a good play to deposit funds and then use your one free withdrawal per month to move USDC to Celsius as a way to dodge fees.)

Having a pile of high-interest earning stablecoins is also great for making sure you have money to pay taxes at the end of the year. (Remember #1?) Consider the 12% return rates here against banks, where high-yield savings might earn you 0.5% interest. Even the stock market, with all its risks, can’t guarantee you these returns.

The tradeoff is that these funds aren’t FDIC insured. Certain providers offer different assurances, so again, do your own research.

#4 Invest in DeFi

Those stablecoin interest rates I was talking about are pretty impressive, but they pale in comparison to the return rates offered by many defi apps. Look around, and you’ll see APYs north of 200%.

I’ve invested a small amount with Cake DeFi, and I’ve been excited about the result. They offer $30 for signing up, and you can earn 130% APY with their BTC-DFI liquidity pool, 5–7.5% on BTC with their Lapis service, or 37% by staking DFI.

DeFiChain (DFI) is their native coin, and it’s trading for about $3.50. Cake DeFi’s goal is to bring user-friendly, high-return crypto financial services to the masses, and so far, they’re delivering. I like here because of the high returns plus the high potential of the DFI coin.

I’ve invested $500 with Cake DeFi, and every day I earn about 0.50 DFI and a couple of satoshis of BTC. I did the match, and the story checks out: it amounts to approximately 130% APY return.

Cake DeFi is just one option, though, and not an especially popular one at that. Harvest, Beefy, and many others exist — look around!

#5 MetaMask & Web3.0

It took me a minute to understand how a lot of the distributed apps (dApps) worked. It’s a different world. You don’t sign up with usernames and passwords and have accounts. Instead, you connect your wallet, and that’s who you are.

I started using Trust Wallet, and it’s been fine. There’s a built-in browser that I can use within the app that seems to work pretty well. I can also use the MetaMask browser extension for Chrome to use the same wallet on my desktop computer.

This has allowed me to expand into ETH2 staking and investing with SnowSwap and use one of the most popular dApps — Uniswap — to obtain tokens that aren’t available through the exchanges.

It’s a non-intuitive process to pick up coming from the traditional internet world we all know & love. And I’m a pretty tech-savvy person. Just having the awareness that this is a thing probably would’ve been enough to make it intuitive enough to grasp, but there’s no web3.0 handbook that really spells it out.


“Free $150” Startup

Here’s what I’d do if I were just getting in. This process earns about $150 in rewards with minimal effort using many of the tools above.

  1. Sign-up with Coinbase using a referral link to earn $10
  2. Buy $200 of BTC from Coinbase (*required to earn the $10 reward)
  3. Complete Coinbase quizzes to earn another $30 in rewards
  4. Convert earnings to BTC
  5. Sign-up with Celsius with referral code to earn $30
  6. Transfer all BTC from Coinbase to Celsius; let sit for 30 days (*required to earn $30 reward)
  7. Sign-up with Cake DeFi with referral code to earn $30
  8. Transfer all BTC from Celsius to Cake DeFi
  9. Convert half of BTC to DFI and add it all to BTC-DFI liquidity pool
  10. Wait 180 days (*required to earn $30 reward)

At the end of this process, you’ll have earned $10 + $30 + $30 + $30 plus another $100 or so from the liquidity pool — that’s double your money in about 6 months!


Conclusion

So there you have it, my top 5 things I wish I would’ve known when getting started.

First, make sure you know your tax rules so you don’t create a paperwork nightmare or land yourself in a financial/legal mess. Shop around for different exchanges to find the one that serves you best. Set aside some stablecoins to generate steady, non-volatile growth to cover expenses, keep funds for strategic investments, and take advantage of lucrative investment opportunities on emerging defi platforms. Finally, learn to use a non-exchange wallet to participate in the new web3.0.

It’s been a wild few months learning about all this, and I’ve had a great time. I hope these tips help you get up to speed quickly and avoid some of the mistakes I made along the way.


I’m looking for feedback! What do you think of these tips? Do you have other ideas that should be included? Leave a comment and let me know!


Referral links

In case you want ‘em.

