Today I Fucked Up

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Alt Coins/Alt Protocols, Outlook

I feel really down about losing 283 Decred. See I was part of their Airdrop back in January. Today, however, I was trying to do upkeep on my remote server (local, but remote as in I’m not typing on it these days.) See I was super paranoid about Decred in the beginning so I took the liberties of setting up a virtual machine on the remote server. I even went as far as to copy the private key seed into a text file on the remote server. However, I have also been running open bazaar on it too. Now I’ve been busy with life and other things so I had this problem with my remote server running VNC viewer…it wouldn’t work unless I logged in first. That was sort of a deal breaker because this server has a broken screen so it was quite inconvenient to login and out. Naturally wanting to solve this I took to the streets of the interwebs to see what I could rummage. I found a few methods to run a script to set off VNC server on boot but nothing seemed to work. So, I got another bright idea – just set it to autologin, its on my local net and I’m NEVER going to access it externally.

So I do that. And from there I get this funny little error that says Failed to update .ICEauthenicate in /home/me. It was innocuous at first because it would throw that error, then resume to login as usual. Okay…let’s now figure out how to fix that….interwebz now suggests that I change permissions on the file, no improvement…now it says to delete the file it will get generated again on a fresh login….that’s true yet that still does not fix my problem…a final suggestion is to recursively change permissions to my username within the home directory…uh-oh I do that but now I can’t access the directories at all unless I’m signed in a root. Changing it back does not fix it either! I’m worried now, so I run by Linux IRC where an awesome gathering of folks have kindly set me on the path to getting file and command line access as I hand before. They even teach me an amazing technique where I don’t even need VNC because the server can just ssh -X and forward the graphics GUI of the requested program (open Bazaar) So now, I think everything is in the clear and I just want to try it one last time for good measure…And this is where I fucked up….I SHOULD have at that point migrated all the backup seed data for decred but stupid ass me decides to sudo shutdown -r (just to check)

It doesn’t even dawn on me how bad things are about to become. Resets and takes me to the login screen. I enter my password, it throws me that ICEauthenticate error, no biggie…wait…it just threw me back to the login? That doesn’t happen, its just logs me in but it didn’t, hmm weird…I’ll just enter my password in again…and it throws me back to that error before putting me right back in from of the login screen again. It starts creeping in that something is terribly wrong here. I try doing a hard reset, maybe something didn’t load properly…no difference…alright let’s whip out the heavier guns….login via ssh…okay so far so good, let’s see my home directory so I can chmod that damn .ICEauthenticat file…hoollllld onnnn why are my files missing and there’s this thing called: Access-Your-Private-Data.desktop I’ve never seen that before. I look around google and it tells me back that this must be an encrypted folder and that I would need to manually decrypt it. I scurry about looking for the right thing to try…I happened upon this: sudo ecryptfs-mount-private Seems easy enough, I go on ahead and use that along with my password and this terrible message presents itself: fopen: No such file or directory. I’m not legitimately scared…sure I had my open bazaar store with a wallet filled with maybe a dollar of bitcoin who cares about that….no my anguish came from having an untouched Decred wallet listed and from checking that with a price of $1.40 a piece and a that quantity that I had just lost access to $400. I haven’t yet tried booting a liveCD and mounting the encrypted folder onto a temp directory, but at this point that is my final resort before having to call it a loss and walking away (reinstalling my OS)

Here are where my mistakes were made:

I should have kept an off-system copy of that private key generation seed from decred.
I should have when logged in as remote, taken copies of the decred text files – I still remember them being on the desktop of the remote server and feel like a fool for not just keeping a local backup
I had greater trust in my ability to solve this problem when in fact I didn’t.
I encrypted my home directory – that was a major faux pas, I’m not Edward Snowden or Ross Ulbricht I could have done fine with simple password protection, that server hasn’t moved at all and the screen is broken…The machine I’m typing on Goes with me places and I would much rather have that encrypted, encrypting the disk on my server was just overkill and this very situation show’s just why I’m stuck.

Resolve:

I don’t know what I’m going to do, I’m definitely feeling down from this all happening and am just looking for whatever silver lining I can find. I know I don’t come here much these days, and I appreciate you visiting me today. Feel free to read up on what I’m up to or to reach out in the comments below.

How to Avoid Ransomware

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Outlook

It came to my attention that many more hospital administrations are under fire from Ransomware attacks.  These attacks are devastating on operations, money spent, and faith from your customers.  Today, we’ll go over how to better protect yourself as an administrator or as a hospital staff member so that your organization can better prepare themselves against the threat of ransomware.

