Category Archives: Investments & Trading

Getting Start with Chia Farming

One of the latest interest in the crypto mining scene is Chia. It is easier to start, and many people are keen to get into it, hoping to get good early rewards. As I write this, we are already into the second week of May 2021, and Chia mainnet has been live for nearly 2 months. Unless you have a pretty powerful plotting set up, it’s really hard to catch up.

What is Chia Farming?

Chia Farming, pay attention, the term here is Farming. It’s not mining, unlike Bitcoin and Ethereum. Chia is based on Proof of Space and Time, rather than Proof of Work, which Bitcoin and Ethereum are based on. Proof of Work, simply put is having a good amount of compute power, mining blocks for the relevant networks. Hence it’s common to see GPU and ASICs being used in the PoW type mining, and they do consume a fair amount of electricity.

Chia Farming on the other hand, is designed to be “green”, eco friendly. It ought to take a lot less power to farm, and it does. Where it hurts more is burning through your SSDs. More on that to come later in this post. So how farming works is this, your computer system will have generated plot files, and the Harvester process will constantly listen in on the Chia blockchain for challenges. The harvester will then scan the local plot files to any hash that matches the challenge. If a successful proof is found, and the harvester is able to report in time, it earns a coin.

The above is a highly summarised version, if you’d like to know more, do read up the Chia FAQ section.

The rate of winning depends on how many plot files you own. The more plot files you have, the higher your chance. However, the winning chance is also relative to the overall size of the network, meaning all the plot files across the entire network. The network grows, and your plots don’t, your winning chance will keep declining.

The plot files have pre-defined sizes. The common and accepted ones now are known as the k32 plots, and are about 100GiB each. So, to store 10 of these files, you’ll need 1TiB of disk space. The more space you have, the more plots you can have, and your chance of winning is better.

Generating your first Chia Plot

So, how do you generate your first Chia plot. If you new to crypto mining, or not an advanced computer expert, I’d suggest just follow the installation guidelines for Windows or Mac.

First immediate tip here, avoid plotting on your primary SSD based OS drive. Repeated plotting (which you will likely do), will quickly wear your SSD, and can eventually affect your OS. Always try to plot on secondary SSD, dedicated ones will be good, and certainly not on those which you have precious data on.

What resources are needed to plot?

So, you’ve noticed I started describing with the end process, which is farming the plot files. That is the goal, to have as many plot files as you can afford to store.

The point now, is how to generate all those plot files, quickly. This we’ll talk about the plotting process.

Plotting involves 3 key elements of your computer, the CPU (processor), RAM (memory), and Storage (fast SSD). In order to to multiple plots in parallel and without compromising on speed, you want a good amount of all these 3.

A plotting process by default will need the following:-

  • CPU – 2 threads (default), this means you need at least 2 cores dedicated for each plotting process. You can increase this to 4 threads (and hence 4 cores), with marginal improvement. I find that it’s more worth while to dedicate the additional 2 cores to a second plot process instead.
  • RAM – 3390 MiB (default), this is the maximum RAM a plotting process will use. The highest useful value you can increase to is 6750 3400 MiB. (update: looks like the value has been adjusted here)
  • Storage – the location for your temp folder would be your fastest drive. Go with SSD if you want speed, otherwise a regular spinning disk will work too, just take more time. For k32 plots, you’ll need 300GiB + of usable space. During the whole plotting process, there will be significant amount of re-writes, amounting up to 1.5TiB. Which means for each plot generated, your SSD will go through 1.5TiB of writes. For a device with say, 150TBW, it means after 100 plots, your SSD becomes out of warranty. Hence, the warning about the SSD wear. How well it performs from this point on varies with manufacturers and model.

How I am plotting?

Let’s start with the SPECs of my computer.