  • Binance US — Binance Smart Chain & BNB
  • Cake DeFi — $30 sign-up reward
  • Coinbase — $10 sign-up reward — earn $30 in free crypto
  • Celsius — $30 sign-up reward (1319904a9e)

This article was originally published on read.cash on February 27, 2021.

5 Ways to Earn Free Crypto Doing Things You Do Anyway

Generate passive micro-income that can easily grow to hundreds or thousands of free dollars

Generate passive micro-income that can easily grow to hundreds or thousands of free dollars

Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

The cryptocurrency community has slowly been building an alternate universe where everything is incentivized. For every task, there’s a site or an app that wants to pay you with their token.

My purpose here isn’t to recruit you or trick you into signing up using referral links — I want to let people know about all these cool things!. That said, I’ll include referral links at the bottom if you do want them. (But seriously, that’s not why we’re here.)

Here’s the secret to success with these faucets, though: don’t try to maximize your earnings. Just use them for what they are. If you try to game the system by running multiple accounts or keep things pumping 24/7, you’re going to burn out (or get banned) over a few dollars. If you just use them, you’ll have fun and earn money without even realizing it. And don’t be quick to cash out, either. Reinvest that money and hold it. The biggest earnings in crypto come from the token gaining value over time. $10 earned from using your browser could turn into $300 in the span of a month.

So, without further ado, let’s look at some ways to earn free crypto by doing things you do anyway!


Do you like using the internet?

Use the Brave browser. When you opt-in to their Brave Rewards program, you’ll get ad notifications that earn you BAT. You don’t need to look at the ads or do anything; you get paid just for receiving the notifications. You can use Brave on all your computers and Apple & Android devices to earn more rewards.

BAT has gone from around $0.20 three months ago to more than $0.70 now. Brave has an ambitious roadmap that will reward users who keep BAT in their wallets and use them to pay for fees in their upcoming DEX. Earning a few dollars each month in BAT could easily turn into $100 or more with a bit of time.

But do you like searching for things on the internet?

Use Presearch. Presearch is a decentralized search engine that rewards you with PRE for every search you do, up to a limit per day. Like BAT, PRE has seen significant growth in the past 90 days, going from $0.01 to $0.08.

Last month, Presearch released an update that reduced its static 0.25 PRE per search to a variable amount that’s been around 0.12 PRE. While this is a decrease in earnings, it suggests to me that Presearch is adjusting for future growth and sustainability — a good sign for PRE earners & holders.

Got anything like Twitter?

Use Noise.Cash — built by the same folks as Read.Cash! I particularly enjoy Noise because a lot of the community is focused on cryptocurrencies and related projects. These are subjects my real-life friends & family aren’t into, so Noise really scratches an itch.

Noise gifts you a balance of free tips every so often, and you receive a cut of the tips you reward to others. It’s fun, and it’s easy to earn a few dollars per week just by talking with friends.

Don’t get greedy, though, and don’t try to game the system, or they’ll cut you off from free tips. Just be yourself, enjoy the experience, and you’ll find the earnings pile up quickly. Much like Read.Cash, everything you earn on Noise is paid in Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

How ‘bout watching videos?

Use LBRY. It’s the cryptocurrency world’s version of YouTube. If you’re a creator, you can even link your YouTube channel to import your videos. Using LBRY will earn you their token, LBRY Credits (LBC).

It shouldn’t surprise you to hear that LBC has gone up significantly in value this year, going from $0.03 in December to nearly $0.20! You earn rewards for signing up and doing simple things like visiting daily and following others.

What about streaming, like Twitch?

Use Theta.tv. Theta provides a mix of video game streaming and other programming, but it feels very Twitch-like. The cool thing about Theta is that while you watch, your unused bandwidth is used to re-broadcast the stream to others — and you earn Theta Fuel (TFUEL) for your contribution.

And guess what? TFUEL has gone from less than $0.02 to $0.15 in the last three months.


Conclusion

There’s increasingly a crypto alternative for everything, and if the thing you want doesn’t exist, give it a minute. There are projects for finding jobs that pay you in crypto. There are plenty of games that reward you in crypto. There are social media projects. The things I’ve listed above are just scratching the surface.