 

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is what is sounds like.  It’s a piece of software, that once on your computer, will make a nasty habit of encrypting files and folders on your hard drive, making them unusable. From there, it will usually give you a popup message on your computer saying “pay up or lose your files forever.”  As you can imagine this information can be devastating to some who may only have single copies of those files available.  What if you only had a single copy of those documents and they were critical to the functioning of your business what would you do?  As you can imagine, most feel coerced into paying up.

 

What can I do?

I’m very glad you asked!  Today we are going to discuss six ways in which you can protect yourself and/or your organization against Ransomware threats whether they be of the wide net kind or the advanced persistent variety.

 

  1.  Have a disaster recovery plan.  Keep daily/weekly offline backups that are not attached to any powered machine.  This can include CD/DVD backups of records, an attached storage which is formatted and rotated for each month in update (keeping 12-24 of them available so you have two years of backup solutions if possible).  The key plan though is to make sure you have your data isolated from the main-network.  If there is an attack on your network, Use a separate, known to be clean (perhaps a purchased PC or machine from another network would be ideal)  to first make a copy, then use that copy to attempt to recover your records, only after removing known threats and ransomware.
  2. Show all files and file extensions.  Though this may scare your less tech savvy co-workers with the proliferation of new hidden files and 3 letter end-extensions, but these are mandatory.  More often than not, it is very simple to create an innocent looking image or pdf file that may have been passed from an internal email or from a customer even…I would recommend to not even bother downloading it, though if you have all extensions shown (using Folder Options in Windows, Finder, Preferences, Show All File Extensions for Mac.)
  3. Set a strict no attachments policy on emails.  This should go without saying for any circumstances really but it goes triple so for any business or organization.  DO NOT BOTHER OPENING ATTACHMENTS! Here’s why:  When has there ever been a situation to where you needed to open a PDF on your own machine?  When have you NEEDED to open a picture on your own machine?  This is 2016….and yet in 2004 the answer was NEVER!  Does your customer or patient NEED to send an image?  Ask them to Use Imgur, then to delete once you have a copy for yourself….Buffer Overrun is no Joke.  Need a PDF or documentation?  Have them provide data through a form! If you use client-based email solutions such as Macmail, ThunderBird, or Outlook, then set rules to move emails with attachments to trash automatically.
  4. Set Boxtrapper Policy on Emails. Less known but quite valuable is to set a boxtrapper policy on all external emails.  Doing this forces automated emails to pass through a confirmation email step before being white-listed and you see an instant reduction in spam from automated emails.
  5. No external USB media drives. Avoid media devices as they could be external attempts to penetrate your network.  Instead, contact the sender and inform them that paper copies are required as per policy or direct data submission per you requirements.  Furthermore, attempted solicitations of USB drives should be logged in a Computer security log or IT Incident Binder of sorts such that a record can be established of attempts to infiltrate your data should law enforcement or litigation be further necessary.
  6. No Free Lunch, Dodge Shady Websites. Are you using warez, downloading entire contents of torrent files, using software from closed sources, or attempting to use pirated software?  You may potentially get Fired! But more importantly you may be putting your files at risk.  By all means, avoid illicit software that may have ransomware, bitcoin stealers, and viruses built in.  Shady websites also have bad advertising that will mislead you into clicking the wrong thing, leading to infection.
Poor guy lost 4.88 BTC (Just over $2000 as of 4/2016) over pirating a $60 Game!

 

Closing Remarks

Now that we know of Ransomware, we’ve gone over how we can prevent it from proliferating within your organization. At the end of the day, nothing beats good common sense and consistent policy enforcement.  If you MUST make an exception, consider making it on a personal computer and the ramifications if that file were ransomware, locking up your valuable family photos to be encrypted under threat of loss without payment….avoid external files as often as possible, use links to publicly hosted image sites.  Use a sandbox computer with google drive to print then delete pdf files if you absolutely have no other choice than to receive and print them….key takeaway there…SANDBOXED computer