  • CPU – Intel i9-10900K (10 cores / 20 threads)
  • Memory – 32GB
  • Storage – 1x PNY 1TB M.2 NVMe (C:), 1x PNY 500GB M.2 NVMe (D:), 1x PNY 2TB M.2 NVMe (E:), 1x 14TB HDD (F:)

With this, I will run 5 plots in parallel. Each plotting process with the following settings.

  • Threads – 2
  • Max Memory – 6750 (3 plots), 3390 MiB (2 plots) 3400MiB
  • Temp Folder – either in C:, D:, or E:
  • Final Folder – F:

I know I said not to plot on C:, so I’m monitoring carefully how much I’m burning through, and stopping when I’m 50% there. This is my personal risk I’m taking, and if I’m to recommend, don’t plot on your C:. My D: and E: are fully reserved for plotting, with no data on it.

All my plots are stored on my F:. The plots do not need to be stored on SSD, speed doesn’t matter that much here, just a lot of space. Eventually I’ll need to add more HDD.

I have 3 plots running on parallel on my E:, the overall performance does take a 10% hit, but it does allow me to maximise the number if plots I can generate a day.

How to plot fast?

I didn’t build my computer specifically for plotting, hence the mixed bag of components. If I am to build one now specifically for plotting, here is what I will do.

Decide how many plots you want to do in parallel, then you can calculate how much CPU, RAM and SSD you need. So, let’s say like mine, I’m doing 5 in parallel, and let’s use that as an example

CPU – As each plot process needs 2 cores, I’ll find something with 10 cores. Buy the fastest and with the most cores you can accord. I generally don’t count on hyperthreads. That’s how I arrived with my i9-10900K.

RAM – my system already had 32GB of RAM, and I stuck with that. However, If I want to maximise plotting speed, I will need at least 3400 x 5 = 17,000MiB. This is easily satisfied with 32GB of RAM, which I will go with either 2x 16GB or 4x 8GB DIMMs. Never go with an odd number of DIMMs.

Storage – have 3 SSD devices. Each with at least 1TiB of space. These are just for temp spaces. Add on 1 more SSD for your OS if you like. For final storage, as many large HDD as you can afford.

Wrapping up…

The other critical component you’ll need to pay attention to, of course, is the motherboard. You’ll need one that can fit all these together. I am using the MSI Meg Z490 Ace.

There’s a lot more to farming, but this should hopefully give you a good start. If you like what you read here, or have any comments, please let me know.

How to get started with crypto investments in Singapore?

Crypto has without a doubt become a hot topic since end of 2020. All thanks to the surge in Bitcoin making several all time highs (ATH) since then.

Many are drawn into crypto in the hope to make some good money. For me, I got drawn in a little earlier, during the 2020 COVID-19 circuit breaker. (That’s the Singapore term for what was similar to a lock down.)

There are two main avenues to make some money with Cryptocurrency. Either to participate in the network as a “miner”, or investor buying and selling coins on the exchange. I am both, and in this post, I share more about investing, and how to get started.

Disclaimer, I’m certainly no financial advisor and I share based on my personal knowledge and experience. You shall be responsible for your own actions. Crypto prices can move rapidly in either direction and certainly not for the faint hearted.

Alright, let’s get to it.

Step 1 – if you don’t yet have it, install the Google Authenticator. It provides 2FA protection to a number of accounts you will be setting up next.

Quick links for you below if you need to get them installed first.
Google Authenticator on Apple App Store
Google Authenticator on Google Play

Step 2 – set up a few accounts with crypto exchanges. All these accounts are free, so don’t worry about having to pay any fees. All account opening process involves some validation of your identity, it will take some time. So please do not wait till the moment you need to make transactions to start the account, you will likely miss the opportunity. Hope you appreciate what I share here and you will open your accounts with my referral.