The services aren’t as polished and robust as their mainstream counterparts, but they’re made up of growing, vibrant communities. And more importantly, they serve their purposes well.

Individually, these applications and services may not pay very much, but nearly all of them are experiencing tremendous growth. You might as well start earning a few dollars here and there for all the things you’re doing, anyway. After a few months, those few dollars from those few things will turn into more dollars, and as these projects take off and grow, they’ll turn into even more dollars.


I’m looking for feedback! What other services should be part of the list? Do you like learning about offerings like this, or are these things that everybody in the community already knows about? Let me know by leaving a comment below!


Referral links

Here’s another thing about the crypto community: everything’s got a referral code. If you’re interested in trying the services mentioned above, consider supporting me by using the following links!


This article was originally published on read.cash on March 8, 2021.

BCH is the Easiest Way to Move Funds Between Exchanges

Bitcoin Cash works the way cryptocurrency should

Bitcoin cash works the way cryptocurrency should

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

In my short time as a cryptonerd, I’ve come to acknowledge two realities. First, my funds almost always enter via a centralized exchange. Think Coinbase or Binance. And second, whatever next coin I want will inevitably only be available on a different exchange than where I have the available funds to buy them with.

My solution to the coins-I-want-aren’t-on-my-exchange problem has been to sign up with multiple exchanges and deposit more funds to buy the new coins. This was possible in the past because I was transitioning from 100% money in banks and looking to slowly moving assets into cryptocurrency, anyway. In a way, it helped me by giving me an excuse to put more funds into cryptocurrencies!

More exchanges, more problems

But, alas, I’m getting to the point where I don’t have more assets I want to move, and “just deposit more” is becoming an increasingly less desirable option. So, what can I do?

Well, the first and most obvious thing I did was to transfer BTC between exchanges. It’s the currency of the future, right? And all the exchanges have it? Feels like a no-brainer.

…right?

Well, this is where we hit cryptocurrency’s biggest problem: fees. To send $15 of Bitcoin, I need to pay almost $2 fees. That’s a 13% tax to send money to yourself!

Source: author screenshot of Coinbase

And that’s exactly where the miracle of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) shines through. Want to guess how much it costs to send $15 using BCH? It’s about 0.00000226, which is roughly $0.001.

The other beautiful thing about BCH is that it’s everywhere you want to be. At the time of writing, it’s the 11th largest coin by market cap. That means you can convert or trade any currency on any exchange to BCH and send it to any other exchange where it can then be converted or traded for another currency.

How about an example?

Here’s the specific task I needed to do yesterday. I had about $300 of The Graph (GRT) on Coinbase that I wished to convert to Cordana (ADA). I used Coinbase to convert the GRT to BCH, which cost me nothing. Then I sent it to my Uphold wallet, which again cost me nothing — a fraction of a cent. And finally, I converted the BCH to ADA in Uphold, which basically cost me nothing.

This entire cross-exchange coin swap was basically free, all because of Bitcoin Cash.

Compare this to doing the same operation on, say, Uniswap, where you could easily pay more than $15 in fees to exchange $15 in tokens. (Which I have regrettably done!)


I’m still pretty new to Bitcoin Cash, and I’m not sold on it as a long-term investment growth opportunity — but I can say this: it handles the job of low-fee fund transfers remarkably well. It makes moving funds between exchanges completely painless, which improves accessibility to many cryptocurrencies.

It’s certainly looking like BCH will be my go-to for fund transfers, and I’ll also be keeping an eye on its longer-term potential as a result!


This story was originally published on This Crypto Life on March 7, 2021.

“Binance Announces New Browser That Earns BNB”

Photo by Tandem X Visuals on Unsplash

The browser + token + wallet + DEX quadruple-threat

A chromium-based web browser that lets you earn BNB by simply using the internet like you always have. You get all the same extensions & functionality that you know & love from Google Chrome, but now you’re also earning BNB.

Binance introduced BNB as a native token, and they incentivize its use by offering reduced fees when you pay using BNB. Using the Binance browser would be a no-brainer, right?

I’ve got bad news: the Binance browser doesn’t exist. (Yet.)