doitvirusupload

Chrome Right Click Block Explorer Plugin

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Outlook

Today we’ll be building a right click block explorer plugin extension for google chrome.  Why do this?  I’ve been wanting something like this for a few months now. I’m sure that different individuals have made extensions that were available on the chrome store to share this feature with you, but this is Bitcoin.  I don’t like the idea of having an app extension that is specifically geared towards Bitcoin on a computer that I use to store some Bitcoin (spending money Bitcoin – smaller than my cold-wallet but larger than the spending money on a phone’s wallet).  I’m paranoid that an app update would come around designed to hijack my private keys.  Therefore, I made this mini extension that allows you to Right Click and open a bitcoin address in your favorite block explorer….why is this better than simply using Right Click Lookup?  Well, Right Click, Lookup, will take you to a default search using that bitcoin address – if it’s cached then you can click on a block-explorer link on that result page – but now you have wasted a page load on that search engine result page.  Use this extension to save time and skip that step!  I’m not going to release this on google play store because it would be better that you build a tool like this yourself and KNOW there’s no bugs, trackers, malware, nor rootkits embedded…Let’s Begin.

Chrome plugins are made using Javascript.  You don’t need to know programming or software development to follow/use this tutorial, but it would certainly help you make sense of things (particularly towards the end of this writeup)  First create a new folder to hold your plugin files.  In order for this to work you will need to make at least two files (with a 3rd image icon file as optional).  Create your first file – call it manifest.json.  The manifest.json file is used to name and declare the this extension so that Chrome knows how to load and use it.  The file as you can see by the extension is a JSON formatted file (not unlike a .config file.)  Your extension requires that you define a Name, Description, Version, Permissions, Background options, the Manifest Version and to define an icon name and location (should you choose to.)

 

Explanation:  Name, Description, and Version can be whatever you want – they are for your reference.  “permissions”  defines what features your plugin is allowed to utilize – for our purposes we need to enable contextMenus and tabs. (CaSe SeNsEtIvE: pay attention to the camelCaseFormatting)  “background” has an option called persistent – this simply tells chrome whether or not we want the computer to keep the script running in memory at all times or if we only want it to run when needed.  Set persistent to False so that it only runs when needed.  “scripts” is used to define our 2nd file which actually holds the logic needed to make our lookup happen.  the straight brackets [ ] denominate that this is an array which means we could define several scripts if desired (fyi).  “manifest_version” specifies the version format of this manifest.json file – just set that to 2.

(Optional) Chrome extension icons come in three sizes – but for our purposes you only need the tiny 16 pixel by 16 pixel icon so that it appears next to our Right Click menu feature.  Find your favorite bitcoin graphic and resize it to 16×16 then save it.  Now, make an “icons” section.  Fill in the size and the name of the image.  Save the icon image and the manifest.json file in the same folder. 

Finally, we create the actual script itself, name it whatever you want, I’m calling mine sample.js.  

 

Explanation:  We begin the script by creating a Click-Handler Function.  This function requires an info object and a tab object (these are defined by Objects generated from the Chrome browser).  Within that function we first create a variable, btcAddr which stores our text from the selection.  Now we create a 2nd variable named btcURL – I bet you can guess what that’s for!  Enter in your favorite block explorer of choice and wrap it in quotes (this is known as a string.  Strings are interpreted as text).  at the end of that string you see the + sign?  That means combine the strings to form one (technically it’s called concatenation).  This will combine the BTC address on the end of the URL string so that your plugin can generate the link on the fly.  Now that our custom URL has been formed, we can create a new browser tab and pass the URL into this created tab by using chrome.tabs.create().  We pass in our url : btcURL and make the script actually execute using an anonymous function that takes that same tab we’ve put together as a parameter requirement.

So we’re done now right???? Not Quite;  We’ve only built the onClickHandler – we need to now build an event listener so that the  extension knows when it should run that onClickHandler.  chrome.contextMenus.onClicked.addListener() does the job – we simply pass in our onClickHandler and it does the rest.  

Now we’re done….right?????? Couple more steps, but we’re almost there I promise!  We need to build a constructor that actually makes the Right click menu feature appear.  To do this, Chrome requires that we make a variable using chrome.contextMenus.create().  As you can see, this constructor requires a couple “key”:”pair” settings, notably the “title” (the text actually shown for your feature), “contexts” which is an array (we see the square brackets again) of the different features (for this simple plugin we only need “selection”), and finally the “id” of this specific feature within the plugin – rendered using “id”: “context” + “selection” (there’s that concatenation again!)  That’s it!  Save your javascript file in the folder with your icon and manifest.json. 