Coinhako – this is a Singapore based crypto exchange. You want to open an account here as it allows the cheapest and quickest option to move money in and out of crypto via bank transfers. Credit cards are also accepted for immediate purchase, but there is a small credit card fee that will be charged. Very handy for those critical moments where you need to enter but the cash balance in your account isn’t sufficient. There are some coins you can buy here, but not all coins. For that you need to open up accounts in other exchanges which I’ll cover below. Please use my referral link below to open your Coinhako account.
If asked for Referral Code, please use 132524_3863569
https://www.coinhako.com/affiliations/sign_up/132524_3863569

Coinbase promo

Coinbase – this is another crypto exchange with Singapore presence. It went IPO in April 2021 and that sparked a rally in the crypto market. Coinbase is a larger exchange than Coinhako and offers more selection of coins. The best thing with Coinbase in Singapore is that you can set up automatic recurring purchases. For example one nice strategy is to dollar cost average your position with certain coins and say do a weekly buy of a fixed dollar amount. This is a good long term strategy and you can set and forget. Purchases are done with credit cards only. The challenge though is you need to earn your purchase limit Coinbase. The highest is SGD 750 purchase limit per week. So it may not be a great option if you want to put in SGD 1000 in one transaction.
Sign up with Coinbase with https://coinbase.com/join/zishen_j?src=ios-link

Binance – is one of the largest Crypto exchange in the world. The services offered goes beyond simple buy and sell of crypto. Limit trades, interest bearing fixed deposits, Coin Staking are a few examples of the added services you can experience. They even have good tutorials to explain about crypto and the functions within the platform. Purchases for us in Singapore tend to be a two step process. (Unless it is a popular coin.) First step is to buy an intermediary coin like BUSD or USDT with credit card, then do a coin swap to the desired coin you want. Sometimes credit card transactions may need a few attempts to go through. So it may be a good idea to keep some BUSD or USDT on hand for that moment of opportunity. (BUSD and USDT are stablecoins, which have a fixed value where 1 coin is worth 1 USD.) There are two sites for Binance, binance.com and binance.sg. The one I’m writing about here is binance.com. Other way to fund the Binance account is with bank transfers via SWIFT.
Sign up with Binance with https://www.binance.com/en/register?ref=Y0XLS9A3 My referral link specifically offers you some rebate.

3 Exchanges should be a good start. At this point, you should have some idea why the different exchanges. There are a few more, but let’s leave them for another day. For myself these three serve all I need.

Step 3 – consider joining Celcius Network. Yup, another account to open. I think this is a must for anyone who plans to hold on (HODL in crypto lingo) to their coins. Celcius Network is made possible by the person who pioneered VOIP, Alex Mashinsky. Have a look at his profile and you can sense the genius level here. The idea behind this company is essentially to encourage HODLing. They incentivise you by giving interest on the coins you park with Celcius Network. I am going very long term with my coins, and rather than just have them laying around the digital wallet in the exchange, I’d rather have them earning more for me. Celcius gives different rates fo each type of coin, e.g. ETH today is 5.05% p.a., and is paid every Monday. You can choose the reward to be in the same base coin, or CEL which is Celcius’s own token. You can pick either and switch back and forth. Personally pick CEL to diversify my positions and also it has the potential to increase in value. If you are following, you’ll probably be thinking now, so how does Celcius, as a business, make money to survive. Simple, they offer loans. Loans at very low interest rates, and you’ll use your coins as collateral.

So, HODL with me, and join Celsius Network using my referral code 1167086ba5 when signing up and earn $40 in BTC with your first transfer of $400 or more! #UnbankYourself #HuatAh
https://celsiusnetwork.app.link/1167086ba5

Step 4 (optional) – purchase a hardware wallet. This is for those who want to HODL, but not leave it on any exchange on the Internet. Some follow the mantra “Not your keys, not your coin“. What that means is that for each location that is storing your coins, it is protected by a private key. So, if you have opened up the 4 accounts as I suggested, you would have 4 different wallets, one with each exchange. Every wallet will have it’s own private keys, which are held on to by the exchange. You do not have access to it. In earlier days, you’ve heard about exchanges being hacked, one of the goals of hackers will be to steal those keys. The “scary” part about crypto is that anyone with access to your private key essentially have access to all coins in that wallet. So, if you don’t trust your exchange to safe keep your keys better than yourself, you can invest in a hardware wallet. I personally own a Ledger device, and I find that it is very well designed and implemented. I do feel safe with it. Bear in mind though, if it’s in your Ledger, it’s not going to be earning you any interest. It’s one or the other.