However, what if I told you “the next big exchange” was just getting started, and its token will offer the same incentives as Binance offers for BNB on its platform — and you can buy this token today for, say, $0.50?

And what if I told you this new exchange already has a browser that you can use to earn its magical native token?

That’s exactly what the folks at Brave are attempting to do with their 2.0 roadmap.


The Brave 2.0 Roadmap

In the roadmap announced on February 22, 2021, Brave lists the Brave DEX Aggregator — “DeFi for everyone” — as a key objective.

Brave will bring DeFi to everyone through a new decentralized exchange aggregator to enable token swaps with distinct advantages and added value for Brave/BAT users, including:
 • Discounts when utilizing BAT for paying transaction fees.
 • Discounts for users that hold BAT balances in their wallet.
 • Multi-chain support with many assets and blockchains.

Replace BAT with BNB, and it starts to sound an awful lot like Binance’s value proposition, doesn’t it?

Except, Binance doesn’t have a browser. And they don’t have a mechanism to deliver their token to millions of daily users for free. And they don’t have a way to use their token to tip websites and content providers in popular corners of the internet like Twitter and Reddit.

All Binance has is an established centralized exchange and limited-time advantage in the dApps ecosystem with Binance Smart Chain (BCS).


What If

It’s certainly a tall order but consider the possibilities. Think if you could go back in time and buy BNB for $0.50. I’m not suggesting that BAT is en route to USD 300, and I’m not suggesting a 10–100x spike in the next 6 months, but think about what they’re doing.

They already have a browser. They already have an established token.

As cryptocurrency and web3.0 starts to take off, the community needs to address things like Average Joe’s ability to connect a wallet to a website. The user will need to understand how to buy & trade tokens and interact with this new world.

Brave’s creating a new wallet and DEX that, coupled with incentives for using tokens earned for free just from using their Chrome-based browser, will surely become the default experience for the sea of lay users.

It’s a bold prediction, but Brave’s 2.0 roadmap is a step toward becoming the default gateway to cryptocurrency and the next generation of the internet. It’s an ambitious goal, to be sure, but it’s hard not to ask: what if they pull it off?


I’m looking for feedback! What do you think of the Brave 2.0 roadmap and my claim of their potential? Are we staring at a 100x opportunity, or will BAT continue to underwhelm? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!


This article was originally published on read.cash on March 2, 2021.

How to Stake ETH2 and Earn Double Rewards

Featured image by QuoteInspector

A tour of Ankr Staker & liquidity provider SnowSwap

There are a lot of really cool dApps on Ethereum right now. The problem with Ethereum, though — as everybody knows — is the fees associated with its current proof-of-work validation. And that’s the promise of Ethereum 2.0: that the move to proof-of-stake will speed everything up and reduce fees.

Given my excitement for Ethereum 1.0, I was eager to get involved with 2.0. Unfortunately, staking ETH2 requires 32 ETH — and I had more like one.

There’s a solution for that, too! Staking pools! Today, I’ll share my experience with staking ETH2 and using the wrapped token to gain bonus rewards while my ETH assets are frozen.

Usual disclaimers apply. I’m a hobbyist. None of this is advice. Do your own research, and don’t gamble with what you can’t afford to lose.


Staking with Ankr

There are few ETH2 staking options available, but the first one I learned about was Ankr. Ankr Staker allows you to stake ETH2 with as little as 0.5 ETH. When you stake, you will exchange your ETH for an equal amount of Ankr’s wrapped token, aETH.

The cool thing about aETH is that it represents your ETH investment plus earned rewards.

When I joined, I staked 1 ETH and received 0.99 aETH. This was a little confusing to me at first, but it made sense after a week or so — I could see that 1 aETH was now worth 1.01 ETH, and after another week, it had grown to 1.03 ETH.

That’s pretty cool. My 1 ETH is frozen until the launch of Ethereum 2.0, but I can watch the value grow by checking in with Ankr.

What’s cooler is that even though I’m staked with ETH2 and my assets are frozen, I still have the wrapped token to play with!


Cool? Frozen? Let’s talk about SnowSwap!