Implementation: Open your Chrome Browser and get to your extensions by clicking or typing in this link: chrome://extensions/. Now on your computer, go to your created files…navigate up one level so that you can see the folder itself.  Click and hold to ‘drag’ and ‘drop’ the entire folder into the extensions window – chrome will popup a small white box that says “Drop to Install”, do it.  Congratulations, you can now right click to scan bitcoin addresses!  Feel free to Right Click on the extensions icon at the top near the address bar and click “Hide in Chrome Menu”… it doesn’t work there anyway – only on addresses 

Final thoughts:  I’ve looked again just now and see that duckduckgo provides a way to see balances built into their search engine – Not sure if that’s a recent change or its been around for a minute…oh well.  Anyhow, what I’ve shown you today is just scratching the surface on what you could potentially build.  For instance, if you wanted, you could EASILY build a tipping mechanism that integrates with your wallet – pass the address with a predefined amount using a bitcoin style uri like:

bitcoin:1Kmib4CidHnpKh2dge68yzaH1aviB7DjxR?amount=.00034&label=Frankenmint’s%20test and form the btcURL such that btcURL =  “bitcoin:” + btcAddr + ”?amount=0.0002…”; Now you simply right-click Send Tip – and it would pre-fill the information  in for you.  You could really get fancy with it and store the URL itself within the Label so that you have a detailed track record of who was tipped and when.  Maybe you’re a power user – a cryptocurrency day-trader and you would rather have the ability to do this with Lightcoin, or maybe even with Lightcoin, Ethereum, Decred, NuBits, and more???? No problem!  collect all your various block-explorer urls for each of the currencies you wish to track.  From there, you would str.substring() to save the first character of the address into its own variable.  You would then run a case(switch) statement for that character to figure out which coin it is…in each case you would then execute the onClickHandler with the url parameter specified each time on a case by case basis.  

DogeCoin E-Commerce Business Tutorial

Posted on 12 CommentsPosted in Alt Coins/Alt Protocols, Outlook, tools, tutorial

Hopefully you’re excited because I am… We’ll do this slow and steady…asking you a string of questions before guiding you down the path you need to take…clear??? Let’s begin…

Do you know what Doge is? Yes?!? Then you’re already halfway there Shibe! Good! Now we begin by picking a wallet:  You could go the purist route and Run a Full node.  The Core Dogecoin Software, available on Github, would allow you to take full payments and to greatly customize the level of automation that your website would provide – for the sake of simplicity and ease of guiding novices through this tutorial, I will not be going over integrating full Dogecoin Core to the site – if you wish, you could generate a fresh dogecoin payment address and to then integrate that into gourl.io for payments.  If you have issues with hard drive space limits or perhaps plan to only use your wallet occasionally you could also opt in to use the lightweight wallet then consider the multi-Bit fork – MultiDoge.  MultiDoge doesn’t require storing the blockchain and runs fairly fast.  If you absolutely can’t be bothered with storing your own private keys and you trust the author (admittedly I’ve gone this route)  then consider using the DogetipBot  web wallet. (I would not advise holding large sums of doge on a web wallet though and do plan to move amounts larger than 100K onto my own wallet (private keys that I control)).

Get it got it good…now we figure out your kick ass shibash business plan. So this boils down to yer two terms mate: ye be goodman or serviceman er both of course. The biggest and the best do both with much wow such amaze. So picketh ye what ye be shibe – I sell bumper stickers on honeybadgerofmoney.com as well as other trinkets. But should you choose to sell ebooks or Artwork, I can show you how to do that as well.  Let’s take five minutes to sit you down and figure out what the market needs.  It’s not good enough to say “I’ll sell Compaq all in one PC’s running windows 98…for Doge!”  You need to do a little preliminary survey taking with the community (particularly /r/dogecoin, and /r/cryptocurrency on reddit…those are your primary target markets).  A survey will help you ascertain whether or not your idea is marketable and also if you idea has a current demand (or could potentially garner a demand).  Choosing to execute a business without first determining if there is a feasible demand (enough of one such that you’re not out of business after three weeks) is a guaranteed recipe for failure. Also, determine if your goods/services are a one time purchase or a repeat purchase – consumable goods such as food, gift credits, airtime, or event tickets are all items that eventually require repurchasing in order to gain utility from them again.  (You can purchase a book one time and never have to acquire that story again – you must purchase candy again in order to taste and experience that candy again).  Also do be sure that before moving forward with a business, that you can establish an agreement on pricing with your vendors such that you’re not stressing out month to month seeking new vendors and praying that your existing vendors don’t quit or change their pricing.