Ending off…

Thank you for reading this far, and I hope you have got yourself set up for some Crypto trading. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is how to transfer coins between wallets. That’s important, especially you want to move coins to Celcius. Though you can buy coins directly on Celcius as well, it hasn’t worked for me. What I typically do is buy on one of the exchanges, and then do transfer. Be aware though, Coinhako is not able to send and receive all the coins on the platform.

I wish you good luck with your Crypto adventures, together we HODL!

The rise of Helium

It is Apr 2021 as I write this, and like many other folks, I got interested with Crypto in 2020. Needless to say, it was during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A couple of days ago, two of the crypto Youtubers (Red Panda Mining & VoskCoin) whom I follow shared about mining with Helium. It is of a very interesting concept, using Proof of Coverage (PoC) method to earn mining rewards. Link to both videos are below. VoskCoin shared his setup of two Helium miners making a total of US$50 a day. That’s really good, with relatively low barrier of entry, and good rate of return. Of course, the earnings will vary.

  • Red Panda Mining’s video on Helium – here
  • VoskCoin’s video on Helium – here

Unlike Bitcoin and Etherum mining (which use Proof of Work) and are heavy with power consumptions, mining Helium (helium.com) is far less demanding in terms of hardware and electricity.

I quickly jumped on and ordered my first Helium HotSpot produced by Nebra. It is one of two models which have support for Asian frequencies. Specifically for Singapore, you want the AS923 model. Due to the large demand, delivery is currently estimated to be at June 2021. Please use my referral link here and above if you are keen to order a Nebra Hotspot.

So, how does Helium work? I haven’t had a thorough read yet, but this is my quick summary of it. Start by watching the short video by Helium.

So we are essentially participating in The People’s Network by deploying hotspots. Though the miner is a HotSpot, it is not providing WIFI service like your home network. It provides LoRaWAN wireless service, so it’s not a replacement for your home wifi. What I plan to do is to simply find a spot near the window of my apartment, set it up and leave it to mine HNT coins. Very much fire and forget.

For better earnings, you would want other hotspots to be near your area. So the hotspots can validate for each other. Hence, spread the word, get your neighbours interested, and start The People’s Network up in Singapore.

There is also a Discord server setup for SG Helium enthusiasts, the link is https://discord.gg/KKSsMMNHgb

Of course, Helium has it’s own official discord https://discord.gg/helium

I’m looking forward to starting with HNT mining. Will write another post as I receive my unit in a few months.

Disclaimer: I’m sharing information to the best of my knowledge, and it’s not intended to be investment advise. Do your own research and be responsible for your own actions. As with all investments, only use money you can afford to lose. Hope for the best but always prepared for the worst. Good luck, have fun!!

Fapturbo 中文版出炉了!!

今天我收到了Fapturbo的消息,Fapturbo中文版终于出炉了!

如果您对外汇交易有兴趣的话,不能错过这个良好的机会。

我本身从2009十月用了Fapturbo外汇交易机器人,效果不错。

如果您有兴趣的话,不妨试试。请从这里转到fapturbo的网站去。

Diving Into Automated Forex Trading

I came across “Fapturbo” Forex trading robot a few months back. It’s performance seemed really good and the strategy it takes looks reasonable enough. So, I took the plunge and attempted to trade with the robot.

After running it for over 2 months with demo accounts with play money, I now feel comfortable and confident enough to dive into a live account. In a few days I will fund my live account and let Fapturbo do it’s job to make me more money.

If you like to find out more about Fapturbo, please do use my referral links here or the quick link to the right of this blog.