I learned about SnowSwap from Ankr’s article on Medium, Stake aETH with our new partner SnowSwap. Well, that sounds just about perfect, right?

SnowSwap’s eth2SNOW liquidity pool solves two problems. First, it eliminates the ETH entry requirement for anybody interested in staking ETH2. You can trade for whatever fraction of an aETH you’d like, and any aETH you obtain can later be exchanged for the corresponding percentage of staked ETH plus rewards.

The second problem it solves is that it allows people who have staked their ETH to earn rewards immediately by serving as liquidity providers. Providing liquidity to the eth2SNOW pool offers a high APY, currently around 24%. Rewards are paid in SnowSwap’s native token, SNOW, so the profitability of rewards is tied to that.

Sound good? Let’s set it up!

First, you need to withdraw your aETH tokens from Ankr at the site above: eth2.ankr.com. Now head to SnowSwap and connect your wallet. Providing liquidity is a two-step process. First, exchange aETH for the LP token, eth2SNOW. Then, stake the eth2SNOW to begin earning rewards.

SNOW tokens have seen a lot of volatility in the past week — like just about all cryptocurrencies — and are currently worth about $46 each. The screenshot above is after just 10 days. At the presumably-budget-rate of $46, this still represents a $302 gain for the year. SNOW has been as high as $150 in the past month, though, so the final value earnings after a year could easily be 3x or more.

It’s also worth noting that SnowSwap is in its infancy and still running a beta version. I think this bodes well for its future, though, and I’ve seen estimates for SNOW as high as $700-$1500. The investment has the potential to be quite lucrative for the “frozen” ETH!


Conclusion

Using Ankr’s staking pool is a great way to start earning ETH2 rewards today, even though the rewards won’t be accessible until Ethereum 2 launches in 1 or more years. The wrapped token they return in exchange gives a distinct advantage, though, allowing you to provide liquidity and effectively earn double-rewards while you wait.

The gas fees to retrieve aETH, exchange for SnowSwap’s LP token, and stake the LP token were annoyingly high. It probably cost me $100 to do it all, but now that the resources are parked and earning, I feel pretty good about it.

Ethereum’s hurting right now because of its fees leading to an exodus to other chains like Binance Smart Chain, but they have a big lead on the rest of the pack. The competition will certainly chip away at it, but if Ethereum 2.0 can deliver on its promises before it’s too late, it’s going to see tremendous growth in value.

The pieces are in place, and now we wait and double-earn rewards along the way!


I’m looking for feedback! Are you excited about Ethereum 2.0? Have you staked elsewhere, or have you found a better use for a wrapped token? Leave a comment and let me know!


This article was originally published on read.cash on February 28, 2021.

If I Could Start My Crypto Life Over

Featured image by Braden Collum on Unsplash

Five tips for new cryptocurrency investors

In the grand scheme of the cryptocurrency universe, I’m still a relative noob. I’ve only been in the game for a few months, but I’ve learned A TON in a short amount of time. Now, looking back, I feel like Rod Stewart famously sang:

I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger

I mean, 100 days younger, but still — the point remains. So, here are 5 things I wish I would’ve known when I was getting started. I’m not trying to sell you on any of the products or services I mention, but I’ll include referral links at the end of the article to use if you’re interested.


#1 Learn the tax rules

It feels dumb to say, but I didn’t even think about taxes when I started. I was carefree and carelessly tradin’ and buyin’ and sellin’ and just havin’ myself a grand ol’ time. And then I learned that most of what I was doing probably had tax implications.

&*($#.

Luckily, this was only about one month into the journey, and it wasn’t too terrible to get caught up on things. Still, this was my biggest regret in the beginning.

Now, I keep a spreadsheet for all my transactions. I record the cost basis and realized gains & losses when selling or trading. It still gets pretty complex in a hurry, so I also use free services CoinTracker and Koinly to help.

The point here is to know that there are rules and get ahead of them, so you don’t find yourself playing catch-up later. Because it really stinks.

#2 Compare exchanges

I don’t remember how I ended up with Coinbase, but that’s where I started. I’m glad that’s where I started, though, because one of the cool things about Coinbase is their “earn” program that lets you watch videos about new cryptocurrencies to earn small rewards.