Once you find a great product that you can back and provide support for, start crunching numbers.  Your goal of crunching these numbers is to figure out an ideal price point to attract the most customers that also happens to ensure a healthy profit margin as well as set a realistic sales objective (per day, week, or month) such that you can sale a reasonable amount reliably and remain in business.  To demand from yourself that you can sell 2000 ‘widgets’ per month for only doge is a very hard and tall order – you’re almost asking that each visitor to /r/dogecoin make a purchase from you each month – is that even realistic? Be sure that you crunch numbers to figure out how much effort is worthwhile to you but at the same time feasible for your customer base…the right intersection can guarantee healthy margins and a reduction in potential stress.

There ARE different approaches and methods to business.  Before 1990 the feasible method to establishing a small business was through either having a brick and mortar store, or by having a catalog based business.  These were both very expensive to setup and maintain.  So much so that the advancement of the internet has allowed anyone to open their own small business online for less than $30…whereas just decades ago the same small business would cost you anywhere from 20-200 thousand dollars for the same physical storefront presence that you gain from this $30 webstore!  Therefore, in this guide today, we’ll be discussing how to setup an e-shop, get a domain name going (paid for using crypto) and even how to get the site up and running!

To follow this guide effectively plan to spend about $30 dollars and have an afternoon or weekend to spare to take your dream business from  idea concept to reality. Do you have a $10 Billion Doge idea in the midst…get it written down… ideally you will revisit this scribble or jot more ideas down often….perhaps once a week is best to ensure that you are following through to meet business plan objectives. My objective for the purposes of this tutorial is to sell this guide as an ebook, to sell one hour of my consulting/development time as a service item, and finally, to sell my famous fry seasoning – All from the same storefront. This entire guide will walk you through all the steps I took to get this up and running.

Step 1:

Spend at least a week doing some Research and Development!  Seriously…one week now will save you potentially thousands of dollars in wasted time and headaches later.  It’s been a week and you’ve accurately analyzed competition, potential liabilities, calculated the required funds to stay in operations for six months, and most importantly, have calculated how much doge you can realistically earn base on marketing efforts… Now pick the name (short wins.) Use Namecheap – They offer domain names for Bitcoin meaning they’re a crypto-progressive company. I see dogecoin.ninja – Perfect…let’s grab it!

 

 

 

..Now add on Value shared hosting – you can expand up to three websites should you choose to….the entire cart price of this setup so far should total you … that’s right … a mere $24.95 shine, with a nickel for your thoughts (or to hand off to me should you choose 😉 Now I was going to initially introduce you to the wordpress route and that is still the aim and intention of this guide but I want you to know that you are BY NO MEANS LIMITED TO THE PUNY WEAKLING THAT IS WORDPRESS!!!!! should you be the website developer juggernaut that uttered this last sentence you have the power of such content management systems such as Drupal, Joomla, Prestashop, or even Magento. Use Gourl.io.  It gives you the advantage of integrating into any of those storefronts so that you have more flexibility in the solution you choose (with no headache). However, for the purposes and scope of this guide, we’ll stick with the safe route that assumes you have zero knowledge of programming nor care to learn it. We’ll spoon feed you through this…Have you purchased the domain name and hosting combo yet???

Step 2:

Installing WordPress. Once you have hosting and the domain purchased they should be linked together by default (as they are part of the same package). Login and choose One-Click Install. From here you should be taken to the Scriptalicious Portal. From there you can install wordpress for your site. Pat yourself on the back because you’re three quarters done! For the display example we’ll be installing the storefront onto my existing domain name. To visit simply check out doge.honeybadgerofmoney.com! To install wordpress onto your domain, simply enter in an email address and a username. Your password will be emailed to this address so be sure it is one you own and can secure! Just having a Gmail Account along isn’t going to cut it – Preferably, you should have an email address that is already configured. Luckily, Namecheap provides Email Accounts for Domains through your Cpanel Dashboard. Login to the hosting interface then click Email Accounts…from there you can generate a personalized email such as admin or support or fancysupershibe@dogecoin.ninja (if you’re smart and bought this by now) and be sure to set a complex password. Now you can look like a professional and use something fancy such as thunderbird or Clawsmail – Both are free so do yourself a favor and look professional with an email address from your domain!