Currently, you can earn about $30 in rewards this way. Not only is it great for getting some free crypto, but I also found it interesting to learn about the new cryptos themselves. This helped me understand the bigger picture and how cryptocurrencies play an increasing role in the world.

So that’s one cool thing about Coinbase, but I also find myself looking longingly at Binance and wishing I had assets over there to move onto the low-fee Binance Smart Chain (BCS). And both Coinbase and Binance don’t have certain cryptocurrencies I wish I could buy.

This is why I suggest you shop around. Compare what promotions and sign-up there are to take advantage of. Look for cryptocurrencies. Consider what fees might be involved and lock periods before you can move funds off the exchange. Please do your research so you can maximize rewards and not feel trapped when it’s time to do the things you want to do.

#3 Invest some stablecoins

This one stings on the heels of a bad week because I didn’t do this. There are really great interest rates available, and having the non-volatile assets available to buy the dips is a real treat.

The first place I recommend for this is Celsius. They offer a 12.5% return on most stablecoins. In addition to great rates on stablecoins, they also offer returns for many popular coins like BTC (6%), DASH (5.5%), MATIC (13.99%), and many others. It’s set-it-and-forget-it gains that you earn just by having funds in your wallet.

Celsius isn’t available everywhere, though. Nexo is another site that offers 12% returns on stablecoins and many others. BlockFi is a third option, but they offer just 8.6%. (However, I just read today that BlockFi is a good play to deposit funds and then use your one free withdrawal per month to move USDC to Celsius as a way to dodge fees.)

Having a pile of high-interest earning stablecoins is also great for making sure you have money to pay taxes at the end of the year. (Remember #1?) Consider the 12% return rates here against banks, where high-yield savings might earn you 0.5% interest. Even the stock market, with all its risks, can’t guarantee you these returns.

The tradeoff is that these funds aren’t FDIC insured. Certain providers offer different assurances, so again, do your own research.

#4 Invest in DeFi

Those stablecoin interest rates I was talking about are pretty impressive, but they pale in comparison to the return rates offered by many defi apps. Look around, and you’ll see APYs north of 200%.

I’ve invested a small amount with Cake DeFi, and I’ve been excited about the result. They offer $30 for signing up, and you can earn 130% APY with their BTC-DFI liquidity pool, 5–7.5% on BTC with their Lapis service, or 37% by staking DFI.

DeFiChain (DFI) is their native coin, and it’s trading for about $3.50. Cake DeFi’s goal is to bring user-friendly, high-return crypto financial services to the masses, and so far, they’re delivering. I like here because of the high returns plus the high potential of the DFI coin.

I’ve invested $500 with Cake DeFi, and every day I earn about 0.50 DFI and a couple of satoshis of BTC. I did the match, and the story checks out: it amounts to approximately 130% APY return.

Cake DeFi is just one option, though, and not an especially popular one at that. Harvest, Beefy, and many others exist — look around!

#5 MetaMask & Web3.0

It took me a minute to understand how a lot of the distributed apps (dApps) worked. It’s a different world. You don’t sign up with usernames and passwords and have accounts. Instead, you connect your wallet, and that’s who you are.

I started using Trust Wallet, and it’s been fine. There’s a built-in browser that I can use within the app that seems to work pretty well. I can also use the MetaMask browser extension for Chrome to use the same wallet on my desktop computer.

This has allowed me to expand into ETH2 staking and investing with SnowSwap and use one of the most popular dApps — Uniswap — to obtain tokens that aren’t available through the exchanges.

It’s a non-intuitive process to pick up coming from the traditional internet world we all know & love. And I’m a pretty tech-savvy person. Just having the awareness that this is a thing probably would’ve been enough to make it intuitive enough to grasp, but there’s no web3.0 handbook that really spells it out.


“Free $150” Startup

Here’s what I’d do if I were just getting in. This process earns about $150 in rewards with minimal effort using many of the tools above.