Step 3:

dogecoin price

Install plugins – These are mandatory: Woocommerce, Gourl.io Payment Gateway, and CoinGecko Price Ticker Widge Thank CoinGecko for this ticker tool BTW…use it to display the current doge price on your site. I just plopped it into my shop page on wordpress. The difference between pages and posts – posts are temporary in time and should be used for blog posts … pages are permanent and should be linked to like category pages or perhaps permanent pages you wish to always point to – menu placeholders. Even though Posts can be linked to and used like pages, permanent style content should be placed into pages, now moving on.

Take the time to do the woocommerce tutorial and walkthrough – create the checkout my-account and other pages that woocommerce depends upon to function smoothly and from there take the time to create a few products – go on try it! It’s very easy to duplicate a base product to create different styles – OR – create a variation product so that you could allow your customers to select variations of sizes or colors, ideal for clothing or selling in specified quantities. See the video pt 1:

 

 

 

 

I didn’t finish it through but you can see by the result that we required the price to be place there NOT necessarily an inventory level – I wish they would have that automatically placed based on my sale price!!! hmpph…anyhow….

Step 4:

Choose A Coin Processor – Why do you want a coin-processor? A coin-processor will take no setup time and usually has an integrated plugin to configure directly into your wordpress site! To really be underground and not rely on a 3rd party, you have the option of setting up your own Dogecoin RPC daemon to listen in on and respond with fresh addresses for payments or you could potentially generate thousands of addresses at once and upload them to your related database to be used for generated invoices within woocommerce (this is out of scope for today’s guide but can be certainly implemented with a bit of php and patience!) OR just give some trust and do some due diligence to pick a merchant processor, pay perhaps 1-3% and skip the headache. To date I’ve configured CryptoWoo, Gourl.io, coinpayments.net and today gocoin.com. I spent the initial time today with Gocoin.com …Avoid them unless you want much pain and suffering. Go with Cryptowoo if you have already used coinpyments and gourl.io and wish to look for something new as its fairly young but designed to be dev friendly. If you don’t know what to do and just bought this domain on my whim and need me to get this finished already so you can take over teh world, you definitely need to roll with Gourl.io Setup an account using this link. Once registered you should have a basic dashboard page where you can generate your Private and public API Keys for Doge like this:

 

 

 

Can’t Doge it…need both plugins for it to much amaze

Now install the plugins (there’s two required for Gourl to function properly, a main gateway plugin and a woocommerce wrapper).  To install plugins, simply hover your mouse on plugins (looks like a plug icon) and then click on “Add New” to search for gourl and to add these two icons to the left here. Once thye are installed you can  enter in your generated key info into your Plugin settings page here (replacing it with your moon approved domain name www thingy of dogeness): http://dogecoin.ninja/wp-admin/admin.php?page=gourlsettings.

Moment of Proof:

 

“Eureka Shibe Genius”

 

 

Step 5:

?????????????? – Seriously I don’t know on how you make your 60 billion double doges but at least we now have a website by which we can collect them!!!! So now its on you to market your wares to /r/dogecoin, forum.dogecoin.com, doges.com, suchlist.com and any other possible marketing avenue I may have missed. We’re in the business to stay in business so now you should be ready to rinse and repeat for three more domains with another $28 and potentially have three different businesses in motion. Now…if you are looking to do development or website work and want to have other capabilities I would advise considering other hosting options beyond namecheap as there are opportunities to save in the long run with a little bit of research…your results may vary.

DogeCOIN E-SHOP PDF GUIDE – The PDF of this webpage to be shared with anyone who may be interested in setting up their own Dogecoin Accepting Web Shop. Did you like this guide?  Was it Confusing?  Were there points you wished I could cover better?  Speak up then…I may write about it!

Running Bitcoin Arbitrage using Blackbird

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Outlook, Reviews, tools, Trading