  1. Sign-up with Coinbase using a referral link to earn $10
  2. Buy $200 of BTC from Coinbase (*required to earn the $10 reward)
  3. Complete Coinbase quizzes to earn another $30 in rewards
  4. Convert earnings to BTC
  5. Sign-up with Celsius with referral code to earn $30
  6. Transfer all BTC from Coinbase to Celsius; let sit for 30 days (*required to earn $30 reward)
  7. Sign-up with Cake DeFi with referral code to earn $30
  8. Transfer all BTC from Celsius to Cake DeFi
  9. Convert half of BTC to DFI and add it all to BTC-DFI liquidity pool
  10. Wait 180 days (*required to earn $30 reward)

At the end of this process, you’ll have earned $10 + $30 + $30 + $30 plus another $100 or so from the liquidity pool — that’s double your money in about 6 months!


Conclusion

So there you have it, my top 5 things I wish I would’ve known when getting started.

First, make sure you know your tax rules so you don’t create a paperwork nightmare or land yourself in a financial/legal mess. Shop around for different exchanges to find the one that serves you best. Set aside some stablecoins to generate steady, non-volatile growth to cover expenses, keep funds for strategic investments, and take advantage of lucrative investment opportunities on emerging defi platforms. Finally, learn to use a non-exchange wallet to participate in the new web3.0.

It’s been a wild few months learning about all this, and I’ve had a great time. I hope these tips help you get up to speed quickly and avoid some of the mistakes I made along the way.


I’m looking for feedback! What do you think of these tips? Do you have other ideas that should be included? Leave a comment and let me know!


Referral links

In case you want ‘em.

  • Binance US — Binance Smart Chain & BNB
  • Cake DeFi — $30 sign-up reward
  • Coinbase — $10 sign-up reward — earn $30 in free crypto
  • Celsius — $30 sign-up reward (1319904a9e)

This article was originally published on read.cash on February 27, 2021.

Robinhood, the Crypto Gateway Drug

Featured image by YIFEI CHEN on Unsplash

How I moved from slingin’ stonks to cryptocurrencies

It all started with a birthday check from Grandma. I’m 40, but I still get birthday checks from my grandparents. Cute, right?

The pandemic was in full bloom, and there wasn’t much for me to do with my birthday bucks — so I decided to head to everybody’s favorite virtual casino: Robinhood.

I was classic dumb money, investing in a certain electric car company — let’s call it Schmikola — and other less-bad-but-still-bad choices. I learn from my mistakes, though. With every misstep, I became a little smarter.

I moved from following the herd to making better, educated decisions. I was diversifying. I decided ETFs were better and started putting money into them instead. Things were growing and moving in a positive direction.

But then I realized I have a 401k for that. I asked myself:

What am I trying to do here?

That’s when I ripped it all out and put it into bitcoin. (Keep in mind that “all” is my original birthday money plus weekly investments of about $50. We’re probably talking about $500 at this point — not my life savings.) Can you guess what happened next?

Source: my Robinhood portfolio

That’s how my fascination with bitcoin and cryptocurrency began. I started exploring outside of Robinhood and discovered an entire world of choices and freedom. It’s become my number one hobby, and that’s what brings us to today.

I’ve since moved all my funds from Robinhood and into exchanges, wallets, and investments. Robinhood’s okay for getting started if your only goal is to have some skin in the game. It’s crypto with training wheels. You can’t make as many mistakes, but you also lose all freedom.

There are two things Robinhood steals from you: choice and opportunity. You’re limited to the handful of cryptos they offer, which is less than ten in a sea of thousands. And since you don’t have control of the coins themselves, you can’t use them for investing — and the investment returns in the crypto space are mind-boggling good.

That’s how my journey began. After leaving Robinhood, I began to explore the various exchanges and opportunities. I started researching lots of different cryptocurrencies. I’ve learned a ton, and I’ve had a lot of fun along the way.

In my next article, I’ll talk about how I’d start if I could restart from the beginning. There’s free money available if you know where to look. I could easily double my same $250 birthday investment in less than 6 months, and I’ll show you how. Stay tuned!


Please note that this is my hobby. This is not financial advice, nor am I qualified in any way, shape, or form to give financial advice. Learn with me; have fun with me, but do your own research and only gamble with money you expect to lose.