My efforts to use an arbitrage trading bot went bust.  It was fun to look through though and I appreciate Butor very much for sitting me down and helping me fine tune things.  this was a valuable lesson not only in bots but in the way opportunities are found.  In the 5 weeks I had the bot running I maybe entered into two trades and I closed the bot on the 1st one as I had typed cat and not tail – to keep the output going.  The 2nd time it was running I realized that there was about to be a trend reversal and I would rather just keep the money as all bitcoin if I can.  I think Instead I would

like to use coinapult as a rudimentary strategy so that in times of collapse I could hammer that address with bitcoin and hedge against bitcoin value (of course I won’t bother doing that so much if I’m holding onto cash.  As it stands I’ve been living on coin for several years now so I do have fiat but only to cover services that refuse  to take coin such as Living and Gas and Groceries.  (sadly).  Well back to the topic.  I’ve known of bot trading since I was working with cryptsy, but a good close python proficient expert friend of mine had shown me that bot trading was not only risky but could be gamed to  you lose morey from other hostile traders and that you may be burning yourself in fees if the spread is not present or is unaccounted for or if there is constant slippage as you have no shorting opportunities for alt-coins (that I am aware of).  I decided to give this C++ Arbitrage bot a little go ahead because I’m interested in C++ and ultimately bitcoin development overall. Blackbird is the name of the software and it is available on Github.  I found it easy to use and implement.  There were very few dependencies but those are simply a matter of following the instructions. 


This bot would work best on either a cloud server as Butor setup or a remote workstation such as a pi or a laptop – I happen to have the laptop with a broken screen for this purpose that I usually ssh into.  It was actually more of a hassle to get the different exchanges up and running – I also took the time to exchange the funds back into fiat which was no fun because I felt like I’m just losing on fees as I wasn’t trying to speculate at all.  Butor’s reasoning for keeping the rates in fiat was that it kept you away from the danger of the market crashing and you losing a substantial position in your investment. When you start Blackbird there is a feature that causes the system to close if you keep your funds in Bitcoin so you must sell everything and turn it into dollars – I had setup my experiment to run across 4 different exchanges – BTC-E, bitstamp, Bitfinex, and Kraken.  To run the experiment I happened to be sitting on 60 Litecoin which I traded for BTC to split up across the different exchanges.  Originally my plan was Bitfinex and Kraken. But after thinking it down on paper a bit more I decided to dust off my old phone (and its 2fa keys) to unlock some other exchanges I signed up for a while back.  So now the list bubbled to four (and would have been five but Gemini was retarded with the amount of paperwork and first born blood they wanted so I Noped myself away from that one) and Despite this, it turns out that one of them was off anyway.  

BTC-E has a forever open trailing spread which remains higher than the other markets.  As a result you forever are locked on an open trade position that the bot fails to escape.  Being busy with life I didn’t really grasp the wasted effort of using btc-e until after the experiment ended.  I should have converted the cash on btc-e back into bitcoin and withdrawn it back into the other exchanges once it I realized the module was deactivated (it had been installed into the software but was not configured … likely because of the issues with price separation I mention above)

r1hi2Rjo9a

Beyond BTC-E, my other qualms with arbitrage trading were the fees lost from trading my BTC into fiat balances.  They were a small nag but not a problem ultimately.  I was more upset over the fact that to really utilize arbitrage trading properly, you need a huge sum of money on all the different exchanges and even then, you’re limited by the lack of market movement.  Basically, your earning power is limited by the smallest sum of money available within any given exchange in your lineup.  It isn’t like you are making a 7% return on 10,000 USD.  It’s more like a 7% return on 2K because you have divvied the money into each exchange.  Even then, consider that I had set my spread level to trade very low at .20 % edge above fees – trade fees are .2% usually.  You must pay them twice once to enter then again to exit the trade.  So you have a total of about .80 % of your trade to consider then add in your profit. For our example here with .2% ROI added to .8% I needed to see a minimum spread difference of 1% between Bitfinex and either Kraken or Bitstamp (BTC-E was disabled remember).  Splitting up my entire investment into 3 different exchanges and only being able to have the opportunity for three different trade types was very limiting  even though it was always on and monitored (I could have more if I were willing to sign up new exchanges and/or if I were willing to find other exchanges that offered shorting options, beyond bitfinex)  As I said, in five weeks I only saw two trades and they had never closed.  Whereas there was a large bump and drop last week where the Bitcoin price had grown to around $460 then gradually back down to $370…I would have much rather had kept the entire balance as BTC and shorted it using coinapult once it seemed to reach the peak – giving into the fees and slippage lost I would easily have had enough headroom to clear .2 BTC in profit.  The trade off would have been a requirement of more monitoring to look for trade opportunities.  

Needless to say, I lost money through spending fees and making trade loss moves to changeout my funds back into coin and transfer back to my own private wallets offline.  I’m going to try out using coinapult instead with these funds.  Their service offers instantaneously hedging of Bitcoin without requiring you to login to an account and trade.  That tradeoff of no need to login should not be ignored however – you are spending about .8 of a percentage point on each trade when being lazy and sending money to a coinapult address.  Have you run your own Trading bot or had better luck automating your trading activities?  

Check out my Bitcoin Flow Chart!

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in News, Outlook, tools

Hey Everyone,

 

I’ve been busy for the past few days throwing together a flow chart for the bitcoin community.  Basically this all happened as a follow through of an idea a friend of mine had (The aim was to extrapolate the inferences gained from this previous post, thus helping address knowledge gaps through one contiguous document).  If you find any major discrepancies or misnomers, please let me know right away so I can get them remedied.  Earlier on I made the decision to embed a few referral links (to coinbase, purse, localbitcoins, and I believe one other) but since then made the decision to remove these referral links so that I am not breaking rules when posting this to the various bitcoin social mediums.

 

demo_of_the_tree


 

Link to Chart

Have you used my Action Tree?  Are there any critical aspects I missed but should have included?  (Admittedly I pondered as to whether or not I should include a portion explaining out the differences between wallets and holding private keys and wallets that act as custodians to your funds)  This is my first such chart and I would appreciate any feedback offered

Public Broadcasting Should take Bitcoin Donations

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Charitable Causes, Outlook, tools

Taking donations for bitcoin can occur at the grass roots level and would be progressive.  I don’t have to be a member to participate yet If i were a member I could donate to specific addresses or causes related to my programming that I knew about – it will likely go to the same public contributions and members fund.  It’s so easy here’s a demo:

Sample Donation Address

My aim isn’t to encourage every program director of public broadcasting to slap on a QR code onto each of their commercials for donations to have them cashed in…I’m asking that they hold onto the btc and spend it with btc merchants for business expenses and even consider compensating employees with it.  That is a difficult pill to swallow admittedly, but if you were to go that route (in a symbiotic manner).  To handle accounting, simple set BTC as a foreign custom currency in your accounting package and denote all payments in Bits which can denominate down to the satoshi fairly easily.  To remember = 1 bitcoin is 1000 MIllibits.  I millibit is 1000 bits…. 1 bit is 100 satoshis.  Don’t try to keep these all in your head…just keep in mind that units work like the metric system (in base10 format).  Keep your transactions in dollars and do the conversion at the time of purchase.  When it comes time for year end calculations, just keep a consistent accounting practice for determining value – this can mean an average price for the year from a specific source, or the price of BTC at X time on the 31st of December each year – its all up to you to choose but make sure you use a method consistently or explain at least why you changed a method at one point and stick to that changed method.

I say public broadcasting because it isn’t as restrictive and there are on average, more intelligent people watching pubic broadcasting.  This should translate into a greater intersection of potential donators than say, a bus stop, or a radio advertisement.  By instituting Bitcoin donation QR codes in Commercials, during telethons, and before fundraisers, you have a chance to and the means to garner REAL-TIME feedback on:

  • Effectiveness of your approaches
  • Size of donations sent and when
  • Types of programming that receives more attention than others

Perhaps you may feel that this is a wasted effort, but I beg you to reconsider.  The cost of setting up a merchant account is a minimum of 1-3% You literally get this back if you accept Bitcoin.  As a customer, I simply need to have my phone out and I could scan the QR code (the thing I made in the little video above) – send $5 and be on with my life…yet that’s real money in your pocket! There is a very minimal settlement time of perhaps 15 minutes – sometimes in extreme circumstances this takes longer, but usually after that first confirmation the money is spendable from most wallets.  Also, the proper channels can be setup without a 3rd party involved such that you hold the money, its yours to be used – no need to bother with a bank account or Pay-pal – this money can easily be routed to a bank account though through websites like coin-base and circle though so please don’t be put off by the idea of having to maintain it all yourself (though it is minimally effortless to do so).  As a case in point, I did a fundraiser a few months ago to collect donations so we could have a bitcoin neon sign in the middle of downtown portland…

pearlBTCSIGN

Here it is is :)  

I want you to understand, that you, the corporation of public broadcasters, seem to thank viewers like us on at the beginning and end of each show; well you have a chance to enable a next-generation payments medium freely within your infrastructure, give it a shot!!!  Regular television channels rely on advertising and have no need to solicit for donations, but you do, which is why I challenge you to accept Bitcoin!  Do you work for a public broadcasting company and seek innovative ways to earn more program funding?  Are you curious about this idea of taking bitcoin but need more information about how it works or how to use it? Let’s talk about it below!